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Calistoga's railroad history honored with landmark

Calistoga's railroad history honored with landmark


Thanks to the Native Sons of the Golden West, Calistoga has a new landmark recognizing its prominent place in the history of the railroad.

NSGW officers from all over the state gathered on Nov. 14 for a dedication of the new mini-park on Washington Street, across from the fire station.

“Restored preservation is our mission,” said the Native Sons of the Golden West Grand President Joe Castillo.

There are some 1,500 such landmarks in the state of California.

The train tracks were laid in 1912, along what is now Washington Street, and ran all the way down to Vallejo. Calistoga was the end of the line for the Electric Interurban Railroad until service ceased in 1939.

A few years ago, in order to improve the condition of the street, the city needed to dig up and remove the tracks.

The Calistoga NSGW took issue with the city, and after a compromise the tracks were dug up and stored at the city’s public works yard, said Dick Kuykendall, past President of NSGW of Calistoga.

The tracks were then sent to a machinist in St. Helena to have the rails cut, and straightened out. A portion of those tracks are now embedded in the sidewalk at the mini-railroad park.

Work on the park began, as it happened, on the day the recent Glass Fire started, and was postponed. Subsequently, the city took out shrubbery to made room for the rails and donated two benches to the landmarked area, said Wendy Johnson, president of the Calistoga chapter of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, which also provided financial support for the project.

“This is a very historic place, and in our town there are very few of these markers,” she said, pointing out another plaque in the alleyway next to Copperfield’s Books.

During the ceremony, Mayor Chris Canning thanked the NSGW, especially Kuykendall, for their efforts in the creation of the Electric Interurban Railroad landmark honoring Calistoga’s place in railroad history.

Earlier this year, a rare rail car was removed from the Calistoga Depot and now resides in the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.



You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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