Railroads, Historic Preservation, wood


Railroad fans, history enthusiasts, or those who just like old things, sit back and relax! One no longer needs to search for musty old buildings to feel a part of the past. It is now possible to enjoy one's heritage while sitting in the comfort of one's home. In fact, one's own home might be made out of history. Such is the case in hundreds of homes and buildings throughout the United States that have been built from the millions of board feet of salvaged wood coming from a large part of railroad and United States history-the Lucin Cutoff trestle. When the twelve-mile-long wooden railroad trestle, built in 1903, was replaced by a solid earth causeway in the late 1950s, it was initially preserved as a backup means across the lake. However, by the 1990s, Southern Pacific Railroad desired the structure's removal. Despite the fact that the trestle was on the National Register of Historic Places, pragmatism won and the trestle was removed. Although traditional historic preservationists might have been appalled at the demolition of the Lucin Cutoff trestle, a structure full of significant history, the salvage efforts for the wood from the trestle enabled the history to be preserved while the structure itself was not. This new practical method of historic preservation has brought the excitement of the early twentieth-century railroad boom into the presentday lives of thousands in both public and private settings.