Society News

June 6, 2014

2014 Conference – A Great Success!

Posted by: Webmaster

Society Members at MockOur 2014 conference went off without a hitch. Thursday afternoon society members met up at the Pizza Factory in Lone Pine for the meet and greet. Later that evening we reconvened at the Lone Pine Film History Museum for our first round of presentations. Randy Babcock gave a fantastic talk on the progress on locomotive #18 sharing many slides and answering questions about the restoration project. Afterward we were treated to a DVD created by Ed Flemming showing more images and video of the restoration progress.

On Friday, the society met early in the morning for our first field trip to Tinemaha cut and a hike along the grade. The weather made for a nice warm day along the reservoir. After Tinemaha we continued north to Zurich where we drove along the grade south to Beneme, location of the northern end of the post-1928 reservoir realignment. Located here was a wye and a siding up to the site of a mine and quarry in later years. We returned to Zurich for lunch before heading south to Mock. At Mock we explored the remains of the quarry before returning to Lone Pine for the evening programs.

Saturday morning society members met up at the Lone Pine Film History museum before continuing on to Cerro Gordo. Our hosts treated us to a tour of the site and lunch was had in the historic American Hotel. Our society donated $500 to the Friends of Cerro Gordo, along with much welcomed a supply of water and household paper products. Later in the evening we held our annual meeting to attend to society business. Among business of the meeting was the auction of signed watercolor print by John Coker of locomotive #18 at Kearsrage in a custom frame made of siding salvaged from Perlite Car #73. By close, the piece sold for $700 with the proceeds going to fund future society projects. We were also pleased to  announce the winners of our recent election: President: John Friend; Vice President: Dennis Burke; Director at Large: Ellen Grau.

Society Members at Lone Pine Depot

Sunday morning the group met at the Lone Pine depot for a tour by its current owner. Nature was less than cooperative however, and strong winds were in force. After Lone Pine some members took a trip along the ROW of the Jawbone branch to explore the site of Black Rock City from the film Bad Day at Black Rock. From here the conference officially ended.

Look for a more detailed article on the conference in the next issue of the Journal.

December 4, 2013

Announcement: 2014 SPNG Historical Society Conference

Posted by: Webmaster

The 2014 SPNG Historical Society Conference, titled “THE LOWER KEELER BRANCH”, has been scheduled for May 8th to the 11th and will be based in LONE PINE Ca. Mark your calendars!

Just as the title of the conference states, we will be concentrating mainly on the Carson & Colorado/ SPNG railroad and mining activities in the lower part of INYO COUNTY.

We will be doing some things a little different this year.

Rather than evening (as previous years), the meet and greet will be held at 1:PM on Thursday the first day of the conference in Lone Pine. This will give some attendees some personal time in the afternoon and evening to explore Lone Pine and the many attractions in the area such as the Alabama Hills.

For those that do not arrive in time for the meet and greet, SPNGHS staff will be available throughout the afternoon and evening for information and guidance.

Registration will begin on December 14th. Registration forms will be available from the office by contacting us by phone or email.

Once your registration forms are received, you will be mailed out a conformation with current schedule and other information.


First of all SPNGHS members Ellen and Ron Grau will be leading us to some of the locations along the ROW that we have not visited during the past conferences such as Beneme. Very interesting location to visit as you can still observe and walk the wye.

It is confirmed that we will take a day trip to the mines and community of CERRO GORDO. We will have our own personal tour guide and have a box lunch at the location. I was also told they will a open the Hoist House for us.

On another day we will visit the Standard Gauge Depot in Lone Pine and other locations of the standard gauge Jawbone Branch.


Cecile Vargo, Historian and Author of 2 books on Cerro Gordo along with her husband Roger, will give a presentation on the History and current status of Cerro Gordo. Cecile will also have her books for purchase and signing.

Chris Langely, Inyo County Film Commissioner as well as Executive Director of the Lone Pine Film Museum will be conducting a presentation on the “SPNG in the Movies” as well as other movies filmed in Inyo County.
By the way, Chris and his staff are allowing us to use the “Movie Theater” in the museum for our presentations. Talk about class.

We are also honored to have Phil Serpico give us a presentation on the “JAWBONE BRANCH”.
Phil is the Author of several books including “Roads to Riches, the Randsburg Railway and Mining District”, “Jawbone, Sunset on the Lone Pine”, as well as his latest publication, “Tonopah and Tidewater / The Nevada Shortline.”
Phil will have books for sale and signing as well.

Carson & Colorado Railway Vice-President Randy Babcock will also bring us up to date on the progress of the #18 rebuild along with a wonderful power point program.

We will also be having a fund raising raffle. Famed artist John Coker has already donated one of his fantastic SPNG prints that I will be framing in roof lumber from box car #73.

Stay tuned for more information, coming soon!