Shaver Crossing Railroad Station Museum

The Shaver Crossing Railroad Station, built in 1912, is a genuine California Railroad Station. In fact, it's the last standing railroad station of the San Joaquin & Eastern Railroad, known as the crookedest railroad in the world.

The San Joaquin & Eastern Railroad (SJ&E) was built in 1912 over 56 miles of rough terrain using only hand labor and Fresno Scrapers pulled by mules, working 7 days a week, 10 hours a day. The railroad was completed in a record 157 days, to create John Eastwood's 1893 vision of a massive hydroelectric system, now known as Southern California Edison's Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.

The Shaver Crossing Station is also the site of Tunnel Camp #4, and the site of Adit #5, which is an entrance and an exit to Tunnel #2, located from the East Portal at Powerhouse #1, to the West Portal above Powerhouse #2. From 1912 through the late 1920s, Shaver Crossing was a thriving little railroad and hydro construction community. The only way to access this community was by the SJ&E Railroad. The community consisted of only 30 buildings that included the railroad station, bunkhouses for the workers, a cookhouse, commissary, carpenter shop, warehouse, 2 blacksmiths, the tunnel superintendent's house as well as a car house for the SJ&E rail cars also known as Speeders. The Dakin Sawmill was also at this site, and shipped lumber and wood for fruit drying trays to Fresno, 56 miles away.

After the first phase of the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project was completed, and other transportation routes and methods became available, the railroad was dismantled in 1933. Only the Shaver Crossing Station, the grade and inclines survive today, preserved for future generations who are curious to see what it was like back in the early years of the railroad and the hydroelectric project that it helped create. The SJ&E Railroad is known worldwide as "The Railroad that Lighted Southern California." Without it, the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project would not exist.

The Shaver Crossing Railroad Station Museum is open to visitors, weather permitting, usually from April thru November. The Museum has original artifacts, interpretive displays, photographs, maps and oral histories and transcripts of early residents and employees of the project. Museum staff is available to interpret the history of the local Native American Mono Tribe, because these people were here first. Before the Railroad, much of the grade as we know it today, was part of a vast trail system and trade route, leading to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.

To get to the museum, take Highway 168 east from Fresno all the way to Shaver Lake. Continue to the north end of the lake where the Big Creek Road takes off on your left.This road is now named Old Huntington. Continue on this paved road for 3 miles. The Railroad Grade will be on your left and a U.S. Forest Service sign will have a large 8 on it and Auberry 25 miles. Take this dirt road approx,1/8 mile and you will be at the Railroad Station.

Currently the museum is working with Southern California Edison on a project to nominate the Big Creek Hydroelectric System as a "Historic District" to the National Register of Historic Places.

The 100th Anniversary of the Shaver Crossing Railroad Station will be held in the summer of 2012 for the public. Date TBD. The Museum is requesting any artifacts that were "borrowed" over the last 75 years be donated or returned in order to be part of the 100 year celebration. Everyone is welcome to attend. Date will be published in the Mountain Press Newspaper and on this page.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 37.1858264 Longitude: -119.2786825 Elevation: 4904 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Darinda Otto

Seasons Open

April thru November, weather permitting

Hours Open

Noon-4pm Appointments preferred. Please call Darinda at 559-287-0594 to schedule.

Fees

Free

ADA Accessibility Notes

Not wheelchair accessible due to a flight of stairs leading from the road to the station. However, a tour guide and interpreter will be happy to conduct the tour on the Railroad Grade for those with disabilities who cannot climb stairs.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are OK as long as they stay outdoors.

Comments

Darinda has done a wonderful job collecting, organizing and displaying artifacts and photos from this period of history.
Ede Haungs, 4/6/2011
This is a site that you should not miss when visiting this area.
patrick newman, 4/8/2011
Ms. Blackie and her helpers are a great help in my research of the area. Thanks again Mtn. Chickadee..smile
DARRELL BENEDICT, 5/7/2012
I grew up in Big Creek during the 1940-1950s and I never heard of this building or museum so it was quite a surprise to learn of it from Barbara Waite. Next time I am up there I will swing by. I do remember a lot about the train as it was still fresh in the memories and town in the 1940s. Thank God for the wonderful volunteers. Ray and Roxie Holm
Ray holm, Thousand Oaks, 9/26/2013
This is incorrect in one way. The Auberry Station is still standing. It is where the Mountain Press newspaper office is located.
Jim Long, 12/23/2015

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