Mile 699.8 from San Francisco
Following the abandonment of Terrace, Watercress served as a principle freight and siding for area ranchers early in the twentieth century. Railroad documents record the existence of corrals, a barn, a stock pond, a water tank, and a loading platform. Water was provided by rerouting the Terrace aqueduct from springs to the north. Watercress was abandoned around 1940.
The Transcontinental Railroad unified the United States by connecting east coast and west. Tracks heading east from Sacramento were laid by the Central Pacific Railroad beginning in 1863. It was built not with bulldozers but by men with picks, shovels, and dynamite. The railroad created jobs for immigrants and settlers and would bring even more economic benefits by opening up the west.
There were inevitable conflicts as more and more settlers moved west, settling on lands that had been occupied by Native Americans. Cultures came into contact in all aspects of the railroad's construction. Nine of every ten workers on the railroad were Chinese. The other ten percent were usually Irish. The Central Pacific also relied on some black employees who were seeking a new life after slavery and the turmoil of the American Civil War.
The Irish, who faced their own set of prejudices in the climate of the late 1800s,
usually were found in the more prestigious railroad jobs such as foreman, and iron handler while the Chinese workers preformed the backbreaking labor.
The laying of over a thousand miles of track in about six years required many thousands of workers (more than 10,000). The work and cooperation of all these men, under the direction of the leaders of each railroad company, made the first transcontinental railroad actually happen.