Monday , December 6 2021

The Transcontinental Railroad’s Dark Costs: Exploited Labor, Stolen Lands

Construction on the Transcontinental Railroad began on January 8, 1863 in Sacramento, when workers for the Central Pacific Railroad first broke ground for the track. Eleven months later, their counterparts in the Midwest—workers for the Union Pacific Railroad—began breaking ground in Omaha.

Racing to meet in the middle, they completed the project in 1869. With brute manpower, engineering savvy—and little in the way of heavy equipment—they conquered some of the nation’s most daunting terrain. The work included grading steep mountain faces, building bridges across vast canyons and blasting tunnels through solid granite.

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