Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Art in the Age of Steam: Europe, America and the Railway, 1830-1960"

"Museum is on the right track with paintings of railway perspectives" by ALICE THORSON, © The Kansas City Star, September 28, 2008. (News Article)

"A new special exhibition about the railroad at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art ... Art in the Age of Steam: Europe, America and the Railway, 1830-1960 ... A large 1867 painting by Theodore Kaufmann shows Indians under cover of darkness sabotaging the rails in the face of an oncoming train. In truth, such acts were rare, and they were no match for the inexorable march of the white man’s progress. The passengers were not the target, Kennedy said. 'The Indians wanted provisions,' he explained. “They were starving because the buffalo were dying out.” Many of these artworks were commissioned by the railroads. Albert Bierstadt painted the 6-by-10-foot canvas 'Donner Lake From the Summit' (1873) for Collis P. Huntington, a director of the Central Pacific Railroad. Depicting the same site where the ill-fated Donner party was trapped by a snowstorm almost 20 years earlier, the work conveys the heroic scale of the railroad-building enterprise. ... A photograph by Andrew J. Russell, 'Wyoming Station Engine 23' (1868), shows the elk antlers that were mounted on the front of locomotives as a symbol of speed. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Locomotive diagram

From: "Don"

... you have a locomotive diagram from 1899 showing and listing all the parts on it. Would you have another link showing a similar diagram only more modern? Particularly of a 4-6-2 Pacific class steamer.


The Great Northern Railway

From: "Don"

I was looking at your web site and came across the diagram showing the "transcontinental routes in 1900." It shows several RR's that were transcontinental except one. The Great Northern Rwy is not on that drawing. GN WA the northern most Transcontinental RR. Even farther north than NPRR, yet NPRR is shown.

Maybe this is just a simple oversight and can be corrected shortly to show the GN line. It would be much appreciated. With all the splendid information on your site I will have to visit it a few times to read it all. I will recommend it to my RR friends and their families. Job well done to those who keep it going and updated.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clement Junction, Los Angeles, is named for Lewis Metzler Clement

From: Bruce C. Cooper:

The following appears in Wikipedia:

"Clement Junction, CA is ... located in Los Angeles County, California at latitude 34.014 and longitude -118.239. The elevation is 217 feet. ...

Clement Junction is named for Lewis Metzler Clement (1837-1914), Chief Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of Track of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California (1862-1881) who surveyed the location in 1876 as the original terminus of the Southern Pacific rail line built to Los Angeles from San Francisco. ... "

Monday, September 15, 2008

Caboose interior, late nineteenth century

From: "Malcolm Easton"

I am looking for interior drawings or sketches or descriptions of the interior of a caboose that was used in the late nineteenth century. Thanks.

—Malcolm Easton

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Protecting Railroad Payroll

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Loni Hayes-Mazzocco"

In the later part of of 1800's, did the railroad hire their own employees to protect the railroad's payroll during transport on the trains or did they hire outside the company? If outside help was contracted, what are the names of those companies?

I'm attempting research on my great-grandfather, Benjamin Daniel Hayes. My father has a six-shooter hand-gun that he was told belonged to his grandfather. He was told by his father that his father carried and used this gun when he work for the railroad protecting their payroll during transport. In the wood of the handle is carved 7-notches. The notches represent the number of men he killed while performing his job.

He was born in Shelbrock, Indiana in 1859 and moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. I am assuming that he relocated to Council Bluffs for employment with the railroad. While in Council Bluffs, he met and married my great grandmother, Nellie Margaret Hanson. He was 40 and she was 18. My father said his dad told him that his grandfather was "a tough son-of-a-bit....".

How can I go about researching this story that has been passed down for 4-generations (to my children)? I'm looking for an historical record such as a payroll log or journal that a company may have used. At this point, where would those records be stored?

I have absolutely no idea where to start my search. Any ideas or historical railroad information....such as what railroad company(s) would have been based out of Council Bluffs, Iowa between about 1870 to 1890? I would appreciate any help or suggestions.




What was the gauge of the rail used on the transcontinental railroad? What was the typical length of a straight rail? How did this rail compare to the rail used in the east?

—Dan Hally

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time"

From the Google Blog:

"... Around the globe, we estimate that there are billions of news pages containing every story ever written. And it's our goal to help readers find all of them ... Today, we're launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives. ... You’ll be able to explore this historical treasure trove by searching the Google News Archive ... "

Monday, September 08, 2008

Does the Transcontinental Railroad still exist?

From: "Lisa Goodwin"

I am a 6th grade teacher and every year when we study the transcontinental railroad and the completion at Promontory Point, a student asks me "Does the Transcontinental Railroad still exist?" Can you answer that question?

—Lisa Goodwin

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mastodon 4-8-0 Locomotive


You Have been very helpful before when I had some questions and I have another one for you. Are there any pictures of the 4-8-0 Mastodon cab #229 built by Andrew "AJ" Jackson Stevens at the Sacramento Locomotive Works in 1882? I found one picture of a loco (Boston & Maine, cab #2909, dated 1912) built back east from AJ's blueprints but these were coal burners. I did find one web site that said there were no pictures available — Do you think this is right?


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lewis Mason Clement and the Proximity Fuse

From: "Jim&Anne"

Read the article on Lewis Mason Clement [grandson of the CPRR's Lewis Metzler Clement], very interesting, tho' I always understood that the British invented the proximity fuse and it and radar components were given in exchange to the US during the war by R V Jones, after an agreement between Churchill and Roosevelt to exchange scientific information?

—Jim Eagles, Townsville, N Queensland, Australia

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Train travel from New York to Nebraska in 1923


My mother, a 17-year old German immigrant, traveling by steamship (steerage class), arrived at Ellis Island in 1923 and then boarded a train to Eustis, Nebraska. I was told that in those days the train actually stopped in Eustis. Which train would she have taken (the Burlington Northern?), what would have been her route, i.e., where would she have had to change trains, and how long would the entire train trip have taken? She was poor and had only $25 upon arrival. I imagine she would have slept in her seat, and I am wondering what she would have eaten during her long train journey. ...

Monday, September 01, 2008

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