Thursday, September 29, 2005

Historic Railroads

From: "West Coast British"

Help us protect the CPRR right-of-way across Nevada (& CA). On September 2005 we sent Nevada Governor Kenny C. Guinn a letter asking him to deem these areas Historic sites and afford them the protection of such. There are many section of the original railbed still winding its way across rural Nevada, every mile is another step in history as you move east to Promontory Summit. Please join us by contacting Gov Guinn and your representatives, as well as those local cities the railbed passes. MG

Save the Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) that Joined a Nation.
The Off-Road Experience
190 Airway Blvd
Livermore, CA 94551

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SP 1899 Station Book

The complete SP 1899 Station Book is now online at the CPRR Museum:

Southern Pacific System: List of Officers, Agencies and Stations. 1899.
Courtesy of Lynn D. Farrar.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Locomotive Goliah


August 28, 1900 Wadsworth Dispatch – old Goliath (sic), now #1012, is at work in putting out the coal fire at Wells. Came around the Horn in 1859 with Samson of the same type.

—John Sweetse

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Henness Pass

From: "Chuck Scimeca"

Mr. Joe King writes the following on his article about the Henness Pass. I would like to know how I can review the book he refers to "a self published book about the history of Nevada County, CA covering the years 1859-1869"? There are no reference notes in the article. The title of the web site link is Nevada Survey Maps.

My research on the Henness Pass Road brings up surprises daily, and often they include the CPRR! Only today I ran across a self-published lengthy book about the history of Nevada County, California, covering the years 1859-1869.

Chuck Scimeca
Nevada City, CA
Retired State Park Ranger

Question re Vallejo-Calistoga line in 1874

From: "David Stansfield"

I am writing a novel based on the life of Eadweard Muybridge. I am trying to find out which railroad Muybridge took in 1874 from Vallejo to Calistoga on his way to murder Major Harry Larkyns. Was it the California Pacific or the Napa Valley Pacific? (I've heard both) Also do you know what the locomotive and cars looked like at the time? Where they painted with black enamel? What markings, lettering, etc? Was the locomotive short and squat? How different was it from the locomotives used by the Central Pacific? Who owned the California/Napa Valley Pacific Railroad in 1874? Was it Samuel Brannan? Would there have been a first-class car and a "ladies only" car on the train Muybridge took?

—David Stansfield, Malibu, CA

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Emigrant Trains


I thought the following may be of interest to the discussion group:

November 25, 1887 Ashland Tidings [San Francisco dispatch, Nov. 16] -

"The new move in the Central Pacific, whereby the immigrant train from here eastward is made faster than the passenger train, calls attention to changes that have taken place in emigrant railroad travel during the past ten years. As late as the year ' 81 third-class passengers from Omaha to San Francisco traveled in old coaches built for the Camden & Amboy railroad, forty years before. These ancient cars were attached to slow freight trains, which made the run from Omaha to this city in nine to eleven days. About five years ago the Union and Central Pacific substituted new emigrant sleeping cars for the wornout coaches. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe began to command a large share of the traffic by running its emigrant cars attached to express trains, and to meet this competition the Union and the Central Pacific were compelled to do likewise. This arrangement continued up to Sunday of this week, when both of the latter roads began the running of emigrant trains on fast time, beating the regular east-bound express into Omaha by fifteen hours, and the west-bound express into this city about the same time. In less than five years emigrant travel has forged to the front as the most important factor in overland passenger traffic. When it is considered that faster time is made by emigrants than by first-class passengers, the difference sinks to a mere question of preference by passengers, many of whom no longer disdain to travel in third-class cars, taking to them quite readily when they can save $10 to $15 by doing so."

(the article went on to describe current competition between the Southern Pacific and the Northern Pacific for overland travel)

—John Sweetser

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Sniglet" isn't in the dictionary

We were suprised to find (logical difficulties notwithstanding) that the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (which is also available on CD-ROM for computers) doesn't contain the word "sniglet."

Our favorite sniglet is prndl, which coincidentally is a transportation related term.

Question: How was Devil's Slide formed?


How was Devil's Slide formed? Corrosion, Earthquake, Mudslide, or Floods? Cannot find it anywhere.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The CPRR and the Feather River

From: "Wendell Huffman"

Lynn asked the following and I thought I would share my answer with all (because it is a wonderful story).

"I have read that CP Huntington and Judah took a horseback ride up the Feather River. They may have been accompanied by others. The end result was that they felt it was too steep for a railroad and gave it no further thought. Then about 1900 the Western Pacific folks saw the potential of the North Fork of the Feather and history followed."

