Monday, January 31, 2005

Re: History and construction drawings for old elevated water storage tanks

Water tanks at Wasatch, Utah and Artesian Well, Rock Springs, Wyoming can be seen in two Silvis photographs.

A water train is shown in Hart Stereoview #315.

Elevated water tanks, and tanks on flat car at Winnemucca Depot (Nevada) are shown in Hart Stereoview #319.

History and construction drawings for old elevated water storage tanks

Date: January 30, 2005 11:43:14 PM EST
Subject: History and construction drawings for old elevated water storage tanks

Good Morning,
I have been interested in the design and construction of old railroad elevated storage water tanks used along the right of way.   I am interested in the smaller gauge rail systems as well.  Most smaller rail systems were used for gold mines and shortline systems in Southern Oregon.   Can you assist me in locating this info or able to refer me to another web site ... I have searched for hours.
Thank for your time,
Tom LeChuga

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Re: How many Stars did the Flag have that flew at the original Golden Spike ceremony?

Photos appear to show far fewer stars than would be expected.

Per the attached list, there were 37 states in 1869, Nebraska having joined in 1867.

The ... WH Jackson photo appears to show stars ranked in 4 rows, 5 across, suggesting 20 stars on the flag.

Other photos showing the flag include the following:
AJ Russell Imperial view 225 Laying of Last Rail
Stereo view 538 Space left for the last rail at Promontory, Utah
Also check out the view down the side of the Jupiter (Imperial 223 at Oakland Museum?), with all the small flags on the hand rail and running board.


Note my NEW address of

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Train Wrecking & Federal law

I noticed in last Friday's SF Chronicle (front news section A) re the recent Metrolink accident that the indicted man may be prosecuted under the Federal law which -- if memory serves correctly about the law date enactment -- directly resulted from the deliberate derailment of a mail train on the CalP (and subsequent death to traincrew) during the Pullman Strike.
Kevin Bunker

How many Stars did the Flag have that flew at the original Golden Spike ceremony?

Date: January 30, 2005 3:46:59 AM EST
Subject: Question

How many Stars did the Flag have that flew at the original Golden Spike ceremony. Some say 20, some say 37 but the photos on this site indicate that there might have been 20, 24 or 28 but not 37.
Photograph R0538 by Russell appears to be the best one for counting stars but on the web it is not clear how many stars are present. It definitely looks like 4 symmetrical rows which make the number of stars the previously mentioned 20, 24, or 28.
Thank you. 

Wm. W. Gorman, Jr.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Clement genealogy

The Clement family [of Lewis Metzler Clement] originally settled in upstate New York. They were United Empire Loyalists and thus all left for Canada at the time of the American Revolution. Himself a native of Niagara-on-Lake, Ontario (Upper Canada),  to the best of my knowledge L.M. Clement was the only member of this part of the Clement family to have emigrated to California which he did in 1862 after first living in Ohio and  St. Louis for about a year.  (You can view the detailed genealogical information I have about L.M. Clement and his ancestors.)  After leaving the CPRR in 1881, L.M. Clement lived in the Bay Area for at least the last 30 years of his life and died in Hayward, CA, in 1914.

Bruce C. Cooper

Railroad chronology

A number of timelines are linked on the CPRR Museum's Home Page.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Re: Question - Great-great-grandfather, Ransom Cross (d. August 28, 1869)

The kind of information that you are seeking is extraordinarily difficult to find. Searching the local newspapers of August 28, 1869 or shortly thereafter to see if any such story appeared would be one approach. You could also study the surviving (but incomplete) CPRR payroll records at the California State Railroad Museum to see if Ransom Cross' name appears.


Question - Great-great-grandfather, Ransom Cross (d. August 28, 1869)

Date: January 26, 2005 11:47:21 PM EST
Subject: Question

Very nice website.
I am sending you this in hopes that you might help me. My Great-great-grandfather, Ransom Cross (b. about 1828) died in California on August 28, 1869. I am wondering if there was a mishap/accident that may have occurred in conjunction with the railroad on this date? The reason I am asking you is  that he was originally a rail road Section Master in Wisconsin in 1860. Then left his family to go to California. I am assuming that he went to build the transcontinental railroad. Can you help?
What ever information would be useful.
James Cross

Re: Was there a camp of Chinese RR worker tents at Promontory?

