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We Welcome Chris Merritt, who will Present: Chinese Railroad Workers in Utah at Fort Douglas

  • Fort Douglas Military Museum 32 Potter Street Salt Lake City, Utah United States (map)

In 1869, thousands of Chinese workers came to Utah during the waning days of construction for the Central Pacific Railroad. Many stayed on in Utah until the early 1890s, leaving behind a historical and archaeological legacy. Over the past few years State History and the BLM have worked to discover more of this history and to build towards the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad in 2019. 

Christopher Merritt

1. Christopher Merritt received his Ph.D. from the University of Montana in Anthropology in 2010, focusing on the archaeological and historical investigations of the Overseas Chinese. He received a Master’s of Science in Industrial Archaeology from Michigan Technological University where he studied the trade and consumption of Mormon-produced pottery in Utah.  Since 2004, Merritt has worked in a variety of professional archaeological settings including the United States Forest Service in Utah and Nevada, private archaeological contracting in Salt Lake City and finally as the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for the Utah Division of State History for Antiquities.  In addition to the full-time employment with the State of Utah, he is Adjunct Faculty in Anthropology at both Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College where he teaches one course per semester at each institution. He has published articles on LDS-produced pottery, Chinese railroad workers, and the development of hydroelectric power in Nevada, in addition to his book from the University of Nebraska Press detailing the archaeology and history of the Overseas Chinese Experience in Montana.

2. For those of you not already aware, Crossroads’ new [as of February 6th] website has launched here at We have links to Ft Douglas and a lot more interesting stuff. So please check it out. 

3. The newly updated and expanded 2nd edition of Kiosks and Rail Makers, Marking Emigrant Trail through Utah with feeder trail in Wyoming & Idaho by Roy Tea & Charlie Burkhalter (aka Crossroads’ T–Rail book) with 2nd edition contributions by Vic Heath, Jess Petersen & Bryce Billings has been published. It will be available to purchase at Thursday’s meeting for a price of $10.00 per book. The guide will also be for sale at the 2018 OCTA National Conference in Ogden. NO MAIL OR ELECTRONIC REQUESTS WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THE OGDEN CONFERENCE.

Click here for Directions to Fort Douglas Museum. 

Later Event: March 22
Spring Lecture