Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cain Rock & the Golden Spike.

October 23rd 1914: North Western Pacific Railway drives the Golden Spike at Cain Rock (east of Garberville) connecting Sausalito and Eureka by rail.

The location of the Golden spike Celebration is 1.7 miles South of Alderpoint on the main Eel River.

The top photo is the general location of the Ceremony, with Cain Rock on the lower left of the photo. There is a flat piece of ground with and old orchard just above it that can be seen clearly from the road just above Alderpoint.

The middle photo shows the perspective of Cain Rock from Alderpoint. Cain rock is in the lower right of the photo, on the inside bend of the river.

The bottom photo is a closer view of Cain rock.

The North Coast Journal on the railroad. An informative article written by Hank Simms, during the last hurrah of the Eel River Railroad, back in 2003.

Click on this link for an interesting Train trip down the Eel Canyon, Fernbridge, Trinidad, and the Golden Spike Ceremony. Historically interesting.

Some nice photos of the last of the passenger train trips up the Eel Canyon.

Mendocino County Supervisor Johnny Pinches watching one of the last loads of logs being shipped out of Island Mountain, just south of Cain Rock.

To look at the area today, it is difficult to see that this was the location of an important part of early California, and railroad history. The Golden Spike was the pin that connected Humboldt County to the rest of the world, and opened up the markets for redwood lumber. The driving of the Golden Spike was a three day celebration, with a train coming from the north and a train coming from the south. They met at Cain Rock for the Golden Spike Driving. The mayor of San Francisco and the future governor of california, James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, came on the south train and made a glorious speech.

From Wikipedia: James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, Jr. (August August 23, 1869 – June 2, 1934) was an American politician and a member of the Republican Party. He was elected to a single term as the 27th Governor of California from January 6, 1931 until his death on June 2, 1934 at the height of the Great Depression. Previously, Rolph had been Mayor of San Francisco from January 8, 1912 until his resignatin to become governor. Rolph remains the longest serving mayor in San Francisco history.


Anonymous said...

Hey! I see a pot farm!
Seriously, it's too bad someone doesn't post the old story of the log truck drivers who torched the timbers in one of the railroad tunnels between Fortuna & Miranda, causing it to collapse. What a novel way to ensure the logs travel south only by truck, huh?
Oh, the secrets you overhear on a bar stool.
"There's many a slip between the cup and the lip."

Carol said...

I love history.

Kym said...

I hadn't heard the tunnel story.

I do remember Diana Totten telling some hilarious stories about working keeping the tracks in good shape. But I can't remember the tales well. Ask her sometime if she'll tell you them. I remember laughing once til my side hurt about her and one of those railroad pump cars for workers on rail.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I had coffee with "citizen of the year" Diana Totten this morning at the Eel River Cafe. I should have asked her.

I hope the people with "high speed" watched the link on "trip down the Eel Canyon”. Especially the river, before the ‘55 and the “64 flood that filled the river with gravel.

omr said...

love that term "shoe-fly" for the railroad detours built around obstructions on the tracks.

omr said...

on that film i thought it was interesting how little water is in the river in october. i guess the dam was in place already.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I doubt that it was October on the first part of the film. The film is poorly documented and nobody even knows who filmed it at this point in time. If you look at the Golden spike ceremony you will notice that it is rainy and foggy, which seems to be different weather.

According to history, a slide came across the railroad tracts just north of Cain Rock that delayed the train coming into Eureka by several days. The slide was quickly opened, because they just pushed the mud in the river to wash away back in those days. While the train was stranded they caught fish out of the river to eat. I think there is a little bit of film that shows two ladies holding up a fish.

omr said...

good observation ernie, i skipped around as i was paying to watch.
i am still wondering about the water flow i observed in the first part, where it doesnt look much different than our summerflow. maybe this was soon after the dam went in, or a drought, or i am too busy surmising on a rainy day.

ross sherburn said...

ernie,i'm enjoying this one!makes me home sick,for those grassy hill sides and doug fir timber!!!

Ben said...

Ernie.. I just looked at a "local history" book at Dazey's coffee house. I can't remember the author's name but I sure want to get a copy. Lots of railroad stuff. Buzz or Butch or something like that. Really entertaining. Yesterday I loaded the new issue of Google Earth and it is soooo cool! You can literally fly an area (once you figure out the controls) and the resolution is improved. You go to horizontal and there are clouds in the sky! I think I'll go look at Cain Rock. Thanks for this post.

spyrock said...

i recently read the obit of john simmerly out of the local newspaper someone saved. they said that he, brother frederick and sister molly haydon were the first 3 homesteaders of the spyrock area. when the railroad came, fred built a store where the spyrock station was. there he sold brother john's meat to the railroad workers the same way their parents had sold meat to the miners at their queen city market in marysville back in 1849.
fred used have big dances at his store and people would come from miles around, potluck and dance all night to old time live music.
uncle delbert and uncle howard used to go down to the store to get what they called "railroad cookies" probably not with pot inside them grown in a railroad car. the little indians do have a picture of themselves holding up a big eagle wings spread with feathers in their hair. sometimes the kids went to school at the store and sometimes they went to school in a railcar they had converted into an emergency school. the simmerlys probably benefited from the railroad connecting them to the rest of the world and all those work crews had to eat somewhere. their stories intertwine and rise and fall together. so like ross says, its bittersweet, probably like one of those railroad cookies.

eric said...

Thanks for posting the link to Chris Guenzler's trainweb site. Brings back a lot of memories. Somewhere in storage, I have a box of photos that I shot as a kid of the Southern Pacific, Cal Western and Eureka Southern. Most of them were taken in the Willits yard, though I think I may also have some of one of ES's first passenger trains as it headed north from Willits toward Dos Rios. A lot of people lined the canyon waiting to capture "iconic" shots of the train. Also have photos from one of ES's last passenger trains, as I bought a ticket for a short trip from Willits to Dos Rios and back.

Not sure if you've seen or not, but it shows just what kind of condition the tracks are, or were in as of 2007 from Eureka and into the canyon from the north.

Ernie Branscomb said...

According to Cheri Franklin, that picture of John Pinches at the rail on Island Mountain was the last load on that rail line.
Photo by John Franklin.