Living Conditions

Tea carrier at tunnel, about 1867

Tea carrier at tunnel, about 1867

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Bottle gourd canteen, about 1900

Bottle gourd canteen, about 1900

Chinese workers typically drank tea, which was safer than unboiled water.

The tea was carried to their worksites in old blasting powder kegs.

The railroad company provided meals to white workers. Chinese workers, however, had to secure their own provisions, which they bought primarily from San Francisco merchants.

Soy sauce jug, about 1900

Soy sauce jug, about 1900

Chopsticks, about 1900

Chopsticks, about 1900

Camp, near Humboldt Wells, Nevada, about 1869

Camp, near Humboldt Wells, Nevada, about 1869

Courtesy of Alfred A. Hart Photograph Collection, Stanford University

The railroad company provided dormitory train cars for white workers, while Chinese workers lived in tents.