Just outside Fort Bragg a 1,112 foot bore, CWR (California Western Railroad) Tunnel #1, runs through the rocky hill between Pudding Creek and the Noyo River. The tunnel was completed more than a century ago, in 1893 and is still in use on the CWR’s Skunk line . The tunnel was built by skilled Chinese laborers but not before there a near riot in Fort Bragg. A mob decided that it was improper for the work to be given to the Chinese. The sheriff rode over on his horse from Ukiah and told the mob they could do the job if they wanted but when it came time to start none of the mob was willing to do the tough, dangerous job of digging through the mountain.
If you look at the pic below you can see some of the Chinese labourers,
Tunnel #1 1892
When I travel to and from Stanford (a 400 mile round trip) it is a good time to catch up on my reading ….. which has been pretty scant of late. The book of choice for last week’s check up at Stanford Hospital was “Chinese in Mendocino County” by Lorraine Hee-Chorley. The book is one of the brown covered Arcadia Publishing Series.
The contents of the book were quite an eye-opener. In our website there are a number of references documenting the Chinese immigrants and settlers in Mendocino County but no page devoted to them. As the back cover of the book states: “The Chinese were instrumental in the county’s development in the 1800’s, but little has been written documenting their contribution to local history.”
To my knowledge there is no comprehensive history of the Mendocino Chinese immigrants and settlers in any of the local museums. In fact outside of the 100 year old Taoist Temple in Mendocino I cannot recall of any mention of the Chinese in the local museums. Sad as that maybe this book certainly is a good place to start to learn of their accomplishments.
If you want to get an idea of the scope of the book click here and read away. Not all of the book is on Google books but you can see/read a goodly portion of it.
Chinese in Mendocino County Book Cover