Redwood City native, Reginald "Reg" McGovern is best known as an award winning newspaper photographer, recorded music producer, and author, but he also has contributed a unique set of photographs of the Sacramento Northern Railroad. In the early 1950s, Reg obtained permission from the Western Pacific to ride on the SN freight motors where he produced a series of pictures as seen from the view of the conductor of the train. Many of his pictures of the SN have appeared in the books published about the railroad.
San Francisco native Arthur Lloyd has dedicated his entire life to issues of travel and transportation, and, in particular, to improve passenger rail service in the US. Prior to his graduation from UC Berkeley in 1948, he had already served as a Yard Clerk at the San Francisco & Napa Valley Railroad, and as a Partner in the Sequoia Stages/Eastshore Bus Line. Art's post-WW II photographs of the Sacramento Northern are found in all books written on the subject, but his interests in railroads went far beyond that.
Many of the photographs of the Sacramento Northern Railway on this WEB site are from the Tom Gray Collection. As a hobby, he photographed many U.S. electric interurban and transit railways along with steam mainline and shortlines and many with diesel operation. His home town is Burlingame, but he has lived for many years in San Francisco. In the early 1950s he served four years with the U.S. Navy and graduated from San Francisco State College in 1956. He then had worked for many years doing office work in several capacities in the freight forwarding business.
Although he claims he was just having fun, Alameda native John Harder was already recording rail history at age 10 with his buddy, electric rail and ferry aficionado-to-be, Harre Demoro. As the SN and Key System were winding down operations in 1957-1958, John produced striking testaments to the rail lines with images of final fan trips, empty right-of-ways, and finally stark views after abandonment.
William T. Larkins
Bakersfield native, and Oakland adopted son William T. "Bill" Larkins has been photographing aircraft for over 75 years. He is the author or co-author of 9 books on the subject of aviation history, and his photos can be found on numerous WEB sites on the internet. He continues to assemble information that will allow for the complete and correct identification of the aircraft in the photos he has taken and collected.
My good friend of 70 years, Roger Kenneth Heller, born February 17, 1922 in Beach, North Dakota, passed away November 8, 2010 in Ojai, CA. The family settled on Thomas Street (now Thomas Avenue) in Oakland when he was an elementary school student. He graduated from Oakland Tech in June 1940. At the same time I had returned to the Bay Area and graduated from University High School. We met on the Key System Line beginning our next phase of life at the newly consolidated campus of the San Francisco Junior College.
Oakland native and longtime Moraga resident Les Krames is best known for his affiliation with KRON-TV and the dioramas he has designed and built based on his vast knowledge of military history. But his life has been greatly influenced by trains either directly or indirectly. His dad was an executive for the Santa Fe Railroad, and in 1939 he was transferred back to the Bay Area from Stockton. From that point, though his dad always worked in San Francisco, the Krames family elected to live in the warmer climate of Oakland.
There are two things you can say about Oakland native and photo archivist Ray Raineri, the first being that he never saw a historical photo of Oakland he didn't like, and the second that he lives by the motto that a picture not shared is not helping anyone. Ray can typically be found in attendance at history-related functions in the East Bay, donating pictures to help raise money at auctions, or providing photos for authors writing about a range of topics on local history. Ray attended Woodrow Wilson Jr.
Ken Herrington was born June 6, 1919 in Portland, Oregon. He served in WWII as a Chief Boatswain Mate on the USNS Chilton, and the USS Neville, and in the South Pacific and the North Atlantic. After the war he returned to the states and attended the Los Angeles School of Arts from 1946-1949. After graduating, he and his business partner, Wisconsin-native and Navy veteran Roger Olson, started their photography business in Oakland, CA that they simply called Herrington-Olson Photography. They specialized in commercial and aerial photography.
Pacific Aerial Surveys, an Alan Kropp & Associates Company
Pacific Aerial Surveys is the largest resource of archived aerial photography in Northern California offering stock and custom aerial photography. They have an extensive archive of historical vertical and oblique photography dating back to 1928. The majority of their photo collection is composed of vertical aerial photography, flown to scale, from the 1930s to the present.
Lafayette Historical Society
In November 2009, the Lafayette Historical Society proudly opened its doors in the Lafayette Library and Learning Center on Golden Gate Way. Based firmly in We believe in the power of history to ignite the imagination, stimulate thought and provide enjoyment. Through our collections and programs we strive to link Lafayette's history to the lives of people, the Center has a collection of artifacts, ranging from indigenous people's arrowheads to Elam Brown's (Founder of Lafayette) lantern to Old Betsy, a restored 1920s Model TT fire truck and many other items.
Moraga Historical Society
The Moraga Historical Society was established in 1965 to gather, preserve and disseminate knowledge about the history of the Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados, what is now the Town of Moraga plus portions of Orinda and Lafayette. This Rancho was the original 13,316 acre land-grant given to Joaquin Moraga and his cousin, Juan Bernal by the Mexican government in 1841. Moraga was the grandson of Jose Joaquin Moraga, who led a number of expeditions to the San Francisco Bay Area, and who is considered to be the founder of the San Francisco Presidio and Mission.
