Sunday, June 19, 2005

Re: Tulare vs. LA Roundhouse - 1880's

From: lmullaly@jeffnet.org

The LA Roundhouse was wood, so it is not to be ruled out. Enclosed is a piece that summarizes the SP roundhouses from which to choose. But we also need to include Lathrop. The picture could be Tulare, but the tell-tale trees make me think we are looking at LA.



Tulare, California SPRR Roundhouse
Courtesy Tulare Public Library and the Merv Fulton Collection.

13 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

OK. Here's the source of the imageTulare Public Librarylabeled as the Santa Fe roundhouse. Certainly suggests it is the Tulare SP roundhouse.

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

Note my work address has changed to: kwyatt@parks.ca.gov
My personal address remains: kylewyatt@aol.com

6/19/2005 1:57 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org>

The questions of the Tulare vs. LA roundhouse shown in a photograph has been well addressed in a follow-up e-mail I just received John Sweetser. I think John has definitively resolved this topic. ...

6/19/2005 1:59 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "John Bergman" jfbergman@onemain.com

The photo in the Tulare City Library is mis-labeled. I have shown them the documentation to verify the error from two other photos I have of the Tulare Roundhouse. The photo in the library is the S.P. Tulare round house. I also have a schematic of the yards and machine shops. Tulare was very active from the time the S.P. arrived (July, 1872, Tulare established as one of the first Southern Pacific Division Points in the S.J. Valley.) until November-December 1891 (approximately 20 years). The photo was taken as nearly as we can ascertain in 1888-1891 from looking at the locos and other information of the period.

Some additional information – the S.P. originally had a 7 stall roundhouse in 1873 that included a 70' turntable. Car shops, freight and passenger station facilities and general repair shops. In 1874 & 1875 the roundhouse was enlarged to 13 stalls. A wreck train was kept "in the ready." In 1878 both the car rebuilding and engine servicing facilities were again enlarged and included every machine necessary for repair of all rolling stock. Originally wood and later coal loading facilities were built. in 1891 additional coal loading ramps were constructed with a 100' ramp and 80' gravity unloading facilities. In 1886 an ice house and icing facilities were also constructed. A master mechanic resided in Tulare and supervised all locomotive and car repairs.No major engine repairs were reported after Dec. 2, 1891 - the effective date of complete change over to Bakersfield shops. The Bakersfield shops and engine facilities had been expanded and enlarged by that time to handle the increased traffic.

The local newspaper reported that over 100 employees were employed in the machine shops, roundhouse and repair facilities, at the time of the S.P. announcement that they were relocating from Tulare shops. In Feb. 1891, S.P. announced that J.H. Whitehead was relocated to Tulare from Wadsworth, Nevada. At age 38 he was named Superintendent of the Visalia, Goshen, Yosemite and Fresno Divisions headquartered at Tulare. On April 24, 1891, C.P. Huntington toured the Valley lines via Porterville to Bakersfield and return to Tulare down the Valley line and immediately the rumors began of the proposed splitting of the divisions and move of the Div. headquarters to Fresno (the half way point between Tracy and Sumner). That was when Fresno began it's new roundhouse and Bakersfield began preparing for a major expansion of its repair facilities.

As early as 1888, Bakersfield began expansion of their facilities and roundhouse. It was the same general design as the Tulare facility. The Fresno roundhouse started some 3 -4 years later was to be brick. The official announcement of the fate of Tulare's facilities was announce in an employee circular issued 9/17/1891. The fore mentioned four divisions were consolidated on that date and from that time forward were referred as the San Joaquin Division. The S.J. Division had several lines added over the years. The ice house and icing facilities were dismantled and relocated to Fresno along with the Div. Supt. offices. The engine facilities and machine shops went to and were expanded in Bakersfield.

Guy and I both spent some time confirming the information about 10 years ago and even went on a couple of digs where the facilities were located in Tulare and found some interesting artifacts. The trees also confirm the date of the roundhouse facilities as they would be 15 - 20 years old and easily as tall. Cotton Wood, Willows, Eucalyptus and others are all common in the area and all get fairly large quickly. We still occasionally use Eucalyptus for wind breaks in the windy areas as they grow to be 40-60 feet tall in 10-15 years. I have some photos of repair tags marked from the Tulare Shops that were attached to pump houses, water tanks, and other lineside equipment that was repaired or maintained at the Tulare shops. They were found in the Caliente, Bealville and Tehachapi areas. I also have records of several locos that were repaired in Tulare after accidents up on the hill prior to 1892. All the shops were moved to Bakersfield with Admin moved to Fresno when the Fresno roundhouse was completed in 1891-1892. The Fresno roundhouse has some interesting aspects to it as well but that's another story. ...

