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Part 10: Ernie Kiesel

Updated: 8-22

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xxxOrder of page images: 092, 154, 179, 137, 183, 140
click on images for larger versions


Engineer Ernie Kiesel

Ernest R. Kiesel was born in Tacoma, Washington on January 23, 1905 and moved to California sometime after 1920. He became a locomotive fireman on the SP's Coast Division on October 2, 1923, but the Great Depression set-back his promotion to engineer until June 26, 1941. Over the course of his career he worked on the entire division, but maintained his home in San Jose, where he worked his later years running Commute engines. His retirement date is unknown, but he performed about fifty years of service. He assumed stewardship of the Seventh St. Diesel Shop photo collection sometime in the early 1970's under unknown circumstances, and his donation to HSJ seems to have been augmented with many other photos. Ernie had a wife, Gladys (Wilson) and an unknown number of children. He passed away on May 20, 1990.


1978-152-3-092

date: circa 1942-44

location: likely Bayshore Yard

photographer:

print: 4.75" x 7" portrait b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:


comments:
Although Ernie is approaching forty years old, he has only been a "promoted" engineer since 1941, even though he hired out at age 18 as a fireman. The Depression caused many fireman to remain unpromoted for 15-20 years.

Train #2-766 was the second section of the daily Los Angeles to Bayshore freight, which Ernie took over at Watsonville Junction. The headlight visor seen here was applied to locomotives during WWII to shroud the headlight from enemy airplanes.

The fireman is unknown.

Ernie Kiesel and fireman in front of locomotive


1978-152-3-154

date: 1-21-50

location:

photographer:

print: 3.5" x 4.5" landscape b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:


comments:
"Yellowjacket" was the nickname used by Coast enginemen when referring to what is more commonly known outside the craft as "Daylight" locomotives.

Ernie Kiesel standing beside "Yellowjacket" locomotive


1978-152-3-179

date: circa 1953

location:

photographer:

print: 2.75" x 4.5" landscape b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:


comments:
The new-hire-appearing fireman may be D.C. Hill, whose fireman service date was 7-17-53.

Ernie Kiesel and green fireman


1978-152-3-137

date: 6-55

location: San Luis Obispo

photographer: H. L. Kelso

print: 8" x 10" portrait b&w

obverse data:
"Train #91 July 1955 S.L.O., Fireman Sullivan, Engineer Kiesel

reverse data:
stamped: "H. L. Kelso, 6602 Sixth Ave., Los Angeles, Calif." handwritten: "7-55"
comments:
H.L. Kelso shot this photo and images #138 and #139 (Part 7 pg. 2) of Kiesel's train that day.

Engineer Kiesel and Fireman Sullivan in cab of #91


1978-152-3-183

date: circa 1940's

location:

photographer:

print: 4" x 6" landscape b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:


comments:

Ernie Kiesel in locomotive cab with unknown fireman


1978-152-3-140

date: circa 1969

location: 7th St. Diesel Shops / 3rd & Townsend depot, San Francisco

photographer: Kiesel's fireman?

print: 8" x 10" landscape b&w contact print

comments:
These images listed below come from an 8x11 contact print of 2 1/4" square negatives, as seen at right. The enlargements below are given letter suffixes to distinguish between them, and have been re-arranged in approximate chronological order.

Ernie Kiesel horsing around with unknown engineer


1978-152-3-140i

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:
Most of the photos on the engineers' room wall in the background later became part of the Kiesel Collection.

Although his identity is unknown, Ernie's friend's choice of headgear undoubtedly elicited derisive commentary from his fellows as well as a knickname such as Commodore, Commander, or Captain.

Ernie Kiesel and unkown engineer sitting in front of photos at Seventh Street


1978-152-3-140e

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Ernie Kiesel and unkown engineer standing in front of photos at Seventh Street


1978-152-3-140c

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:
The empty office suggests that these photos were taken on a weekend.

Unknown engine crew caller at desk


1978-152-3-140a

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Ernie Kiesel and unknown in front of Commute loco #3029


1978-152-3-120f

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Ernie Kiesel and unknown horsing around on loco steps


1978-152-3-140j

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Ernie Kiesel in fireman's seat


1978-152-3-140l

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Unknown engineer salutes while departing Seventh Street Shops


1978-152-3-140h

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:

Unknown engineer waves on way to 3rd & Townsend depot


1978-152-3-140k

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:
Photo recorded at
bottom end of 3rd & Townsend depot yard where today's freeway offramp crosses over the tracks (note support pilons under construction).

Unknown engineer departing depot with train #118


1978-152-3-140g

data: see 1978-152-3-140, above

comments:
Seventh Street Diesel Shop was located directly behind photographer. Note buses parked along Seventh Street in front of the Greyhound terminal. Foreground automobile may be a 1969 Plymouth Valiant.

Train #118 crossing King Street