Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hail and Farewell, Bloomer Cut

From: "Chris Graves"

The City Historian for the City of Auburn has contacted me for a list of suggested names for a new subdivision that will fill both sides of Bloomer Cut, as well as require a bridge over Bloomer Cut, this on the City right of way on Herdal Drive.

I suggested "Strobridge" of course, as well as the locomotive names that were active early on.

Stakes are being placed in the ground as this is written, construction will begin soon.

Should anyone want an unobstructed view, without a bridge over the old Cut, now is the time to get it.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chinese who failed to receive recognition

... I am involved in a competition called "National History Day." My project is about the Chinese who worked on the Transcontinental Railroad but failed to receive recognition. ... however, "The Last Spike" painting ... has the two Chinese men in the painting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

George Parker, VP Shortline RR 1885


Searching for information re Geo. Parker, VP Shortline RR 1885 — please help — We love this website.

Monday, May 28, 2007

First train

From: "Noel and Kris Parsons"

In her manuscript autobiography, written in 1924 when she was 76 years old, my great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Barr Hamilton, wrote that she and Great-great-grandfather William Harrison Hamilton had been living in Omaha when they decided to go to California. She writes:

      So one morning, the first or second day of July 1869, we started to Calif. on the first through passenger train that went across that way from Omaha to Sacramento. Had a very nice trip except Papa had spell sick head ache. We never had to change cars but one time on the trip. I don't remember the name of the place we changed, but we got in the other train. It seems to me it was Agton we changed it. Well we went through mountains, saw snow, sun shining, but we went through a tunnel all the same in crossing those plains. At that time was dangerous. In one place I remember the train went as fast as it could. I guess they didnt have any one outside. Then in one place we went around the horse shoe bend. We went as slow as could go. Could see both ends [of the] train. They had two engines on in one place. I think that was the place. We had our grub box, had plenty to do us. Papa made Coffey on the stove. That is the way they heated the coaches those days.

      Well July 4th 1869, on Sun., we arrived in Sacramento Calif. I remember there was so many men howling, this way, this hotel, or another one. We couldent hardly get to the depot and I don't know if they had a waiting room or not, but Papa left me out on porch sitting on one of our trunks with my two little babies. He went to hunt Bob as the last we had heard from him he was in Sac. I don't think he had street or number but in the eastern part as I remember.

      It seemed to me Papa was gone several hours. After while he come back, hadn't found Bob. Well we had many a laugh years after at how green we was.

(1) Did the first through train (with one transfer) from Omaha to Sacramento leave Omaha on the July 1 or 2, 1869? It is my understanding that trains had been running on the route since early June.

(2) At that time was the trip only three or four days long?

—Noel Parsons, Lubbock, Texas

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Archaeology on the route of the Transcontinental Railroad


Has any archaeology been done on the route of the Transcontinental Railroad or the worker camps associated with its construction, including Chinese ones?

—Lois Huey, children's writer, Albany, NY

CP #210 Locomotive at Acton

From: Larry Mullaly

I recently came across a very interesting photo on the Santa Clarita Valley History website.

The photograph captures an immaculate ten-wheeler, CP #210, at the point of a small construction train in Soledad Canyon. I would date the picture as July-August 1876. Once the San Fernando Tunnel was opened up, leased CP motive power seems largely to have been pulled off this portion of the Southern Pacific.

I wonder if the following interpretation holds up: A pile trestle across a desert wash has just been completed by the bridge crew (note the absence of Chinese workers). The photograph records the removal of redwood-tie cribbing that had earlier supported the roadbed during the line's initial construction. The donkey-powered derrick crane that may also have served as a pile driver.

Comments would be welcome!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cutty Sark [British ship fire]

Off topic

From: "Wendell Huffman"

Sorry for the topic swing, but seeing you are in England I have to ask:

Do you know if Cutty Sark was demasted before or by the fire? I hope the spars and rigging were removed for some reason before the fire and that they are thus saved. A really sad event to be sure.

—Wendell Huffman

Friday, May 18, 2007

Travel time from Sacramento to Redding, California, c. 1890

From: "Lela Gallentine"

Can you tell me how long it took and the cost in 1890 to go from Sacramento, CA to Redding, CA? I know that the train only traveled at 35 mph, but I'm unsure as to the time it took because of the terrain and stops. And what was typically required to travel that distance? Did people have to supply their own food? Or did they get off the train in towns to dine?

