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Monday, January 22, 2018

99 years Ago Today

I write this posting today with very mixed feelings. Later today we will be attending the memorial service for my best friend of almost 40 years. I met him while I was still a student in Berkeley, California. When I moved to Edmonton we picked up the relationship very quickly and we soon became best buddies, getting into all sorts for mischief. Today is his 78th birthday, so the memorial will be a celebration of him and his life! The other feeling is one based on the fact that our middle grandchild turns 9 years old today. She is a smart, caring young lady with a sharp sense of humour. So, today I am dedicating this post to both of these marvelous people.

This post card is a picture of the train ferry “Solano”. Until its sister ship, the “Contra Costa”, was built it was the largest train ferry in the world. The two of them carried train traffic from Benicia (the third capital city of California from February 4, 1853 to February 25, 1854) and Port Costa in California (a trip that was perhaps less than two miles). It is a body of water known as the Carquinez Strait on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay where the Sacramento River empties into the Bay. Today, the former ferry route is framed by Solano County on the north, Contra Costa County on the south, Interstate 80 on the west and Interstate 680 on the east.

Although you can’t see it in this post card, the “Solano” was a double side wheel paddleboat.
It was constructed, owned and operated by the Central Pacific Railroad to ferry trains on the transcontinental line (it was on this route that the golden spike was driven in Utah on May 10, 1869) to and from the San Francisco Bay Area. Once the transcontinental railroad reached the sea level ferry crossing at Benicia, it was moved onto the “Solano” to be transported across the strait to Port Costa.

The “Solano”, which was built in 1878 in Oakland, California, was named for the county in which Benicia sits. It was 424 feet (129 m) long and 116 feet (35 m) wide and was capable of carrying entire passenger trains or a 48-car freight train and locomotive. It was in service from 1879 to 1930. By 1927, the “Solano” had reached its maximum capacity. On May 31, 1928 the Southern Pacific, successor to the Central Pacific in operations of the ferry, authorized construction of a railroad bridge from Benicia to Martinez just east of Port Costa. The railroad bridge opened in November 1930 and continues to serve the Union Pacific and Amtrak railroads.

Following the opening of the railroad bridge, most of the “Solano” was dismantled and sold for scrap. However, what does remain of the “Solano” can be seen today where it was scuttled to create a breakwater in the San Joaquin River near Antioch, California east of its old route.
I am sad to say that I know absolutely nothing about the printer or publisher of the card!

I will try to make up for this lack of knowledge, by telling you what very little I know about the town in France to which it was mailed exactly 99 years ago today:

The village of Quittebeuf is a small village located north of France. The town of Quittebeuf is located in the department of Eure of the french region Haute-Normandie. The town of Quittebeuf is located in the township of Évreux-Nord part of the district of Évreux. The altitude of the city hall of Quittebeuf is approximately 140 meters. The Quittebeuf surface is 13.45 km ². The latitude and longitude of Quittebeuf are 49.107 degrees North and 1.012 degrees East. Please do not confuse this town with Quillebeuf, which is very close by!!

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.