Friday, January 30, 2009

Japanese travelers in 1884 - Goryo (or Gihei) Hamaguchi

From: "Shiraiwa Mas"

I am writing this from Japan to find out whether you have any information on Japanese travelers in 1884. Or who might have such information. I am studying our local hero who was described as "A Living God" in Lafcadio Hearn's book published in 1897. Based on the limited information available for his trip to the U.S., he left California on October 20, 1884 and met some representatives from the Mormon church ... in Salt Lake City on Oct. 22. He continued traveling to New York via Omaha, Chicago and Niagara. Unfortunately, he died on April 21, 1885 in New York City.

He was Goryo (or Gihei) Hamaguchi and the seventh president of Yamasa Corporation (Japanese soy sauce manufacture). He saved many villagers from a big Tsunami in 1854 by setting fire to rice sheaves. He also established a school for the village in 1852 and served for the country as a minister of postal and telecommunication. Here is a picture of him at the Niagara Falls with his company.

—Mas Shiraiwa

Goryo (or Gihei) Hamaguchi

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Passenger cars in 1871

From: "Stephanie Whitson"

I am a fiction author working on her 18th published novel and have searched for hours to discover what a passenger car on the UP looked like in 1871. I have an emigration society leaving from St. Louis headed to a fictional town in western Nebraska ... but I don't know how to accomodate them. They do NOT have a Pullman palace car. Just a normal passenger car. Can you help me?

Main questions: How many passengers per car? Were the seats padded at all or wooden benches? Did the windows go "up" and "down" Would smoke from the engine have been problem inside the car if the windows were down?

Thank you for any guidance you can provide.

Stephanie Grace Whitson

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Exploration for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific volumes 2 and 5

From: "Bruce Montgomery"

I have the above two volumes [from the Pacific Railroad Surveys] and wanted to know more about them, so I was pleased to see the entire set on your web site. Both are in fairly good condition and I would like to keep them so. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, if you might know of a place which might estimate their worth. I'm not interested in selling but just knowing what I have.

—Bruce Montgomery

Feeder line of the Southern Pacific's Sacramento Southern RR


I am researching background information on the SP Southern RR feeder line from Hood to Walnut Grove CA. Specifically on the section that crossed the tule marshes at Delta Meadows. What type of trestle crossed over the marshes, and if any photos exist of the area. Is this the line that had the McKeen Motor Cars on it? Was the line abandoned in 1957? or earlier? & finally what was Locke's role in the RR line.

—Bill Van der Ven

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy 25th birthday, Macintosh!

Apple's Macintosh Computer turns 25 today. Originally released on January 24, 1984, this breakthrough commercial success was later copied by Microsoft and became the prototype for all current personal computers. Congratulations to the late Jef Raskin on the long term success of his Macintosh project at Apple, an innovation which changed the world.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

100 Years later: Golden Spike ceremony in May 1969

From: "Jim Vincent"

I took part in the Golden Spike ceremony in May 1969. I was in the military and was part of the color guard. I believe John Wayne (actor) was there also.

Do you have any pictures or other things ...

—Jim Vincent, U S Navy (ret)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Presentation cane


I am enclosing two pictures of the cane I mentioned ... The story, as I got it from another party, checks out a little. First, he bought it at the Cancer Society thrift store. I checked this out, and it was true. But there was no way the Discovery Store could go back through its records to find out which lot it came in. The next part is a little fuzzy. but consistent with the stories that the seller often tells. He had a lady who lives near him do some on-line research. He had it in a folder which he was going to give to me, but someone broke into his car and stole everything. The lady who did the research, subsequently became [annoyed] at him and won't retrieve the information from her computer. But, as he recalls the research, J.C. Turley, the man who presented the cane, was an engineer on the Central Pacific Railroad, and he was the engineer when the railroads meet in Promontory. Of course, he could have worked for the Union Pacific, been an engineer on either railroad, on any leg of the route. Or had nothing to do with the railroad!

Some information I have come across is the following:

There was a J.C. Turley living in Elk Grove in 1873. He was an officer in the A.O.U.W. either the Ancient Order of United Workers or the American Order of United Workers.

The 1880 Sacramento County directory has a John Turley, b. 1833, Ireland, blacksmith, married.

There was a John Conran, b. 1833, Ireland, hotel keeper, married. John Conran is listed as the propietor of the Eldred House, 1010 K Street from 1879-1886

The cane has a California laurel handle, a redwood base, and a gold ring in between, inscribed J.C. Turley to John Conran, October 1, 1885.

I'll appreciate anything you can provide. The cane was a very special gift and there probably was a significant reason for the presentation.

—Steve Abbott

presentation cane

presentation cane

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is there any part of the transcontinental railroad that is still used today?

From: "Harriett Gillham"

Is there any part of the transcontinental railroad that is still used today?

I think I read that only the part from the 20th century early rebuild is left.

Harriett Gillham
American Studies English teacher
Kennesaw Mountain High School

Friday, January 09, 2009

What were conditions like for passengers?

From: "School Marm"

What were conditions like for passengers? Were there sleeping and dining cars? If so, what types of food were served in the dining cars? What were the prices for tickets, with sleepers, without, etc?


Thursday, January 01, 2009

SPRR stop known as Lemay, Utah


As a child in the 1950's, my family lived at a SPRR stop known as Lemay, Utah. Why is there no mention of this location on historical maps?

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