Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Judah property in Roseville, CA

From: "Gary Day" garyday@starstream.net

Two or three years ago I heard that Theodore Judah bought large plots of property in Roseville before deciding to locate the extra-engine roundhouse there. After his death in early 1863 CP management decided to locate the roundhouse in Rocklin instead thereby depreciating the value of the property held by Judah’s heirs. When Judah’s wife died in the mid 1890s, I forget the year; railroad managers bought the Roseville property from her estate and after a few years decided to move the roundhouse from Rocklin to Roseville. Since some of these managers owned property in Rocklin the railroad first announced an expansion in Rocklin in order to allow their managers’ to dump their property. The following year the railroad announced the intention to move the Roundhouse to Roseville, thereby allowing their managers to profit from their Roseville property purchases.

Sorry that this is such a sketchy synopsis and I don’t remember where I heard this story, but I’m wondering if any of this rings a bell with your group.

—Gary Day


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: kylewyatt@aol.com

Anybody care to comment on the various aspects of the original Central Pacific decision to locate the engine facility at Rocklin, and the subsequent decision to move it back to Roseville?


1/29/2008 1:23 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

There is no question that Judah was interested in real estate speculation. He was very much involved in buying property and developing Granite City (Folsom), Centralia, and Lincoln. While I've never heard that he was involved in Roseville, it would be entirely in keeping: Roseville was located at the junction of the Central Pacific and the California Central. However, there may have been factors other than trying to deny Anna Judah satisfaction in the CPRR's decision to locate their roundhouse at Rocklin rather than Roseville – water? proximity to commencement of grade? In any case, the Rocklin roundhouse was likely on railroad land rather than land owned by any principal. Too, all of the original CPRR principals were gone when the CPRR established the Roseville facility. Though, they may have begun that process when Huntington was still alive.

Still, this would be easy enough to verify should anyone want to take a trip to Auburn to look through the Placer County land records.


1/29/2008 1:26 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves" caliron@cwnet.com

I have poked around in the old Placer Co. records. The only record of land that I could find that Judah bought was on the grade from Lincoln to Gold Hill. He bought that in 1859, this from memory.


1/29/2008 1:27 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Gary Day" garyday@starstream.net

Thanks for your input, Wendell. The Auburn search would be difficult without the owners' names and the locations of their properties. Also, those land records in Auburn are difficult for a layman to navigate because of the many owners and boundary re-drawings and the need to interpret legal descriptions in terms of today's maps. Yes, the Rocklin roundhouse was on Railroad property and its foundation still is. I think that one important suspicious part of all of this is the 1905 announcement and the resulting well documented burst of commercial activity in Rocklin followed by the 1906 announcement which reduced Rocklin's population by as much as 80% from 1906 to 1908. Is there any way to know if people on the inside of railroad management bought the widow's property in the 1890s out of her estate or from her heirs?

Incidentally, I'm curious about the water aspect. To my knowledge in the 1860s Rocklin's only water was seasonal or from low volume springs. Well water was undrinkable because the underlying granite cap would hold sewage. The railroad provided a lot of Rocklin's drinking water from Sierra lakes until at least the late 19th century.


1/29/2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Gary Day" garyday@starstream.net

I should have been clearer. The story I heard was that Railroad managers were dealing in real estate for their own accounts. I didn't hear that the railroad itself was so dealing. I could go to Auburn to find Judah's land transactions, but then what? There once was a very helpful gentleman in the assessor's office who would try to help me convert the land transaction information in the Clerk/recorders office into something understandable in terms of today's assessors maps. But he retired about 4 years ago. If any of you could help in that way I would appreciate it.


1/29/2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

I've never looked at Placer land records, so cannot state how they are indexed – and I should not have said it would be an easy search. My land record experience is in the East, but from the same mid-19th century period. There transactions are indexed by names of both parties. If Placer County did it the same way, it would be easy to go through the index and note what and how many pieces were in Judah's name. Fortunately, Judah is an unusual enough name that any hit would likely be related to Theodore. His brothers Edward, Charles, and Henry were all in California, though Edward was the only one that I know was working with Theodore in the Sacramento area. Obviously, sales after 1863 would likely be under Anna. Anything she did not sell in her lifetime might be difficult to trace as the last names would be all different; however, most indexes would still have such sales under Judah (but again, no statement made here specific to Placer County).

The other issue – that is the motive in buying or selling any land and any particular point in time is almost impossible to gauge. I, too, have heard that water was a problem at Rocklin. That is, I've heard that locals used water from locomotive tenders, carried down from the high country, as it was better quality than what was found at Roseville. Still, even if there was first an announcement that boosted Rocklin's value, and then the removal of the railroad, there is no evidence that the two events were related or that the course of events was deliberate. My impression has always been that the managers of the Southern Pacific were as ignorant of the future as we are. Like everyone else, they made decisions in light of immediate circumstances and short-term goals.


1/29/2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Hsweetser@aol.com

The reason the SP established Roseville was straightfoward and had nothing to do with purported land-dealing shenanigans on the part of "railroad managers."

The SP established Roseville to replace its yard in Sacramento, necessary because there was no room to expand the Sacramento yard. Roseville offered virtually unlimited room. In comparison, Rocklin, by virtue of its foothill location, would have had constrictions on expansion just like Sacramento did.

Unfortunately, writers of SP history from at least 1940 (witness the article, "SP Is 32 Years Old at Roseville" in the May 1940 issue of Southern Pacific Bulletin) and maybe longer have totally misconstrued the purpose of building the Roseville yard, telling only of it replacing the yard at Rocklin.

As far as railroad managers "announcing an expansion in Rocklin," if they had really done so, it would have been widely covered in the press at the time. I have extensively studied northern Californa newspapers for the 1905-1907 period and have never come across reports of such an announcement.

—John Sweetser

3/31/2008 10:47 PM  

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