Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Collection
CSPA-335  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (68.54 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Collection
    Date (inclusive): 1897-2011
    Date (bulk): (bulk dates 1982-1989)
    Collection number: CSPA-335
    Creator: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
    Extent: 2.5 linear feet, including 1 map folder.
    Repository: California State Parks
    McClellan, California 95652
    Abstract: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a functional steam-powered locomotive passenger attraction and railyard and is located in Jamestown, Tuolumne County. The Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Collection is arranged in twelve series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Meeting Minutes, 3. Financial Documents, 4. Interpretative Material, 5. Histories, 6. Subject Files, 7. Ephemera, 8. Cartographic Material, 9. Photographic Material, 10. Publications, 11. Media, and 12. Reports. Items span the years 1897 to 2011, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1982 to 1989.
    Physical Location: California State Parks Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in this collection: English

    Access

    The collection is open for research. Cultural and archaeological site maps are restricted. Reports with sensitive data may be restricted. Consult repository for details.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult the California State Parks Archives archivist. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Parks Archives, McClellan as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Parks Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Collection, CSPA-335: [box: folder number], California State Parks Archives, McClellan, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Railtown 1897 SHP donated this collection in 2001.

    Processing Information

    Megan Lohnash processed this collection and created and encoded its finding aid in 2015.

    Administrative History

    Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a functional steam-powered locomotive passenger attraction and railyard and is located in Jamestown, Tuolumne County. There are thirty-two historic structures and rail cars on the Railtown 1897 SHP property. The State of California acquired the Jamestown railyard property and rolling stock from Sierra Railway in 1982 by legislative mandate.
    The Sierra Railway Company of California was founded by Thomas S. Bullock, Andre Poniatowski, and William H. Crocker in 1897. The original line running from Oakdale to Jamestown was completed during that year. The Sierra Railway Company of California ran both freight and passenger services to the communities along its rail line. The rail line eventually grew to include Angels Camp, Tuolumne City, Arnold, and Sonora. The park has been used as scenery for films and television series' since the 1920s. However, this did not prevent the Sierra Railway from economic hardship during the Great Depression when the company went into receivership in the 1930s. In 1935, Sierra Railway underwent reorganization and became the Sierra Railroad Company. In 1939, routine passenger services were discontinued.
    Sierra Railroad purchased its first diesel locomotives in 1955, prompting the retirement of the Jamestown Depot as a working facility. Steam enthusiasts were able to charter steam excursion trains from 1957-1963, but this service was discontinued due to a derailment in 1963. Motion picture companies continued to utilize the facilities and equipment as scenery during the 1960s, as operational steam-powered engines became increasingly rare. Public interest continued to grow during this period. Sierra Railroad Management decided in the late 1960s to use the Jamestown Depot and rolling-stock to enter into the tourism business. Railtown 1897, a historically themed tourist attraction on the Jamestown Depot property featuring steam powered train rides, opened for business in 1971. Unfortunately, this venture was not profitable and the Sierra Railroad discontinued passenger services January 1, 1980.
    The State acquired the property in 1982. It later transferred ownership of the Railtown 1897 property to the California Department of Parks and Recreation in 1983. Soon after, Parks sought out a concessionaire to handle the day to day operations, maintenance of the property, and rolling-stock. Over the course of operations there have been four concessionaires: the Pacific Locomotive Association, Western Railroad Service, Inc., the Sierra Railway Company of California, and the California State Railroad Museum and Foundation. The California State Railroad Museum and Foundation has operated the concessions at Railtown 1897 SHP since 1992.

    Scope and Content

    The Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Collection is arranged in twelve series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Meeting Minutes, 3. Financial Documents, 4. Interpretative Material, 5. Histories, 6. Subject files, 7. Ephemera, 8. Cartographic Material, 9. Photographic Material, 10. Publications, 11. Media, and 12. Reports. Items span the years 1897 to 2011, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1982 to 1989.
    Series one, Correspondence, consists of correspondence and memorandum related to the opening of the park and the start of operations between Railtown employees, regional Parks employees, and other state government officials spanning the years of 1982-1984. Series two, Meeting Minutes, consists of records from one meeting dated January, 7 1983. Series three, Financial Documents, consists of documents, correspondence and memorandum dated 1982-1987 related to financial planning, allocation of funds, settlement distribution, project scope and budget estimate.
    Series four, Interpretative Material, consists of one interpretive document summarizing the history of Railtown 1897 SHP. Series five, Histories, consists of an application to become a historical point of interest, Action Synopsis, drafts of cultural reports, and excerpts and indexes from various historical publications. Series six, Subject files, is subdivided into nine subseries: 1995 Historic Restoration, Centennial Celebration, Concessions-Pacific Locomotive Association, Concessions- Western Railroad Service Inc., Sierra Railway Company of California, National Register of Historic Places, Roundhouse Drainage System, and Train Rides California State Railroad Museum. Series seven, Ephemera, contains press releases, pamphlets, and a Kids Fun Book. Series eight, Cartographic Material, contains maps and diagrams.
    Series nine, Photographic Material, consists of photographs, negatives and slides of Railtown 1897 facilities. Series ten, Publications, consists of two magazines and news clippings relating to Railtown and the Sierra Railroad at Jamestown. Series eleven, Media, consists of three digital video discs. Series twelve, Reports, consists of inventories, evaluations, closure study, and historic structure reports dating from 1981 to the present.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California--History
    California, Northern
    Sierra Railroad
    Historic warehouses
    Freight cars
    Jamestown (Calif.)
    Locomotives
    Motion pictures-- Setting and scenery
    Museums and motion pictures
    Railroad
    Railroad cabooses
    Railroad cars
    Railroad dining cars
    Railroad passenger cars
    Railroad rails
    Railroad repair shops
    Railroad shops & yards
    Railroad stations
    Railroad trains
    Railroad travel
    Railroad yards
    Railroads--Freight
    Railroads-- Rolling stock
    Roundhouse (Railroads)
    Railroads--Freight--United States
    Railroads-- Rolling stock--United States
    Steam-engines
    Steam-engines--History

    Related Collections

    California State Railroad Museum Collection CSPA-372
    Old Sacramento State Historic Park Collection CSPA-372