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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Leandro in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Memorial to the Chinese Laborers

Lake Chabot Historical Walk

 
 
Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
1. Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker
Captions: The hand cut stone used for the tunnel was quarried from creeks nearby and pulled by steamboat on a barge like the one above. (top right); The Chinese laborers employed techniques similar to those used in building the Transcontinental railroads. (bottom right).
Inscription.
The Alameda County Historical Society dedicates this panel to:
Ah Bing – 41, Kim Yuen – 29, Toy Sing – 31, and Lock Sing – 33, who died outside this tunnel. This panel is also dedicated to the countless unnamed and unsung Chinese laborers who worked on Lake Chabot Dam from 1874 to 1892.


In 1888 and 1889 Chinese laborers dug and dynamited 1,438 feet through rock hillside to make this spillway tunnel. Overflow water from the lake passes through the tunnel, into the 679 foot masonry-lined canal and then back into San Leandro Creek

On the evening of September 16, 1889, a dynamite explosion killed four Chinese laborers who were digging the canal outside this tunnel.

While records of Chinese laborers are scant, their achievements were enormous. Using hand tools such as pickaxes, and shovels, they cleared 333 acres of bush and timber, blasted 3,100 feet of tunnels, built more than 15 miles of roads and 18 miles of fences, and moved 600,000 cubic yards of earth.

Chinese laborers built Lake Chabot with back-breaking labor. Belatedly, we honor their significant contributions to the historic legacy of California.

The tunnel is the length of four football fields and connected to Lake Chabot. Note the fine hand-crafted masonry of chiseled
Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
2. Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker
stone, burnt brick, and Portland cement at the entrance. Can you see where the masonry shifts from stone to brick?
 
Erected 2012 by Chinese Historical Society of America, Alameda County Historical Society and East Bay Regional Parks.
 
Location. 37° 43.955′ N, 122° 7.68′ W. Marker is in San Leandro, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Estudillo Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1799 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro CA 94577, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roots From Another Land (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Filtration Basins (about 300 feet away); Giant Water Filters (about 600 feet away); Lake Chabot Historical Walk (about 600 feet away); A Zoo, a Monkey, and a Mansion Here Too! (approx. Ό mile away); Tunnel No. 1 Control Shaft (approx. 0.3 miles away); Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp (approx. 0.3 miles away); Taming the Waters’ Flow (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Leandro.
 
More about this marker. The one mile Lake Chabot Historical Walk begins at the parking lot at the end of Estudillo Avenue. This marker is about 300 yards from the beginning
Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
3. Memorial to the Chinese Laborers Marker
The tunnel entrance is in the background.
of the trail.
 
Categories. Asian AmericansDisastersMan-Made Features
 
The Tunnel Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
4. The Tunnel Entrance
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 347 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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