Scenic USA - California

Laws Railroad Depot

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Laws Railroad Depot - Bishop, California

Photos by Ben Prepelka

     Anxious for the arrival of the first railroad to Owens Valley, the town of Laws got Laws Watchmen off to a three year head start before the first train arrived. Anticipating a railway from Mound House, Nevada, to the Colorado River, the Laws Railroad Depot and agent’s facilities were joined by hotels, boarding houses and eateries. Area ranchers, utilizing the railroad for exports, saw an increase of barns, corrals and pasturelands. Lead by the Slim Princess, this narrow gage railway flourish in Owens Valley for nearly 80 years, despite never having realized its completion to the Colorado River.
     Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site, near Bishop, California, houses all that remains of this bustling town. This view of the Laws Depot shows one of few original buildings remaining on the grounds, donated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Slim Princess - Carson & Colorado Railroad, Owens Valley, CA Operated by the Bishop Museum and Historical Society, museum staff has gathered together Engine #9, railcars, barn and farm equipment, the Inyo school and library buildings, homes and shops.
     Modern roads, cost-effective trucking, the disappearance of water rights, and mine closures marked the end of the C&C Railroad in 1960. A few thoughtful individuals began gathering up the remaining reminders of Laws' past. Today’s museum recalls the glory years of railroad and the town’s heydays.

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