This collection of documents related to the activities of Walter Patton Gray III, a well-known railroad historian, preservationist,
and train buff.
Walter Patton Gray III was born and grew up in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He lived in Southern California before moving to
Sacramento in 1970. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from California State University, Sacramento in 1976 and completed
graduate work in history, collections management, museum studies and administration. In 1993, he graduated from the Virginia
Management Institute program in museum management, University of Virginia.
In 1980 he married Mary Helmich and they settled in East Sacramento.
Mr. Gray was involved with the planning, development and opening of the California State Railroad Museum. He began his 20+
year career with the California State Railroad Museum by joining the staff in February of 1977 as a restoration researcher.
He became the CSRM Library Archivist in 1981, the Curator of Railroad Operations in 1985 and was named Director of the California
State Railroad Museum on October 1, 1990. In April 1998 he left CSRM to become California State Archivist and Chief, Archives
& Museum Division in the California Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento. In 2004, he became Chief of the Archaeology,
History, and Museums Division of California State Parks.
Throughout his career, Mr. Gray was actively involved with promoting railroad history and preservation. He wrote articles,
gave speeches and interviews, helped write scripts for (and appeared) on television programs and in videos expounding on railroads
and railroad preservation.
Mr. Gray joined the Sacramento Model Railroad Club in 1970 and served as its Secretary from 1971 to 1974 and President from
1976 to 1977. He belonged to numerous historical organizations including the Sacramento County Historical Society, the Knight
Foundry Corporation, the California State Historical Records Advisory Board, and was an honorary founding member of the Los
Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation.
Mr. Gray died on May 8, 2007 at age 54.
Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from
manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the CSRM Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM
as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.