railroads MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES
With not a mile of railroad within her borders. Lake county history has been a succession of projects on paper and in the air, with but few ever reaching any material performance. It was a favorite joke with Judge T. B. Bond, an old-time lawyer of Lakeport, that he had in his time subscribed a million dollars for railroads, but was never called upon to pay a cent. The rim of mountains encircling the county has been a discouraging obstacle to railroad construction.
The earliest project was probably that from Rumsey up the Cache creek canyon, for which a survey was made by R. W. Gorrill in 1879. It was supposed to have been fostered by the Southern Pacific.
Marshall Arnold of Lakeport was the chief promoter of a road from Ukiah in 1884, in which considerable Lake county capital was expended. The Taylor scheme from Hopland on a mileage basis soon followed this. A road from Napa county by the McNulty-Pettibone syndicate in 1884 gave great promise for a time, and was believed to have been blocked by the Southern Pacific. Col. Fred Long proposed a wooden railroad from Hopland soon after completing his wagon road.
A survey was made via Blue Lakes to connect with the then San Fran- cisco and North Pacific railroad at Ukiah, in 1890. Another survey was made from Ukiah via Blue Lakes and Scotts Valley, by F. H. Long in 1891. Collis P. Huntington of the Southern Pacific proposed in the same year to build into Lakeport for the consideration of the use of Clear Lake waters. A. H. Spurr offered a proposition to Huntington in 1892, but received no satisfaction.
An electric line was proposed from Pieta to Lakeport in 1892, twenty miles of road and equipment to cost $120,000.
The Clear Lake and Russian River Railway and Navigation Company was incorporated in November, 1892. The first directors were F. W. Gibson, president ; A. H. Spurr, R. W. Crump, D. W. White, M. Justus, A. Levy, C. E. Phelan, M. S. Sayre, W. J. BiggerstaiT, William Gessner, H. B. Wells, L. Sailor, W. D. Rantz. Its stock subscription required that no money should be paid until the road was in operation.
At a mass meeting at the court house in Lakeport, October 1, 1893, the Clear Lake and North Pacific railroad, a new proposition, was submitted. The previous Clear Lake and Russian River Company favored this, and urged stock subscribers to transfer their subscriptions to the new company. E. B. Taylor solicited subscriptions. He and M. S. Sayre drew up a construction contract and placed it in escrow in a San Francisco bank. Grading was to begin at once. Professor Kelly made the survey and estimated the total cost at $300,000.
Richard Wylie proposed in 1896 a road from Napa county through Conn, Sage, Chiles and Pope valleys, thence up Butts canyon to Middletown, the mines and springs. Lower Lake, up the lakeshore to Kelseyville and Lake- port, a distance of eighty-five miles.
In June, ISOO. W. B. King projected the San Francisco and Clear Lake railroad to build a broad-gauge steam road via \'allejo, Xapa, Sage and Pope valleys, to southern end of lake. He wanted Lake county to subscribe $50,000. This scheme was capitalized at $3,000,000.
What is known as the Boggs road was incorporated in 1903, under the name of Clear Lake Railroad and Electric Power Company. Its capital stock was $1,000,000, and it asked a $60,000 subsidy. The directors were L. H. Boggs, Dr. W. R. Prather, J. W. Boggs, of Lake county ; G. W. Young of Napa. W. C. Phillips and R. H. Bingham of Los Angeles. G. M. Dodge surveyed the route from Cloverdale to Kelseyville. The Lakeport town trus- tees and the county supervisors granted franchises to this company, which vicre later forfeited for non-use.
The Santa Fe company made a survey through Lake county near Potter Valley south to tidewater in 1904, in an elTort to tap the redwood regions of Mendocino and Humboldt. This, a likely project, was abandoned when that company joined with the Southern Pacific in the purchase of the California Northwestern, or Donohue road, giving the Santa Fe the desired feeder, in 1905.
The Napa and Lakeport Railroad Company — the R. M. Hotaling project — was one which gave great promise of success in 1905 and 1906. Many citizens believe the earthquake and San Francisco fire of April 18, 1906, and the resulting money stringency, alone prevented the building of this road. W. M. Rank, W. A. Cattell, C. K. Field, R. H. Bishop, J. Wilder, D. D. Sales, Geo. H, Alastick, James L. deFremery and Theodore A. Bell were associated with Hotaling. This company asked no subsidy, but offered part of its $2,000,000 capital stock for sale at half par value. About $25,000 was subscribed, and many rights of way were given.