I recall that in Lavender's "The Great Persuader" the nature of the unused parallel UPRR grading in Western Utah and Eastern Nevada was pretty well described.

--- chris graves wrote:
... There is also a UPRR parallel grade that is some 3/4 mile NORTH of Pequop Summit that has never been explored, I could never figure out why that grade is/was so far off the main line.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Re: Was there a camp of Chinese RR worker tents at Promontory?

Good catch, Chris. Have you thought about photographing that site...the dugouts, pottery shards, etc. for posterity? Might be a very wise plan of action considering the passing of time...


--- chris graves wrote:
I have seen that same article. Strobridge says the Chinese were pulled back at Mormon Hill, to do repairs on the line from Sacramento to Toano. That would lend credeance to the 4,000 workers noted by Richardson. And, in the valley between Independence Spring and Holburn Siding, East of Moor, there is evidence of a large encampment there. Broken pottery from China is everywhere, and the holes (dugouts) that were inhabited by the workers are easily seen. That site covers about 3 acres.
G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

From: "Kevin Bunker"

Seems to me that Randy hees ran across a Bay Area newspaper item from May or June 1869 mentioning that a host of Chinese road and trackworkers had been hurried back to California to rush the completion of the Western Pacific Rail Road between Stockton and Niles Canyon in order to open it to through passenger trains bound for San Francisco and Oakland ASAP.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Re: Was there a camp of Chinese RR worker tents at Promontory?

The California newspaper reporters were pretty detailed on events in May, and none note a Chinese camp at Promontory Summit. Chinese worked at the site April 30-May 1, or so, the end of the CP track, but left to work on gravel trains back West as others note. At that time there was still some confusion as to the final terminus -- at Promontory or the agreed upon Ogden. As the officials feuded and by default decided on Promontory as a "permanent" transfer point, by May 10, the Chinese and other workers arrived in Strobridge's work train to build the CP yard. In a May 10 Hart view looking West can be seen a wagon "camp" in the distance, at the location of the future CP yard. My guess is this was a work crew getting ready to clear sage brush, build grade, place ties and rail etc at the CP yard, which was built May 11-12 or so. Is this a Chinese work camp? probably. Does a contemporary mention it as a Chinese camp? I haven't found one. There are plenty of references that the Chinese were there, including the Russell photo of the Chinese crew laying rail May 10 as part of the ceremony. But the reporters were focused on the last spike ceremony, not the workers camps there.
Hope this helps

Bob Spude ¨ Historian ¨ Cultural Resources Management ¨ National Park Service – Intermountain Region ¨ 505.988.6770 Voice ¨ 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Re: SF News Letter Golden Spike

This is fabulous thanks. I'm still looking for a good description of the connections of the telegraph wire to the last spike and maul. The "Journal of the Telegraph" provides a description of how they though it was connected, but not an eye witness account. Bob

Bob Spude ¨ Historian ¨ Cultural Resources Management ¨ National Park Service – Intermountain Region ¨ 505.988.6770 Voice ¨ 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Re: SF News Letter Golden Spike

Is it correct that there are actually two missing "second" gold spikes? There is the second Hewes gold spike, shown on the Hewes receipt. (Could: "One of the presentation spikes was afterwards cut, and half of it given to Dillion as a memento" be describing the fate of the second Hewes spike?) and also the other "second" gold spike from the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

SF News Letter Golden Spike

I've come across some interesting information on the missing Golden Spike (thanks to help from friends).

