The Gandy Dancers

The Gandy dancer was a man with callouses on his hands and sweat on his brow. He got his peculiar name from the rhythmic, dance like movements with which he accompanied the labor of forcing the ballast under the crosswise that would hold the ribbon of steel which laced the nation east and west.

While other men provided the capital and the technical engineering skills that the huge project required, the Gandydancer's contributed the bone and the sinew that got the job done. Their tortuous probing of the canyons and their agonizing traversing of the high deserts, was accomplished with a grimness of purpose which guaranteed the success of the undertaking.

Many of the graves they left behind remain unmarked to this day. The camps that housed them have long since succumbed to the decay and erosion of the time. Many of the towns that echoed their laughter and their, anger today contain only skeletons that linger in the closets of the past.

The building of the Western Pacific Railroad was the last of the nation’s great transcontinental railroad projects. The triumph of the Gandy dancer's is re-announced each day by the trumpeting of the mighty iron monsters of the Western Pacific as they move the commerce of a nation to and from the shores of the Pacific Ocean.