The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is an interpretive park located in Nevada City, California, which is dedicated to the preservation of local transportation history and artifacts from the narrow gauge era. It is the newest Museum in Nevada County which opened in 2003.
When you arrive you will be greeted by a docent who will give you the history of the railroad, including the fact that it was managed from 1901-1913 by a female, Sarah Kidder, the first woman to run a major railroad in the United States. The Kidders also built a house that was the largest residence in Nevada County measuring 7,800 square feet that included 28 rooms!
The docent will also discuss the impact that the railroad had on Nevada County. It shipped over $270M in gold (13.5M ounces), and never lost one ounce. The railroad was the lifeline to the Transcontinental Railroad and it significantly helped to expand the fruit industry in Nevada County.
Next you'll take a guided tour of the rail yard that includes 90 to 113 year old rail cars that have been restored or are awaiting restoration. Next up is the shop that has the Museum's pride and joy; a steam engine built from the ground up. The shop was expanded by 50% in 2009 thanks to a generous donation from one of the Museum's volunteers. The shop has all sorts of activity in process. Next on the tour, its back to the Museum's Gallery to see the Hollywood star; an 1875 Baldwin Steam Engine that was used in over 100 movies and television shows.
There are also a number of exhibits in the Gallery, including:
- A map of a proposed route for the railroad created in 1865,
- A thirteen star American flag that was given to the railroad to commemorate the Declaration of Independence Centennial in 1876,
- A 1/4 scale model of an 1880s mail coach,
- A working telegraph, and
- An animation of the first car (steam) assembled in California in 1901 in Grass Valley.
Finally, you will see a display on Lyman Gilmore. Did he fly before the Wright Brothers?
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is located at the intersection of Bost and New Mohawk in Nevada City. Take the Gold Flat exit off 49N and follow Bost Avenue over a small hill and turn left into Kidder Court. Follow the Museum signs.