Monday, December 19, 2011

Note to Self: *Lots* More Orchards

Although I've been pretty focused on the cannery and fruit packing buildings in the Santa Clara Valley for the layout, I do remember that they're just a very narrow strip of what the Valley looked like in the 1930's. Most of the Santa Clara Valley at the time was orchards and farms, with only the thinnest strips along the railroad looking so industrial.

This panorama, for instance, is a nice reminder. This is a drying yard somewhere near Campbell, stuck in a depression on the edge of the property with railroad tracks cutting across the back of the photo. There's nothing but orchards visible. At a first guess, I'd suspect those are the SP tracks in the background, and two signs might hint at that. The post to the right has an "X" - a whistle post - indicating there's a road crossing somewhere off the right of the photo. The left shows two white boards nailed to a telegraph pole with "50" written on each, probably a railroad milepost. Milepost 50 on the Los Gatos Branch was about where the tracks crossed Hamilton Ave. near the current Highway 17 in Campbell, and was about 0.7 miles northeast of the station in Campbell.

There's also the chance that the Interurban line to Los Gatos used SP mile numbers, but I'm guessing this is the SP line. A better SP historian would know if that odd shaped whistle post was an SP prototype or not.

It's nice to know what the mileposts and whistle boards looked like so I can duplicate those. It's also good to see the orchards and the shapes of the trees. Best of all are the details from the drying yard - the prune dipper at the far left for dipping the fruit in lye before laying it out for drying, the piles of fruit boxes, and all the drying flats scattered around. But I'll have to scratchbuild it; I don't think I've ever seen a prune dipper kit in HO.

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