And just so you know, yes, I am writing a book. And yes, your site is getting top billing in the credits. It has already helped me immensely with much of the information I require.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide me.

—Lela Gallentine

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why did standard time become important?

From: "Stuart Forrestier"

Why did standard time become important after the transcontinental railroad was built?

Who drove the last gold spike?


Who was the person who drove the last gold spike in the transcontinental railroad.

M. F. Kotowski at Johns' Western Gallery

From: "Johns' Western Gallery"

Railfans will want to visit Johns' Western Gallery to see the locomotive paintings of Michael F. Kotowski. Kotowski's depictions of the great old engines are renowned for their technical accuracy and attention to setting. You may recognize Kotowski's work from one of Orchard Hardware Supply's railroad calendars, or from one of the limited art prints made of them. These are the original paintings, matted and framed and ready for hanging.

While you're at our web site, don't forgot to check out our broader collection of Railroadiana as well as the Latest Additions to our bookshop inventory.


—Doug Johns, Rick Wilkinson, David Silberman

Johns' Western Gallery
250 Sutter St, #350
San Francisco, CA 94108
(888) 543-WEST phone
(415) 837-0390 fax

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Central Pacific Locomotive 31 "Mariposa."

From: "Paul Morrissey"
Subject: Dads Pictures

My ... dad ... collected a lot of train pictures I still have. I came across your web site – thinking you would like me to e-mail this to you ...

[Annotation verso]
Central Pacific 2nd No. 31 "Mariposa."
Built in 1864 for Old Western Pacific #G.
Went to C.P roster in 1869 or 1879.
In 1891 renumbered No. 1193.
In 1901 to No. 1215.
In 1907 to No. 1488
In 1909 was sold to Stockton Terminal & Eastern R.R. as their No. 1, Retired in 1947. In 1953 was donated to Traveltown in Los Angeles.

My dad was Robert Morrissey of Oakland, California. He was also a friend of Ted Wurn who wrote a lot of train books ...

—Paul Morrissey, Fort Worth, Texas

CPRR Locomotive #1193, formerly #31, "Mariposa."
Courtesy Paul Morrissey.

Who won the race?

From: "Laura Canzone"

My 2nd grade class just read a story about the Great Pacific Railroad, in it they said there was a race between the Chinese and Irish worker to see who could finish first. My class wants to know who won the race?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Culinary history of the railroads, May 10, 1869

From: Josephine Hyde

For a piece on culinary history of the railroads, I am looking for accounts of what was served to the dignitaries following the Golden spike ceremony in the Directors' car. So far, I have read that California champagne, wine and fruit were served. Is anyone in this group aware of other sources with more specific information? I would also be interested in learning what was served at various celebratory meals around the country, for instance the Lick Hotel's "Chicago Banquet."

I appreciate your help.

"Chinese Nationals Forgive and Bless Truckee"

"Chinese Nationals Forgive and Bless Truckee" by Ed Moy, © Asian Week, May 11, 2007. (News Article)

" ... Truckee was notorious for its persecution of its Chinese residents in the late 1800’s. The methods used for running the Chinese out of town became so synonymous with the town, that it became known throughout the state as, 'The Truckee Method.'

According to the Donner Historical Society:

On October 28, 1878, Chinatown was burned down again. This time they were forbidden to rebuild. Amid freezing temperatures, the hungry Chinese population was forced to relocate across the river on land donated by the Central Pacific Railroad.

Crowds cheered as the remains of old Chinatown were torn down. Young boys threw rocks as the homeless Chinese carried their few remaining possessions through town while adults idly stood by. Whites who dared to assist the Chinese were themselves threatened." ... [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where is Col. George E. Gray buried?

From: "Garrett Hermanson"

Do you know where Col. George E. Gray is buried? He died on Jan. 1, 1913, in Berkeley, CA.

He was employed with the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroad Company.

He was also a trustee of Stanford University to at least 1904.

