Friday, December 19, 2014

Central Pacific Section Station Bunkhouses

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Mike Polk"

I am carrying out research on railroad operations on the Central Pacific ca. 1870's and 1880's. Specifically, I am putting together a paper regarding Chinese maintenance crews on the railroad during this time. I have researched information on all of the stations between western Nevada and Ogden and found most stations were spaced about 10-12 miles apart and had bunkhouses and, often, cook houses for the maintenance crews. I am interested to know how many men might have been housed in each of those bunkhouses. My research shows that most buildings were single story, gable roof structures, measuring 16 x 24 ft in size. Another common size was 16 x 22 ft, and others, in smaller numbers, measured 18 x 20, 18 x 22, and 12 x 16. There were some other sizes, but the largest number were 16 x 24.

So, does anyone know how many would be expected to live in a building of this size and whether the number housed in the same buildings may have changed as Chinese crews were replaced by Japanese or Anglo crews in the early 20th Century?

Several assumptions are implicit in my question:

1. I assume that the structures were built to accommodate a particular sized maintenance crew or crews, though I'm sure these numbers may have varied over time and by station;

2. I don't know, but suspect that depending upon the ethnic group making up the crews, more or less persons may have been housed in these buildings. That could certainly skew the estimate for crew size. Nevertheless, there should be some way to estimate some approximate number. ...

—Mike Polk, Ogden, Utah


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I think I have found this information on the 1870 US Census available through

Am on the road so do not have access to my research.

—Larry Mullaly

12/20/2014 9:46 AM  

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