Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sacramento Station Mural

From: "David Rallis" amralli@fresno.k12.ca.us, bigdogdaver@yahoo.com
Subject: Sacramento CPstation Mural

I am a fourth grade teacher in Fresno and will soon be taking 100 4th graders to Sacramento by train. As a historian, I have been appointed to do a walking tour of Old Sacramento and have always started my tour at the mural in the train station. Could you give me some information about the mural:

1. When was the building (station) built, when was the mural done, and who was the artist?

2. Who are the persons depicted in the mural (I know the big four and Theodore Judah, but I don't know their positions on the mural).

3. Any other backgroud information of interest that you may pass on to me to make the presentation more interesting and historic.

I would certainly appreciate as much help as you can give me.

—David Rallis

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Theodore Judah's work in the Congress

From: "Reuben Rodriguez" reubenr@gwu.edu

I'm working on an undergraduate thesis paper about Theodore Judah's work in the Congress. I've already taken a look at his 1860 and 1862 Reports on his activity in the Atlantic States, but I was wondering if there were any other documents that pop out as good sources of information about Judah's activity in Washington D.C.?

"Compound Wire," 1865-1866

From: "Chris Graves" caliron@att.net

Take a look at this site, it explains in great detail why we continue to find iron wire along the CPRR grade:

A technical history of the 19th-century electromagnetic telegraph ...


Friday, March 23, 2007

Judah Departs for the East

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

Thought you all might find the attached interesting, from a San Francisco genealogy web site that among other things records the comings and goings of Pacific Mail steamships - although likely missing some of them. Judah departed for the east aboard the Pacific Mail steamship St Louis, which departed from San Francisco on Oct. 3, 1863. Clearly the Oct 9 letter to Dr. Strong was written while in route to Panama.

This means that Judah departed San Francisco (much less Sacramento) before the Gov Stanford arrived in Sacramento (although it is possible they crossed paths in San Francisco), and before the first rail was laid.

Does anyone know when Judah actually departed Sacramento?


Judah Departs for East October 3, 1863
Pacific Mail Steam Ship Line Steamer St Louis

San Francisco History
Events of 1863

Jan. 4. The P. M. Steamship St. Louis arrived with a large number of passengers from the East.
Jan. 10. The P. M. Steamship St. Louis left for Panama with treasure amounting to $893,790 50.
Feb. 21. The P. M. steamer St. Louis left for Panama with treasure, amounting to $1,239,345 04.
June 3. The P. M. steamship St. Louis left for Panama with treasure amounting to $955,698 64.
July 9. P. M. steamship St. Louis arrived with a large number of passengers.
July 13. P. M. Steamship St. Louis left for Panama with treasure amounting to $889,094 81.
Oct. 3. St. Louis sailed with $1,633,387 57.
[Judah was on board this trip.]

Nov. 13. St. Louis sailed with $895,310 30.
Dec. 19. P. M. S. S. St. Louis sailed with $1,606,437 24 in treasure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hunter's Crossing near Reno, NV

From: "Joyce Furlong" juice421@sbcglobal.net

I am interested in learning more about Hunter's Crossing near Reno, Nevada.

—Joyce Furlong, Reno, NV

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Illustrated London News

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

The Illustrated London News from 1861-1865 is scanned and on line.

Included is an interesting article on the Chinese in California in 1862.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hello Friends and Solano Ferry Fans ...

From: "Thomas Rubarth" trubarth@cox.net

Not many of you know that my brother Bill and I are TV stars. Need proof? ... Huell Howser (California's Gold) has posted a few FREE Podcasts on his Website, and our 2005 Solano Ferry segment is included (were we that bad?)! This show is periodically broadcast on PBS stations all over California but apparently never anywhere else. Normally offered for around $19.95 as a DVD, as a Podcast this show is simply free for those who download it. I am not sure how long Huell plans to keep this particular show as a Podcast so you may want to download this soon. 

This is not exactly a "ferry foamer's" tape, but it is a nicely done "everyman's introduction to the Solano ferry. One cool part of this video (at least for Bill and I) is that the second half of this half-hour taping takes place on the "water side" of the Solano wreck in Antioch, not easily accessible to most since you need a boat to see these views.  

Not familiar with Podcasts? You'll probably need high speed Internet. And you'll also need Apple's "iTunes" software and also "QuickTime Player" on you Mac or Windows computer. Most of you may already have these components on your computer. If not, you can get the latest versions of these for FREE at... 

iTunes Download and Apple's Quicktime.

(Note: you DO NOT need "QuickTime Pro", just the "QuickTime Player" located just "behind" the "Free Download" button.) 

