Shovel #2 immediately went to work on Guy F. Atkinson Company's San Gabriel Highline Road project near Azusa, California. In 1934, the shovel was sent north to GFACO'S contract to build the powerhouse and lock excavation for the new Bonneville Dam on the Columbia river. In 1937 the shovel was sent back to San Francisco to begin work erecting the 1939 World's Fair Exposition buildings and the Tower of the Sun structure on Treasure Island. From Treasure Island, the machine was shipped to Hansen Dam near Los Angeles in 1938, thence to the Naval Ordinance Depot at Bellemont, Arizona in 1940, Neah Bay, Washington in 1943, and back to Los Angeles in 1946. Shovel #2 was retired from active service in 1946 but luckily was marked for preservation by the Guy F. Atkinson Company who stored the machine in operable condition at their Long Beach yard before moving it to South San Francisco in 1981.
The decision to preserve the steam shovel from 1946 to present, nearly half a century, could only have been made by a company with a sense of history. The Atkinson family is now in their sixth generation in the construction business in the United States, starting in 1830 with John Atkinson, an immigrant from Yorkshire, England. Like most building contractors of the period, the Atkinsons started as masons, building brick and stone structures, culverts and embankments for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The present Guy F. Atkinson Company was formed in 1929 by Guy F. Atkinson, grandson of John Atkinson. The list of projects built by the company is immense; the difficulty of their construction defies description. The Guy F. Atkinson Company has become one of the acknowledged leaders in the worldwide heavy construction industry.