Friday, August 05, 2005

Question: CPRR Construction Camps

Today's Auburn Journal has an article "Summertime is best time to explore Colfax" which states: "Established in 1865 as Camp 20 along the Central Pacific Railroad line, Colfax first was a housing, construction and supply hub for laborers picking and blasting a route up the western slope of the Sierra Nevada."

Is there a list of all of the numbered CPRR construction camps, along with their locations and dates?


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I have the location of a number of these camps but I am committed to [researching] a schedule of mile posts Sacto to Ogden. When I finish that if no one else has answered the question I will find the time to look up what I have. Remember, patience is a virtue.

—Lynn Farrar

8/05/2005 9:05 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

How very interesting a question.

Several years ago I was very interested in construction camp 20. However, it was definitely not anywhere near Colfax. Rather the camp 20 I was looking into was in the Truckee Canyon at or near the California-Nevada state line (as then defined) as of December 1867.

I see three possibilities: either camp numbers were reassigned, or more than one camp had the same number, or the newspaper got it wrong.

It would seem reasonable that camp numbers were assigned as ordinal numbers (1st camp, 2nd camp . . .) – from some logical starting point, such as the first camp. Or they were assigned numbers relating to mile marker. Now the camp 20 in the Truckee Canyon (at the state line) was in fact 20 miles from where that particular section of track started (either Truckee, or the crossing of Cold Stream – I don't recall which). So it could have been mile marker 20. However, even though the track was not continuous from the trackage west of the summit, the ssurveyors certainly knew the mile points for the whole line. So I'm not sure the Truckee Canyon Camp 20 had anything to do with mile markers. I assumed it was the 20th camp.

But why would a camp near modern Colfax receive a 20? It it was the 20th camp established, the one far up the line in the Truckee canyon would have been a much higher number. If the newspaper was right, it sounds like camp numbers were reassigned much like the company did with locomotive numbers – assigning new units to the lowest unused number.


8/05/2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


My records show Central Pacific Camp 20 to have been in the Truckee River canyon at a place that later was named Cuba. There was no renumbering of Camps that I am aware of so Camp 20 at Colfax was some one else's numbering.

—Lynn Farrar

8/11/2005 4:43 PM  

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