Interurban Ghosts and Others ~ Sunday, July 15, 2007
Being a family of ice skating nuts, we planned a mini-vacation around a visit to Snoopy's Home Ice, in Santa Rosa, CA, staying in the neighboring (and quainter) town of Petaluma. As it's name would suggest, the Petaluma & Santa Rosa interurban railway once linked these two cities (by a roundabout route).
Searching for a GeoCache, we wandered around a branch of the Petaluma River (really a tidal slough here) where steamboats used to tie up to load freight (fresh fruit and lots and lots of eggs!) and passengers from the P&SR bound for San Francisco. In fact, the remains of the P&SR's own boat are still in the mud where she burned decades ago.
Walking farther along, we saw deer, goats, and what must once have been the world's best smelling warehouse.
Later, taking a "shortcut" by the grain elevators, I saw this:
A local group has been restoring one of the P&SR's express motors, and I've got a feeling it's under that tarp (they have an old website here, and used to own the domain petalumatrolley.org but seem to have let that lapse, but you can see an archived snapshot here).
Petaluma's Northwestern Pacific depot has been restored as a visitor center. It may some day be a SMART commuter rail station, if voters approve (read my analysis, if you like).
We drove to Sebastopol, where the P&SR depot is now the West County Historical Museum... which happened to have an exhibit about railways.
Across the parking lot is this brewpub in an interesting historical building. To provide that it's historical, they have old pictures inside, showing it with interurban tracks in front! It was also a tasty lunch.
West of town, we visited a nearly forgotten old cemetery, for no other reason than we'd read about it online and it sounded cool. As usual for such places, there were sad reminders of the hardships of times past, such as the double grave of these two young sisters who passed a few days apart.
Two others who died mere days apart, less sadly though, were a husband and wife who passed on in the 1870's, and were born in the 1790's!
There were also very ripe blackberries to be found along the road.
The rink turned out to be booked up for the whole week for a hockey tournament. So I guess we'll be back!