Judah "discovered" that the Dutch Flat-Donner Pass route was apparently practical for a railroad in late October 1860. Understand that all he was doing was comparing distance traveled by horse (with an odometer) and elevation (with a barometer). To do this rigorously one would build a fire and boil water every so often to determine the boiling temperature of water (which varies with elevation) to "calibrate" the elevation readings obtained with the barometer. Whether Judah did this very often on his two-day trip from Dutch Flat to the Summit is unknown. In any event, the initial "survey" was a fairly quick examination. However, it was enough (in light of the strong regional interest in developing a new route from tidewater to Virginia City. It was enough to induce Huntington, Stanford, and at least one of the Crockers into financing a team of surveyors (led by Judah) to conduct a more thorough survey—with transit and chain. This was accomplished during the spring and summer of 1861, following which Judah (in October)—and Huntington (in December)—went to Washington D.C. to see if they could get some federal money to build a railroad over that route.

In or about April 1862 Huntington returned to California. On 1 July 1862 Congress—with Lincoln’s signature—gave the CPRR the franchise to build the central portion of the Pacific Railroad. Judah arrived in California upon his return in mid August. On the 11th of August the Sacramento Union reprinted a note from the Mountain Messenger (of Quincy I believe) to the effect that the Feather River offered the best route over the Sierra. Oddly, the CPRR—over Hopkins’ signature—printed a notice in the Union of 22 August asking the public for information about a good route to run a railroad across the Sierra.

I think this is very interesting. It implies—if nothing else—a desire to make the best decision possible relative to route. But it also implies that some were having second thoughts about the Donner route. Between the time of Judah’s departure for Washington in October 1861 and Huntington’s departure two months later, Stanford, Huntington, and Charles Crocker had gone over to Carson City via Donner Pass. It was their first time there, and in Stanford’s testimony twenty years later, the visit was a shock. They had no idea just how rugged the country. It may well be that nothing was said (or done) at the time, pending action in Washington. But once that was accomplished, they really had to pick a route and start building a railroad.

In September 1862, soon upon the heels of Judah’s return from Washington and Hopkins’ query in the newspaper, the CPRR hired surveyor George Goddard to run up and “survey” Yuba pass (which leads between the Yuba River and Sierra Valley—on the upper middle fork of the Feather). At the same time, Judah and Huntington went to Sierra Valley (taken thence in a wagon by Congressman A.A. Sargent). I wonder just what Judah thought of all this. I think he may have been wounded that his “partners” would question “his” Donner route. Regardless, in Sierra Valley Huntington and Judah hired two local Chinese fellows to carry their gear and to cook, and the foursome commenced their examination of the Feather River to determine whether it had potential as a railroad route.

This must have been a very odd party. We can assume there was little communication between the two white guys and the Chinese. But we can only imagine what transpired between Huntington and Judah. By all accounts Huntington kept his nose to business and would rather sell liquor than drink it. One newspaper reporter described him as “the man who never laughs.” Judah on the other hand liked to drink, liked to buy people drinks, and also thought it was really funny to pass out exploding cigars. So, here we have a guy who “never laughs,” a guy who liked to pass out exploding cigars, and two Chinese with whom they could probably not carry on much of a conversation heading down the middle fork of the Feather River from Sierra Valley.

The middle fork of the Feather is still a remote and wild river. The trip took a full week. It was said later that they were the first to ever make that trip down the river. (I wonder if anyone has done it since.) In places the canyon was so narrow that they had to climb all the way up out of the canyon (apparently using rope ladders miners had used to reach the bottom) and then, after passing some obstruction, lower themselves back down into the canyon. In places the canyon is quite deep—Feather Falls (which drops into that canyon) is (if memory serves) the fourth highest falls in California. The whole experience must have been miserable—all that climbing up and down canyon walls, wadding down the river, scrambling over boulders (in black 19th century street clothes—and shoes—no doubt), probably infected with poison oak, and eating chop suey (or whatever). And IF, on top of everything else, Judah carried any pique that his route over Donner was being questioned, there might have been very little good feeling between the two by the time they reached Bidwell Bar and the stagecoach to Oroville. There is record of only one stagecoach ticket (in Judah’s journal) for travel between Oroville and Sacramento. I suspect Huntington and Judah traveled separately—perhaps with Judah taking the train to Marysville. In any event, Judah and Huntington were rarely together again—until the famous “blow up” the following July. Following the Feather River trip of September 1862 Judah remained in San Francisco until Huntington went east, and only then did Judah go to Sacramento to begin surveying on the grade—toward Donner. Quite correctly, Huntington and Judah concluded that the route they had explored was unsuitable for a railroad.

