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.
Search our Glossary
A Captain of Industry
A Decade of Stream - Volume 1
A Few Moments from History
A Glance Back
A Guide To The Skunk Line
A Loggers Lexicon
A Natural History of Western Trees
A Pioneer Lumberman's Story
A Review of Harvesting Redwoods
A Short History of Steam Trains Over Cumbres
A Textbook on Steam Engineering
A Treasury of Railroad Folklore
A Treatise On The Arc Indicator
A treatise on the Locomotive Air Brake
A-1 Engine Equipment
ABC of Aviation, The
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. The current year runs from August 2013 to August 2014.
President — Lee Bryant
Vice President — Troy James
Treasurer/CFO — Bobbie Yokum
Secretary — Carol Jones
Current Board of Directors
Director — Lee Bryant
Director — Kirk Graux
Director — Troy James
Director — Chuck Jones
Director — Keith Rongey
Director — Joey Smith
Director — Alan Spivak
Other Current Positions
Librarian — Dean Durbin
Highline Editor — Dirk Johnson
Trainmaster — Chris Baldo
Webmaster — Roshan Patel