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Newsletter, December 8, 2006


Hello -

I am pleased to announce that STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS has agreed to publish my book about the Nevada Northern Railway, Where Steam Moved Mountains. This is a major milestone in the development of this, my first book.

The book itself is coming along well and in addition to Stanford Press, I have some prestigious names involved in its publication. The forward for the book will be written by John Tyson, reporter for KOLO TV in Reno where he is host of Tyson's Journal , a show similar to Bay Area Back Roads . John also acts as a volunteer locomotive engineer at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, so his writing of the forward is particularly appropriate. William L. Withuhn, Curator, History of Technology & Transportation at the Smithsonian Institution has offered to write a preface plus a dust jacket endorsement.

730am #40 @ enginehouse #3.jpg The railroad itself just celebrated the centennial of its arrival in Ely with an appropriate re-enactment of the driving of the copper spike. Also, on September 27, just in time to be announced at the Centennial, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the designation of the Nevada Northern Railway East Ely yard complex, locomotives and rolling stock in Ely, Nevada as a National Historic Landmark, acknowledging it as "the best-preserved, least altered, and most complete main yard complex remaining from the steam railroad era." National Historic Landmark status is the highest recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties possessing "exceptional value or quality in illustrating and interpreting the heritage of the United States." So congratulations to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.

7:30am  #40 @ Tipple & Water
Tower.jpg Returning to the book, as an academic press, Stanford University Press seeks the opinions of outside readers for an evaluation of the books which they are considering for publication. Where Steam Moved Mountains was reviewed by Carlos Schwantes, the St. Louis Mercantile Library Endowed Professor of Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Carlos, who has written a number of books on transportation history and the history of the west, had this to say in his review.

RPO Section "My, what powerfully evocative images of railroading. I can say that more than most books of railroad history, this one also showcases the railroad as art somewhat in the style of photographer-artist Charles Sheeler for Ford's River Rouge Plant. I think that this book should win awards for its art, but it offers still more. It is a history of the copper industry and its railroad connection in one part of the West. I especially appreciate the ties that Osmundson uses to connect copper and the Nevada Northern. All but the highest grades of copper ore were impossible to transport to market profitably without an extensive network of railroad lines connecting mine, smelter and refinery to outside markets. For all these reasons I would like to see this book published.

Ore Train at Steptoe Creek "University presses, notably Indiana, Washington, and Northern Illinois, have carved a specialty niche for themselves by publishing high-quality railroad books. Stanford is to be congratulated for doing likewise with its books on transportation generally. I think the high quality of this book will only enhance the Press's reputation for solid scholarship packaged in beautiful books. And it should sell well and enhance the bottom line. There are many people interested in railroad history and in mining history, and this book should appeal to both.

"So, I strongly recommend publication without any reservations."

Combine #05 Open
Platform With the book, I am working on several new sections. I was in Ely for the railroad's centennial in late September, while there I had a chance to interview Dave Tilford one of the founders of the museum and get the story of how the museum concept was developed, how Kennecott was approached , etc., so I have the story of the museum's founding.

Based on the article Ingoldsby Automatic Dump Cars by Al Clemens on the Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County website, plus some more photos from my most recent trip, I am putting together a piece on the railroad's ore cars. This will be followed by a piece on the Railroad's six, 1912, wood, double sheathed box cars, #1020 - 1025. