The North Pacific Coast R.R., built in the 1870’s, stretched from Sausalito to Cazadero. Mishaps along the line were plentiful. George Simpson Montgomery, who originally named Cazadero, had switched from a Bohemian Club drunkard to a born-again Christian. His insistence that the town go dry might have initiated a protest in 1894 when Engine No. 9 was hijacked by its crew and others in Duncans Mills with the intent of a party-run on one stormy night to Cazadero. The train never made it to its destination plunging into Austin Creek while attempting to cross the trestle at Elim Grove. Frank Hart, proprietor of Cazadero Hotel, had joined the liquored-up group but unfortunately fell victim to the tragedy. His body was never recovered and presumed carried out eventually to sea. Ten days later a local Native American shaman joined the search party and affixed a candle to a board and sent it on its way. Several hundred yards downstream, the candle suddenly flickered out.
Cazadero Railroad Tragedy:
In the eddy of tangled brush, Joseph Sabin, Cazadero’s station agent, was recovered. In all seven men perished that night in the failed demonstration against Montgomery’s temperance regulations. Booze and religion have never been a good combo. If you have a story of Cazadero, old or new, I’d be interested in publishing it in my online newsletter next month. For samples of the one-page electronic magazine, go to www.johnmccarty.org, scroll to the bottom and click on any of the dates under “Newsletter Archives”. Happy trails!