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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Modern Card / Past Event

At almost precisely 5:12 a.m., local time, a foreshock occurred with sufficient force to be felt widely throughout the San Francisco Bay area. The great earthquake broke loose some 20 to 25 seconds later, with an epicenter near San Francisco. Violent shocks punctuated the strong shaking which lasted some 45 to 60 seconds. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada. The California earthquake of April 18, 1906 ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Today, its importance comes more from the wealth of scientific knowledge derived from it than from its sheer size. Rupturing the northernmost 296 miles (477 kilometers) of the San Andreas fault from northwest of San Juan Bautista to the triple junction at Cape Mendocino, the earthquake confounded contemporary geologists with its large, horizontal displacements and great rupture length. Indeed, the significance of the fault and recognition of its large cumulative offset would not be fully appreciated until the advent of plate tectonics more than half a century later. Analysis of the 1906 displacements and strain in the surrounding crust led Reid (1910) to formulate his elastic-rebound theory of the earthquake source, which remains today the principal model of the earthquake cycle.
I learned this from Wikipedia about the company that owned the train lying on its side in the picture on the post card as well as about the engine itself. “The North Pacific Coast Railroad was a common carrier 3 ft narrow gauge steam railroad begun in 1874. It operated in the northern California counties of Marin and Sonoma. The trains carried redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products, express and passengers. The NPC operated almost 93 mi of track that extended from a pier at Sausalito (which connected the line via ferry to San Francisco) and operated northwest to Duncans Mills and the Cazadero . The NPC became the North Shore Railroad on March 7, 1902. In 1907 the North Shore Railroad became part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad.” Regarding the engine, it was built by the Brooks Locomotive Works as a 4-4-0 classification engine in 1891; so it was about 15 years old when the earthquake hit. When the Railroad changed hands in 1907, it was re-numbered (so they were able to save it!) to #92.

This, of course, led me to the history of the Brooks Locomotive Works on Wikipedia: When the New York and Erie Railroad (NY&E) relocated its shops facilities from Dunkirk, New York, to Buffalo in 1869, Dunkirk lost its largest employer. Coming to the city's rescue was Horatio G. Brooks (1828–1887), the former chief engineer of the NY&E who was at the controls of the first train into Dunkirk in 1851. In 1869, Brooks leased the Dunkirk shops facility from the NY&E and formed the Brooks Locomotive Works. The 1890s brought another period of depressed sales following another financial crisis. The company produced 226 new locomotives in 1891, but only 90 new locomotives in 1894. Brooks was not able to recover business as easily and the company was merged with several other manufacturers in 1901 to form the American Locomotive Company.

This is all that is left of the railroad:


I found this about Point Reyes Station, where the picture on this post card was taken. “Along Main Street, which is A Street, is also Highway 1 but is marked as Shoreline Highway, most of the north-facing facades date to the railroad era. The architecture is vaguely Italianate-- many of the early town fathers were Northern Italian immigrants or Italian speaking Swiss. The most imposing edifice is the brick Grandi Building, built in 1915. Although empty now, it once housed a grand hotel, ballroom, and general store. Down the street, the wood-sided Point Reyes Emporium (1898) survived the 20th Century beautifully. The railroad switching yard occupied the facing area. Here, once standard gauge rails were laid from Sausalito, loads had to be shifted to and from the narrow gauge cars that still ran north up to the Russian River. Ultimately, the old depot was turned and moved and is now the post office. The old engine house stands too; it's the burnt-red structure a block off the highway from the gas station.” This was taken from the website: http://www.pointreyes.org/pointreyes-marin-county.html
The post card is actually from the Modern Era. There is a date on the back that tells us that this post card was printed after 1990 by the Inverness Foundation. It was published by the Jack Mason Museum in Inverness, California. You can go their website here: http://www.jackmasonmuseum.org/about.html but you will have to cut and paste the address into your internet search engine.

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