North Pacific Coast R.R.

image of trains to Russian RiverThe North Pacific Coast R.R. ran from Sausalito to Cazadero via west Marin. Operated under different owners from 1877 to 1935 the line carried redwood to San Francisco and returned with weekenders who were anxious to party. From Freestone to Occidental, there was a dramatic horseshoe bend that allowed front and back passengers to gaze at each other before crossing the monstrous Browns Canyon Trestle, which at the time was the largest man-made structure west of the Mississippi. The broad gauge and narrow gauge met in Monte Rio before running down present day Moscow Road and crossing the Russian River at Duncans Mills. Nine years later the line was extended to Cazadero at the behest of the town’s founder, Silas Ingram. Much of the redwood lumber was used to help rebuild San Francisco and Santa Rosa after the 1906 earthquake.  It is also said that redwood pilings from the mills were used as foundation for the Bay Bridge.  (more…)

Cazadero is Born

image of George Simpson MontgomeryJust a few years ago in 2007, the entire town of Cazadero was for sale on the cheap. A similar occurrence happened in 1888. Despite being the rainiest place in the state (85 inches/year), the area has always had a certain appeal. This was true from the early beginning when George Simpson Montgomery purchased Ingrams and changed its name to Cazadero, which is Spanish for “The Hunting Place”.

At the time George was living at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and holding membership in the exclusive Bohemian Club. Probably due to peer pressure, he soon developed into a two-fisted drinker with a reputation for visiting the brothels of a City that knows how.   His wife ventured in the opposite direction, establishing a ministry.  Her book, Prayer of Faith, was translated into eight languages and sold over four hundred thousand copies worldwide.  A few years later her husband saw the evils of his ways (what are the chances?) and converted to Christianity.  (more…)

Cazadero, the Early Days

Cazadero, the early days, was a tale created by a conflicted family.  Silas Ingram and his wife joined a wagon train bound for California in 1840. While crossing the plains of Utah, they were attacked by a band if Indians who killed several in the party as well as absconding with the mules.  Ingram was forced to walk over 100 miles to Salt Lake City where he caught transportation to San Francisco. 

He later acquired federal timber land and moved his family to Sebastopol to be near his new enterprise along Austin Creek. He soon established a hunting resort in the rural area in 1869, naming it Ingrams.  Silas became the first post master of the town.   However, the mail was often not delivered on time or delivered at all.  That was because it was pilfered on a regular basis.  In an awkward twist of history, the culprit turned out to be none other than Silas’s own son, Charles,  who later confessed to the crime and served eighteen months in jail.  Tsk, tsk. (more…)