In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, suspending any further Chineseimmigration for ten years.On May 10, 1869, Leland Stanford, the for-mer governor of California and president of theCentral Pacific Railroad, traveled to PromontoryPoint in Utah Territory to hammer a ceremonialgolden spike, marking the finish of the firsttranscontinental line. Other railroads went up withless fanfare. The Southern Pacific, chartered by thestate of California, stretched from San Francisco toLos Angeles, and on through Arizona and NewMexico to connections with New Orleans. TheAtchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe reached the Pacificin 1887 by way of a southerly route across the RockyMountains. The Great Northern, one of the fewlines financed by private capital, extended west fromSt. Paul, Minnesota, to Washington’s Puget Sound.Railroad corporations became America’sfirst big businesses. Railroads required huge out-lays of investment capital, and their growthincreased the economic power of banks andinvestment houses centered in Wall Street.Bankers often gained seats on the boards ofChinese immigrants, like thesesection gangworkers, provided labor and skills critical to thesuccessful completion of the first transconti-nental railroad. This photo was taken in Promontory, Utah Territory, in 1869.The Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.