A Look at the New Monument to Honor Chinese Railroad Workers
Building the Transcontinental Railroad, the Moonshot of the 19th Century
The Forgotten Railroad Workers Monument completed May 10, 2019
Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Plaza - Completion Fall 2020
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The common element for the monument is utilizing the granite from the Sierras as the ground plane and providing the platform for the benches and the stone portal. The granite is true to the stone that the Chinese workers had to dig, toil, pick, and blast through to lay the tracks of the future transcontinental railway. The monument is emblematic of the difficult labor through the Sierras. The tracks, rail bench backrests and symbolic railroad ties provide allegorical references to the railway.
The configuration of the plaza opens toward the parking area, creating a forecourt into the main part of the plaza. Flush railroad tracks and symbolic railroad ties are inset into the forecourt leading to the sculpture. The sculpture sits on a four-foot high stone pedestal over the iron tracks, providing a literal translation of the workers laying the tracks for the railroad. The tracks continue and pierce into the woods, and dissipate into the air, expressing the feeling of never ending tasks to complete this work.
The pedestal is relatively close to the sidewalk so that it is clearly visible to vehicles entering the parking lot and to pedestrians walking to the facilities. Visitors can get a better appreciation of the workers up close and read the expressions as shown in the sculpture. The dedication plaque and information plaque will be mounted on the pedestal. Granite seating is provided alongside of the sculpture and facing back towards the entrance. The stone benches are arranged to provide seating adjacent and afar from the sculpture to allow for different viewing opportunities. The backrest is formed of horizontal railroad tracks. Donor plaques will be laid between the continuous railroad tracks that form the backrests of the granite benches. Two large, uncut Sierra granite boulders are set at where the inlaid tracks cross the path of the granite benches as a
stone portal as another literal translation of the railroad workers blasting through the mountains and hills.