Between two rocky, imposing, vertical walls, sixty-three feet high and eight hundred feet long, passes a single pair of railroad tracks. This stereograph dramatically depicts the Bloomer Cut corridor along the Central Pacific Railroad. Workers used five hundred kegs of gunpowder a day to blast through the naturally cemented gravel that formed this part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The gravel was so hard that they sometimes had difficulty drilling far enough in to place the gunpowder. After a successful blast, the gravel was removed one wheelbarrow at a time. It was harrowing work, and not even the overseer was spared from danger: he lost an eye after one faulty blast. The successful construction of this passage, which still exists, serves as a testament to the hard work and determination of the men who built the transcontinental railroad.
Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef