Gandy Dancer by Edward Fraughton
24 inces high
Bronze sculpture of a male figure holding a section of railroad rail. The figure wears a hat, mustache, no shirt and stands on two railroad ties looking 3/4 view toward the right shoulder.
In 1862, Abraham Lincoln launched one of the most important and grueling enterprises in American history: construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The objective was to link the nation's developing western states and territories into a single contiguous unit with those of the east. Crews working their way westward from Omaha, Nebraska for the Union Pacific Railroad Company consisted largely of Irish emigrants who had escaped the devastating Irish potato famine of the 1850's. Once the tracks were spiked into place, the men who performed the act of packing ballast between the ties and under the tracks were called "gandy dancers," an appropriate title for this sculpture.