This series of blogs are part of my efforts to document the history of our club (The Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society – the MCMR&HS). The construction and running of the HO Ten Mile Branch all took place in 2002 and 2003. The last post detailed the misadventures of building a prototypically accurate HO model of the ULC (Union Lumber Company) pier which jutted out some 670 feet into Soldier Bay here in Fort Bragg.
My consultant on the pier construction was my very good friend Hank Simonson. In one of our many planning sessions – Hank’s wife Flo called them extended coffee breaks – Hank told me that he and a friend, with the full permission of the mill supervisor refurbished a small sailing boat named the Stubby II they acquired from the ULC on ULC Mill property. The ULC superintendent encouraged the “boys” and offered materials from ULC stores, as well as advice and encouragement. The gas tank for the boat was salvaged from the bottom of Elm Street, now known as Glass Beach. There are cliffs all around the Mill site and the only way to launch Hank’s Stubby II was off the ULC pier. In 1939 demolition of the pier was kindly held up until the “boys” finished and then Stubby II was lifted off the pier into the water.
Unbeknownst to Hank I asked Flo if there were any photos of the Stubby II and if so could I borrow them without Hank knowing. Flo produced two of the Stubby II being launched from the ULC pier.
Well, we had the ULC pier whose “box” even though filled with 500 pounds of concrete leaked. Could we stage a re-enactment of the launching of the Stubby II as a surprise for Hank. Wife Sarah, Fort Bragg’s ace shopper, was enlisted to acquire the Stubby III. I knew she wouldn’t fail and you can see Sarah and I trying it out for size:
The wires on top of the pier are for the to and fro mechanism Hank installed on the pier.
The club, like now, needed members. Club Pres Phil Miller suggested that we hold an open day to show off my creation (even though it was far from complete) as “bait” for new members. Sarah volunteered free chili and her friends pitched in with cakes, tea and coffee. The date was set for July 6th, 2003. Hank agreed to run the trains on the pier which would be filled with water:
Then came the great moment – the presentation of the Stubby III to Hank:
Hank was tickled pink. Hank decided to perform the launch at the deep end before all the water ran out.
Hank kept the Stubby III in pride of place on top of his home computer.
More about July 6th 2003 in the next post.