Sierra Railway, Box 61, 1948

It looks like Joel took a trip to Jamestown as far as my research showed. And because of William Maxwell’s comments below, we can guess with some accuracy the rest of the itinerary.

So, I took the liberty updating the image captions and add some context. William Maxwell, archivist for the Bank of Stockton, is a regular reader and his comments have more than once added much needed perspective.

There are two train images in this stack of negatives, and by 1947, these trains were in use in Jamestown, CA.

#3 Sierra Railway, Jamestown, 1948 (Printed)

Sierra Railway No. 3 is often called the “Movie Star Locomotive”. Built at the end of the 19th century, owned by the State of California, and preserved at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California.

William L. Withhuhm, the Transportation History curator at the Smithsonian Institute, stated following of the locomotive historical and cultural significance;

“Sierra Railway No. 3 has appeared in more motion pictures, documentaries, and television productions than any other locomotive. It is undisputedly the image of the archetypal steam locomotive that propelled the USA from the 19th century into the 20th.”

The second train image is from a different design and equally at Jamestown in 1948.

#18 Sierra Railway, Jamestown, 1948 (Printed)

Sierra Railway No. 18 is a standard gauge 2-8-0 “Consolidation” type steam locomotive. It was built in 1906 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Sierra Railway Company of California.

By 1916, #18 had been rebuilt with a SuperHeater & piston valves as an experiment to improve efficiency, and for possible inclusion in future locomotive specifications.

No. 18 was retired from service in 1952 when the annual inspection revealed excessive sidesheet wear & it was judged unfit. It sat idle at Jamestown until 1966. This train has, just like the No. 3, a long rap sheet of movie and documentary appearances.

Based on above dates, these images could be later than 1948, but there’s ample evidence that these images were taken on an educational COP trip and covered much more terrain than just Jamestown.

Striking a quick model pose, Jamestown, 1948 (Printed)

I’m assuming that the next two images were photographed on the same trip.

Abandoned Hotel, “Old Cabertha Hotel”, Columbia State Park, California, 1948 (Printed)

Read some of the history of this hotel in William’s comments below, as it in the end, does relate to College of the Pacific and Robert and Grace Burns.

Abandoned School, Columbia, California, 1948 (Printed)

The scenery changes significantly in the next 4 images. We’re at a much higher altitude. I do not recognize the area, nor the dam. Since this is presumably 1948, the dam may no longer be there. I ran these images through a dam database without any luck.

Since William’s comment the old hotel to be in Columbia, I studied the map and near Jamestown and Columbia, there’s the Melones reservoir. The current images of the New Melones Dam, do not resemble the dam below. So I searched for “Old” Melones Dam, and bingo.

Checking out the panorama, photographer with 35mm camera, 1948, near Old Melones Dam. (Printed)
Checking out the panorama, photographer with 35mm camera, 1948, near Old Melones Dam. (Printed)
Old Melones Dam and reservoir, 1948 (Printed)
Old Melones Dam and reservoir, 1948 (Printed)

When the new, much higher, dam was built from 1966-1978, the old dam was left in place and simply flooded over. During extreme droughts, that dam becomes visible again. This happened in the 1990’s and the image below was taken then by the Park authorities. We can probably expect the old dam to be visible in 2022, as we’re in a severe drought again.

Old Melones Dam revealed during a drought in the 1990’s. (image on various places on the internet)

The last image is either part of this trip’s activities, or belongs to a skit at one of COP’s “Fun Days”.

Slapstick comedy, 1948, location unknown. (Printed)

Classical slapstick comedy gag, eating whipped cream from a pie on the floor.

All the above images are either copied or printed, they all have a certain quality to them.

Next blog post we’ll be checking out the Morris Chapel wedding of Frances Mack with Philippe Bush on June 5, 1948.

Cheers !

5 responses to “Sierra Railway, Box 61, 1948”

      • Here’s the history of the Fallon Hotel / Theater from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce (I don’t think that second photo is the same building.) :

        The Fallon Hotel Complex has a long and complicated history. It is really the history of four separate structures. The current hotel building, what is now the theater, the theater box office and finally the ice cream parlor all have interesting and distinct histories.

        From 1852 until Owen Fallon constructed a brick boarding house in 1859, there were a number of wooden structures on this property. In 1863 there was another brick structure just to the east of Fallon’s building. In that year Fallon cut a hole in his east wall and joined the buildings. He then turned the second floor into a ball room and began to use the name “Fallon Hotel.” In 1863 the rose garden was constructed and in 1871 the upstairs was turned into more rooms for the hotel.

        In 1885 James G. Fallon inherited the hotel. James Fallon turned what is now the ice cream parlor into a bar in 1886 and then deeded the property to Rose Gallagher in 1887. Gallagher soon sold to Tom Conlin, who moved the Wells Fargo office into the hotel.

        From 1890 until 1944 the hotel was owned by a number of people and was known by many names. Some of the names were, “Kress Hotel”, “Columbia Hotel and Opera House”, “Smith Hotel” and “Columbia Inn.”

        In 1944 the structure was owned by Robert and Grace Burns. Robert Burns was the President of the University of Pacific. After the State Parks bought the property for one dollar in 1947, it was used as a residence for UOP drama students during the summer. UOP performed summer theatrical presentations in the theater.

        In 1986 the entire structure was restored and reopened as the Fallon Hotel. It is operated by the Columbia City Hotel Cooperation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Bill … second building appears to be a school building, according to images on the Columbia Historic State Park website


    • Looking at Columbia, it becomes clear the dam has to be the Old Melones Dam, no longer there and replaced with a new one 1966-1978 … another mystery solved


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: