I've been spending evenings adding online library and history photos to Lookback Maps; it's been a good way for me to organize photos I've seen at the Bancroft Library or Los Gatos History Museum's websites without downloading and saving them all. I've also been finding all sorts of cool photos available online, ranging from some of Dorothea Lange's photos of the last days of the Berryessa Valley before Monticello Dam flooded the region to photos of William Wurster's modern office building for the Schuckl Cannery in Sunnyvale.
I've also found a few wonderful photos for planning the Vasona Branch. Here's a neat photo from History Los Gatos's collections of photos from the Jesuit Novitiate above town; it shows some of the Novitiate students on a hike up Los Gatos Canyon to Wrights Station in December, 1938. I like this picture because it's a really clear shot of the station location, though it's obvious that the station was torn down sometime before 1938. The water tank is still available for any trains that come by, but it'll be useless as soon as the line is abandoned in a year and a half.
The surprising detail for me in this photo is the huge size of that cut behind the water tank - the hillside's been cut away up to fifty feet above the tracks. Wrights had a short passing siding here, but I don't know why the railroad cut such a huge bench out along here. The sign is located where the post-1906 station had been; before that, the station had been behind us, across the river and just before the tunnel. I wonder if the railroad needed to carve out more of the hillside to give the tracks room to curve across the creek and to the mouth of the tunnel? Or was the canyon just so narrow and steep that digging space for the tracks required so much earthmoving?
Time to start combing through those online history web sites to find more photos like this one!