The following from the CPRR Museum shows the SF News Letter and California Advertiser issues (or portions):

Saturday, May 1, 1869, p 1

Saturday, May 8, 1869, p 1

Supplement, Saturday, May 15, 1869, pp 1-4

The second and third issues include an engraving of the News Letter's spike.  The third issue includes an extended recount of the events at the ceremony (carefully blurring that there was more than one golden spike present)  The Hewes spike is only directly mentioned in the second issue by quoting a brief item from the Bulletin.
The third issue continues by reprinting what appears to be a report documenting the entire Central Pacific, including enumerating structures.  Interestingly this report does not mention turntables and roundhouses at Promontory, but rather at Ogden City, reported as the junction.  The report also enumerates the length of all bridges and tunnels.
In the third issue on pg 4, upper right corner, in a section titled "The Summit Deserted - A Scramble for the Relics", in the last sentence is an interesting comment.  "One of the presentation spikes was afterwards cut, and half of it given to Dillion as a memento."  Was this the end of the SF New Letter's spike?
But there is more.  Scrolling below the above newspaper pages is a photo of a spike that the owner thinks might be the original SF News Letter spike - or a close copy.  Our belief in this claim rests partly on how accurate we thing the SF News Letter engraving is.  The engraving shows a flat sided spike (as some designs at that time were), while the photo of the existing spike is fully headed.
There is an additional SF News Letter source, also.  I came across a set of sites reprinting articles by the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser from 1881.  They mostly talk about Thomas Hill's Last Spike painting, but also include an engraving (I think it may be from the same photo as the 1869 engraving, but appears to be possibly a new engraving) of the gold spike that the News Letter provided in 1869.  This is in the second site listed below.
February 12, 1881

The second and third sites also provide a bit of revisionist history, again supplanting the Hewes spike with the SF News Letter spike, and claiming the prayer before the "driving of the spikes" for Marriott of the New Letter instead of Todd.
I'd welcome thoughts on all of this.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Re: SF&SJ loco questions

Looking through my files I come across several interesting things.
An article on an excursion in the San Francisco Alta-California, June 4, 1865 (GM Best transcription).
The excursion was pulled by the loco "A. H. Houston".  It notes that the SF&SJ owned 5 locos at this time, so the Booth engines had not yet been added.  They had also not yet been renamed.
SF Alta of Aug 1, 1865
Notes the "California" left the [H J Booth & Co] factory and was sent to the paint shop of the SF&SJ that morning.  It notes the "Atlantic" will under construction, along with an engine for the Sacramento Valley [later became CP #7].
The Mining & Scientific Press of Sept 2, 1865
Noted the trial trip of the "California" that morning.  Built by H J Booth & Co.
An Affidavit of Wm I. Lewis (the railroad's civil engineer) on the San Francisco & San Jose dated Feb. 9, 1866 (copy courtesy of Wendell from Calif. State Archives).  It lists the 7 locomotives and their builders, summarized as follows:
Atlantic and California - Donahue, Booth & Co of San Francisco [H J Booth & Co]
San Mateo and Camanche - Danforth, Cooke & Co. of Paterson, NJ
San Francisco, San Jose and Pacific - Norris & Son of Philadelphia
Clearly by this time the locomotive names have been changed.  Also note spelling of "Camanche" (as opposed to "Comanche").  I also note that the "San Jose", later sold to the San Francisco & North Pacific, had smaller cylinders and drivers than the other original 5 engines.
Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Was there a camp of Chinese RR worker tents at Promontory?

It does not seem that there was a Chinese camp at Promontory at the time that the rails were joined, as has been suggested, although hundreds of Chinese railroad workers were seen further west along the CPRR grade in Nevada on May 11, 1869.

Does anyone have information to supplement the description from the diary of Capt. John Charles Currier regarding the numbers of Chinese workers at Promontory, the numbers involved in the last portion of the CPRR construction East of Mormon Hill, and whether perhaps there was a Chinese RR worker camp at Promontory Summit prior to May 10, 1869?

J. N. Bowman writes in "Driving the Last Spike At Promontory, 1869." California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XXXVI, No. 2,  June 1957, pp. 96-106,  and Vol. XXXVI, No. 3, September 1957, pp. 263-274:

The bulk of the Chinese and other workers who had completed the line by May 1 had been shunted westward to improve certain points of the line, leaving only a few, perhaps a dozen, to do the grading, lay the ties and drive the few spikes of the west rail, lay the east rail for the ceremony, and replace the laurel tie. ...

