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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Norden in Nevada County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada

 
 
Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada Marker image. Click for full size.
By Alvis Hendley, September 24, 2014
1. Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada Marker
Inscription.  Beneath this plaque the first transcontinental railroad traversed the mighty Sierra Nevada range. The 1659 foot long summit tunnel took over 15 months of Chinese muscle and sweat to build. The Chinese painstakingly hand drilled, then blasted the granite rock with black powder and newly invented nitroglycerin. A vertical shaft took 85 days to complete and allowed tunnel construction to proceed from the center as well as from the portals. The most difficult obstacle facing the Central Pacific Railroad was overcome when the tunnel was completed in August 1867. The first passenger train passed through the tunnel on June 18, 1868. The last train went through in 1993.
 
Erected 1999 by E Clampus Vitus, Chief Truckee Chapter No. 3691.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Chinese Heritage Sites of the American West, the E Clampus Vitus, and the Transcontinental Railroad series lists.
 
Location. 39° 18.984′ 
Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada Marker image. Click for full size.
By Alvis Hendley, September 2, 2014
2. Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada Marker
N, 120° 19.575′ W. Marker is in Norden, California, in Nevada County. Marker can be reached from Old Donner Summit Road (Pacific Crest Trail) half a mile south of Donner Pass Road, on the right when traveling south. Marker is on the Pacific Crest Trail just south of Donner Pass Road at Donner Summit. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Norden CA 95724, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sugar Bowl Academy (within shouting distance of this marker); Donner Pass Airway Station & Beacon (within shouting distance of this marker); Summit Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tunnel 6 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Donner Ski Ranch (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sacred Symbols From Ancient Times (approx. 0.3 miles away); Petroglyphs (approx. 0.3 miles away); China Wall (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Norden.
 
Regarding Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada. The Great Summit Tunnel is also known as Central Pacific Railroad Tunnel #6.

You can visit the western entrance to the tunnel about 1,500 feet from here where Sugar Bowl Road crosses over the decommissioned railroad tracks.

Season 5 of the AMC series, Hell on Wheels, convincingly dramatizes the building of the Great Sierra Tunnel even though the scenes on the Central Pacific Railroad were shot in the Canadian Rockies not in the Sierra Nevada.
Donner Pass Road at Donner Summit image. Click for full size.
By Alvis Hendley, September 2, 2014
3. Donner Pass Road at Donner Summit
The marker is located on the other side of this sheet metal building. The marker faces the Pacific Crest Trail as it follows Old Donner Summit Road.
 
West Entrance to Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada image. Click for full size.
By Alvis Hendley, September 2, 2014
4. West Entrance to Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada
Tunnel entrance viewed through the railroad overpass on Sugar Bowl Road about 1,500 feet west of the marker.
West Entrance to Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada image. Click for full size.
By Alvis Hendley, September 2, 2014
5. West Entrance to Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 29, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 29, 2016, by Alvis Hendley of San Francisco, California. This page has been viewed 348 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 29, 2016, by Alvis Hendley of San Francisco, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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May. 29, 2020