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Southern Pacific Bayshore Boiler Shop Group Photo, Circa 1936

Very little is known about this photo, which originally came from Eugene O'Connor, whose father Maurice was a machinist and shop foreman. Chris Hart and Walter Boland of San Francisco Trains kindly granted permission for its use here. The photo generated a fair amount of discussion after Chris circulated it for commentary, as no information came along with it.

About all that has been definitively learned is that this is the Bayshore Boiler Shop. Master Machinist Peter Sutti may be the fellow in the glasses who is partially cut off by the left edge of the photo. I would estimate that the photo was recorded about 1936 after the recall of men from depths-of-the-Depression furlough. It likely was shot at lunch or a shift change. The lack of decoration tells me that this is a retirement party for one of the men in "the ranks". Possibly that is the guest of honor standing rather gloomily on the stage in the suit and polkadot tie. In those days, age-related retirement was mandatory, and was often a sad affair for the retiree, if not necessarily for those men junior to him. The fellow on the stage with the welding goggles may be a fellow boiler boiler maker of the retiree. The accordian and drummer providing the entertainment were likely fellow employees, perhaps members of SP's official San Francisco band. You had to be at least a shop foreman to rate the full band, I would think.

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7-27-2020 - Theresa Richmond, wife of retired SP / Amtrak Engineer Earl Richmond, has identified one of the men in the photo as her Grandfather, Julian Eseban. After emigrating from Spain to the U. S., Mr. Esteban spent all but two years working as a locomotive machinist at Bayshore, and possibly for a short period at Mission Bay. He never owned a car, but instead walked the one block from his home to the Sunnyvale train station, where he caught the train to Bayshore. His wife worked at the nearby Libby Plant, which dominated the area south of the Sunnyvale depot.

click on the photo for an enlarged version

Locomotive Machinist Julian Esteban