Showing you Oregon,one post at a time. Did you know that I post the links of many of my stories and articles on the sidebar? When you have extra time, please scroll down to see more. At the bottom of this page there are links to many other blogs that I enjoy.

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My words and photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission, even on Pinterest.

~ Kathy M.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Building Railroads in Oregon

This week's  Sepia Saturday  theme is trains and/or railroads.  This is my second entry on that subject this week, the other one can be found here: Horace and Aurilla Putnam: "The Dynamite House Affair".  I'm making this one short and sweet, because my other one is so long!  But really good.

Most of the time I look at old pictures like the one below of Hood River, Oregon (c.1906)  and I think, what a neat little town.  I don't usually think of what it took to get the town to that point.  I don't consider the hard work and the infrastructure involved in building a railroad line.  This post is a short photo essay on how they built the railroads in Oregon.  I got some of the pictures off of the internet, but scanned several from the awesome book by Paul Micheal Clock called "Punk Rotten & Nasty: The Saga of Pacific Railway & Navigation Co."  The Punk Rotten and Nasty photos were taken of Oregon's Coastal Range.

Source:  U of O Library Collection

First, somebody had to figure out train routes and where to build the railroad.  The men who did that were the surveyors.  Here are some of the tools that surveyors used:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The photo below is of a surveyor's camp in 1908, located at Salmonberry, Oregon:

Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

 Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

After the surveyors got things figured out, the loggers stepped in.  They used the tools above to cut down trees large and small to pave a path for the railroad.  We used to have abundant old growth huge trees in Oregon and Washington, but barely any these days.

 Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

Sawmills were set up, and the trees were turned into lumber for the railroad ties and to build trestles (train bridges).

 Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

Then you needed workers to install the train tracks.  In the earlier years of railroad building, Chinese immigrants did much of this work.  Later on, it was the Japanese workers who made up 40% of work crews.

 Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

There was constant problem solving to be done.  I can't figure out how they were going to figure this one out.  It looks as if there is a road across the river, but the part that they already have laid down is flat and unless the train was a roller coaster ...

  Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

The trestles fascinate me.  How could something made out of wood be strong enough to hold those heavy trains?  The wooden structures needed to be replaced every 15 years or so:

  Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty
Source:  Punk Rotten and Nasty

Source:  Louis Polley Collection

So, folks, there you go.  I hope that this gives you some idea of the hard work involved in bringing the railroad to Oregon.

If you enjoyed this post, then you would love reading this book:

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Here is a link to my story about the new train station in Chemult, aptly named, if you want to take a look:

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Arkansas Patti said...

That was really interesting. I had no idea. We do take things for granted and don't question the "how" often enough.
Kind of sad that those trestles only lasted for 15 years and had to be rebuilt.

Wendy said...

I agree -- we take too much for granted. We have so much technology these days that it's just a marvel how things were built way back when. Great pictures and food for thought.

Postcardy said...

It's too bad most of the big old trees were destroyed.

barbara and nancy said...

I think I'd have a heart attact going over that giant trestle bridge. It looks like it's made of match sticks.

Little Nell said...

Thanks for the fascinating details in the railroad story. We rarely think of the work done by the early pioneers and engineers.

Wibbo said...

Fascinating images! There's no way you would have got me over that bridge - I'd have been absolutely terrified...

Alan Burnett said...

Another fascinating post. This weeks' theme image has certainly attracted a bumper crop of posts.

Bob Scotney said...

I wouldn't have fancied crossing that trestle bridge either.

Tattered and Lost said...

Indeed the history of so much of the west. I love the shot of the tents in the midst of probably what was left of an old growth forest.

Mike Brubaker said...

A super collection of images to tell a good story. The trestle bridges built on a curve are especially impressive. The felled tree is just too tragic now, even though in its time the photo was intended to impress.


It always pains me to see those old trees now gone...

That locomotive on the [impressive] trestle bridge kinda look like a toy train, doesn't it?! I guess it looks dwarfed by the bridge.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

It really is amazing all the work that went into building the track into the wilderness - I never thought about it before. And those trestles were a work of art, how did they hold those trains? Those were fascinating pictures!

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Links to My Oregon Blog Posts (Except for Central Oregon):

"Oregon Bloggers"

"Sepia Saturday, Postcard and Stamp Blogs"

"Writing and Poetry Blogs":