Now, the really ironic thing about this whole Feather River exploration is that Huntington and Judah went down THE WRONG RIVER!!! They went down the middle fork of the Feather—which drains Sierra Valley. The route Judah’s former partner William S. Stuart had examined in 1859, and which was subsequently used by the Western Pacific, was the north fork of the Feather. Arthur Keddie’s WP route runs up the north fork, and then jumps over to the middle fork at Spring Garden. I do not know just when that little gap between the north and the middle forks was discovered. It would also be very interesting to know just when Huntington learned of their “mistake.” Long before the CP connected with the UP in Utah, the Oroville and Virginia City was being promoted to use the Feather River route. Huntington’s nightmare was that the UP would not connect with the CP at all, but would run on to California and a connection with the California Pacific via the Feather River and the California Northern at Oroville. He must have rolled in his grave when the UP acquired the WP.

Now, having said all that, I think it unlikely that the CPRR would have used the Feather River route had they really known it. I am convinced that their primary objective was the Virginia City commerce, and the Donner route PROMISED to allow them to cut into that trade sooner than would a railroad built via the Feather. I think it was the wrong decision, but it was the only one they could have made. The men who built the CPRR knew no more about their future than we do ours. They made the best decisions they could based upon the best evidence they could gather.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

James Barkley's notes about Horace Hamilton Minkler, and James Clark

James Clark's Depot Hotel (Advertisement), Elko, Nevada, 1882:

Depot Hotel Advertisement, Elko, Nevada. Courtesy of James Barkely and the Northeastern Nevada Museum.

My great grandfather, Horace Hamilton Minkler, track foreman for the CPRR, layed the last rail and final tie before they drove the golden spike, May 10, 1869. He appears in the A.J. Russell "champagne" photograph (see below). ... the track laying record ... 10 miles in a day ... was performed by a group of 8 Irishman under H.H. Minkler, track foreman, and George Coley, gang foreman ... April 28, 1869. H.H. Minkler came to California on the same vessel and worked with CPRR engineer Joseph M. Graham (who, on April 1, 1868, staked out what became Reno, Nevada). As shown on the January 1864 CPRR payroll, James Harvey Strobridge (age 37) and H. Minkler (age 35) worked for three weeks track laying out of Sacramento, California, and both appear together in the A.A. Hart stereoview #350 at Camp Victory, Utah on the day of the 10 mile record. H.H. Minkler layed track through Elko, Nevada, in 1869. The Depot Hotel and train station in Elko Nevada was owned and run by my great uncle James Clark, H.H. Minkler's brother-in-law. Minkler was married to Sarah Clark of Clark Station, and later became a farmer and Justice of the Peace in Kansas, later living in Missouri. Clark & Green were proprietors of the Depot Hotel in Elko, Nevada, and James Clark was proprietor of the Humboldt House, both meal stops on the Central Pacific Railroad. James Clark died on the same day that the Titanic sunk.

—James Barkley 3073 N. Main, St. Apt. 110, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

About whom David H. Bain wrote: "James Barkley, who has iron in his blood and steam in his nostrils, and history in his family tree."

CLICK for James Barkley's notes about Horace Hamilton Minkler, and James Clark.

CPRR Track Foreman Horace Hamilton Minkler.
A.J. Russell view at Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869, detail.

CPRR Superintendent James Harvey Strobridge (left) and
Track Foreman Horace Hamilton Minkler (right).
A.A. Hart Stereoview #350, at Camp Victory, April 28, 1869, detail.

Transcontinental Railroad Centennial Poster, 1969:
"Sacramento Gold Spike Centennial Celebration"

Transcontinental Railroad Centennial Poster, 1969:
"Centennial Celebration of the driving of the Golden Spike
Dedication of Golden Spike National Historic Site Museum and Visitors Center
Re-enactment of the Driving of the Golden Spike
May 10, 1969 / Promontory Summit, Utah ...
Centennial Celebration Commission"

George B. Trumbull's ink/watercolor locomotive drawings

Is anyone familiar with "George B. Trumbull's ink/watercolor drawings of train engines"? We have received an inquiry from a person who has three of them and would like to know a little more about him.

The following website shows a "George B. Trumbull ... Group of studies of seven American locomotives of the late 19th Century ... Both passenger and freight locomotives ... various railways ... 1895-96, ... Pen and ink, watercolor on paper, 7 1/2 x 17 inches ... "

Bayley House

This came to me at CSRM, and I thought I'd pass it along.