John

6/19/2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Arnold Menke" waspman@cableone.net

Clarity! Arnold Menke

6/19/2005 2:05 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See earlier comments.

6/19/2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "John Snyder" johnsnyder@onetel.com

Just as a reminder, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps should also show accurate plats of stations & shops. Originals of the maps are at Cal State Northridge, and there are microfilm copies of the Library of Congress' collection of Sanborns for California at various repositories including the State Library, and Caltrans Headquarters Environmental unit. There should also be yard and station plats at the State Archives, and at CSRRM Library. Some originals for California are at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

John Snyder

6/20/2005 5:52 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Railroad Town Maps c. 1908-1915, showing roundhouses: Rocklin, California, and Carlin, and Wells, Nevada.

6/20/2005 5:59 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "John Snyder" johnsnyder@onetel.com

We discovered the originals for Carlin at the Nevada Historical Society, while doing research for recording what remains of Carlin for the Historic American Buildings Survey a few years back.

6/20/2005 8:48 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Hsweetser@aol.com

In a message posted on 05-06-19, John Bergman wrote:

> Tulare was very active from the time the S.P. arrived (July, 1872, Tulare established as one of the first Southern Pacific division points in the S.J. Valley) until November-December 1891 (approximately 20 yrs.).

> Some additional information – the S.P. originally had a 7 stall roundhouse in 1873 that included a 70' turntable.

... my response:
In the Sept. 21, 1872 Kern County Weekly Courier (Bakersfield), in a letter dated Sept. 18 from Tulare, it was reported that the roundhouse was mostly completed except for the putting on of an asphaltum roof. A recurring article titled "Towns of the County" that ran in June 1883 issues of the Tulare Register (for example, on June 28) incorrectly stated the roundhouse was built in the spring of 1873.

It is unlikely that Tulare ever had a turntable as long as 70 feet, particularly not when the roundhouse was first built. For example, turntables installed from Dunsmuir to Ashland in 1887-1888 were just 56 feet long. A letter in the June 7, 1878 Visalia Weekly Delta told of new Sellers & Co. turntable just put at Tulare that was possibly 50 feet long (the writer described the turntable in considerable length but without illustration, it was somewhat hard to follow).

> In 1874 & 1875 the roundhouse was enlarged to 13 stalls.

The roundhouse was enlarged to 13 stalls in the fall of 1875 (reported in the Tulare Weekly Times of Oct. 16 and November 6, 1875). Also in the fall of 1875, the shops of the Visalia and Tulare divisions were transferred from Lathrop to Tulare (reported in issues of the Visalia Weekly Delta and the Tulare Weekly Times from Aug. 28 to Nov. 18, 1875). The "Towns of the County" article in 1883 incorrectly indicated the Tulare shops were built in 1876.

> Originally wood and later coal-loading facilities were built.

There are no reports of wood-burners being used by the CP and SP on the San Joaquin Valley route to my knowledge. And there is absolutely nothing in the record that told of wood-loading facilities being built at Tulare. One of the first things put in there was a coal platform, erected simultaneously with the depot and the stock corral (source: Aug. 24, 1872 Tulare Weekly Times). On Sept. 18, 1872, it was reported that there were 800 tons of coal on the platform.

> In 1886 an ice house and icing facilities were also constructed.

"Icing facilities" implies (or at least conjures up images of) an ice deck to top-load ice into bunkers of cars. Tulare and Visalia newspapers have no mention of such a facility.

> No major engine repairs were reported after Dec. 2, 1891, the effective date of complete change over to Bakersfield shops.

Seems unlikely. All of the engines at Tulare, with their force of engineers, firemen and engine wipers, were moved to Bakersfield on the night of Nov. 17-18, 1891 (source: Nov. 18, 1891 The Daily Californian).

