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Progress ? No & Yes
Progress ? No & Yes
In the 1980's Mr.Bob Dinsmore put the Laws Railroad Museum on the National Registry of Historic places,Excluded from the list was a earth ramp with a wood bulkhead,Installed in 1940 by the Pumilite Co. to load non metalic minerals onto the narrow gauge it was in use until 1960.
Also excluded was a old wooden caboose that had been brought to the museum site in the late 1950's
This caboose was used as a station for a time in Millers, Nevada,before that it was the Private car of Mr. R.J. Laws(That name ring any bells?)&before that it was the Private car of H.M.Yerington.( That name ring any bells?)& before that it was Carson & Colorado Combine Caboose #2 built back in 1880 at a cost of Aproximately $3,500.00
in 1983 when I met at the Museum with Several Members of a group -the SPNG Society We did some vollenteer work at the Museum for a week, We also had a sit down with Mr. Dinsmore The Museum was thinking about removeing the ramp. We told Him as Members of the B.M.& H.S. " Don't You Even think about it- It was used by the RAILROAD it is therefore important to Us & future generations. In 1991 I returned for a visit & while giving a tour to a friend I noticed something was missing.
I looked out from the back platform of Caboose 401
& the Ramp was gone. I personally went & talked to Alice & was told the Board removed the ramp for " liability reasons" Her & Past Museum President & then by this time- Assistant Administrator Howard H. Got a Ass Chewing from me.There were other options like putting a fence around the ramp instead of destroying & removeing it.10 years ago in 1995 C&C # 2 was sold to a private individual for $5,000.00. The Museum board got another Ass Chewing from Several people this time.the money was used to finish a wagon barn at the Museum.The Museum 's excuse was " We Don't have any money" but they had enough money to bring in the following Buildings- A old Catholic Church,A School,A Ranch House,A General Store,A Building to House a old Hearse & branding Irons,The Laws Post Office & the PostMistresses house (The Only 2 buildings indiduous to the town of Laws) A Miners cabin to house old stoves, a building to house a print shop,another to House Pioneer displays, another to house 4 vehicles,another house to house a barbershop,Doctors office, Dentist office,Optomitrist & Pharmacy,A Shop,several small buildings - a tool house, a Garge, A couple more miners cabins, While in the mean time original buildings & structures ,ect, had " Defered Maintenance" Which means - non at all.& basicly allowed to deteriorate except in a few instantces Like the Agents house & Deopot reroofed,The Agents house painted inside & out, The Depot dock being rebuilt & the Main building foundation jacked up & cement installed to keep it from settling.# 9 & display train painted,& I was allowed to "adopt" # 9 & did work on cosmetic restoration. I bought replacement gauges,classification lights,Had the seats reapholstered, Rebuilt the cab windows & put glass in them & recently gave her a touch up paint job. The Tallwater Pump House restored & painted.
Also in the 1980's A local man who had the money & was a Museum board Member was willing to Restore # 9 to fully opperational condition & buy the materials to lay track from Laws into Bishop.
The only thing He wanted in return was that the Museum would bring in 1 building to house some Family artifacts- The other Board Members shot that idea down & the 1 Resigned in disgust. Finally in 1994 a group got together to revive the Idea- Again the Museum said " We dont have any money" A committee was formed to restore Death Valley # 5, a modle 55 Brill car built in 1927 for the Death Valley Railroad That opperated between Death Valley Junction & Ryan.The Self propelled car was to be used to promote tourism in Death Valley. In 1931 with the Great Depression tourism was out, & the car was sold to the U.S. Potash Co. & wound up in New Mexico. In 1968, The car was brought back to Inyo County & donated to the Museum.Where it sat until the mid 1980s when some cosmetic restoration was attemped.I was in Fresno, & being a life member of the Museum recieved a bullitin about the Group wanting to Restore & opperate the car between Laws & Bishop.On July 3rd, 1996 I boarded a Greyhound bus after putting everything in storage. Arriving in bishop at 1:15 am. on July 4th. I lived with my Mother in a 32' motor home,got a job doing Landscape Maintenance & Returned to the Museum on weekends to do research.
& joined the Owens Valley Railroad Committee of the Laws Railroad Museum.The Committe was trying to get a Federal InterState Transportation Enhancement Activity's Grant or I.S.T.E.A. for short.To get this grant the Committe was told it would have to come up with $16,000.00 & that the County would Kick in $10,000.00 of " In Kind Services" for a total of $26,000.00 for a match of $220,000.00 this was to Build a Barn to House & work on the car, Track from the Barn to existing track,Restoration of our Hand opperated TurnTable so that it could be used in the future -
My opinion was & still is if your going to spend the time & money,Then Restore it so it would Handle # 9 which wieghs in fully loaded at 82 tons,that way if at a future date # 9 were to be restored the TurnTable could be used on a regular basis. The Brill car wieghs only 18 tons.Also in this Grant the Stabilization of the Watertank & Oil tank. The Water Tank was rebuilt by the Southern Pacific in 1902. The Oil Tank was Built in 1910. The $16,000.00 was raised by selling " Seat Sponserships" 1 seat= $500.00 for that donation the "Sponcer" is to have thier name on a plaque & free ridership for life on the car.I was 1 of 40 seat sponcers.The Committe got tha Matirials to build a rough facsimily of a Carson & Colorado style Engine house I was Sub Committee chairman of "Research,Education, & Documentation"The Committe went & got the Rail,& I in 1999 bought 4 switch stands on one occasion,several Spike pulling bars,Spike Mauls & another small switch stand & donated them.I helped build the train barn & Was in charge of laying the track from the train barn to the Oil spur.I helped dismantle a siding we purchased,& laid aproximatly 300'of aproximatly 950'of track by myself.The Train Barn was built for a cost of aproximatly $18,000.00 useing materials salvaged from 3 old Hay barns,& Dedicated in Nov.1999.The brill car was rolled into the barn & Restoration commenced on April 15th,2000. I put in 200 man hours on the dissasembly & documentation phase but was primarily working on trackwork in the yard.On Sept 15th, 2000 I was hired on as a caretaker & vollenteered my time on my days off.
On July 2nd & 3rd ,2004 after almost 4-1/2 years of work,8,000 man hours with about 10-12 people total that worked on the car,& aproximatly $80,000. in Grant funds, Death Valley # 5 rolled out of the train barn under its own power with a new Cummings 6 cylinder diesel engine & for the 2 days of the rollout we hauled some 487 people back & forth in the south end of the yard & in the 2 days travelled a total distance of 9.22 miles- The most anything has run in the Laws Yards in 45 years.Last Year between Sept & Nov.2004, 2 Museum Board Members Shot Grade elevations & rough graded for the track up to the Depot & I was in charge of the C.D.F. Crews rebuilding the House track up to the Depot that had been removed in 1960.& I was the one who test drove the Brill car over this new 500' of track several times to make sure it was good.Due to the cost of insurance, The brill car has only been up to the Depot on display a couple of times & only has 51 hours on the engine since restoration was completed. The rest of the time it sits in the train barn on display.
11/28/2005 8:39 am
Thank You Flyaway,For stopping by & taking the time to read & comment. Yes my heart is here & it is Heavy right now.There are those here at this place I love ,value & hold very dear,who have eyes but are blind ,ears, but are deaf,Hearts that are hard & cannot nor will not understand.|