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:

From: "Jaime Tafoya, Friends of The Bayley House"

I represent a non-profit group working to restore the historic Bayley House in Pilot Hill, CA - The Bayley House was built to serve rail customers during the Gold Rush. The Big Four railroad Barons were all entertained there. Please visit [the Alcander John Bayley House website] for the complete story.

Can we share our knowledge of the Bayley House to your rail historians?

Can the railroad museum assist us with leads and advise us on restoration?

Jaime Tafoya, Board Member
Friends of The Bayley House
POB 7, Pilot Hill, CA 95664

Friday, September 16, 2005

CPRR daily track laying records, 1868-1869

California Zephyr

The last regularly scheduled passenger train down the Feather River was the California Zephyr – in 1970 when it ended service. Amtrak's route has always been over Donner, in part to serve Reno (which is not on the old Western Pacific mainline).

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

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Winter not always a wonderland for trans-Sierra trains, by Mark McLaughlin, Sierra Sun

"Winter not always a wonderland for trans-Sierra trains," by Mark McLaughlin, © Sierra Sun, Truckee, CA, September 15, 2005. (News Article)

"For decades after Joseph Gray built a toll station and rest stop for travelers in 1863, residents of Truckee relied on the railroad ... Considering that winter travel over storm-wracked Donner Pass has been an ongoing operation for nearly 140 years, the number of trapped trains or prolonged snow blockades are relatively few. ... During the winter of 1867, 44 storms dumped nearly 45 feet of snow on the Sierra's upper west slope. One avalanche wiped out an entire work camp: When the bodies were discovered the following spring, work tools were still clutched in their frozen hands. Heavy snow the following year crushed hastily built snowsheds and again avalanches took many lives. In response to one slide that killed eight Chinese laborers on March 6, 1868, the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise observed "A great number of Chinese have been killed and crippled by accidents this winter at various points on the road." On March 12, a Wells Fargo agent reported "The white mantle is within two feet of the telegraph wires, making it 22 feet deep on the level." ... When the line was closed for 10 days in 1869 due to heavy snow, the railroad extended the "snow galleries" into an almost unbroken stretch of 40 miles between Blue Canyon and Truckee. Violent blizzards in February 1874 generated a series of destructive avalanches that crushed whole sections of snowsheds and stranded several passenger trains that had bogged down in the overwhelming snowdrifts. Despite valiant efforts by railroad crews to clear debris and plow the repaired sections of track, the line was blockaded for about five days. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Re: CPRR Worker's Hut

From: "Chris Graves"

The stone structure described in a previous post was revisted this morning, the goal to discover how the structure was used. I am attaching five photos, that were taken today.

The structure is in the very bottom of a ravine, directly under what appears to be an old wagon road. The old CPRR grade is above this old road. The ravine, at the bottom, is perhaps 100 feet wide. The stream bed itself is today dry, and is on the opposite side of the ravine from the structure. The soil that the structure sits on is heavy, pebbly sand. There are no trees in the bottom of the ravine.

The structure is all stone, with no cement or other materials holding it together.

The entrance was opened to the bottom of the front wall, and a stone threshold was discovered. The bottom of the structure is flat, carefully placed stones of various sizes. The floor that I could see is nearly level.

An animal of some dexterity has been inhabiting this structure; the floor is covered to a depth of 6 inches or more with leaves, pinecones, sticks, twigs, and other forest debris.

The stone walls at the bottom of the structure are two stones or more thick, the thickness, I am guessing is 12 inches or more. The walls get thinner as they go up, the stones at the top of the structure are just thin shale. This structure is cleverly made, the interior is curved in an arched manner, with no frame supporting the roof. The roof would not keep rain out, light shines through the roof stones. No hinges were on the entrance opening.

With the forest debris removed from the entrance, it is now more easily accessible. While I could stick my head into the structure, I was unable to squeeze the rest of my body in. It would take a small person to comfortably get into it.

The bottom of the ravine is heavy, sandy pebbley soil. There is a dry stream bed on the side of the ravine opposite the structure. There is abundant drift wood on the sides of the ravine, and evidence of heavy flooding is apparent.

The roof of the structure has smoke stains, the walls do not.

I found no evidence of pottery, broken glass, iron or other "stuff." I would not be surprised to be told that flooding carried away what ever debris someone left.