Now go to Huell Howser's California's Gold website ... and click on their Podcast advertisement in the upper right side of the page. You should get a list of about eight free Podcasts from Huell within your iTunes Podcast list. Just press the "Get" button next to the Solano title, then wait for it to download. Once complete, go ahead and play it like a movie on your computer (or video iPod). BTW, you can enlarge the video by going to iTunes "View" menu and selecting larger size options. 

BTW, I'm the handsome one. Enjoy. 

—Thomas Rubarth

Fire on the UP in Sacramento

From: Steve Ewald

A trestle in Sacramento, on the UP (former SP) double-track transcontinental route, burned to the ground this evening (3/15/2007). The trestle was just north (railroad east) of the American River bridge, between Elvas & Swanston on the Martinez Subdivision. No news yet on how it started, although it seems suspicious. This cuts off the major yard in Roseville from all direct routes to the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.

Amtrak Capitol Corridor service between Sacramento and Auburn will be replaced by motor coaches until the trestle can be replaced, which will probably take several weeks. As far as the California Zephyr (which also uses the route) is concerned, I'm not sure how they'll handle it – perhaps a bus bridge between Sacramento and Roseville.

At this point, the most direct rail route between Roseville and Sacramento is: North on the Valley Subdivision from Roseville to Binney Junction (Marysville), approximately 35 miles; then south (railroad west) on the Sacramento Subdivision (former WP) to Haggin (Sacramento), approximately 40 miles. The only problem is, there is no connection that would allow westbound trains to turn left (or eastbounds to turn right) at Binney Jct.; some sort of run-around move with the engines would have to be made at a siding to the north, or engines would have to be on both ends of the train.

My guess is that the Feather River Canyon and Tehachapi Pass (and even perhaps the Coast Line) may see a surge in traffic while the trestle is replaced.

—Steve Ewald

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

William Burnet Scott

From: "DONALD HOLBROOK" dceh@verizon.net

In 1915 a man by the name of William Burnet Scott built a house in Seabrook, Texas. The article said he was the President and founder of South Pacific Railroad. I have not seen any facts supporting this. Do you know if this is correct?

—Don Holbrook

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Railroad Watch

From: "Eugene Bailen" ewb@netsync.net

We have a Pacific Watch Case company railroad watch serial number 0150233.  It has a certificate of authenticity stating solid gold. Is there any value or historical significance to this watch?


CPRR Coal Fields Route Survey

From: "Paul S. Martineau" pmart7421@sbcglobal.net

While reading my great grandfather's (James Henry Martineau) journal, I came across this entry which I have found no further information on:

The same day 1st Mr. Scupham, C.P.R.R. engineer, who had arrived here from San Francisco to explore for a route for a railroad from Logan or some point near it, across the mountains eastward to the coal fields in the Bear River country, started up Blacksmith Fork Canon in company with two men sent by Bp. O. N. Liljenquist, of Hyrum. I spent several hours agreeably in his company.

Can anyone shed more light on this? The only reference to Scupham I have found is Henry Root's 1921 autobiography.

—Paul Martineau

Monday, March 12, 2007

Question - Trip

From: "Amy Goldsmith" amy118 (at) mac.com

Thank you for your wonderful site!

I am an elementary school librarian in CA. I have wanted for some time to ride the RR up to Truckee & take a bus back, just to travel the route! Sometime past I heard that there are occasionally docents along to point out RR features... but I keep asking around about that and finding no leads. I would be particularly pleased to figure this out, so I can tell our 4th graders about how to take the trip too.

Failing that, can you recommend one of the videos that might give us a feel for making the train trip? I note that your site offers several. Ideally, I need one that is the right length and pace to share with 4th graders... even if that's 15-30 minutes of a longer tape. I want them to have a better feel for what it meant to build the RR though the Sierras. :)

Also... for those who DO want to make the trip, is the Summit Tunnel accessible? Now that the track does not go through, I would enjoy the opportunity to just go LOOK. Reading about it is one thing... visiting is another.

Thank you again for the beautiful work you have done on your web site.

I visited the Cantor Center at Stanford today, and left a note that their page move seems to have broken every RR site's links to Stanford. I still find it highly amusing that I have been to the Golden Spike NHS... but that two of the four spikes are right here near home. ;)

Thank you!

—Amy Goldsmith
Daves Avenue School
Los Gatos, CA 95030
amy@alumni.princeton.edu (home)
goldsmith@lgusd.k12.ca.us (work)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Father of Emma Frances Dawson

From: "John Pinkney" jpinkney@gmail.com

This may be a stretch but here goes. I'm doing a book on a California writer named Emma Frances Dawson who died in 1926. She claimed that her father was an important fellow in the building of the railroad in the 1860's (I believe the family moved to San Francisco then) but I cannot establish his position or for that matter his existence. ...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or referrals you may provide,

John Pinkney
27 Casco Terrace
Falmouth, Maine

Chinese collection

From: "Reg" rbeck@laketown.net

... Please take this invitation to look at my Chinese collection virtual museum – all items are in my own home museum.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sacramento Depot incident 1876

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

I came across the following item and thought it might interest you.

