Point Arena Lighthouse

The lighthouse at this site was constructed in 1870. The brick-and-mortar tower included ornate iron balcony supports and a large keeper residence with enough space to house several families. The April 1906 earthquake struck the light station. The keeper’s residence and lighthouse were damaged so severely they had to be demolished. The United States Lighthouse Service contracted with a San Francisco based company to build a new lighthouse on the site, and specified that it had to be able to withstand any future earthquakes. The company chosen normally built factory smokestacks, which accounts for the final design for the new Point Arena Lighthouse, featuring steel reinforcement rods encased in concrete. This was the first lighthouse built this way.

The new lighthouse began operation in 1908, nearly 18 months after the quake. It stands 115 feet tall, and featured a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, over six feet in diameter and weighing more than six tons. The lens was made up of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bullseyes. It was these bullseyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique “light signature” of two flashes every six seconds. The optics, which held an appraised value of over $3.5 million, was set in solid brass framework, and was built in France.

Prior to the introduction of electricity, the lens was rotated by a clockwork mechanism. The Keepers, or “wickies” as they were called, had to hand crank a 160-pound weight up the center shaft of the lighthouse every 75 minutes to keep the lens turning. Light was produced by a “Funck” hydraulic oil lamp, that needed to be refueled every four hours, and whose wicks would have to be trimmed regularly. Later, two 1,000 watt electric lamps were installed to replace the oil lamp, and a ​18 horsepower electric motor was installed to replace the clockworks.

Below are three recent photos of the Point Arena Lighthouse.

Point Arena Lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse at night

Point Arena Lighthouse at night

Point Arena Lighthouse in the moonlight

Point Arena Lighthouse in the moonlight

Caspar Lumber Company and the Fruit Growers Supply Company

We know from a movie the club has that most of the Caspar Lumber Company’s milled products were shipped to Pittsburg (a town on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.) There the Caspar Lumber Company had a controlling interest in a box making factory. Boxes ranged from crates to cigar  boxes and everything in between. There was a great need for crates to ship, among other things, fruit from the Central Valley all over the USA. What we/I do not know is whether one of the “partners” was the Fruit Growers Supply Company.

Knowledge of the Fruit Growers Supply Company has eluded me to date. However this post in Martin Hansen “Steam in the Woods” blog provides an excellent background on the Company:

FGS #5, a big Lima 3-truck Shay

FGS #5, a big Lima 3-truck Shay

When a large group of Southern California fruit growers banded together in 1907 to form a cooperative association to guaranty they would have a steady supply of wood to make box shook for their packaging, they formed the Fruit Growers Supply Company. This organization marketed their products under the Sunkist Brand name, familiar to most of us.

One of their main missions was to accumulate enough timber land to provide a steady and economical supply of box shook. They acquired many large timber holdings until ultimately they became the largest private owner of timber land in California. One of their timber holdings was in Northern California near the Oregon border where they formed the town of Hilt. It was at Hilt that they operated a mill and logging railroad system to supply the wood for the company.

In the late 1930’s famed logging photographer Clark Kinsey traveled to Hilt to photograph the operation for the company. Here we see FGS #5, a big Lima 3-truck Shay as she unloads her log loads at the mill pond in Hilt. This ritual would be repeated day in and day out for many decades until the logging railroad was finally abandoned in the early 1950’s.

The mill finally closed and the company town of Hilt was leveled in the mid 1970’s so that there nearly no sign the mill or town was ever there. Fortunately for us, Shay #5 lived on as she went to a new logging line out of Cochran, Oregon for a number of years before being sold in the 1940’s to Pickering Lumber Corp. where she became their #7. Today she is on display at the Sierra Ry roundhouse in Jamestown, CA.”

The Sundance Central Railroad – G scale modular layuout

When I got the “heads up” on this layout from club member Ben Sochacki my immediate thought was, “‘allo, allo” there’s something familiar about this name/layout. Sure nuff I have blogged it before thasnks to a heads up from Chuck Whitlock. I commend you to look at that blog before you plow on with this one.

A bit about the Sundance Central before I get to the vid that Ben recommended.

The Sundance was formed in January 2004 with the goal to create a more detailed and uniformly scened, large-scale traveling layout. This 1:20.3 scale modular model railroad consisting of forty modules for a layout size of 45 feet by 45 feet. The railroad consists of 400 feet of hand laid code 250 aluminum rails that are hand spiked with individual tie plates onto wood ties with a total of 16 turn-outs. The modular was built by a group of seven model train enthusiasts. This diverse group is made up of people who have a passion of early narrow gauge steam locomotives to modern day standard gauge diesels. The purpose for forming this modular group was to provide the public a realistic look at model railroading in a large-scale format. The modules are highly detailed from the scratch built supporting structures and buildings down to the surrounding scenery. The trains and rolling stock that run on these modules are highly detailed and weathered.