The exposed cuts on the old grade exhibit the same type of loose soft shale as is found at Cape Horn. Occasional boulders no larger than a frying pan are found.

The old grade in this area is easily found; the grade largely goes around the hills, with an occasional small cut.

Could someone live in this structure? The smoke on the roof could lead one in that direction. Why a stone floor? I don't know. I would guess it would take a day to make this structure, certainly no longer than that.

Between finding the tent frame in the Pequops a few weeks ago, this thing yesterday, it has been an interesting summer.


Paintings by Howard Fogg, 1969

CPRR Worker's Hut

From: "Chris Graves"

Carol and I had the opportunity today to walk the old CPRR grade East of Colfax, California, and photographed a worker's hut that is about [75] feet from the old grade.

This hut is 6 feet in diameter, and 4 1/2 feet from floor to ceiling. It is "dry laid," that is, no cement or material other than the stone that comprises the hut was used. The rocks are well fitted together, but the roof is not water tight. (To photograph the inside from the roof, a stone was moved to accomodate the camera. The stone was put back when the photo was taken.) I noted no other signs of human habitation – no cans, bottles, dishes, etc.

Whoever lived in this place was small – the entrance did not allow me to enter the hut.

1. Front of hut, with Chris sitting on the right

2. Looking at the entrance – note the quarried granite stone on the left

3. Entrance

4. Entrance

5. Looking down at the top of the hut, from the old CPRR grade. This was difficult to find, unless a person had fallen down the hill, or was looking for this hut, it is nearly impossible to see from even a few feet away.

6. Looking down from the roof. Rock walls and roof stones fitted together in an expert manner

7. A closer look at the quarried stone in the entrance.

I noted many piles of stone along the old CPRR grade in Nevada a few weeks ago, that would have roughly the same dimensions as this hut. If this hut were collapsed, it would closely resemble the piles noted East of Moor, Nevada.

I wonder how many more of these things are still standing in the Sierra?

—G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Asian Americans railing against Chinaman's Arch

"Asian Americans railing against Chinaman's Arch," by Kristen Moulton, © The Salt Lake Tribune. (News Article)

"Karen Kwan doesn't know the full name of her great-great-great-great grandfather, an immigrant from Canton, China, who helped build America's transcontinental railroad. ... 'Would I want my great-grandfather called 'Chinaman?' ' asks Kwan, who teaches psychology at Salt Lake Community College. 'It elicits these images of the bucktoothed ancient. . . . They're really negative images of the foreigner, the inscrutable.'    The Utah Organization of Chinese Americans has submitted an application to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names seeking to change the arch's name to Chinese Arch. ... " [More].

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

The Truckee in V&T

Looking at an early Central Pacific map of the projected line east of the California line, I spotted a location called "Truckee Station" located roughly where Sparks is today. I suspect this may have been the "Truckee" in the original V&T name. The map is in the California State Archives, and several copies are at CSRM.

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:

Virginia & Truckee Railroad Route Map.

Jane Lathrop Stanford Patek Philippe Pocket Watch

From: "Lori Paul"

Regarding Jane Lathrop Stanford's Patek Philippe Pocket Watch, we are the fortunate owners of this historic artifact and would like to officially announce that this item will be auctioned off on eBay beginning Sept. 30, 2005 5P official eBay time (5P PST; 6P CPS & 8P EST). To locate this auction on Sept. 30th, search on eBay under the Antiques category and type in key words pocket watch, 18 karat gold and Patek Philippe.

Our family ancestors acquired this pocket watch during the 1970s, from a Catholic priest whose identity is unknown. In the early 1900s Jane Lathrop Stanford bequeathed this piece, and her remaining collection of jewels, to the Stanford University trustees. How it came into the hands of the unidentified Catholic priest is unknown. It had been locked in a bank vault by our family ancestors for an estimated 25 years and handed down to us where it has remained locked in a bank safe deposit box (except to take these photographs).

When inquiring to the Registrar, Permanent Collection for the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts as to whether or not any other pieces from Cooper's painting of this jewel collection had been recovered in their original form, we were told “none that (we) know of.” This seems indicative that this item may very well be the only piece represented in Cooper's painting that has been recovered in its original form.

—Lori Paul

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Question: Chamber Pot

I am looking for some place to find the value of a a toilet from THE CENTRAL PACIFIC RAIL ROAD.



I would appreciate it if you could let me know if you have an approximate value on it or if you can direct me to someone who could apraise it I live in Talladega, Alabama.

It is in very good condition and is solid brass with a handle 9" in diameter with a 1 1/2" rim.

