Saturday, September 23, 2023

Formation of the Sierra Railway by Zina Abbott


The Sierra Railway Company of California was incorporated on February 1, 1897 by founders Thomas S. Bullock (New York railroader and former owner of the defunct Prescott & Arizona Central Railroad), Prince AndrΓ© Poniatowski (Polish nobleman who became a prominent French financier and industrialist), and William H. Crocker (of Crocker National Bank). Its purpose was to connect the California Central Valley to the Mother Lode Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Construction began on March 24, 1897. The first rails were laid in the grain fields just east of Oakdale in May.

The stops included Occidental (Now called Arnold), Paulsell, Warnerville, Cooperstown, Chinese Camp, and finally, on November 8, 1897. Jamestown, California, the headquarters for the rail system. From there, the line was extended to Tuolumne City, some sixteen miles from Jamestown.

 In 1899, it reached Sonora, where it was received with much fanfare. The architecture of the Sonora depot displays its Chinese temple influence. 

The depot burned down in 1946. The current Sonora Post Office was built on the site. The line was also beneficial to the Standard factory in Sonora, which was located next to the depot building. Cut lumber was transported from the company’s mill at Standard via the railroad.

The Sierra Railway also provided much needed passenger service. The Sierra operated to Oakdale, where the cars were attached to a Southern Pacific train bound for Stockton. At Stockton, passengers changed trains for the trip to San Francisco. A passenger could leave Sonora in the morning and be in San Francisco in the afternoon. Locally, special commuter trains were made up for workmen and high school students who commuted daily to Sonora.

By 1900, the line had been completed to Tuolumne City, the same as present with the exception of the abandonment of the Standard to Tuolumne Right-Of-Way. It allowed lumber from that locality to be shipped to points west.

Its historic western terminus has always been in Oakdale where a junction was once formed with both the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and the Southern Pacific. The Santa Fe's (now BNSF Railway) Oakdale Branch provided one freight outlet to the AT&SF mainline at Riverbank, California. The Southern Pacific Oakdale Branch from Stockton was abandoned in 1986 and torn out by 1990.

Like many other businesses, the Sierra Railway was hit hard by the Great Depression. In 1937, the Sierra Railway was sold at a public auction to the new Sierra Railroad Company, and the debts of the original company were settled.

The portion of the former Sierra Railway conveyed by the railroad's historic owners, the Crocker Family, to the California State Park System are with "Sierra Railway", which preserves the original operating name of the entire line and is headquartered at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California. 

Because in 1886, the Sierra Railway was three years away from arriving in Sonora, the characters in my latest release, A Watchman for Willow, still arrived by stagecoach. To find the book description and purchase options, please CLICK HERE


Perry, Patricia. Sonora Remembered: A Nostalgic Tribute to a Gold Rush Town. Sonora, California: Tuolumne County Historical Society, 2003. Page 29.

Gahagan, Michael. Images of America: Sonora. Charleston, South Carolina; Arcadia Publishing, 2007. Pages 73- 74.


Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Save The Date!!! ~ Julie Lence

 The Cowboy Kisses authors invite you to join them on Facebook for this year's Round-Up! Spend a few hours chatting with the Cowgirls and maybe win a prize. It all happens here: www. 

Here is the line-up:   

The Cowgirls will see you there! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Save a horse ride a cowboy. By Rhonda Lee Carver

 Have you grabbed my new release, Rescuing His Second Chance (Book 5, Cowboys of Second Chances Security)?

🐎🐎🐎🐎A V A I L A B L E N O W! 🐎🐎🐎🐎
A widowed mom wanted a new beginning in a small town, but what she got was completely unexpected--and completely a miracle.
*Small Town
*Second Chance
*Hot Hero
*Strong Female
*Happily Ever After

For Sale: A charming second-hand bookstore located in a remote, picturesque small town with a sprawling backdrop of spiked mountains, towering pines, luxurious escapes, and the rolling waters of Wildflower River in your backyard. A rustic cabin with a view is included.

Hazel Craft needed change, so when she spotted the ad for the bookstore, she knew it had to be a sign from her late husband. Second Chance would be the perfect place to start fresh and ease the lingering heartache of tragedy. When they arrived, her teen daughter wasted no time complaining about the dilapidated cabin and bookstore. Hazel had to admit, things weren’t what she expected either. What was meant as an escape turned out to be a mistake—or was she about to find a hidden gem?

Enjoying his new position as game warden, Dean Ryder felt like things were finally on track after the bomb explosion almost took his life a year ago. When mountain animals start mysteriously dying, he must find the culprit before more animals die. The last thing he needed on his full plate was a widow and her cantankerous teen, but Dean owed his buddy a favor—even if that meant taking care of his family.


Dean tipped his head and followed her with his curious gaze as she made her way to the back hallway toward the restrooms. He hadn’t heard anyone talking about a newcomer in town. Yet, he kept himself out of the loop, especially since he’d been busy.
Moments later she emerged from the hallway and weaved around the tables. Their gazes met for a solid heartbeat before she passed.
She offered him a smile, but not one tinged with a bit of friendliness. He wouldn’t be the first or last man staring. She had long, wavy hair with blonde highlights that fell over her slender shoulders and the jeans were a bit baggy but didn’t hide her flared hips.
Something else caught his attention. A strip of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her tennis shoe.
Pushing up from the stool, he strolled over and joined her at the register. Her piercing blue eyes caught him in their snares.
“Evenin’, ma’am.” He touched the brim of his hat offering what he hoped was his friendliest smile. She looked a bit like a deer stuck in headlights.
She focused on taking money out of her small handbag, while giving him the cold shoulder.
“You new in town?” he asked, laughing at himself. Of course she was new in town.
“I’m in a bit of a hurry.” She stood on tiptoe and bent slightly over the counter. “Is anyone working?”
“It’s a busy night. Good food makes up for the wait.” He quickly, and subtly, used the toe of his boot to drag the toilet paper away from her shoe. That was his good deed for the day. Even if her attitude rolled off her in thick waves, much like her satin smooth hair. Everyone had a difficult day on occasion. He decided not to hold her attitude against her. “Welcome to Second Chance. I’m Dean.”
“I’m married.” She held up her left hand and pointed at the gold band on her fourth finger.
He chuckled. She thought he was hitting on her. Well, in all truth, she did draw his attention, but he got the feeling from the get-go that she wasn’t interested. He never treaded where he wasn’t welcome. “Nice to meet you, Married.”

PreOrder the Next Book in the Series

Rip Ryder’s Second Chance is a novel of high school sweethearts who reunite to rekindle a rare passion and confront the past.

As teens, Noelle Evelyn and Rip Ryder fell deeply in love. Their passion seemed to defy the odds of disapproving parents, youth and unforeseen obstacles…until high school graduation rolled around. One drunken night changed the future.

Years later, Noelle returns to Second Chance to attend the funeral of a friend only to face the lingering ghosts of her past. The memory of Rip has haunted her everyday since they broke up. Her life might have moved forward, she’s now a single mom of a toddler, but her heart stays frozen in a time when love was all that mattered.

Noelle and Rip have carried a secret that will unravel. Will the demons of the past draw them together, or rip them apart again? Will an endless love endure the pain? Rip was willing to do anything to protect the only love he’d ever known, but can he save her?

Rip Ryder's Second Chance is the last installment of the series. This book will have you cheering for Noelle and Rip as they face demons from their past, and a secret that has lingered too long.