My Dear Mrs. Judah, a subject which has often been upon my mind, and upon which I have often intended to write to you has quite recently been renewed itself with more than usual force. History is now being made for California and much of it false. You know with what studious zeal efforts have been in a certain quarter to bury the memory of Theo. D. Judah out of sight to the future reader of the history of California. You know also how some of his friends have endeavored at times to preserve that memory.
Posts specifically to the history of railroads in the Sacramento region such as the CCRR, SPNRR, SVRR, with maps and images.
After the battle to save the railroad was lost, Auburn went dormant. The town’s pride and pocket book had taken a severe beating. The only way to get out from underneath the $50,000 bond obligation was to dissolve the city. In 1868, Assembly bill 760, An Act to repeal an Act to incorporate the town of Auburn, was passed by both houses of the legislature.
Isaac Hinkle was 25 years old and working on his father’s farm in Indiana in 1880. His older brother Amos had left the farm for California and Isaac decided to follow him in 1881. By 1882 Isaac was a registered voter in Sacramento County’s Mississippi Township. In 1885 Isaac married Jessie Brown and would have a long marriage with Jessie for the next 48 years. Also in 1885 Isaac Hinkle would make his first land purchase. He bought land in the town of Ashland from John Cardwell who was a large owner of in the area for $850. Even though the land was within the Public Land Survey System of Townships and Ranges, the deed refers to original metes and bounds description before the 1865 official survey map.
While SVRR was planning the extension, Charles Lincoln Wilson incorporated a new company called the California Central Railroad in 1857 with Theodore Judah as Chief Engineer and Wilson as the appointed contractor. I have found no actual map filed, thus far, with the state by the California Central Railroad, but it’s probably floating around someplace. However, in 1864, the Central Pacific Railroad filed a map of their lower division from Sacramento to Auburn. On it the CCRR is depicted in the relative alignment indicated by the SVRR extension map.
It was a stroke of luck that I stumbled upon the original 1861 map of the Sacramento, Placer & Nevada Railroad (SPNRR) map in the California State Archives. With a digitized version of the original map, I could then compare the constructed rail line to modern roads and Folsom Lake shown on 20th century maps. While the 1861 and modern day maps don’t align perfectly, there are enough similarities to confirm suspicions of the route through the Folsom and Granite Bay areas.
I’m a typical history nerd who daydreams while driving about old trains or historical events that took place on the same road I’m driving over. The daydreams turn obsessive when I’ve read and researched about certain historical events and I can almost recreate them in my mind. A good example is the path the California Central Railroad took from Folsom to Roseville, California, in 1861. I’ve driven and walked over so much of the rail grade that is accessible, and thought about its construction and daily operations, that I finally made a video about retracing the long forgotten railroad grade.
On a warm autumn October day the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad (PSVRR) ran special short excision train trips for members of the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society. I was fortunate enough to be a guest and document the day’s activities. Just as the original railroad grade was cut by hand in the 1860’s, there are numerous volunteers that expend real physical labor to keep this historic rail line in operation. Video and photo gallery
I had always noticed Rose Springs and Rock Springs marked on maps that encompassed the south Placer county region we know today as Granite Bay. It wasn’t until Folsom Lake hit historically low water levels that what I think are Rose and Rock springs became apparent to me.
Virtually all visible signs of two dams on the Feather River along with thousands of feet of wooden flume and rock wall canal built in the 1890’s are hidden under the waters of the succeeding water project of Thermalito Lake in Oroville. Nonetheless, I was still drawn, like any amateur historian; to retrace the route […]
Sometimes the craziest ideas actually become reality. In 1870 one man proposed tunneling underneath the Sierra Nevada mountain range to ship Tahoe lake water to San Francisco. While that may seem like an audacious scheme today, similar projects were already underway in the 19th century and parts of the tunnel project under the Sierras have […]