Thursday, June 11, 2009
Images: NWP History and Clouds on June 10
A weathered and moss-covered Northwestern Pacific post and crossbuck proudly protects a lightly used grade crossing in Geyserville (milepost 75.8). Scores of these markers once peppered the railroad, but their numbers have dwindled to a mere handful over the years.
The colonnade and dormer of the distinctive Ukiah (milepost 114.0) depot bask in the final moments of late afternoon sun. Presently vacant and fenced off, this brick structure may be sold by the North Coast Railroad Authority and restored for other purposes in the future.
This station has been void of regularly scheduled NWP passenger trains since the last San Rafael-Eureka Redwood called on November 8, 1958.
Historically speaking, the Northwestern Pacific mainline as it is known today was created by cobbling together several predecessor railroads over a period of years. The classic board-and-batten, wood frame depot at Hopland (milepost 100.1) is a product of that era. It was built in response to the Cloverdale & Ukiah Rail Road's 1889 arrival in the region.
But the C&U would be acquired by another predecessor company - the San Francisco & North Pacific Railroad - before a single revenue train ran over the scenic 28.5-mile route between its namesake cities. Ultimately, the SF&NP was consolidated with the NWP in 1907.
Today, the depot at 25 Center Street is occupied by the Hopland Fire Department and Public Utility District.
Note: Historical data in this post was gleaned from Fred Stindt's two-volume treatment of Northwestern Pacific history and NWP company documents.