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Restored Memorial Honors Chinese Railroad Workers In Idaho

Railroad in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, 1940
Idaho Historical Society

In the 1880s, Chinese laborers built the railroads in Idaho and across the West. They were discriminated against, overworked and underpaid.


The memorial was built to honor a Chinese man who died more than a century ago working on a railroad near Glenns Ferry. His name has been lost to history but, this spring, a group of Idahoans collaborated to replace the crumbling structure.

“A new monument with nice clear writing on it and to get dedicated not only to the memory of this man who gave his life to help build the railroad but to all Chinese railroad workers," said Pei-Lin Yu, an associate professor of Anthropology at Boise State University.

She was part of the team that dedicated the new memorial stone this week. She said it’s important to share the stories of Chinese people in Idaho that have been forgotten or erased. 

“The Chinese contributions to Idaho are not very well known," said Yu. "We don’t have a Chinese museum, we don’t have a Chinatown, we don’t have a Chinese block, we don’t have a Chinese building."

The new memorial reads: “Although he may have died far away from his homeland, we re-dedicate this spot to him and to the thousands of other Chinese workers who sacrificed their lives while helping to build the West."

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