by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Railtown 1897

Park Brochure

brochure Railtown 1897 - Park Brochure
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Climb aboard an authentic steam train and travel back to 1897 through miles of picturesque meadows and an oak-studded, “Wild West” landscape. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (209) 984-3953. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Railtown 1897 State Historic Park 10501 Reservoir Road Jamestown, CA 95327 (209) 984-3953 Cover photo courtesy of Michael Sharps © 2009 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) n the heart of the Sierra foothills, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park invites visitors to experience the thrill of traveling back in time to the era of Volunteer car host steam railroading. Located 135 miles east of San Francisco, the park is a unique treasure trove of preserved railroad buildings, equipment, locomotives, and rolling stock. Many of these date back to Railtown’s 1897 origins. The Railtown roundhouse — a semi-circular building for housing and maintaining locomotives — stands as the only continuously operating steam locomotive roundhouse in the United States. PARK HISTORY The Sierra Railway Company Incorporated on January 1, 1897, the Sierra Railway Company was the brainchild of Midwesterner Thomas Bullock. He and his fellow investors — San Francisco banker William Crocker, Crocker’s brother-in-law Prince Andre Poniatowski, and others — had lumber and mining interests in the area. They anticipated that a short-line railroad from Oakdale could replace horsedrawn wagons to bring lumber and mining materials to the growing Sacramento and San Francisco areas. Bullock had owned a failed railroad venture in Arizona that left him with three steam locomotives and several miles of rail. With the addition of 15 new freight cars, the Sierra Railway was soon moving U.S. mail, passengers, and freight. The Sierra Railway Company also established working relationships with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and several stage lines to serve mining, lumber, and agricultural interests. However, as the costs of gold mining increased with the onset of World War I, the Railway’s profits decreased. Even worse, bus and trucking companies had begun competing with trains. The Sierra Railroad Company During the Great Depression, the Sierra Railway Company went into receivership, a form of bankruptcy in which the company is allowed to reorganize without losing the value of its property. On April 1, 1937, it was Locomotives stored at roundhouse Photo courtesy of Michael Sharps I Open-air observation car renamed the Sierra Railroad Company and incorporated under the ownership of Crocker Associates. In 1955, almost twenty years after regular passenger operations had ceased, the Sierra Railroad Company replaced the last of its steam locomotives with diesel power and opened modern maintenance shops in Oakdale. Fortunately, the historic Jamestown shops and locomotives were left intact. Railtown 1897 is Born Charles Crocker — a descendant of one of the original investors — decided to bring the Jamestown shops back to life as an excursion train theme park in the 1970s. In 1982, California State Parks acquired the railway’s 26 acres of land and shops in Jamestown, as well as trackage rights on the Sierra Railroad. Charles Crocker donated the railway’s tools, cars, and shops equipment. This historic site has had support from several advocacy groups. The California State Railroad Museum Foundation, an integral Photo courtesy of Michael Sharps Events and Programs Railtown 1897 State Historic Park has a year-round schedule of interpretive events and excursions, including spring wildflower train rides, guided tours, Junior Rangers, Apple Harvest, Worker’s Reunion, and holiday Polar Express™ tours. Visit www.railtown1897.org or call (209) 984-3953 for a calendar. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES A manual wheelchair lift allows excursion train access. The historic roundhouse and other exhibits Docent leads a tour in the roundhouse are generally accessible. Some assistance may be required with steep partner, has assisted California State Parks in depot ramps or raised flooring. The freight funding important restoration projects. This shed restroom and one portable restroom partnership brought about the restoration ™ are accessible. of steam locomotive Sierra No. 3 , one of For accessibility updates, visit the three original locomotives that Sierra http://access.parks.ca.gov. Railway founder Thomas Bullock brought with him to California. NEARBY STATE PARKS Railtown Today • Columbia State Historic Park Railtown’s locomotives, vintage passenger 11255 Jackson Street, Columbia 95310 and freight cars, and historic buildings give (209) 588-9128 visitors the chance to journey back in time to • Calaveras Big Trees State Park the exciting days of steam-train travel. 1170 East Highway 4, Arnold 95223 However, Railtown 1897 offers more than (209) 795-2334 the historic short-line railway from the PLEASE REMEMBER days of steam transportation and three locomotives original to the railroad. The • Dogs must be kept on a leash railroad’s operations and maintenance no longer than six feet. trades — the artifacts and skills necessary to Well-behaved dogs are allowed run a century-old railway while adapting to on excursions and tours. the modern environment — continue to be preserved on the Sierra Railroad. “The Movie Railroad” As its freight-hauling days were ending, the Sierra Railroad was still being used for Hollywood movie productions. It had everything — a ruggedly perfect “Old West” landscape, miles of tracks, and a wealth of very old trains and railroad settings. Film producers the world over clamored to use this special location. Between 1919 and the present, the Sierra Railroad would “star” in more than 200 motion pictures, television programs, and commercials — including High Noon, Back to the Future III, Rawhide, and Death Valley Days. Several of the Sierra Railroad’s featured roles may be seen in the park’s movie exhibit next to the blacksmith shop. Even during tough economic times, Hollywood helped keep the railway afloat. If not for the vital importance of these venerable locomotives and railroad cars to the film industry, many may have become sources of wartime scrap metal. Sierra No. 3™ 49 , 108 to R A I LT O W N 1897 S TAT E HISTORIC PA R K 11th Street Turn Table P Tri-Dam Building ER RA Carpenter Shop Movie Exhibit Machine Shop Master Mechanics Warehouse Track Auto House RA Car Barn ILR Blacksmith Shop OA D Pond Historic Roundhouse SI Sierra Avenue Truck Shed P oad see detail map 9th Street 10th Street ir R 200 M Street Avenue ervo Crew Caboose Legend Paved Road Res Depot Store/ Carriage Room 8th Seventh P to Sonora Avenue Park Entrance 600 Ft 100 Avenue 7th Avenue Ramp Freight Shed Sixth 9th Street P 300 0 Fourth 9th Street Street 7th 0 Avenue Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Old Depot Site This park receives support in part from the nonprofit California State Railroad Museum Foundation www.railtown1897.org and www.csrmf.org Fifth 5th Ave 4th Avenue Sierra Avenue Angels Branch Unpaved Road Paved Path Railroad ACTIVE WORK Fence ACCESS) Restricted Access Ione Sandhouse Picnic Area Water Tower Petticoat Junction Water Tower 0 Restrooms Viewpoint R A I LT O W N 1 8 9 7 S TAT E H I S T O R I C PA R K 0 to Oakdale 75 25 150 50 225 75 300 Feet 100 Meters 30 Kilometers Ro Stanislaus NF ad Pinecrest Yosemite NP Sonora Jamestown Oakdale Modesto 4 Re s Calaveraserv Big Trees SPoir Columbia SHP Railtown 1897 SHP Tulloch to Res San Francisco 120 20 10 108 49 New Melones Res 4 Parking Park Building New Hogan Res Angels Camp Drinking Water Movie Exhibit Jackson 20 Miles 10 0 San Andreas Comanche Res Section House Accessible Feature Indian Grinding 0 Rock SHP 88 AREA (RESTRICTED Parking Area 49 Don Pedro Reservoir La 120 Stanislaus NF to Yosemite NP Grange 49 to Sacramento 140 Sierra Turlock Lake Lake Turlock SRA 99 NF McClure Lake Turlock Mariposa to Los Angeles © 2009 California State Parks (Rev. 2016)

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