Coincident with the highest point of this road's progress, the Clear Lake and Southern Company came into the field. It endeavored to secure rights of way, but asked for no stock subscriptions. H. G. Comstock, Guy C. Calden, H. L. Johnson. J. \\'. Dorsey and A. H. Elliott addressed a meeting in Lakeport in October. 1905, making glittering promises, but nothing sub- stantial materialized. This move was apparently an effort to obstruct the construction of the Napa & Lakeport road.
The next project of importance was a local enterprise. Col. J. E. Fulton, W. S. Fry, J. A. Sparks, D. F. Mclntire. \V, P. Mariner, J. J. Petty, R. M. Beattie, Dr. O. T. Griner of Lakeport, Dr. A. E. Dickenson and J. W. Pres- ton of Ukiah. J. R. Garner of Upper Lake, ^^'illiam Johnston of Kelseyville, "Pop" McCrea of McCrea's resort, were interested at periods of this road's promotion. First called the Sonoma and Lake County Railroad Compau)', when organized in the fall of 1906 and incorporated in April, 1907, the name was changed to Highland Pacific in September, 1909, when the capital stock was increased to $2,500,000. The route first proposed was from Lakeport via Highland Springs to Fulton on the Northwestern Pacific road. Later the survey, made by D. F. Mclntire, was extended to Santa Rosa. This company sold about $104,000 in stock.
C. E. Loss, Walter M. James, T. F. Bonneau, William M. Willett, and FI. B. Chase promoted the Clear Lake Traffic Company in October, 1908, later incorporated as the Clear Lake Northern Railroad Company, capitalized "for $1,000,000. The names of William L. Gerstle, William H. Tevis and Henry T. Scott were later connected with this project. This company proposed a hue from Hopland or Pieta to Lakeport. and completed its survey in March, 1909. The stock subscription in the county reached the sum of $127,000.
R. D. Winters, then a prominent citizen and contractor of Lakeport, agitated a road from Ukiah via Blue Lakes in 1909, but met with little encouragement.
The Santa Rosa and Clear Lake Railroad Company had been co-operating with the Highland Pacific at its start, but in December, 1910, projected a narrow-gauge road via Kellogg to Middletown and Lower Lake. J. W. Barrows and P. D. Reynolds were the engineers. A survey, several miles of trail, and some six-foot grade were accomplished.
The latest and still pending railroad possibility is the Clear Lake Railroad Company. Its principal agitator was Z. T. Spencer, a merchant of Lakeport, when the project was launched at that place in March, 1911. The first plan was for a narrow-gauge road from Hopland to Lakeport, estimated to cost S200.000. D. F. Mclntire made a reconnoissance of the proposed route. The company was incorporated May 17 of that year, the first directors being L. H. Boggs, S. E. Brookes of Hopland, Milos M. Gopcevic, C. M. Hammond, presi- dent; Euvelle Howard, H. V. Keeling, C. C. McAIahan of Bartlett Springs, Joseph Levy, M. S. Sayre. Z. T. Spencer, A. H. Spurr. The capital stock was $500,000, of which 316 persons subscribed the total amount of ,$95,400. C. R. Rankin made the surveys. Over $78,000 in money was paid in by the stock- holders. Ground was broken at Hopland on November 18, 1911, and the contractors, Elliott & Axman, continued at intervals with the grading until April, 1912, completing about seven miles of the twenty-three mile route. All of the money subscribed was expended, and the directors found great difficulty in completing the financing. A renewed effort to sell $50,000 in stock, to make possible the required bond issue, was started in July, 1914, and promises success. The present directors are L. H. Boggs, president; M. S. Sayre, L. P. Clendenin, Lewis Henderson, H. V. Keeling, W. P. Mariner, S. E. Brookes. Joseph Levy, C. M. Hammond, A\'. P. Hill, A. H. Spurr.
The estimate to complete and equip for operation the proposed railroad which have been projected (proposed) into this county. These include the Highland Pacific from Santa Rosa to Lakeport. estimated to cost $2,775,000;^ the McNulty Pettibone Syndicate proposition of many years ago, which did actual construction work on route from Napa to Middletown ; later the project of W. B. King over practically the same route; the Cloverdale and Lakeport Electric Road, just prior to 1906; the Hataling, Napa and Lakeport Road, through Butts Canyon, figured at a cost of several millions; the Clear Lake and Northern, for which $150,000 was subscribed locally; the narrow gauge project from Ukiah into the county; a survey up Putah creek from Napa county ; and another survey credited to the Santa Fe over the Blue Lakes Pass, through Willits and Porter valley, intended for a through line to Eureka.
A survey was made by F. Formhals in November, 1892, for a project to convey water in iron pipes for six miles from the Fowler mill site to the junction of the two forks of Cache creek, there to be used to generate elec- trical power. A narrow-gauge railroad from Rumsey up Cache creek was proposed to utilize the power.