> In Feb. 1891, S.P. announced that J.H. Whitehead was relocated to Tulare from Wadsworth, Nevada. At age 38 he was named Superintendent of the Visalia, Goshen,Yosemite and Fresno Divisions headquartered at Tulare.

A more significant management change at Tulare happened when it became the headquarters of the Visalia and Tulare divisions, along with the Goshen, Fresno and Yosemite divisions. This occured on Nov. 19, 1884 when Assistant Division Superintendent W.W. Prugh of Tulare was appointed to full superintendent (source: Nov. 21, 1884 Tulare Register). Previously, the headquarters for the divisions was at Oakland Pier (the March 18 and Oct. 21, 1881 Visalia Weekly Delta incorrectly indicated that Tulare became a division headquarters in February 1881 but that just involved a transfer of the position of Assistant Division Superintendent from Lathrop to Tulare).

To clarify the various division names, the Visalia Division was the main line from Lathrop to Bakersfield. The Goshen Division was the branch to Coalinga and Alcade. The Fresno Division was the branch through Porterville. The Yosemite Division was the branch from Berenda to Raymond (the Tulare Division had been absorbed by the Visalia and Los Angeles divisions on Sept. 20, 1888).

> The official announcement of the fate of Tulare's facilities was announced in an employee circular issued 9/17/1891. The fore-mentioned four divisions [Visalia, Fresno, Goshen and Yosemite] were consolidated on that date and from that time forward were referred as the San Joaquin Division.

Actually, the San Joaquin Division came into existence on August 28, 1891, which was concurrent with the completion and opening of the West Side line from Tracy to Armona. Here is the anouncement in the Aug. 28, 1891 Tulare Daily Register:

"A circular has been issued from the office of the general superintendent making certain railroad changes in this valley. Beginning to-day, the main line on the east side of the San Joaquin valley, including those portions of the Pacific system heretofore called the Visalia, Goshen, Fresno and Yosemite divisions, will be known as the San Joaquin division and branches.

"To-day, the new road on the west side was opened for traffic from Los Banos to Armona. That portion of the line from Tracy to Mendota will be operated as the Tracy branch of the Western division under division superintendent A.D. Wilder. That portion from Mendota to Armona will be the Armona branch of the San Joaquin division, under the charge of division superintendent J.H. Whited."

The creation of the San Joaquin Division had nothing to do with the demise of operations at Tulare. They were two separate events. By the way, Tulare was the headquarters of the San Joaquin Division from Aug. 28, 1891 until their transfer to Fresno on Nov. 21, 1891.

> The engine facilities and machine shops went to and were expanded in Bakersfield.

There are no reports of any significant expansion of facilities at Bakersfield after shops were transferred from Tulare in 1891. The plant was already in place. The major expansion came earler in February 1889 when a 212' x 80' brick machine shop was finished.

John Sweetser

6/28/2005 4:06 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The Dunsmuir and Ashland turntables were wood A-frame tables, standard at 56-feet by the late 1880s. The Laws turntable was modified from this design, with copied examples now at Nevada State RR Museum in Carson City, Orange Empire Ry Museum in Perris, and in the City of Folsom.

I would venture a guess that the cast iron Sellers turntable was 55-feet long, same as at the SP shops in Sacramento. El Gobernador fit on it (barely), per a photo.

Sellers turntables are covered under the following patent and reissues:
#19718 1858
Reissue #582 1858
Reissue #5373 1873

A very similar design was patented by C. A. Greenleaf in 1870, #99667.
Also another by A. J. Wight and W. L. Meeker in 1870, #104388, reissue #4410 in 1871.

These probably precipitated the Sellers application for the reissue in 1873.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is: kwyatt@parks.ca.gov
My personal address is: kylewyatt@aol.com

6/28/2005 9:16 PM  
Anonymous j.r. said...

In the early 1950's, I was fortunate enough to have lived in Bakersfield, California, I lived near the roundhouse, and toured it with a class from school. I have lot's of fond memories of the steam engines. My father worked the SP as a brakeman for a short time. He taught me what the different whistles meant, and different hand signals. There was something about the train traffic that drew us as kids. Of course we put pennies on the tracks, and even visited a hobo camp or two. Not too long ago, my father and I visited a small train museum in Lake Placid, Florida. He blessed us with stories of hauling train loads of the best cantaloupes in the world. Of course, grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

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