I made an unexpected research find
today. I have been researching Arden
Company, located in the south end of the Las Vegas Valley.
They operated from 1907 to about 1930. I
was drawn to them because they operated a 3’
gauge haul railroad (using at least 5 locomotives over the
life of the company)
to bring the gypsum from the mines to
Today at the Nevada State Museum, Las
Vegas, I was looking
at what was thought to be Arden Plaster records, but
turned out to be LA&SL
(Union Pacific) Arden Station records including daily cash
reports, records of shipments
with car numbers. The largest customer
by far was the plaster factory. The
was that most of the plaster which was mostly shipped to
was shipped in PFE refrigerator cars.
The shipments headed east were in box cars, either
LA&SL or eastern
owned. A photograph of the plant shows
only refrigerator cars on the loading track.
I can only assume that plaster is considered a
clean cargo, and that
using them such service between LA and Las Vegas was
keeping them close to the
shipping points in Southern California, but keeping them
in active revenue
service. We noted that in Oct the
reefers disappeared and boxcars were used instead.
On at least one occasion a Santa Fe
refrigerator showed up in this service.
Other shipments noted were regular
shipments in of fuel oil,
both for the narrow gauge locomotives, but also for the
plaster factory, as
well as food and other supplies for the company store.
The next largest shipper was the Potosi
Zinc and Lead Company,
owned by the Mahoney Brothers… They shipped a car or two
at a time… but received
some interesting loads including a steam tractor. The
Mahoney Brothers are believed to be road
contractors from San Francisco, who built street railroads
and as a result are
credited with construction of at least two orders of cable
cars and possible
one order of electric street cars, which were supplied
contracts, but were likely sub-contracted to others.