Redwood Empire Railroad History Project Special Research Library


The Redwood Empire Railroad History Project Special Research Library (RERHP Library) has an extensive collection of books, magazines, photographs, videos and artifacts dealing primarily with steam engineering, logging, railroading and industrial subjects. It is the repository for the documents that help Roots of Motive Power in its program of preservation and restoration of antique equipment. It is a non-circulating facility at this time; however, certain materials are loaned to Roots members for special projects. There is a reading table and copying service is available.


The library officially started operation during the Grand Opening ceremonies for the entire facility held on July 4th of 2003. In reality the library has been “working out of boxes” for some period of time. The initial work of cataloging took nearly four years, with the major placement of books with spine labels back onto the shelves completed in 2007. Catalog A computer database is available for searching specific subjects, as well as the old style card file system. A version of this catalog is available for downloading in MS Excel 5.0 Format (880 kb): RERHP Library Catalog. 


The Library has books on a variety of industrial subjects. Many of the books are 100 years old—from the time when steam was king. There are operational manuals on specific items of equipment in the Roots collection, general references, educational and instructional books, and much more. Collections have come from many sources. Many who have donated to the Library have worked for railroads or in logging or lumber mills. Or they may have relatives who at one time worked in these fields. The primary contributor has been Chris Baldo, who has collected many rare books on industrial subjects and conceived of creating a library for these books. The photographs, letters, books and documents of these individuals are invaluable to those who seek to understand this aspect of our history. The Research Library is constantly soliciting collections.


Visitors should understand that some of the books and artifacts may remain in boxed storage while they are classified and cataloged. There will regardless be much to see and enjoy in the library. Library staff will be available to assist visitors in their research to the extent possible. Educators, researchers and those with a general interest in steam and power engineering, railroading and logging are welcome to visit the library. Due to the rarity and value of the collections in the library, it will be open to the public only when a docent is available, although the exhibit galleries will remain open during regular museum hours. Visitors are required to sign-in and follow some simple rules such as not eating, drinking or smoking; not using ink pens; handling rare volumes and materials only with provided cotton gloves; etc.