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.
Within the rate submission was a detailed outline of the Natomas water canal along with photos of the Natomas Dam on the South Fork of the American River, the New York Ravine wooden siphon, and other pictures detailing the canals and flumes. The detailed history of the Natomas canal ownership along with a complete inventory of the structures submitted with the application for higher water rates gives a glimpse of this important gold rush era water works project.
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.
Invariably, whenever the Bureau of Reclamation releases water stored behind Folsom Dam during the winter before the reservoir is full, people across the region accuse the Bureau of mismanagement, incompetence, and wasting water. The management of Folsom reservoir is complicated. But during the winter months, the main priority of Folsom Dam is flood control. That is why the dam was built in the first place.
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
As opposed to drought shaming I decided to highlight the many properties near Folsom Lake who were going the extra mile to conserve water during our nasty drought of 2015. The Granite Bay area and the San Juan Water District retail service area have been singled out for some of the highest per capita water use in […]
Even though I had visited the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area Peninsula Campground on many occasions, I had never really hiked the established trail system at this park site until December of 2014. The trails at the Peninsula Campground are nice and wide and easily accommodate hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Developed either from old […]
If you’ve ever served on any committee you know that the topics of conversation can veer off course to peripheral discussions. At the last San Juan Water District Drought Committee meeting one of the participants threw out for discussion the possibility of San Juan Water District building their own dam for water storage. While the […]
With Gov. Brown declaring California is in an official drought, some water districts in Northern California must now get serious about making their customers conserve water. At least one water district rewards consumers for higher consumption with lower rates. With cheap water, where is the incentive to conserve?