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 New Book:
Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada, 1868 & 1997:
Photographic Comparatives
by Lawrence K. Hersh

108 comparative photographs of the first transcontinental railroad
circa 1868 by Alfred A. Hart and 1997 by Lawrence K. Hersh.
CPRR Across Nevada (Cover)
Left Photo Copyright © 1998 Lawrence K. Hersh;  Right Photo Courtesy Stanford University Special Collections.
Hart Stereoview #349a.  "Scene near Deeth, Mount Halleck in distance."  (variant), right; #97349, 1997, left.

Book Review

Copyright © 1998-2000 by Lawrence K. Hersh
ISBN: 0-9677880-0-5
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 99-85908

To purchase this book from the author's webpage, click here.

Photo Courtesy Stanford University Special Collections
Photo number 281, "Reno and Washoe Range in distance, from base of Sierra Nevada Mountains," circa 1868, was taken in the late afternoon as seen by the shadows cast from the grade. Loads of fill material were used in this area, as well as other areas, to keep the grade percentage fairly consistent. In the background is the town of Reno, Nevada, which was named in honor of Civil War Major General, Jesse Lee Reno, on April 1, 1868, by Joseph M. Graham, of the CPRR. [p. 12.]

Copyright © 1998 Lawrence K. Hersh
Photo number 97281, was taken in July of 1997, from just below the "Cross" on the hill west of the downtown area, off of Fourth Street. This is quite a comparative view, showing how fast the city has grown in the last 128 years. Had the fence not been an obstacle, I would have shot this photo a little higher up on the hillside. But, I then realized I could not. The fence would have been visible in the photo. The river is now nestled within the trees.   [p. 13.]

Photo Courtesy Stanford University Special Collections
Photo number 304, circa 1868, "Looking West from Red Bluffs, Lower Canyon of Truckee River," is in my opinion one of Alfred Hart's most prized photos. This view to the west from the rock tops is spectacular, encompassing not only the railroad, but also the sweeping "S" curve of the river. The view also includes the land protrusion into the river. Again Hart's photo wagon is visible.   [p. 46.]

Copyright © 1998 Lawrence K. Hersh
Photo number 97304, taken in July of 1997, somewhat of proximity to number 304, is a view to the west. Today the same rock outcroppings as in number 304 can be seen in the foreground. The railroad has been realigned south of I-80 and old US-highway 40 that replaced the original railroad grade, is gone. The only reminder of the original river course, now still water, is supplied by a small amount of flow, under the Interstate and track.  [p. 47.]

Photo Courtesy Stanford University Special Collections
Photo number 316, "End of Track, near Humboldt Lake," circa 1868, is an excellent view to the southwest, showing a construction train stopped, headed eastbound, with lots of tents in the foreground. These tents were probably occupied by Chinese, who contribution to the construction of this railroad made the Transcontinental Railroad a reality. The railroad grade parallels the westside of Humboldt Lake.  [p. 60.]

Copyright © 1998 Lawrence K. Hersh
Photo number 97316, taken in May of 1997, shows the general spot Alfred A. Hart photographed in 1868, from atop the sandhill on the eastside of the railroad grade. This is one of my favorite photo sites. I can spend hours exploring this area, thinking only of going back in time, while standing on top of the sandhill. It appears as if the freight trail can still be seen in today's photo, as well as in number 316, foreground of photo.  [p. 61.]

Museum Bookshop

About the Book:
How many times have you imagined what a specific area once looked like, in regards to, perhaps one hundred and thirty years ago?  Specifically I wondered about the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad as it progressed across Nevada, circa 1868-1869.  Selected photographs of Alfred A. Hart those which captured the events of the period can be seen in this book, with astonishing details. I have spent the last three and a half years traveling across Nevada, during my vacation periods, to recreate the original photo locations of Hart's, with great success.  My photographic excursions included disheartening setbacks, leaving me at times inclined to abandon the entire effort. Miles from the nearest town once a gust of wind up and blew my tripod over, ruining the telephoto lens.  But, with what little faith I had left, I continued this project until its final completion.

The expression "A picture is worth a thousand words," still applies.  I can recall the feelings that overwhelmed me when I found myself at the same if not the exact spot of Alfred A. Hart, liken to a euphoric state of mind, something that happens to a few during their lifetime.  Thanks to a Higher Power, I am one of the fortunates.  Hiking along the abandoned railroad grade, across Nevada, opened new opportunities; viewing artifacts in place, sometimes next to the grade or several feet away, gave me enough encouragement to venture to the next photo location.  The memories of a thunderstorm, the smell of desert sage, horses and cattle on the range and the many friendly people along the way, still linger close to my heart.  Perhaps this book will bring enjoyment to the many who cannot venture to these areas.

About the Author:
Lawrence "Larry" Hersh, has been in Southern California for the past 54 years, growing up in the San Fernando Valley area, enjoying model railroading ever since.  His employment as a Communications Electrician has been very rewarding allowing him to construct G, HO, and O gauge layouts.

As a member of Los Angeles Live Steamers, Larry and other club members, spent many years developing the signaling and electric switch system which still exists today at LALS, at the time of this printing.

Larry is a member of the following organizations: Nevada Historical Society, Reno, Nevada;  Nevada State Museum, Carson City, Nevada;  Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, Nevada;  Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, Elko, Nevada;  California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, California; and last but not least, Los Angeles Live Steamers, Los Angeles, California.

I hope this book will bring enjoyment to your reading experience.

Lawrence K. Hersh, December 3, 1999

Courtesy Lawrence K. Hersh.

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