Here’s the vid:

Thanks Ben.

G scale model railroad The Cascade & Silverton built and filmed by Ron Keiser

This one came onto the radar courtesy of club member Ben Sochacki. Here’s the e-mail that set me in motion:

This vid has a car in it similar to one we  [our model railroad club] just acquired which I’ve never seen the likes of. Looks like a truck that runs the rails. See if you can spot it.”

The vid is beautifully filmed. It’s quite long – 18 mins. So if you want to see the “truck that runs on rails” go to the 9 mins 20 secs spot. The truck that runs on rails is a Galloping Goose.

Galloping Goose is the popular name given to a series of seven railcars (officially designated as “motors” by the railroad), built in the 1930s by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) and operated until the end of service on the line in the early 1950s. Originally running steam locomotives on narrow gauge railways, the perpetually struggling RGS developed the first of the “geese” as a way to stave off bankruptcy and keep its contract to run mail into towns in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. There was not enough passenger or cargo income to justify continuing the expensive steam train service at then-current levels, but it was believed that a downsized railway would return to profitability. The steam trains would transport heavy cargo and peak passenger loads, but motors would handle lighter loads. Motors were not only less expensive to operate, but were also significantly lighter, thus reducing impact on the rails and roadbeds. This cost saving meant that the first Goose was paid off and making a profit within three weeks of going into service. RGS built more Geese, and operated them until the company abandoned their right-of-way in 1952.

The club’s Goose is currently being modified so that it runs on battery power rather than being powered by electricity through the rails.

 

Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club in Portland, OR

Wife Sarah and I met club member Ben Sochacki in the driveway to to the club layout today. We asked him how his hols in Portland had gone. He told us about his visit to the Oregon Heritage Centre – see this blog. He gushed over a visit he had made to “The largest HO layout in the Western United States.” Whilst the layout was officially closed debonair Ben talked his way in to an abfab tour. Here’s what he saw/heard:

Great music too!!

After I posted this blog I got this e-mail from Ben:

Last Saturday my brother Tim and I had the privilege of getting a private tour of this club’s layout. Member Fred Russell walked and talked his way through every floor, and inch, of this amazing display. In fact the building itself was designed and built specifically to this HO layout. 3 1/2 hours later we were virtually spent. Next time you are in downtown Portland be sure to check it out.”

Native American Petroglphs found near Yorkville

Yorkville is located 7.5 miles  southwest of Hopland. It is on Route 128 and you pass through it en route from Boonville to Hopland. The original townsite was about 3 miles northwest of the present site. The Yorkville post office opened in 1868 and moved to the new site with the town in 1937. “The Late Pomo or Ma-cu-maks of the present day Yorkville area spoke the central Pomo language.”

So now you know where Yorkville is to be found.

I was thumbing through this book …

Book - Anderson Valley - One of the Arcadia Series

Book – Anderson Valley – One of the Arcadia Series

… when I came across the following page. The Native American Pomo are widely thought to have no written language and to my knowledge nothing has been found in the way of rock or cave drawings/markings. So, I was dumbfounded to find, quite by accident, that Pomo and/or their predecessors did indeed leave “writings.”

[Click on the photo to read the text at the bottom of the page.]

Native American Petroglyphs in the Yorkville Area

Native American Petroglyphs in the Yorkville Area

Amazing,

 

The Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg

I am the historian of the train club here in Fort Bragg so you would think that I know a bit about the town as it was. Now, I confess I gave up drinking more years ago than I can remember so I have no real interest in bars. I do know though that there were a lot of bars and a lot of brothels in Fort Bragg “for the boys” when they came in from the woods. One, the Golden West, still exists just as it was back then. Based on the pic below the Log Cabin Bar was pretty well known/famous. Alas, until I saw the photo I had never heard of it. So, can anybody help me out with more info/history?

Interior of the Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg, CA.

Interior of the Log Cabin Bar in Fort Bragg, CA.

Rainbows along the Mendocino Coast

We’ve had a fair amount of rain this winter. Most, it seems to me, when I am in bed asleep. There have also been quite a few days when it have sunny, cloudy and rainy – ideal weather for rainbows. I have personally seen two but they were short little ‘uns. These three pics show some gorgeous big ‘uns.

Rainbow at Big River, Mendocino

Rainbow at Big River, Mendocino

Rainbow at Mendocino

Rainbow at Mendocino

Rainbow at Moyo Harbour, Fort Bragg, CA

Rainbow at Moyo Harbour, Fort Bragg, CA

Pretty cool!