Bloomer Cut, 63 feet high, looking West.

Alfred A. Hart1866 - 1869

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Between two rocky, imposing, vertical walls, sixty-three feet high and eight hundred feet long, passes a single pair of railroad tracks. This stereograph dramatically depicts the Bloomer Cut corridor along the Central Pacific Railroad. Workers used five hundred kegs of gunpowder a day to blast through the naturally cemented gravel that formed this part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The gravel was so hard that they sometimes had difficulty drilling far enough in to place the gunpowder. After a successful blast, the gravel was removed one wheelbarrow at a time. It was harrowing work, and not even the overseer was spared from danger: he lost an eye after one faulty blast. The successful construction of this passage, which still exists, serves as a testament to the hard work and determination of the men who built the transcontinental railroad.

Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef

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  • Title: Bloomer Cut, 63 feet high, looking West.
  • Creator: Alfred A. Hart
  • Date: 1866 - 1869
  • Location Created: Sacramento, California, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: Mount: 8.4 x 17.5 cm (3 5/16 x 6 7/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef
  • Object Type: Stereograph
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XC.979.4216
  • Markings: (Recto) left edge: "CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD" lower center: "12. Bloomer cut, 63 feet high, looking West." right edge: "NEVADA" (Verso) upper right, red ink stamp: "84.XC.979" upper right, black ink stamp: "4216" center [upside down]: "SCENES IN THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS/ PHOTOGRAPHED AND PUBLISHED BY/ ALFRED A. HART/ GOLDEN STATE/ PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY/ No. 65 J Street, corner of Third./ SACRAMENTO. CALIFORNIA./ Views for the/ Stereoscope Album/ and/ PORTFOLIO/ PHOTOGRAPHIC/ Hand Books/ For Travelers."
  • Inscription: (Verso) in pencil: "Passed through this cut- Feby 15th 1870"
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef
  • Classification: Photographs