Thursday, July 28, 2005

Southern Pacific Railroad 1920s Freight Records - California Pottery Company

From: "Sarah Lim"

... I am looking for the Southern Pacific Railroad company freight records pertaining to the California Pottery Company plant in Merced, California. I am working on a new exhibit for our museum which will open in May 2006. Southern Pacific Railroad Company was crucial to the pottery plant in Merced since it shipped out most of its products. The Merced plant was built and dedicated in 1922 and closed in 1931 during the Great Depression. Any information and direction you provide will be greatly appreciated.

Sarah Lim, Museum Director
Merced County Courthouse Museum


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly">

I think this will be a challenge to research. There may be some details in the local press when the company first opened, although such railroad connections were often taken for granted. The closest company records I have seen that might mention this are the Southern Pacific Minute Books for the 1920s at Stanford University Special Collections (more detailed description of the Minute Books are on the web under Stanford Special Collections). These mention things such as new culverts, bridges and sidings when real estate issues were involved. They provide little to no detail, however. Sorry, I cannot be of more help.

Larry Mullaly

7/29/2005 6:24 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

I'm not sure how much of what you want is available – specific freight records like that are kind of scarce. But you can check to see if the California State Railroad Museum Library has any material.
Web Site and on-line catalog
Email –

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

My work address is:
My personal address is:

7/29/2005 6:35 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Sarah Lim"

Thank you very much for your help. I will look into that direction. ...

Sarah Lim, Director
Merced County Courthouse Museum

8/01/2005 7:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I would encourage you to use the resources at the California State Archives. Ask to (first) see the microfiche SP station plat maps for the spur that fed the plant. Second, look for any California Railroad Commission/Public Utilities Commission valuation maps – the originals, which are usually ink-on-linen and wich feature greater detail than the microform plats.
You might also do well to ask State Archives whether they have any Articles of Incorporation for California Pottery Company, trademarks filings, etc. I will wager there might be some *hidden* gems therein. It will just take some creative sleuthing  on your part – preferably in person – in the effort to locate such matter. Allow yourself a whole morning or afternoon if possible. CA State Archives is at 1020 O Street in Sacramento and can be linked online ...
Happy hunting!
—Kevin Bunker

8/01/2005 9:45 PM  

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