—Garrett Hermanson

George Edward Gray Obituary from the New York Times

1913 obit for Col. George E. Gray from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Identifying individuals in the A.J. Russell Promontory Champagne photograph

From: "Sheldon Walton"
Subject: Joining of the Rails, May 10, 1869, Promontory, Utah

Joining of the Rails, May 10, 1869, Promontory, Utah

The Picture of the two trains facing each other, with all the men around.

Any way of identifying who's who?

Walter P. Gray III, R.I.P.

From: Sonia Windtberg

I am deeply saddened to forward the attached message from Mary Helmich (Associate Park and Recreation Specialist in the Interpretation Division) about the passing of her husband Walter Gray. Walter was our Chief of the Archeology, History and Museums Division. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hire him back to State Parks after a hiatus as the State Archivist. Prior to that, he was the Director of the California State Railroad Museum.

Walter had an incredible understanding of the State Park system and its cultural resources and was a true visionary. We are lucky to have had the honor to work with him and will miss him terribly.

It is difficult to bring this news to you today that your friend and associate, and my husband and companion for nearly 28½ years, Walter P. Gray III, has passed on today, May 8, 2007.

Fittingly, it is the anniversary of the originally planned Gold Spike Day, marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. I think Walt planned that.

He loved life and enjoyed people. His interests were encyclopedic. Walt was the kind of man that never met anyone he did not like and could find common ground in conversation on about any topic.

There will be a celebration of his life at the California State Railroad Museum. Information on that will be forthcoming.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, kindness and support. Walter and I really appreciated all that you have done this past year.

We are all better for having had Walter in our lives.

Who funded the first transcontinental railroad?

From: "Greg Wiemeri"

We would like to know how or who funded the first transcontinental railroad.

—Karly and Matt

Monday, May 07, 2007

Registerfly Hell

This message is only for those in Registerfly Hell.

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For further information about this mess, see the ICANN FAQs and the latest news release on the matter. Also see "RegisterFly - the way forward."

Please let us know if there is anything further that we can do to help.


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Sunday, May 06, 2007

"Replica trains head to This Is the Place: They'll re-enact historic event and haul visitors"

"Replica trains head to This Is the Place: They'll re-enact historic event and haul visitors" by Nancy Perkins, © Deseret Morning News, Sunday, May 6, 2007. (News Article)

"Replicas of two famous trains are on their way to Utah's This Is the Place Heritage Park to re-enact a defining moment in the nation's history. The small-scale, rubber-tired trains are authentic, realistic reproductions of the Central Pacific Jupiter and the Union Pacific 119 ... the park commissioned the handmade trains from Jerry Shipman in Phoenix ... a retired airline pilot who also happens to build small-scale passenger trains. ... " [More]

This Is the Place Heritage Park
2601 East Sunnyside Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

CPRR California/Nevada Tours

From: "Chris Graves"

My telephone has been busy with folks asking for information on tours of the old CPRR grade – since many of those questions are from readers of the blog, here are some answers to the common questions:

1. There is a block of ice as large as a VW Beetle smack in the middle of Tunnel 6; and a sheet of 12 inch thick ice from the center of Tunnel 6 to the East Portal. The snow sheds are full of ice and snow, and most likely will be a hazardous walk until June 1 or so.

2. I don't charge for tours, however I do ask you pay my expenses: gas and lunch.

3. Tours start at NewCastle, then to NewCastle Cut, Bloomer Cut, Cape Horn, the pristine grade a few miles East of Cape Horn, Old Cisco (after about July 1 the road to Lookout Peak is open – this is a tough, dirty, and dangerous road; I really have to be provoked to go up there again. Tough on tires, as well as me) then on day #2, Summit Tunnel and the snow sheds. Additionally, there is some nice old grade East of Reno some 30 miles or so.

WarningWe WILL NOT trespass on UPRR property – the Railroad Police are nice folks, but the ticket, should you be caught on UPRR property starts at $600. This takes all the fun out of the day. ...

For those that have an interest, I do have some CPRR original construction rail that I sell for $35 or so, this for a desk top ornament. I am sold out of original spikes, but do have some 1871 spikes, should that be of interest.

Motels are available in Auburn, running from Motel 6 to the Holiday Inn.

You are welcome to call me at (916) 663-3742 should you have further questions.

Suggested reading is The Old Iron Road by David H. Bain – he went on this tour, and writes of it in that book.

—Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

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