Saturday, June 30, 2007

Solano Links


Dear Central Pacific Railroad Museum:

We received an inquiry today from a Patron re. the Porta Costa train ferry:

Dear sirs.
     I am reading a record of a trip taken in 1908 from Massachusetts to California and back by my mother, at age 16, and grandparents. My Grandmother kept a meticulous daily record of interesting events. At one point she writes about their trip on the S. P. R. R. from Oakland, CA., to Portland. She mentions taking a large train ferry at Port Costa to Portland, but I find no record of a "Port Costa" in Oregon. I presume this would have been on the Willamette River. Was there such a place in 1908, or what was the terminal from which that ferry departed? Thank you for your help.

We forwarded links from your website re. the Solano, and were enormously impressed with the depth, variety, and resources you have included in this website. What a fabulous resource! Thanks to all of those who have contributed to such a wonderful historic resource; the librarians here have enjoyed this as much as I am sure this patron will, reliving the experience of her grandmother, so many years ago.


Salem Reference Staff

Salem Public Library Reference Staff
585 Liberty St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
Salem Public Library: Search No Further

Opium cans

From: "Frank Estrella"

While visiting your web site I noticed some photos of can dumps that were indicated to be opium cans. I was just wondering how one is able to determine the difference from food cans or opium cans in these can dumps which are commonly found near old mining camps. In my adventures I have found several can dumps like the one at this link at a chinese camp near Bodie California. is there a way to know if they were opium cans?


—Frank Estrella, Ghost Town Explorer

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Double chocolate switch engine on rye toast"

Grandfather, Milton Cooper used to say "double chocolate switch engine on rye toast" and everyone would laugh. The joke has been long forgotten. Maybe it's like "No soap radio."

Any thoughts?

Inflation since 1869

How can I learn what $40,000.00 in 1869 would be worth today (2007)?

... for a school project.

Twenty Dollars in Gold Coin Payable to the Bearer on Demand.



OLD  IRON ...  

Looking   for  history  of  a very  old  iron  bridge  located  on  now  abandoned  right of way  of   the old  MARCOLA  BRANCH  at  the  crossing  of  the  McKENZIE  RIVER  near Springfeld, Oregon.       I  belive  this  same  iron  bridge  was  first used  on  the   old  CPRR's  main line  in  Nevada ? ... And  later  was  moved  by  the  SPCo  to  near  HORNBROOK, CA. on  the  old  OREGON  &   CALIFORNIA  RR  Main  line  crossing  of  the  KLAMATH  RIVER. The  builder  of  this   interresting   bridge  was  the   PHOENIX  BRIDGE  CO.  of   PHOENIXVILLE, PA.            Anything  you  might  know  about  this   bridge  would  be  most  helpful.  


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Historic Designation for "Library Hall" in Tulare

From: "Laurel Barton"

I came across your [contact information] on the internet along with a discussion about a picture of a large roundhouse that existed at one time in Tulare. I thought you might be able to help me with some other Tulare railroad history research.

Although Tulare was at one time a prominent railroad hub, about the only official building that remains from that era is something that we refer to locally as the "Women's Clubhouse," but that was originally built as "Library Hall" to serve SP employees and their families. The City owns the building and would like to pursue National Register status for it. It has been in continuous use since its completion in 1882. I'm looking for architectural plans, etc. for it and thought you might be able to help me focus my search.

Laurel Barton
Management Analyst
City of Tulare Recreation, Parks & Library Dept.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Single Track

From: "Steven Steiert"

With only one track, how did the trains avoid head on collisions?

How many trains would occupy a 500 mile stretch in 1870?

—Steve Steiert, Dixon, CA

Thursday, June 21, 2007

CoolPad: Incredibly Great Customer Service

Just wanted to comment on the incredibly great customer service that we have repeatedly received from Jim MacEachern at RoadTools.

RoadTools makes the Podium CoolPad which we have purchased for all our laptop computers. This is a durable swivel stand that elevates the laptop slightly for better cooling. It works great for keeping a hot laptop computer more comfortably away from your lap.

