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Cuesta Grade Rail Map
"In the history of San Luis Obispo, when its next chapter shall be written, the page which will stand out in gold will be that devoted to the Fifth of May, 1894."
- Benjamin Brooks, Editor
- San Luis Obispo Tribune
- May 5, 1894
Due to construction of the Cuesta Grade the first train arrived in San Luis Obispo May 5, 1894. Several thousand visitors and residents gathered at the Ramona Hotel to meet the train and celebrate the event. Stores closed early, the band played and rockets and a cannon were fired into the sky. San Luis Obispo became a railroad town.
Originally having seven tunnels, much of the grade was constructed by Chinese organized by Ah Louis. The store built by Ah Louis is one of the last remaining landmarks of the Chinatown that once existed in San Luis Obispo.
Towards San Francisco (known as West to the railroad) the tracks go through Santa Margarita which was the terminus of the rails for many years. Leaving San Luis Obispo to the South (East to the railroad) the rails head for the Coast where they follow the Pacific on their way to Los Angeles.