In 1865, Chinese immigrants were enlisted by the Central Pacific Railroad in the building of the western section of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Between 1865 and May 10, 1869, when the “Golden Spike” was driven with a silver hammer at Promontory Summit, it was estimated up to 15,000 Chinese, the majority of the labor force, had been working tirelessly over and through the granite walls of the Sierra Nevada and the blistering desert of Nevada.
The First Transcontinental Railroad united California and the other western states to the eastern part of the country. With newly-opened markets in the east, there was rapid growth in California’s agricultural production which was later followed by growth in other economical forms as well.
2015 marked the start of 150th anniversary of the Chinese building the First Transcontinental Railroad. Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), Union Pacific, California State Railroad Museum, California Center and Shandong Film Association, China co-hosted a series of events in Sacramento and San Francisco to celebrate this occasion. Some of the hosts of the 2015 celebrations de-cided to form a new nonprofit organization, US – China Railroad Friendship Association, to continue this effort.