For the military participation, the diary of Lt. J. C. Currier of Co. K was found by Miss Irene Simpson of the Wells Fargo history room in 1954 in the possession of Mrs. Harriet Currier Hale (daughter of the Lt.) of San Mateo, California, and now of Massachusetts. That portion of the diary concerning May 10 is as follows:

"We have just witnessed the laying of the last rail. Crowds began assemblying at 7 a.m. There were several thousands present and ceremonies were opened with a prayer by a minister from Mass. A covered wood tie, beautifully polished and appropriately engraved was then brought out and placed in position by the highest officials of each R.R. A spike of gold was then produced with a silver hammer. A telegraph wire was attached to the spike — at a given signal, one, two, three strokes were made with the silver hammer. The telegraph wires were so arranged that the taps were flashed to all parts of the U. S. so that eager thousands in all the great cities knew the rail was laid and the R.R. complete. Truly it was worth the trip from New Hampshire alone to see this great achievement. Two beautifully decorated engines, one of each road advanced until the guards touched — the engineers climbed out and broke a bottle of champagne across the space and shook hands. Nattie [Mrs. Currier] and I were permitted to give a stroke — I used my sword hilt. Our regiment marched up and stood at Parade rest while our pictures were taken, then our regimental band played."

A few days later the regiment arrived at the San Francisco Presidio. [See Hist. Register, U. S. Army (Washington, D. C., 1903),I, 345, for career of John Charles Currier.]

... By the time of the celebration, about 20 tents and shacks had been erected on both sides of the track but most of them on the west side. ...

See the Silvis photographs of tents and shacks at Promontory.

Capt. John Charles Currier continued his journey west on the first CPRR train and writes in his diary, the next day:

"Tuesday, May 11th, 1869 P.M.
At Humboldt Wells, Nevada Territory, 165 miles from Promontory. We are making excellent time. There is a perceptible difference in the running time from that of the U.P. We go faster. Our car is very fair day cars. They are splendid, made after the latest pattern in Springfield, Mass. We have patent brakes, ventilation etc. They look fresh and clean, very much like the cars on the Boston and Maine running to Portland. Our friend who went to Salt Lake joined us yesterday. We came through several historic (to be) places last night such as "Red Dome Pass," "Terrace Point", "Desert Passage Creek", "Loans" etc. We are getting into sage brush and sand. What an oasis is the Salt Lake Valley on this line. Leaving barren rocks and sterile soil, the traveler emerges into a land flowing with milk and honey, fertile soil, cultivated farms, [and] good houses but he flies across this valley rapidly, like lightening, and comes out again upon a still more barren wood and worthless soil. Upon this we are now and, as if anxious to get over it quick, our speed is increasing. We run thirty miles an hour with very few stops. The Centrals carry their water along with them in immense tanks for it is very difficult to obtain water here. The grading of this road is perfect; for the last 80 miles we have run as smooth as a floor. The road was built by "John Chinaman", HUNDREDS OF WHOM ARE SEEN ALONG THE ROUTE. They attract much attention with their odd dress and cues dangling behind. They look strange to us. But they are faithful workmen and said to be infinitely superior to the Irish laborers. It is growing hot and dusty; we are in the alkali and the dust sifts and blows. There is nothing grown, nothing but miserable sage brush; not much sleep for us tonight."

"Wednesday, May 12th, 1869
Passed a night of intense misery and discomfort. The dust was stifling. There was very little air and the alkali came into the car in clouds filling eyes, nose, mouth and ears. With all this we ran like lightening at a frightful speed. Made 200 miles last night. Some times our car, it being the rear one, would snap as if it was to whip. Several of the officers became alarmed at our speed. On, On, we rushed with not a stop. We are 324 [miles from] Sacramento. Oh this alkali and sage brush! We are sick and tired of it; beats anything on the U.P. YET "JOHN" IS ENCAMPED ALONG THE ROAD right in the sun, apparently contented and happy. ... "

