Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Toledo, Oregon Railroad Museum - what a surprise!

On a misty morning, Rick and Orinda got a large cup of coffee and decided to take a drive along the Yaquia River, which runs about 50 miles to the east of Newport. This was a beautiful drive as we tooled along on the river's bank. After a few miles, we saw the Oregon Oyster Farm, which Rick thought was very cool since he loves oysters!

We could see the workers harvesting the day's crop of oysters, seen here being washed and readied for market. You can see the oyster bins floating in the river, which look much like docks for a marina.

A couple more miles up the river brought this rather strange sight -- hundreds of old pilings standing in the river. We wondered what they were used for. We soon learned that these were from the logging days when huge rafts of logs were floated down the river to the port. 

About 4 miles further upstream, we came to the town of Toledo which used to be a huge logging town. Today, there is still a logging presence, but nothing like it was 40 years as this picture shows. 

We entered the town of Toledo and immediately saw a sign for a railroad museum (Orinda was thrilled to see yet another RR museum!). Rick, of course had to check it out. 

The logging industry created a need for railroads to haul the huge logs out of the woods and into the town. Not surprisingly this effort created a very active rail business in the area. 

 Orinda was pleasantly surprised by the small museum which had a remarkable collection of artifacts, including this antique telephone from the early 20's and still worked today!

 The Museum is run by a great group of volunteers who have restored several cars and related items. One of the most interesting exhibits for us was this Rail Post Office Car which was in perfect condition.

 Imagine sorting mail in this car while underway. We learned that the crew was very efficient and that using this sort of system, mail moved with rapidity that we can only envy today. This glimpse of 1920's high tech was very interesting.

 Another thing we learned was about the dog, Owney, the Railroad Post Office Mascot seen here in about 1894. Apparently, the dog adopted a Post Office rail car crew in Albany, NY and began to hitch rides with various crews across the country. We were amazed to learn that the little dog ended up going all over the country and stopping in several hundred towns over the several years of his travels.

 We also saw this rather interesting sign in the bathroom of the mail car -- don't flush when in the station since it flushes directly onto the track below! No holding tanks for this operation!

 Finally, Rick was able to check out this rail speeder, a restored car powered by a small gas motor. This unit dates from the 1930's era and goes about 20 miles an hour. Looks like a lot of fun to restore and ride.

If you are ever in the Newport, OR area, be sure to travel the 10 miles east to the town of Toledo to catch this small, but excellent museum.

1 comment:

Ron Howes said...

Interesting railroad information, especially the sign telling people not to flush the toilet at the station.

I was in Minot, North Dakota during a blizzard in 1964, when those toilet signs were still being used. Passengers were stranded on that train for two or three days, and it wasn't long before the signs were ignored. Be glad you weren't there.