Pino Grande, California

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Coordinates: 38°52′13″N 120°37′34″W / 38.87028°N 120.62611°W / 38.87028; -120.62611

Pino Grande
Unincorporated community
Pino Grande is located in California
Pino Grande
Pino Grande
Location in California
Pino Grande is located in the US
Pino Grande
Pino Grande
Pino Grande (the US)
Coordinates: 38°52′13″N 120°37′34″W / 38.87028°N 120.62611°W / 38.87028; -120.62611
Country United States
State California
County El Dorado County
Elevation[1] 4,022 ft (1,226 m)

Pino Grande (formerly, Pinogrande) is an unincorporated community in El Dorado County, California.[1] It is located 8 miles (13 km) north-northwest of Pollock Pines,[2] at an elevation of 4022 feet (1226 m).[1]

A post office operated at Pino Grande from 1892 to 1899, with a move in 1893, and from 1902 to 1909.[2]

Pino Grande was the lumber milling area for the Michigan-California Lumber company. Besides the mill there were dozens of workers cabins, a hospital, school, cooks building, machine shops and sheds. The camp was, in itself, a small company town. The narrow-gauge railway the lumber company built served the area for decades. The mill, camp, railroad, tracks, trestles, engines, rolling stock, etc., are now long gone. The area where Pino Grande once stood is within the Eldorado National Forest.

The Pino Grande Railroad traveled along the narrow-gauge track through the Georgetown Divide area. These narrow-gauge railroads hauled vast amounts of Ponderosa and Sugar Pine timber through the rugged terrain of the Divide as well as other parts of El Dorado County.

American River Land and Lumber Company[edit]

In 1892 the American River Land and Lumber Company built a sawmill in Folsom, California; and a railroad to bring logs cut at Pino Grande to the South Fork American River upstream of Folsom. A chute was constructed to drop logs from the railroad into the river, where an attempt was made to float the logs down to the lumber mill by log driving. Log driving techniques used in eastern rivers proved unsuitable in the steeper gradients of the American River, and log driving was abandoned about 1899.[3]

El Dorado Lumber Company[edit]

El Dorado Lumber Company built a sawmill at Pino Grande in 1901, and used the railroad to move carloads of lumber downhill by gravity. Lumber was initially lowered to the river where it floated downstream to a dam and flume for the Rock Creek Power House. Horses pulled the empty cars uphill for another load of lumber.[3] El Dorado Lumber Company soon built a 3,000-foot (910 m) steam-operated aerial tramway to move lumber 1,200 feet (370 m) above the river from the downhill end of the railroad at North Cable on the north side of the river to South Cable on the south side of the river. A 3-foot (91 cm) narrow-gauge railroad was built 9 miles (14 km) from South Cable to Camino, California crossing three summits with grades as steep as 7 percent. Trestles were built around curves in the mountains and across canyons. The narrow-gauge railroad connected with the standard gauge Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad built from Camino to Placerville, California in 1903.[3]

Michigan-California Lumber Company[edit]

El Dorado Lumber Company began a series of reorganizations in 1911, producing the Michigan-California Lumber Company in 1917. Facilities were upgraded in 1928 to eliminate railroad grades greater than 3 percent, convert the aerial tramway from steam to electric power, and modernize the sawmill at Camino. The rebuilt cable supported a cage which could hold a single flatcar of lumber weighing 17 tons. At the peak of operations, narrow gauge rails included 9 miles (14 km) from South Cable to Camino, 9 miles (14 km) from Pino Grande to North Cable, and 15 miles (24 km) from Camp 14 to Pino Grande, plus about 10 miles (16 km) of logging branches.[3] Rail operations were abandoned after a lightning strike on the evening of 15 March 1949 caused a fire destroying the South Cable terminal. The railroad was dismantled beginning in October 1949. Lumber was then hauled by trucks over a route almost twice as long as the railroad and cable system.[3]

Narrow gauge locomotives[edit]

The little locomotives that ran the rails of the Michigan-California Lumber Co. were mostly Shays, small steamers usually weighing around 65,000 pounds, but built to pull the heaviest loads. There were other types of locomotives used, but the Shay was the workhorse of the Michigan-California Lumber Company.