Railway Age, Oct. 26, 1876, Vol. 1, pg. 388.

“A traveler set down on a Sacramento railroad depot a box with slats over the top. A young man sat down upon it. He got up hastily, saying something about red-hot pins. The box contained a big fretful porcupine.”

—Kyle K. Wyatt

John MacQuarrie murals

From: "Bruno Morelli" bpmorelli@gmail.com

I have been researching John McQuarrie murals in RR depots and your discussion site has helped me a great deal. I am seeking a photo of the mural in the San Jose station. I've been able to obtain a very blurred photo taken some years ago with a digital camera. I have photos from the Sacramento, Palo Alto and Houston depots. Am awaiting one on the Salt Lake City depot. The Mesa, AZ murals were damaged in a fire and lost when depot was demolished.

I also have acquired photos of his sculptures. ...

—Bruno Morelli

Biography of George Edward Gray

From: "Reese, Carol" creese@asce.org

In the biography on your site on George Edward Gray, his date of death is listed as January 1, 1913 but at the end of the biography there is a statement that says this date is wrong and that he died about 1883 – 2 years before he retired!) Was this put in as a joke or is 1883 true?

Carol Reese
The American Society of Civil Engineers
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191-4400

For research assistance, please go to the Cybrarian Research Service Web site at www.asce.org/cybrarian

[P.S.] ASCE has an article written by him in 1897. Several years after Mr. Farrar says he died.

[P.P.S.] The reason I question it is ASCE has a memior written at the time stating his death as January 1, 1913. Usually our memoirs are extremely accurate and wouldn't be off by 20 years on a date of death. If you could verify, I would be greatly appreciative.

California Iron

From: "Craig Bell" sc_bell@sbcglobal.net

I've been kind of a rail buff since the sixties when my friends and I, as teens, used to walk the tracks between Auburn and Colfax. I've often marvelled at the tunnel faces along track 2 wondering if the granite was cut in Rocklin, how they cut it, how it was transported, how it was put into place, etc. way back in the early 1900s.

I've briefly perused the CPRR museum website, but haven't found much regarding track 2. Also, I would very much like more information regarding the tunnels on track 1. If you could recommend a good book(s) on the subject, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I'm trying to teach my two boys more about what a supreme accomplishment building the railroad over the summit in six short years was. The CPRR site is great, the museum, here in Sacramento, is great, but I want to know more. ...

Craig Bell

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hart stereoview of a Pullman Palace Dining Car, with building supplies and other equipment in the foreground

Have not seen this Hart stereoview of a Pullman Palace Dining Car before. Can anyone say where this Hart view was taken, the date, or identify the structure and construction materials in the foreground?

Hart stereoview of a Pullman Palace Dining Car, with building supplies and other equipment in the foreground.
Pullman Palace Dining Car, with building supplies and other equipment in the foreground.
Taken on the CP Sacramento wharf, under construction, June 19, 1869.
Untitled Alfred A. Hart CPRR strereoview detail from the series "Scenes in the Valley of the Sacramento."

Hart stereoview of a Pullman Palace Dining Car.
Images Courtesy of Alan Wohlleben.

Woolaver & Wilkinson - CP shops designers

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

Attached is a summary of info I found on Woolaver and Wilkinson, original designers of the CP Sacramento Shops in 1867. Woolaver appears to have been an architect, while Wilkinson was an engineer.

Attached is a summary of what I found, but I'm not very good at geneology. Perhaps someone else can help fill in birth and death dates, and other pertinent facts.

Apparently Woolaver died in Sacramento, I'm guessing late 1860s or early 1870s. Wilkinson continued working for the railroad, apparently in the San Francisco office in 1901.


Iowa Pacific Railroad Company, 1874 bond

From: "Charlene D'Onofrio" cfdon@hotmail.com

I have a bond for The Iowa Pacific Railroad Company in the amount of 200 pounds, issued in 1874 by a London England firm. My question is what is or was the railroad. Where can I find more info on the railroad. I am a 5th grade teacher and it would be interesting to discuss this with my students. The bond was found in my deceased friend's house. Any info will be greatly appreciated.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Damage being done to historical sites this winter

From: Anonymous

The historical areas related to the railroad and its history are in jeopardy. There is a rogue in there this winter doing physical damage in and around Blue Canyon,CA with a private snow plow.  

Please contact Mr. Scott Hirsch or Mr./Mrs. Charles Tipton, both of Blue Canyon for specifics.  

Mr. Hirsch asked me to use my computer to contact this organization in writing.  

The benefit of your reply to Mr. Hirsch is requested.  

Thank you.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

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