Box Car City, Box 25, 1946

I took me some research to figure out what the contents were of this box.

The lid had following notations; Houses, Terminous, Woodbridge, Stockton 1946.

Checking the history of Terminous online, I found a reference to “Box Car City” and then the light bulb went on. All these shacks were clearly built on box car chassis. I had come across a “1947” image of box car shacks few blog posts ago, without making the connection.

But while researching Box Car City, I equally noted that there were very few images available of what it really looked like over time.

So, Joel Dardis images may very well be historically significant by lack of other imagery to my current knowledge.

Few negatives have suffered from poor storage and overexposure, so some don’t have the same quality as we’ve seen in the past

Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Box Car City, Terminous, Warehouse in the background, 1946
Box Car City, Terminous, 1946

Terminous received a large economic boost in 1927 when it became a distribution point for Delta Crops and Western Pacific Railroad extended the track form the main line at Kingdon along Highway 12 west to Terminous.

Big shipping and processing operation required a large workforce. Some commuted to work, the other half lived in Box Car City across from the warehouses. Old wooden box cars were taken from their wheels and set up as housing for the workers.

It shouldn’t be no surprise that alternative housing such as tents and run down trailers were also used as housing. Although Joel didn’t write down any clues about the next images, I firmly believe that these were photographed possibly in the Box Car City area or another area with seasonal labor. It’s clearly a collection of run-down living spaces with an accumulation of junk.

Dilapidated, possibly abandoned, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Newer house, presumably Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Tent and shacks, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Box Car Wheel Junk, in Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Camping Trailers, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Western Pacific Freight line, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Housing Structures on the levee, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946

The three preceding negatives were printed or copied by Joel. I do like the last one from a composition perspective and overall feel.

Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Hand Water Pump, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946
Warehouse, Box Car City, Terminous, 1946

Last image in the box is typical Joel, he can’t refrain from photographing a sail boat gliding over the water.

Sailboat, Sacramento River (?), 1946-1947

That’s it for this subject. Hopefully this aids in the understanding of living conditions in Box Car City in the mid 1940’s.

From Ralph Lea and Christi Kennedy, March 19, 2004:

“By 1942, the road no longer ended in Terminous. The road was extended over Bouldin island. At first, the road didn’t continue directly to Rio Vista. Initially, the road climbed on top of the levee to Isleton and then ran along the Sacramento River to Rio Vista.

About 1959. Western Pacific started phasing out its shipping operations at Terminous. By 1964, all activity ended, the warehouses were quiet and empty. Terminous was like a ghost town.”

I didn’t see any clear images referencing Woodbridge or Stockton, but it is not sure if these images were still in this particular box after 75 years.

Next blog post plays in part in Coloma, late January, 1948.

Cheers !

2 responses to “Box Car City, Box 25, 1946”

  1. How kool are these photos…👍 the water tower there used to have a big WP stenciled on it .. you can see it coming through the top coat of paint the western pacific railroad had a lil yard at kingdon had about 10 tracks as i recall i worked as a Carman a fixed cars there in the 70s i think they took the tracks out that crossed Thornton road when l 5 came through …started working for WP in 1970 … retired from UP in 2011 ..


    • Hi Bernie … thanks for sharing your background and shed a little more light on Kindon situation, WP and UP.


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