A brief history of the Caspar Mill’s Railroad and the mill’s first loco Daisy

It’s great when someone more knowledgeable than me writes about the Mendocino Coast Logging operations. Martin Hansen has certainly done that in a recent blog on his site, “Steam in the Woods.” With no further ado here is is his post:

Just 5 miles south of Ft. Bragg on the California Coast, lies the little town of Caspar. This coastal town today only has a handful of buildings left. However, in 1870 the town boasted a large sawmill and the beginnings of a logging railroad that never connected to any other rail line. Originally the railroad was animal powered and built on wooden rails. By 1875 steel rails replaced the wooden rails and a small second-hand 0-4-4T built in San Francisco in 1869 was added as the first steam power. The railroad by this time was known as the Caspar South Fork & Eastern RR.

By 1885 the mill was prospering and the railroad had been extended some 5 miles from the mill to the cutting areas. This prompted the Caspar Lumber Company to call on Baldwin to build a new locomotive for the young railroad. Here is what they got.In June 1885 Baldwin shipped C/N 7558 to San Francisco where it was knocked down and loaded onto the schooner “ABBIE” for the trip up the coast to Caspar. Once in the harbor, she was unloaded and barged to the dock where she was then hauled up the hill to the small enginehouse for re-assembly.

The engine was name Daisy when ordered from Baldwin and that name lasted her entire career. In the first photo we see Daisy when she was still new and in her factory paint. You can see the pride her crews took in her in this portrait. Daisy served very well for decades on the CSF&E and was still in service in April 1938 when she was spotted for pictures during the only railfan excursion held on the CSF&E as shown in the second photo.

While larger and more powerful engines would follow and replace Daisy on the mainline run in later years (including a pair of 2-6-6-2 Mallets) Daisy was still the pride of the CSF&E when the line quit in 1945. Because of her popularity she became the only one of the 7 CSF&E locomotives to be saved. She was originally put on display in 1948 at Camp 20 and later she was moved to Ft. Bragg where she is on display today.”

She is on display in the Museum Deli opposite the Skunk Train Depot.

These three photos were loaded with the above text:

Daisy when she was new

Daisy when she was new

Daisy after years of hard work

Daisy after years of hard work

Daisy's Manufacturer's badge

Daisy’s Manufacturer’s badge

Thanks Martin