Re: SF&SJ and SP San Francisco Terminals

I'd like to collect info on the terminals in San Francisco used by the SF&SJ and the SP before they settled at Townsend Street.  The following article, I believe sets an end date for the period I'm exploring.
San Francisco Bulletin  July 27, 1874
The transfer of the passenger depot of the Southern Pacific from Valencia Street to the corner of Fourth and Townsend will be completed in a few weeks.
I believe the SF&SJ moved to the Valencia Street site, at the corner of Valencia and Market, about 1865 or 66 when they acquired control of the Market Street Railroad and converted it to standard gauge.  They had hoped to be able to run freight trains down Market to the industrial area at night, but were not allowed to.  Similarly, steam passenger trains were barred from Market Street.
Prior to that, I'm less clear about where the SF&SJ terminal was.  I believe the Market Street RR line (steam powered until 1866) connected with the SF&SJ line at 26th and Valencia, not far from a resort known as the Willows.  But the terminus was further on somewhere.  Where was the first depot, and was there a 2nd before Valencia Street and Market?
Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Re: SF&SJ loco questions

There were two "Pacific"s in the CP-SP system: The CPRR's Mason, and the SF&SJ's Norris. The CP's "Pacific" never went to the SF&SJ or SP as Kneiss and Best apparently thought.

Arnold (in particular) there will need be a major revision of the Compendium/Companion in regard to the chronologies of the early SP locos. Larry Mullaly has straightened out a lot of the SF&SJ/SP/CP transitions. It turns out there just was not any of this going back and forth with locomotives as has been constructed in the past to make sense of the information that was available. Larry has gone through fairly frequent commissioners reports and company financial records at Stanford and has developed a much clearer (and cleaner) picture of what was going on. He has cast a light in a long-dark enginehouse.

SP 2-7 came from the SF&SJ upon merger into the SP in October 1870.
SP 8-11 came from the Santa Clara & Pajaro Valley upon merger into the SP in October 1870.
SP 1 came from CP 3 in February 1871. WERE THESE ENGINES EVEN NUMBERED BEFORE 1871?
SP 12 came from CP 97 in April 1871.
SP 13 came from CP 36 in April 1871.
SP 14 came from CP 117 in June 1872.
SP 15-19 came from CP 99, 55, 93, 135, and 142 (respectively) in June 1873.

None of these engines went back to the CP. All were still SP when numbered into the system-wide roster of 1891.

The mysteries of the SP 18 have been pretty much set to rest with Larry's discovery that the SP changed the builder of that locomotive from Rhode Island to Schenectady and then to McKay & Aldus over the course of 1876 and 1877. This slight of hand was accomplished with the flourish of a pen–probably without anyone familiar with the locomotive even being aware. When this clerical modification worked itself into the 1891 roster, the whole system ended up with one more McKay locomotive than was ever shipped to California, and Best, Diebert, Strapac, Wyatt, and myself all lost sleep trying to figure out what in the world was going on. Now, in fact, the locomotive was modified between 1884 and 1891, perhaps ending up as a 4-4-2T like the CP 40-43 group--but without a photo or better documentation, we just don't know.

None of this modifies my previous question about the renaming of those three SF&SJ engines. It is just offered as background to help exlain what you are seeing in Best and D&S.


Re: SF&SJ loco questions

The SF&SJ "Pacific" and the Central Pacific "Pacific" are two completely different locomotives.  My books are still boxed from my move, so I can't check further, except to confirm that the CP "Pacific" (#2, completed in Sept 1863 then shipped around the Horn) was a Mason, and that SF&SJ only ordered one Mason, #11 "Menlo Park", in 1870.  These are based on xerox copies of the Mason order sheets for the respective locomotives.
Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Re: SF&SJ loco questions

Gerald M. Best gave a roster for the SF&SJ in The Western Railroader in 1954, issue 173.  There he lists #3 as a Mason engine, 1863, the "Pacific" and ex-SP 2.   And then "returned to SP".    This conflicts with Wendell's presumably more accurate history.    Arnold Menke

Re: SF&SJ loco questions

The initial choice of SF&SJ names is pretty predicatable and reflects a common pattern of naming engines for individuals supporting the enterprise. Nothing big here.

The second choice of names is curious, but the scattershot practice seems also used on the renamed California Central engines, so maybe there was a weird enui going on at the time. In contrast, the Sac Valley is very predictable and fits into established engine naming patterns.

Pacific and San Mateo are place names, one associated with the region and larger transcon concept, the other a specific community on the line. No big deal. Comanche is the wild card, being romantic, dangerous and non regional. A name like this usually would have some pertinant value, similar to the CC's Garibaldi, named for the then popular hero of Italian unification. Garibaldi was all over the news in 1859 and 60, and Comanche might draw from similar newsworthyness - the Indian Wars were getting hard and fierce in '64-'65.

Typically engines named on groups, whether in an order for new engines or during a renaming, tended to be named in similar, associative ways - series names. The UPRY-ED had a Comanche, also an Osage, Kaw and Piute, named according to the contractor's practice of naming engines for native Americans. The CC's original names Northerner, Southerner, etc., also reflect this, as do the CP's Atlantic and Pacific (destination oceans), Juno, Sultana and Diana (fabulous women), Rambler, Rover, Rusher, etc. The diversity of names on the CP reflects the requirements of a large roster, but it does adhere reasonably well to series names within the groups.

If the SF&SJ engines were renamed all at once, it would have been typical for them to gain new series names, but they dont, and the larger thematic concept of Pacific compared to the local San Mateo is then thrown completely off by Comanche. And why were they renamed anyway? It would be logical for the CP to do so, but for the SF&SJ to do this, and on engines named for individuals within its own firm, is curious. Did they drop out of the company structure, or was it politically advisable to lay low? This might indicate whether the engines were renamed at the same time, or at different times, which would theoretically be more consistant with the individualistic names.

I'd love to have dropped in on the discussion regarding naming an engine Comanche.


Re: SF&SJ loco questions

Gerald M. Best says (on page 171, Note 2) in his Iron Horses to Promontory that "The Pacific has been erroneously credited to the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad No. 3. It was in continous service on the Central Pacific during its entire life. SF&SJ No. 3 was running on that railroad in October 1863, and was probably a Richard Norris engine, the same as No.1 and 2 of that road.
Does this add to the confusion?

SF&SJ loco questions

As some of you know, I'm slowly working my way through the various CP-world rosters dealing with various unresolved issues that surface along the way. Here is an issue relating to three San Francisco & San Jose locomotives: "T.Dame", "A.H.Houston", and "Chas.McLaughlin", which Kneiss (Bonanza Railroads) made as 3, 4, and 5 respectively (which pattern is repeated in Diebert & Strapac).

Judge Timothy Dame was president of the SF&SJ formed in 1860, while Alexander H. Houston and Charles McLaughlin were the contractors who built the railroad. In 1865 all three were involved in the Western Pacific RR together.

Kneiss said that these engines were renamed "Pacific", "Comanche" and "San Mateo".

I have always assumed these locomotives were renamed when the SF&SJ was taken over by the Huntington-Hopkins-Stanford-Crockers ring in September 1870. These locomotives became SP 3, 4, and 5 in October 1870. However, the roster contained in the 9 February 1866 railroad commissioners' report lists these locomotives by their later names: "Pacific", "Comanche", and "San Mateo". Clearly the names were changed at least four years before the end of the SF&SJ's independence.

Do any of you have any additional information about the chronology of the renaming of these engines?

For what it's worth, Alexander H. Houston was also a contractor on the California Central and died in Honolulu in 1869. Charles B. McLaughlin was general superintendent of the California Stage Company before becoming involved with railroad construction. He was shot and killed in his office in San Francisco in 1883 by Jerome B. Cox. Cox (along with Jackson R. Myers) had been a sub contractor on the WP and had become increasingly exasperated in trying to collect settlement for that work. (This is one of the few CPRR-world murders I have become aware of.) I really know nothing about Dame (but you've got to wonder what guys called his daughter/s).

As revealed by the February 1866 roster (cited above), the renaming of the locomotives occurred well before the CP took over the WP in June 1867.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

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