Re: Loading plaster, was Grain, In A Refrigerator Car (1918)

Randy Hees

At the south edge of Las Vegas at Arden, the Arden Plaster Company mined and processed architectural plaster products from c.1907 to 1929.  The majority of their production was shipped to southern California. (the Company was headquartered in Pasadena)  There is a substantial collection of waybills held at the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.  Those include reporting marks.  Shipments to Southern CA are primarily via refrigerator cars, mostly PFE, but also Santa Fe...  Shipments east are made in box cars.  Plaster is moisture sensitive, so they must have been dry cars.  The high grade plaster was likely clean enough to not contaminate the cars.

I postulate that the round trip was quick, on a single railroad, (orignally the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake, later the Los Angeles and Salt Lake, allways associated if not controlled by UP) preventing the cars from straying off system.  The short turn around (5-7 days) allowed use of refrigerator cars being held for scheduled shipments, and getting some revenue from an otherwise static car.  

By the way, Arden Plaster operated a 5 mile long 3' narrow gauge railroad connecting their plant with the mines.

Randy Hees

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