Number[4] Builder Type Date Works number Notes
1st #1 Stearns Manufacturing Company 2-truck Heisler locomotive 1898 1014 purchased new; retired 1930; scrapped 1942[5]
2nd #1 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 3-truck Shay locomotive 1917 2926 built as Swayne Lumber Company #3; purchased 1942; scrapped 1951[6]
2 Lima Locomotive Works 2-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1884 122 built as Rumsey Lumber Company (Michigan) #2; purchased 1901; placed on display at Camino in 1949[7]
1st #3 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1886 159 built as D.A. Blodgett (Michigan); purchased 1915; crushed by a falling tree in 1929 and scrapped[7]
2nd #3 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 3-truck Shay locomotive 1920 3078 built as Swayne Lumber Company #2; purchased 1941; scrapped 1951[8]
1st #4 Climax Locomotive Works 2-truck Climax locomotive 1902 339 purchased new; scrapped 1942[5]
2nd #4 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1910 2369 built as Truckee Lumber Company #3; purchased 1940; scrapped 1953[9]
5 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1903 797 purchased new; scrapped 1943[10]
1st #6 H.K. Porter, Inc. 0-4-0 Tank locomotive 1899 2049 built for Issaquah Coal Company (Washington); retired 1915; placed on display at Camino[5]
2nd #6 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1911 2494 built as Mountain Copper Company #6; purchased 1934; wrecked and scrapped 1942[11]
3rd #6 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 3-truck Shay locomotive 1927 3306 built as Madera Sugar Pine Company #6; purchased 1944; scrapped 1951[12]
7 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1904 868 purchased new; scrapped 1951[13]
8 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1906 1628 purchased new; scrapped 1950[14]
9 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1913 2662 purchased new; scrapped 1950[15]
10 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1914 2756 purchased new; scrapped 1950[16]
11 Vulcan Iron Works 0-4-0 Tank locomotive 1901 244 built for Waddle & Fitch of Delaware, Indiana; placed on display at Camino
12 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1918 2960 built as Mountain Copper Company #10; purchased 1931; scrapped 1950[17]
14 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1909 2183 built as Marsh Lumber Company #3; purchased for parts in 1940 and scrapped about 1948[18]
15 Lima Locomotive Works 3-cylinder 2-truck Shay locomotive 1923 3212 built as Scanlon Lumber Company #2; purchased 1944; scrapped 1950[19]

Artifacts[edit]

Shay No. 2, the oldest engine in the Michigan-Cal line, was retired in 1951 and is now resting outside the mill in Camino where narrow gauge railroad buffs visit it often. Today, on the Georgetown Divide, the Canyon Creek Narrow Gauge Railroad Association has planned to resurrect the old Pino Grande narrow gauge railroad that was owned and operated by Michigan-California Lumber Co.

Sources[edit]

  • Koch, Michael (1971). The Shay Locomotive Titan of the Timber. The World Press. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pino Grande, California
  2. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 538. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Berry, Swift (1957). "Michigan-California Lumber Company". The Western Railroader. Francis A. Guido. 21 (218): 7–12. 
  4. ^ Richter, Douglas S. (1957). "Roster of Locomotives Michigan-California Lumber Company". The Western Railroader. Francis A. Guido. 21 (218): 13. 
  5. ^ a b c Barnhill Web Design. "Michigan-California Lumber Co. Roster". TrainWeb. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Koch p.448
  7. ^ a b Koch p.387
  8. ^ Koch p.453
  9. ^ Koch p.435
  10. ^ Koch p.409
  11. ^ Koch p.438
  12. ^ Koch p.460
  13. ^ Koch p.411
  14. ^ Koch p.418
  15. ^ Koch p.443
  16. ^ Koch p.445
  17. ^ Koch p.449
  18. ^ Koch p.432
  19. ^ Koch p.457