NEVADA CITY, Calif. April 16, 2018 – Two new books on local railroading history have just been published and the authors will be at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, to introduce their newly released works, “Railroads of Nevada County” by Andrew Brandon and “Railroads of Placer County” by Art Sommers and Roger Staab. Both are published by Arcadia Publishing, which specializes in books focusing on local community history.
The three authors are scheduled to discuss their work, share some of the fascinating history covered in their books, and answer questions from those in attendance. Books will be available for purchase and the authors will be happy so sign copies. Refreshments will be served and docent-led tours of the museum will be available.
“Railroads of Nevada County” by Andrew Brandon traces local railroading history from the 1860’s when the Central Pacific Railroad was the first railroad to enter Nevada County, extending to the eastern slope of Donner Pass where it established a construction camp now known as Truckee. Through the end of the 19th century additional railroads were constructed, bringing the outside world closer to the remote areas of the county. The book also touches on the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Nevada County Traction Company which served gold-rush era Grass Valley and Nevada City.
Andrew Brandon has been studying railroad history for over 25 years. Since 2001 he has been involved with the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and is currently the museum’s archivist. Brandon also serves on the board of directors for the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Historical Society. He helped found PacificNG.org, a website dedicated to researching narrow gauge railroads around the Pacific Rim.
Drawing on 200 historic photographs, maps and captions, “Railroads of Placer County” by Art Sommers and Roger Staab provides a visual history of 14 railroads that have operated in or through Placer County since 1861. Some operated for only a short time, while one is still in operation today. The book draws on the combined knowledge of the authors as well as Art’s extensive personal photo collection, the photo archives of the Placer-Sierra Railroad Heritage Society, and selected photos contributed by others.
Born in Auburn, CA, Art Sommers received his B.A. in History in 1972 and in 1999 retired after serving in the US Navy and Federal Civil Service employment with the US Air Force, when he began acquiring an impressive collection of historic photos of the Placer County region. He has authored several books on the communities and people of Placer County. “Railroads of Placer County” is his seventh book. Three years ago Art moved from California to Oregon.
Roger Staab earned his doctorate in Engineering in 1971, followed by four years’ service as a Navy officer and a career in Federal Civil Service. Upon retirement in 1995 Roger relocated to Colfax, CA, and rekindled a childhood interest in trains. He is a founding member of Colfax-based Placer-Sierra Railroad Heritage Society (www.psrhs.org), dedicated to preserving the railroad history of the Donner Pass Route from Roseville to Truckee. His research on railroads along the Donner Route led to the 2013 publication of his first book, “Towle Brothers – Forgotten Sierra Town, Logging Railroad, Family Empire.”
The NCNGRR Museum is located at 5 Kidder Court, at the intersection of Bost and New Mohawk, in Nevada City. For additional information, please call the museum at 530-470-0902 or check the museum’s website: ncngrrmuseum.org.