Jamestown in Tuolumne County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The railroad served many Mother Lode mines and was a trunk line for the Sugar Pine (Pickering), Westside, and Hetch-Hetchy Railroads. It played a vital role in hauling materials and supplies used to build the Don Pedro, Melones, O’Shaughnessy, and Tri-Dam Projects.
The State Historic Resources Commission unanimously voted Railtown 1897 and the 56-mile Sierra Railroad eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, August 7, 1981.
Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. approved the appropriation and the following members of the legislature sponsored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 56 (April, 1981) which directed Railtown 1897 be acquired as a unit of the State Park System.
The first President of Friends of the Sierra Railroad, Stanley F. Cassasa (1912 – 1981) and Legislative Lobbyist Marie (Sandy) Green (1930 – 1981) are honored for dedication to preservation of Railtown 1897 and the railroading era represented.
Erected 1982 by Friends of the Sierra Railroad.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1897.
Location. 37° Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jamestown CA 95327, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sierra Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Sierra Railway Shops (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jamestown United Methodist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. James Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); National Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ramirez – Preston Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); Jamestown (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Emporium – 1897 (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jamestown.
More about this marker. This is a fee use site and the marker is located inside of the park area.
Regarding “Railtown 1897”. Information posted on museum display:
Built to serve the mining and timber industries of California’s Mother Lode, construction of the Sierra Railway from Oakdale to Jamestown in 1897 brought reliable transportation to the region for the first time. The line was extended to Sonora in 1899. By 1900, the Sierra connected with the West Side Flume & Lumber Company in Tuolumne City.
A 19-mile branch to Angels Camp was completed in 1902 and served neighboring Calaveras County
The Sierra established its headquarters and maintenance shops in Jamestown, now site of the Railtown 1897, the Historic Sierra Railway Shops. Most of the structures were built between 1897 and 1922, when the last major additions and improvements were made. When the Sierra converted to diesel locomotives in 1955 a small shop was built in Oakdale. The Jamestown shops remained intact, serving the occasional needs of the motion picture and television industries.
The facility opened for tours and regular train rides in 1971. In 1982, the 26-acre site and collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock were purchased by the State of California for inclusion in the State Park System, thus preserving one of North America’s last surviving steam-era railroad facilities.
Railtown 1897 is operated by the California State Railroad Museum, a part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation
The Sierra Railroad has been one of Hollywood’s favorite locations for nearly 80 years. Beginning with the filming of a silent serial in 1919, Sierra’s trains have been featured in well over 200 productions ranging from big-budget Westerns to television commercials.
Although several Sierra locomotives have been used in films over the years, No.3 is the line’s undisputed star. It has appeared in more pictures than any other engine in the world. Built in 1891 and purchased by the Sierra in 1897, the “three-spot” is perhaps best known to the general public as the “Hooterville Cannonball” – the locomotive of the popular 1960s television series “Petticoat Junction.”
Number 3’s classic design allows it to be easily adapted to various eras through the use of “make-up.” Different styles of smokestacks and headlights, as well as paint and lettering appropriate to a film’s setting are applied. In addition, the oil-burning No.3 is often seen with a wood pile covering the oil tank on the tender, a cosmetic feature meant to give the engine an older appearance.
[ Sierra #3 has recently undergone a total restoration and was out of commission for 14 years. See “Also
Also see . . .
1. Railtown 1897. The official website of the State Historic Park with links to additional information. The California State Railroad Museum (CSRM), headquartered in Old Sacramento, assumed responsibility for Railtown 1897 State Historic Park on July 1, 1992. (Submitted on June 27, 2010.)
2. Sierra No. 3. Wikipedia article (Submitted on January 3, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,960 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on June 27, 2010, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.