Jim has helped us repeatedly with free upgrade spare parts for Coolpads that we purchased seven years ago, not even asking for postage! Such great product support deserves commendation.

Wonderful product, uniquely great service – our thanks to Jim!

(P.S. This is not an advertisement and we have no connection with Jim or RoadTools, other than as extremely satisfied customers.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007



I would like to know the store of the S.P. Co. running its locomotive No 1, C.P. HUNTINGTON in passenger service during the DAYS OF 49 in MAY 1922. Operating between 3rd and I street in Sacramento to BRIGATON, CAL.


Chinese pottery

Back in roughly 1961, I was vacationing in the Sacramento area with my grandparents & brother. My railroad-loving grandfather had a map of where the Chinese workmen's camps had been. He scanned what was then open meadows and figured where the dump must have been. We dug up dark brown pots identical to a couple of artifacts on your site. Are people/museums interested in these items? Is there only value that of a loving granddaughter's memory of a man who could literally find buried treasure? (That value being obviously a lot given I've been carrying them around for the last forty-some years.)

Private Varnish

From: "Kate Booth"

We are a group that attempts to find obscure information. The other night we were discussing a travel program we had seen regarding someone who had converted an old rail passenger car into a home. He had a private siding where he normally lived near Chicago. However, the program indicated that when ever he wanted to travel to another location, he would contact the railroad company and hook on to a train or a series of trains, going to where ever it was that he wanted to go.

Our questions not only revolves around the logistics of these travel plans, but mainly the cost of moving a rail car from point A to point B, assuming an open schedule.

Thank you for your help.

Mike Booth

Friday, June 15, 2007

Artists for U.S.P.R.R. Expeditions & Surveys

From: "Tonya Anderson"

Was John Mix Stanley the only artist used for the Wildlife and Bird Engravings for the U.S.P.R.R. Expeditions & Surveys? If there are multiple artists, where can I find a list of the Artists and the Plate Numbers that are associated with each of them? Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.

—Tonya Anderson

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wrought iron spikes and creosote

From: "Randall Hees"

The track crew on the Niles Canyon Railway exposed a stone work culvert while doing track work last week. The location was at the East end of Brightside, in a section of track built under CP ownership, but where some work on the grade had been completed by the previous owners, prior to their embarrassment.

Also found were a couple of wrought iron spikes and both creosoted wood, associated with the replacement culvert, plus untreated redwood beams (probably from the original open culvert.

This brings up two questions, when did CP start using steel spikes, and when did they start using creosote on bridge timbers? We are studying the commissioner's inspection reports and maps to try to understand what we found.

—Randy Hees

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lewis M. Clement's San Francisco Tidelands Map

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I just came across a San Francisco Bay Tidelands map in the David Rumsey Collection. It is has some interesting features including the sweep of Tidelands making up the Oakland Waterfront and also the extent of shoal lands set aside for a terminus at Goat (Yerba Buena) Island for the Central Pacific Terminal Railroad Company (originally not connected with Stanford/Huntington CP, but subsequently acquired by them). Most pertinent to our discussion topics is the penned notation on the far right bottom corner indicating that it was originally property of "Lewis M. Clement, San Francisco."


San Francisco Bay, 1878.  Courtesy David Rumsey Map Collection.
"Map Exhibiting the Salt Marsh, Tide and Submerged Lands ... Bays of San Francisco and San Pablo ... 1878."
Courtesy David Rumsey Map Collection.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


From: "Lynne Friman",

I work for the Detroit Institute of Arts and we are working on a display that includes several stereo cards, for an interactive. We are looking for a tabletop stereoscope in working condition for this display. Can you recommend someone that might know where to get one? Online resources are slim.

—Lynne Friman, Project Manger, DIA

Monday, June 04, 2007

BMLRR Belfast, Maine turntable

From: "Randy Purinton" wrote:

I would like to know if the first Belfast turntable was replaced by a second one, as is often the case when locomotives get bigger and the truntables need to be replaced by bigger ones. ...

—Randy Purinton
Patron inquiry from Yale University Library

Friday, June 01, 2007

CPRR Discussion Group

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