BAERA/ Western Railway Museum
The Bay Area Electric Railroad Association (BAERA) was created in 1946 to foster interest in streetcar, interurban, and mainline electric railroad operations, and to preserve these rapidly vanishing pieces of history. BAERA's continues its mission to preserve the regional heritage of electric railway transportation as a living resource for the benefit of present and future generations through the operation of the Western Railway Museum on Route 12 in Solano County.
SN Gallery & Jim Harrison
It is hard to imagine what was running through the minds of Oakland natives Jim Harrison and fellow rail enthusiast Ray Barraza, then teenagers, when on October 27, 1954 they spied an on-coming speeder approaching somewhere in the middle of the Sacramento Northern Tunnel between Shepherd and Redwood Canyons. Luckily they were in the timber-supported portion of the tunnel and were able to hide and escape harm. This didn't stop them from continuing their walk all the way to Walnut Creek along the right-of-way.
Sacramento Northern On-Line & Garth Groff
If you consider setting a high academic standard to the presentation of oral railroad history and combine it with an updated electronic resource with supportive photos and bibliography for the public, you will appreciate the efforts of Iowa native Garth Groff and the WEB site, Sacramento Northern On-Line. Originally available at http://people.virginia.edu/~ggg9y/home.html, the new link is http://www.wplives.org/sn/.
Key Rail Pix & John Stashik
Berkeley native John Stashik has had a fascination with railways ever since riding the Key System "F" line as a little boy. As a typographer living in El Cerrito, his vision was to create a resource where he could post as many photos of Key System streetcars and trains as possible for anyone interested in rail history to view.
Oakland History Room Oakland Public Library
The Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library is an important center for study of the history and current development of the East Bay. It is housed on the second floor of the Main Library at 125-14th Street. Its collection contains a wide variety of materials relating to the history of Oakland and the larger Bay Area, including books, magazines, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, photographs, postcards, sheet music, trade catalogs, and scrapbooks.
St. Mary’s College Library Archives & Brother Dennis
Founded in 1863, Saint Mary's College of California is one of the oldest colleges in the West. The College campus originally was located in San Francisco, with the first Bachelor's degrees awarded in 1872. In 1889, the campus was moved to Oakland's Brickpile facility at 30th and Broadway. In 1928, the College was moved to Moraga. Eleven of the original buildings, including the Chapel, constructed during 1928-1929, are still in use today.
Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey
The Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey (OCHS) is a specialized archive in the Community and Economic Development Agency of the City of Oakland that was created in the 1980s. It is described by the City as a general survey of every visible building in Oakland containing estimates of building age and possible historical or architectural interest, including detailed research and evaluation for many specific buildings and neighborhoods.
Charles Smiley Presents
Charles Smiley is an electronic engineer with a background designing military, aerospace, industrial computer and patented professional and broadcast video and audio equipment. After a number of years designing video equipment, the urge to create entertaining videos on railroad topics became irresistible. A lifelong hobby of model railroading added the spark. “I lived, hiked and went to school along the SN main in Rockridge, Montclair, Canyon, Moraga and Walnut Creek. We moved around in that progression as if we were following the SN.”
Bosko’s Gallery and Picture Framing
Bosko’s Gallery and Picture Framing has been a fixture at 6038 College Avenue since 1945 when Peter Bosko took over the store. Peter was born in Roseville and came to Oakland in the late 1930s to study art at CCAC. Peter’s children, John and Lynn, have continued his legacy.
Modesto native son and longtime resident Ted Benson is well known for his images of the SN diesel era, but that is only a small part of his career as a photojournalist, including a long tenure at the Modesto Bee, and for numerous articles and several acclaimed books that focused more broadly on the railroads of the west. His published works include “Echoes Down the Canyon, A Western Pacific Journal: 1968-1986”, (Westrail, 1987) and “One Track Mind: Photographic Essays on Western Railroading" (Boston Mills Press, 1999).
Robert Townley grew up in San Francisco in the 1930s and 1940s and as a teenager was fascinated by the streetcars and steam trains still operating in the Bay Area. He joined the Bay Area Electric Railway Assn. at it’s first meeting in December 1946 and is one of only four living founding members of the organization. After high school and San Francisco City College, he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force.
A native of the East Bay, Dan Engstrom started working as a trainman for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1977. Due to a downturn in traffic in the early 1980's, he looked for employment elsewhere and found work in the film industry.
There is common, uncommon, and then there is Dave Stanley. Brakeman, conductor, and engineer mixed with passions for photography and writing. He was born and raised in Sacramento, 150 feet from Central California Traction's old main track into downtown Sacramento. Photography and journalism kept him in school, but he found his way eventually in June 1974 as a student brakeman for CCT, and eventually was promoted to conductor in 1977.
A short list of individuals who personify an activist role in Northern California railroad volunteer activities would have to include Wayne Monger. An East Bay native, Wayne grew up in Dublin and started taking pictures with an Instamatic of the SP San Ramon Branch while attending Dublin High School from 1971-1974. While at UC Berkeley studying geology, he stayed attuned to the rails by working the salt harvest at Oliver Bros.