DS&CV Locomotive No 1: Joe. Douglass

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Joe Douglass.jpg

The Joe. Douglass is a historic locomotive, the first and only locomotive to run on the Dayton, Sutro & Carson Valley Railroad, also known as DS&CVRR. The locomotive was built by H. K. Porter & Co. in 1882. It has been restored and is on display at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.


In 1882 Joe M. Douglass bought a small railroad from Frederick Birdsall. The railroad ran in the Dayton Valley, carrying ore tailings from Gold Canyon to a nearby mill, with a connection to the Carson and Colorado tracks in Dayton. Birdsall sold the tracks and land to Douglass, but took his two locomotives with him when he left. This left Douglass in need of a locomotive to run on his new railroad, so he ordered one from the H. K. Porter & Co. of Pittsburgh, PA. The 0-4-2T engine was a very small one, much smaller than those run on the V&T and the C&C. Construction was finished on June 12, 1882, and it arrived in Dayton later that summer. It first steamed up on September 14. Joe Douglass painted his own name on the locomotive, and christened the rail line the Dayton, Sutro & Carson Valley Railroad.

Joe Douglass Historic.jpg

By November of that year the line had been extended to the town of Sutro, and in February of 1883 it reached the Carson Valley Mill, on the banks of the Carson River. The Joe. Douglass spent the next decade and a half running back and forth along these tracks carrying ore from one place to another. Repairs on the engine were done by the V&T crews in Carson City. For light repairs the workmen would make a housecall out to the Dayton Valley to work on the engine. But for major repairs, it was necessary to load the locomotive onto a flatcar and haul it to the enginehouse in Carson City. The Joe. Douglass ran until around the turn of the century, when the line was shut down.

Life in California

In 1900 the Joe. Douglass was sold to a firm in California, and used in the construction of the Lake Arrowhead Dam. During this time records seem to show that it was renamed "Black Annie", or at least colloquially called that. It was only in use for a few years, and then it was placed on a short piece of track on a steep hill, where it was left on display for several decades. it came to be a well-known attraction for visitors to the area, and children would climb all over it. After it disappeared from the display at Lake Arrowhead, in fact, the rumor started to spread that it had been dumped in the bottom of the lake!

Joe Douglass Abandoned.jpg Joe Douglass Playground.jpg

But in reality it didn't end up in the lake, it was taken by Jim Fouch, and displayed at his La Pat Guest Ranch in Palm Springs. After a short time there it passed through a number of other owners, eventually coming under the care of Bob Walton of San Marino in 1968. He undertook the project of restoring the engine to its original appearance, and trying to get it operable again. He did succeed at the first task, using old photos as a guide to reverse the decades of damage done to the engine by curious children. But in the second task he was not as successful. Although the engine did run under compressed air a few times, it never was fired up under full steam and has not received boiler certification.

Walton discovered the history of the little locomotive, and thought that it was fitting that it should be returned to Nevada. He negotiated a sale with the Nevada State Railroad Museum, with the help of a grant from Meadowood Mall, and in 1994 the transfer took place. The locomotive first was put on display at Meadowood Mall for the Christmas season, then was moved to the grounds of the NSRM.

The museum displayed it outside for a while, but now the Joe. Douglass is stored in the museum's annex, alongside larger locomotives such as V&T #25, NSRM #8, and the remains of the Glenbrook.


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