—Linda Garner

George E. Gray CPRR Inspection Report, 1865.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Listing of Overland Route Stations and Mileage

Lynn Farrar has prepared an extremely detailed Listing of Overland Route Stations and Mileage, 1866-1996 in four parts with an introduction and list of sources. The four part table totals 68 pages in length.

CPRR articles of incorporation and original survey signed by Stanford and Judah

"California’s Original State Constitution to be on Display" © American Chronicle, Education Desk, Beverly Hills, CA, September 7, 2005. (News Article)

" ... a special collection of documents related to Governor Leland Stanford will be exhibited on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 9-11 [2005] on the first floor of the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts, 1020 O Street. This exhibition, drawn from the holdings of the California State Archives, will feature the articles of incorporation of the Central Pacific Railroad, of which Stanford was first president, the original survey of the Central Pacific over the Sierra Nevada, signed by Stanford and engineer Theodore Judah, and Governor Stanford’s daily journals. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Lands that were for Sale After Construction

... do you have information on lands that were on sale for settlement after the construction of the Railroad and the advantages living in those lands? This is for a group assignment. I have searched but have been unsuccessful. Your site is really great and extensive. ...

Publishing your railroad book

We've been puzzled by seeing several people spending thousands of dollars to self publish railroad books in the conventional way that results in high up-front inventory costs, and an expensive volume, with the result that they strain their finances while making the information much less accessible than it could be.

You might want to consider electronic publishing either on the internet or using on demand printing (or both). If you can scan the pages and convert the text using optical character recognition, yourself, then publication costs can be very low while maintaining extremely high quality (and you can get bound volumes while avoiding having to spend hours running a photocopier yourself).

If you created your book as a computer file, putting it online is incredibly easy. Putting a converted book online as a PDF file also costs almost nothing, and takes very little time and effort, now that scanners and on-line storage costs have dropped so dramatically. Our website despite having thousands of pages, thousands of pictures, and multiple books on-line, still has a vast and growing amount of unused space, so we'd be glad to host such an electronic railroad book on our website at no cost to you (and at no incremental cost to us) if you don't have the capability yourself and want our help to do this. Here are a few examples of books or book chapters already on our website:
Many other examples can be found at in the history readings.

Judging from Bruce Cooper's experience in publishing Riding the Transcontinental Rails this way, printing copies from such an electronic manuscript a few at a time shouldn't cost very much per copy, and requires no up-front investment.

Contact the CPRR Museum if you would like us to publish your railroad book online for free.

Newspapers that Don't Retract Errors

From: "chris graves"

From the San Francisco Estate Circular, March 1874, page 4:

"Several of the papers here follow the rule of never taking back anything they say. Malice and stupidity have them at constant war with the truth, and of this fact they are frequently overwhelmingly convinced, yet they never retract. In this respect they are as culpable as the Texas editor who announced that a prominent citizen had been hung the previous day for horse stealing. The citizen, in a fury, called the next day to have the utterly groundless report contradicted, but the editor, though convinced of his error, declined. Said he: 'We never take back anything here; but, if it will be any obligement to you, I will state in tomorrow's paper that, after you were strung up, a party of your friends rushed in and cut you down! This is the best I can for you.' Why an editor's pen – but too frequently overshadowed by a donkey's ears – should be considered infallible, and the writer be ashamed to correct lies born of his own malice or stupidity, is one of those conundrums the study of which has done so much to make polished skating-rinks of heads once clothed with bushy locks."

"Where did “Rocklin” come from? by Gary Day, Rocklin and Roseville Today

"Where did 'Rocklin' come from?" by Gary Day, © Rocklin and Roseville Today, Rocklin, CA. (News Article)
From a 12 part series on Rocklin History.

Our city’s name first appeared in print in June 1864 when "Rocklin" was listed in a Central Pacific Railroad timetable as a stop between Junction (now Roseville) and Pino (now Loomis). But how did the name, "Rocklin," originate? ... it was common practice, during construction of the transcontinental railroad for the Central Pacific to name passenger stations for locally famous people. According to the Loomis Historical Society, the town of Loomis was named for its first stationmaster. But railroad archives don’t show an 1860’s employee named "Rocklin." ... in 1860 many Irishmen in California had probably survived the Irish Potato Famine and the "coffin ships" that brought them to Boston and New York in the 1840’s. ... [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

F. B. Clement

Can you tell me who "F. B. Clement" was? He was born on or about April 1826 in New York and died in California on January 15, 1864. He died at the age of 37 years, 9 months and was buried in Sacramento, Calif. He was a widower and left a daughter aged about 11 years of age.

