Northwestern Pacific Railroad History Told In Talk

Photo courtesy Humboldt County Historical Society

Photo courtesy Humboldt County Historical Society

EUREKA – Join authors Susan J. P. O’Hara and Alex Service as they present a history of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad from Eureka to Willits at the Humboldt County Historical Society (HCHS) program meeting on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m., in the first-floor conference room of the Humboldt County Library, 1313 Third St., Eureka. Admission is free and everyone is invited.

O’Hara and Service’s new book, Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Eureka to Willits, celebrates the centennial of the October, 1914 completion of the NWP Railroad, which linked Eureka with San Francisco. The new book is a history of the tremendously difficult six-year project in historic photographs and words, and its impact on the North Coast. The authors will give a PowerPoint presentation featuring photos from the book.

Find out about the challenges that beset this project from the outset, when the original plans, drawn up in 1906, were lost in the great San Francisco earthquake and fire. The one-year planned construction actually took six years to complete due to challenges of terrain, weather, and finances. For example, in 1913 major flooding washed out the newly built bridges. The workers who had just built these bridges had to turn around and build them all over again.

See historic photographs of the construction, the accidents and disasters, and the communities, families, and individuals who worked on this project, in many cases devoting entire lives to it.

Although no longer operational, the NWP symbolizes the ongoing struggle to connect our isolated region with the wider world.

Join authors Susan J. P. O’Hara and Alex Service for a PowerPoint excursion on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. They will also sign copies of their new book, which will be available for purchase.

(707) 445-4342,


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One Comment;

  1. Barry Jeffers said:

    Sorry I missed it. I’ll be 70 in a coupla months and I turned 21 working for NWP right after the ’64 flood. I shoveled and tamped gravel and laid track on the section from Scotia to the South Fork Bridge (Dyerville). We slept in a bunk car and ate in a breakfast and dinner car parked nearby where were working. Good money, lots of overtime, the project was finished ahead of schedule. Oh, BTW, that is a HELL of a lot of gravel.

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