Railroad Repeats

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Depot at Colfax     39°5'58.02"N, 120°57'9.78"W


This picture illustrates a working railroad depot. The box cars are empty and the platform cars seem filled with cross ties for the railroad itself. The only sign of paying business are the stacks of what appear to be wool in the lower left corner of the photo. This is the first town of any significant size on the route from Sacramento to Reno to appear in one of Hart's photos. The stagecoach pulled up at the depot on the right side demonstrates how horse powered transportation fed the railroad line. From Crofutt's Transcontinental Tourist's Guide, 1871: "Stage Lines and Freight: Fast freight for Nevada [City], Grass Valley, San Juan, Little York, You Bet, is taken on four-horse express wagons by an enterprising line. But the regular freighting goes a little slower, generally. The Grass Valley and Nevada freight is a very important item in the business of the railroad; these large towns receiving all their freight from this point. Iowa Hill and the mining country across the American river is supplied from this station" (Crofutt, 169).


As is evident in the shortened length of the building, part of the original depot has disappeared. This is still a working railroad line, but the Northwestern Pacific caboose in the background is just for historic display. There is now a farmer's market in the parking lot. Colfax has not grown significantly since 1869. The 1879 census returns do not list Colfax, but the 1880 census puts the population at 501. As of the 2000 census, Colfax had a population of 1,496.