There is no doubt from what I have learned that there was a connection between him and Lewis M. Clement and would like to determine what family relationship there was. He was apparantly about ten years older than L.M. Clement and I wonder if he might have been a brother to Lewis's father or perhaps a cousin. Whatever it was they were close in their relationship in California.

—Ed Strobridge

CPRR Engineering Dept. Payrolls 1862-63

New exhibit at the CPRR Museum:
CPRR Engineering Department Payrolls 1862-1863.

Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum.

Question: Lowest fare in 1869


Please tell me the lowest fare from New York to California when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. Thank you very much.

Nancy Gertner, Ph.D.
Guilford, CT

Computer Basics - Tutorial

I guess I am the world's dumbest or unluckiest - duh - I cannot get my computer to accept the address for your Nevada photos [that I received by e-mail]. ... What am I doing wrong?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Weitfle Stereoviews


... a fire destroyed many of the original plates. ... this fire happened on 10/31/1884, at Weitfle's new studio at 448 Larimer Street in Denver. Many of those glass plates that were destroyed were originally Thurlow photographs, which Charles purchased in early 1879 from Thurlow's widow. ...

—Paul L. Weitfle, Jr.

Disaster Recovery - Flood


[I would wish to restore a great number of photographs. These photographs were soaked in muddy water in consequence of floods. Is this possible? What are your charges?]

Je souhaiterais faire restaurer un grand nombre de photos. Ces photos ont trempé dans de l'eau boueuse par suite d'inondations. Est ce possible ? Quels sont vos tarifs ?

Mangot Vulcin - 97232 Le Lamentin - MARTINIQUE
Tel +596 (0)596 519576 GSM +596 (0)696 294058
Fax +596 (0)596 570327

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Locomotive Definitions

Southern Pacific class names give a window on what one railroad thought wheel types should be named. Even here, usage changed over time. These names were established about 1901 (and later for larger locos)

0-6-0 S Switcher
0-8-0 SE Switcher (8 wheel)
2-6-0 M Mogul
2-8-0 C Consolidation (a few early ones once called Mastodon along with others below)
2-10-0 D Decapod
4-4-0 E Eightwheeler (commonly called American by many others)
4-6-0 T Tenwheeler
4-8-0 Tw Twelvewheeler (earlier called Mastodon on SP)
4-10-0 - Named El Gobernador - only one - scrapped before class names
2-6-2 Pr Prairie
2-6-2T s Suburban (note small "s")
2-8-2 Mk Mikado
2-10-2 F Fourteenwheeler (commonly called "Decapods" or "Decs" by railroaders)
2-8-4 B Berkshire
4-6-2 P Pacific
4-8-2 Mt Mountain
4-10-2 SP Southern Pacific
4-8-4 GS Golden State - changed to General Service in WW II
2-6-6-2 MM Mallet Mogul (compound)
4-6-6-2 MM Mallet Mogul (compound)
4-6-6-2 AM Articulated Mogul (simple)
2-8-8-2 MC Mallet Consolidation (compound)
2-8-8-2 AC Articulated Consolidation (simple)
2-8-8-4 AC Articulated Consolidation (simple)
4-8-8-2 AC Articulated Consolidation (simple)

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:

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

The renovated Stanford Mansion soon will open its doors to the public ... by Fahizah Alim, Sacramento Bee

"A welcome home: The renovated Stanford Mansion soon will open its doors to the public and to visiting dignitaries," by Fahizah Alim, © Sacramento Bee, September 3, 2005. (News Article)

"The stately structure, which will open to the public starting Sept. 9, also provides a glimpse into the personal life of Leland Stanford, California's eighth governor, patriarch of Stanford University and one of 'The Big Four' founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. It took 14 years and $22 million to restore the four-story, 19,000-square-foot Victorian-era home to its early splendor. ... The mansion has 44 rooms, a 1,434-square-foot ballroom, 13 marble fireplaces, elaborate woodwork, gold-leafing and extensive gardens. In 1862 an article in California Farmer described the mansion as the 'most perfect specimen of a residence in the state.' ... its history began in 1855 when Shelton C. Fogus, a prominent Sacramento merchant, bought the corner property at Eighth and N for $1,500. Fogus built the house in 1856 and sold it furnished to Stanford in 1861 for $8,000 ($164,000 in today's dollars). ... In 1872, Stanford remodeled the mansion, adding two floors and expanding it to a whopping 19,186 square feet. ... [photo] A wedding portrait of Leland and Jane Stanford that hangs in the Greater Parlor includes an image of their son, Leland Jr., from a nearby portrait as a reflection." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Friday, September 02, 2005

