Roots of Motive Power
Roots of Motive Power is an all-volunteer organization founded in 1982 to preserve and restore steam- and diesel-powered equipment used in the California north coast logging industry from the 1850s to the present.
Roots of Motive Power began in 1982 as a loosely organized group of friends in the timber industry who shared a love of local history and the antique machinery that shaped it. Working closely with the Mendocino County Museum, Roots volunteers embarked on an enthusiastic course of acquisition and restoration. Fittingly, the first project was the restoration of the Museum’s Murray Brothers spool donkey, a veteran of many years of service with Mendocino Lumber Company in Big River. Built on John Dolbeer’s patents in the 1880s, the veritical spool donkey represented the earliest attempts to mechanize logging. From this symbolic beginning, Roots volunteers moved quickly over the next few years to acquire and preserve steam equipment and other logging artifiacts of historic importance.
Roots has collected a very complete blacksmith shop, several period machine shop tools, and has a Research Library of early steam and logging engineering. Roots collection of antique logging and railroad equipment comes to life several times each year during special public events, but our largest event is the annual Steamup.
Roots of Motive Power is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Board of Directors is elected for a one year term by the membership each August at our Annual Meeting. After their election, and also during the Annual Meeting, the Board selects officers, whose terms of service are also annual.
2022 Roots sponsored events
April 2 & 3
Saturday & Saturday
Steam Engineering and Operating Safety Class
Train Rides during Willits Community Festival and Car Show
June 4 & 5
Saturday & Sunday
Railroad Operation and Safety Class
Willits Frontier Days Parade entry and Train Rides
September 10 & 11
Saturday & Sunday
Roots of Motive Power 40th Annual Steam Festival
Special Workday – Decorate Engine House. All are Invited to Help.
Christmas Holiday Express
2022 Events Roots Participates in but does not organize
March 17 – 19
Thursday – Saturday
Redwood Region Logging Conference Redwood Acres Fairgrounds Eureka CA
Center for the Book Annual Roadworks Steam Festival San Francisco CA
Regular work days
Wednesday Nights at Baldo Locomotive Works stating at 4:30pm
1st and 3rd Saturday of the month
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