A note about sources

for the California & Oregon Coast Railroad.

The major constraint in producing this page was my distance - some 2500 miles - from the focal point of the investigations. Consequently, I have relied upon what I found on the Web (a surprising amount of material) and in my own personal collection of books and photos.

What I hope to get to, as conditions allow, are the microfilm copies of period Crescent City newspapers that reside in various Northern California institutions. These should prove to be a treasure trove of untapped data and insights about Hobbs, Wall & Co. in particular. The California Digital Newspaper Collection was a dry hole.

Not so for Oregon, however, as the University of Oregon's fabulously well done online Oregon Historic Newspapers provided a wealth of information about developments in Grants Pass. Likewise, C&OC proper is already well-documented by the two booklets whose images appear at the top of the main page, The Oldtimer and Ten Spikes to the rail. My task here merely was to provide additional data, particularly about the circumstances of GP&RR, for which Oregon Historic Newspapers did nicely. The site also revealed a few crucial articles about Del Norte County, as well.

The Oldtimer also provided a launching point for my Del Norte investigations. The three most fruitful online sources for HW&Co rail operations proved to be editions of Poor's Manual of Railroads at Internet Archive, California State Railroad Commission Annual Reports at both Haith Trust and Google Books and particularly valuable source for HW&Co. and other local lumbering and milling general history (including maps and a fair amount of railroad data and photos), Redwood History Basic Data at Redwood National Park's website. A fully bookmarked PDF verion of the page is HERE). Common carrier DNS behaved as the private operation it really was, and though it was undocumented by the first two sources, the third, along with a few issues of The Timberman at Haith Trust, nicely fills in some of the holes. Unfortunately, in terms of copyright law, history largely ends in 1923. A discussion of Hobbs Wall's sudden closure can be found at Humbolt State University Library's Inventory of the Redwood District Council of Lumber and Sawmill Workers Collection - Finding Aid.

New 9-23-19: A late arriving source (courtesy Jeff Moore) about which I was unaware is the small book by Berden O. Bretz entitled The Lonesome Whistle. It adds considerable humanity to both the north and south end operations, as well as disclosing that the Hume, Westbrook and Bronhoff railroad was built to 42" gauge.

For general Del Norte County history, a well-illustrated - with several railroad photographs, including Kern & Kibbe #1 - starting point is Crescent City and Del Norte County by the Del Norte Historical Society.

Locomotive and equipment rosters, the meat and potatoes of any red-blooded railfan, were synthesized from several sources, but save the Baldwin records, these were all secondary ones that rarely provided attribution.

The starting point for C&OC's ex SP locos was the two volumes that constitute the Old and New Testaments of SP Steam, Diebert and Strapac's Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Compendium and Arnold Menke's follow-up Compendium Companion. Pages from the Rogue River Courier (Oregon Historic Newspapers) sorted out the confusion about GP&RR and also provided some insight about C&OC's mysterious #127. A little-known booklet that came to me late, Chase and Helms' Pack Saddles and Rolling Wheels, provided anecdotal roster data, as well as an excellent overview of the early transportation networks in Southwest Oregon and Northwest California. C&OC #301 data came from Wurm's Hetch Hetchy and its Dam Railroad. Initial roster help was provided by old friend Jerry Lamper, a walking encyclopedia of western logging locomotive knowledge.

Accurate chronicling HW&Co's loco rosters has proved to be a puzzler, one that I have far from sorted out. Published rosters are universally inaccurate. What you see here has been cobbled together from several sources. Data for CC&SR #1 (also, by inference, #2), #3 and #4 can be viewed online in the Baldwin documents at SMU's DeGloyer Library website. An unpublished database by Connelly provided addition clarification regarding Forney #3. Rice and Echeverria's Steam in the Streets of San Francisco (also available in print) well covers ex-dummy #4. Data for #5 comes from an unpublished 2002 Globe Iron Works roster by Taubaneck and Farrell. Chase and Helms Pack Saddles and Rolling Wheels confirm it as an ex-Hume, Globe loco. DNS #6 and subsequent HW&Co Shays are well-covered (though curiously never included in published HW&Co rosters) by online resources that probably were derived from Michael Koch's seminal Titans of the Timber. The true enigma is the DNS loco that I have assigned #7, assuming that it existed. Trade journal The Timberman in 1915 and 1917 lists DNS with seven locos, but no confirming evidence has been found. Kern & Kibbe's Climax data comes from Carranco and Sorenson's Steam in the Redwoods.

New 6-2021: Jeff Moore clued us in on the enormous John T. Labbe [photo] Collection at the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives. It has proved to be a tremendous photo and data resource and has revealed the provenance for several photos already on the page.

E.O. Gibson, 5-10-2019; updated 6-2021