Rocklin, A Town Built on Granite, by Gary Day, Rocklin and Roseville Today, Rocklin, CA

"Rocklin, A Town Built on Granite," by Gary Day, © Rocklin and Roseville Today, Rocklin, CA. (News Article)

" ... The Central Pacific Railroad started laying rails eastward from Sacramento in early 1863. By early 1864 they had crossed the valley floor and were preparing to ascend the western Sierras. On March 21 that year, the Sacramento Union reported that more than half of the members of the State Legislature and many of their friends 'traveled by train 22 miles to the new granite quarry at the end of the tracks.' They detrained there and children gathered wild flowers while 'grave legislators and solid men' gathered at the quarry rim 'conversing learnedly and geologically' while 'matrons and maidens wandered off among trees and rocky knolls according to their own sweet will.' The name 'Rocklin' didn’t first appear in print until about 3 months later when it was listed as a passenger stop in a railroad timetable. ... According to the Sacramento Union of March 28, 1864 the Central Pacific's first paid freight was three carloads of granite bound for a building project in San Francisco. ... In his book Rocklin, Leonard Davis says that Rocklin's quarries of the 1860’s supplied granite blocks for railroad tunnels and culverts. A biographical sketch from the 1860's tells of Michael Kelly and his 9-year-old son Maurice who delivered Rocklin granite blocks by oxcart for culverts all along the line as far as Auburn. Rocklin quarries also supplied riprap, chunks of waste granite, for hillside rail beds that allowed water to pass easily under the tracks. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Women on the railroad

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I have tracked US Census Data across Nevada in 1870 but found no sign of women agents on the CP at that time. But Central Pacific Officers, Agencies and Stations lists for the years 1879, 1881, and 1885 show a surprising number of women employed by the railroad as station agents. More remarkable is the fact that many of these women are identified as “miss.” A more complete study might examine the intervening and subsequent years up to the point were agents names were no longer given.


Western Division:
Oakland, Broadway Depot
       Miss Susie H. Wainwright 1879
       Miss Susie H. Wainwright 1881
       Miss NJ Striker 1885

East Oakland
       Miss M. Butler 1885

       Miss MS Jefferson 1879
       Miss MS Jefferson 1881
       Miss M. McCormack 1885

Seminary Park
       Mrs. CT Mills 1885

       Miss O. Ayers 1885

       Mrs. LF Eaton 1885

Sacramento Division:
       Mrs GW Hill 1885

       Mrs DA Rice

       Mrs. George Willment 1878
       Mrs. George Willment 1881
       Mrs. George Willment 1885

Truckee Division:
       Mrs. ME Burkhalter 1885

Hot Springs
       Mrs BD Cassidy

Tulare Division:
       Annie Feary 1879

Visalia Division:
       Mrs. Belle Collins (1885)

LA Division:
       Mrs. HS Austin (1885)

Yuma Division:
       Mrs DB Tinker 1881
       Mrs DB Tinker 1885

Los Angeles and Independence:
Santa Monica
       Miss Lizzie Austin 1885

Northern Division:
       Miss Grace T. Foster

San Pablo & Tulare:
Bay Point
       Miss DL Jacobs

California Pacific:
Napa Junction
       Mrs. CE Bengsen 1879

Recalling the railroad matchup of the century, by Mark McLaughlin, Sierra Sun, Truckee, CA

"Recalling the railroad matchup of the century," by Mark McLaughlin, © Sierra Sun, Truckee, CA, September 1, 2005. (News Article)

" ... The Central Pacific crews set a record of by laying 10 miles and 56 feet of track in one 12-hour shift, consuming 25,800 ties, 3,520 rails, 28,160 spikes and 14,080 bolts - in one day. ... when a whistle blew to stop. An army officer witnessing the event for Union Pacific said, "Mr. Crocker, I never saw such organization as that. It was just like an army marching over the ground and leaving the track built behind them." ... Each of the eight Irish tracklayers lifted 125 tons of iron in the course of that day's work! Finally, in order to prove the job safe and sound, a locomotive was run over the new track at 40 m.p.h. This accomplishment of ten miles in one day was since exceeded only once, on Aug. 15, 1870, by the Kansas Pacific in Colorado. The new record was just a few hundred feet longer." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Thursday, September 01, 2005

CPRR Discussion Group