Saturday, June 18, 2005

Tulare vs. Los Angeles roundhouses

In a message dated 05-04-06, wrote:

...If you have seen the original (or a better copy) of the Tulare library picture are there any details in it which distinguish it from the similar looking LA roundhouse?

Earlier, Kyle Wyatt wrote:

...The picture could be Tulare, but the tell-tale trees make me think we are looking at LA.

From: "John Sweetser"

Most likely, the photo on the San Joaquin Valley Digitization Project website is of the Tulare roundhouse. Here is why I think so:

At Tulare, the SP extensively planted eucalyptus trees around the roundhouse and shops, so much so that the area was often called "the grove" in early newspapers. For example, the May 30, 1892 Tulare Daily Evening Register, telling of the former Tulare SP workers who had to move to Bakersfield when the shops were transferred there from Tulare in 1891, stated: "...they miss the fine grove under whose shade they worked at Tulare instead of under a boiling sun."

Notice that in the San Joaquin Valley Digitization photo, on the right side of the photo, the tracks radiate continuously from the turntable pit to the right of the roundhouse. But notice that in the photo of the Los Angles roundhouse on pg. 15 of "The Southern Pacific in Los Angeles," there is an interuption in the tracks due to what is apparently a little park to the right of the roundhouse. This park can also be seen in the photo of the LA roundhouse on the bottom of pg. 50 of Signor's Tehachapi book (a photo possibly taken in the 1880s).

I've seen a photo identified as the Tulare roundhouse at the museum in the city of Tulare. It might be the same one as on the San Joaquin Valley Digitization website but I have this vague feeling it may be a different photo (I could be wrong). One photo they do have at the Tulare museum that is definitely incorrectly labeled is a photo supposedly of the interior of the Tulare shops but actually is inside a massive brick and iron building. On the original photo, one can see another massive brick and iron building just outside the doors. Tulare never had anything of this magnitude, just mainly two small shop buildings that were readily moved to Mendota and Fresno after the shops closed, so the photo may have been taken at Sacramento, assuming it was even on the SP in the first place.

John Sweetser