by Joe Thompson
Click on thumbnails to view larger photos. Use back arrow to return. All photos by Joe Thompson unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved.
In October, 2013, we visited beautiful San Luis Obispo for the dedication of the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum and the 2013 Central Coast Railroad Festival. I've been trying to remember, but I think this is the first time I was ever present for the opening of a museum.
We got off work early on Friday and had a nice drive down to San Luis Obispo. We stopped at the outlets in Gilroy to change drivers and do a little shopping. We stopped in King City to fill the car and have a snack at McDonald's.
We checked in at the Madonna Inn and found it as interesting as we had always heard. There were rocks in the walls and the paving and the chimneys. Alex Madonna's pick and shovel symbol was in all the concrete. He made a fortune as a road contractor.
We stayed in the Pioneer America Room, a large room. There was a big map over the bed with pictures of various explorers, from Columbus to Lewis and Clark. There was a blunderbuss and a powder horn in a display case by the side of the king bed. The furniture was rustic, except for a leather couch and a love seat.
Friday night we went out to dinner at Appleby's, and the NLCS game between the Cardinals and the Dodgers was on. We got back to the room during the eighth and we lay to watch the end of the game. It went on to the 13th. We were happy to see the Cardinals win.
Saturday morning we walked down to the restaurant to have breakfast. There were more stones. The place was very busy. My waffle was excellent. Walking back to the room, we met a nice cat, who came out of the grass by the paddock, meowed at us and rubbed our legs.
Saturday we went to the museum, in the former Southern Pacific freight house. Parking was tight. We found a space near the train station.
Volunteers were giving rides on two speeders on the track by the museum.
There was a crowd on the platform, where vendors were selling books and photos.
We went in through the small bookstore. The main part of the museum was a large room with exhibits on the local railroads, Southern Pacific/Union Pacific, the Pacific Coast Railroad and the Santa Maria Valley Railroad. They had a mining car from a cinnabar mine south of San Luis Obispo. There was a car and a section of track from an temporary agricultural railroad. There was a freight agent's desk with an official SP spittoon. They had lanterns and schedules and other railroad paraphernalia.
Upstairs in the back, they had model railroad layouts with room for many more to come.
I told several volunteers they had a wonderful museum. I hope to visit again.
The dedication at 11:30 began with the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Boy Scout Troop 308 presented the colors.
Then came a speech by Brad Larose, president of the museum, who talked about the 23 year process that led to the opening.
There followed a speech by Andrew Merriam, Board member and construction supervisor, held up before and after photos of the freight house and talked about the many code issues that had to be addressed.
Lisa Stark, Union Pacific Director of Public Affairs called the museum founders the most organized and professional group she had worked with. UP declared San Luis Obispo an official Train Town USA.
Jan Marx, Mayor of San Luis Obispo, said that the town council had worked with the museum people for many years. She said the retirement home billboard out front will come down and be replaced by a sign for the museum. She issued a proclamation for the opening day, and then joined a group cutting the ribbon.
Then we went and looked at a locomotive that UP sent for the occasion, an SD 9043 MAC. It was nice to see it up close.
We walked to the train station, then drove to the public library, where an HO narrow gauge group had a display.
I hadn't brought along the addresses of other layouts that were on display, so we headed for home. We had a late lunch in Paso Robles, stopped to fill the car in King City, and went to mass at Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Morgan Hill. We had dinner nearby, then went home.
Return to Park Trains and Tourist Trains
Please visit my
Please visit my site about
As if I didn't have enough websites to keep track of, I now have a blog:
And now I now have another blog, mostly about movies:
Copyright 2013 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.
Last updated 31-October-2013