Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Jose in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Steam Dummies & 25 Cents!

 
 
Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
1. Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! Marker
Inscription. In 1891, Richard Quincey, a local wood and coal dealer, began building the first rail line to Alum Rock Park. Quincey began construction on May 11, 1891 at Santa Clara Street and McLauglin Avenue. By June 26, 1891, had reached White Road and has run out of money. Quincy continued building the rail line alone with his pick and shovel until John Center came to his rescue. Center, a wealthy businessman from San Francisco, helped raise $7,500.00 for construction. On November 2, 1893, they officially formed the Alum Rock Railway Company.

The first rail cars rolled into Alum Rock Park in 1894. The first locomotive, called a steam dummy, was made to look like a streetcar. Many people thought the look of a streetcar would not frighten the horses along the roadway. Later, it was learned that it was actually the noise of the train that frightened the horses. For 25 cents, park visitors could take a ride through the ranch lands along Alum Rock Avenue. The train followed Penitencia Creek into the park, taking passengers past scenic views until they reached the park’s main picnic areas.

Alum Rock Park Interpretive Series
San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Service
 
Erected by San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.
 
Location.
Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 14, 2013
2. Steam Dummies & 25 Cents! Marker
37° 23.716′ N, 121° 49.513′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is on Penitencia Creek Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker is located near the restrooms, opposite the parking lot at the entrance to Alum Rock Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15156Penitencia Creek Road, San Jose CA 95132, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Electrification (within shouting distance of this marker); The Flood of 1911 and Broad Gauge Rails (approx. 0.6 miles away); Alum Rock Log Cabin (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Natatorium (approx. 1.2 miles away); Historic Alum Rock Park (approx. 1.3 miles away); Welcome to Alum Rock Park (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mineral Springs Grotto (approx. 1˝ miles away); San Jose High School (approx. 4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Jose.
 
Also see . . .  Railroads in the Park – the Steam Train. Select article #6.
This early little train usually consisted of just three components: a small locomotive, one passenger car and a flat car. The train was so lightweight that on its arrival at the entrance of the park, men would load rocks on the flat car to help hold the passenger car on the tracks when it crossed the bridge over Penitencia Creek. Even with this ballast, sometimes a car would slip off the tracks and dangle over the chasm. Fortunately, none ever dropped all the way to the creek bed and there were no serious injuries – yet. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 17, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 288 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 17, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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