The Coolie - Ken Fox Statue
"The Chinese Coolie" is a 22-ft. tall sculpture of a grizzled man in a conical hat pushing a wheelbarrow. The statue was created by Auburn dentist Kenneth H. Fox in 1972, along with his other Great Statues of Auburn. It stood for decades outside his dental practice on the other side of I-80 before being moved to the site of the old train station (and then-future Gold Rush Museum) in 1989.
The Coolie is made from one mile of reinforced steel rebar and 35 cubic yards of concrete. Including his wheelbarrow, the Coolie is 33 ft. long and weighs 70 tons.
Politically incorrect, or historically accurate? While the term "coolie" may be denigrating today, it was used to describe the unskilled Asian laborers pouring into California in the second half of the 19th century. Fox created the statue, according to the plaque, as "a tribute to the historical significance of the Chinese worker in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierra Mountains of California."
When we snapped these photos, the statue was darkly stained -- not from a lifetime of sweat labor, but from two days of steady foothills winter rain.
You can see more of the doctor's statues in other parts of Auburn.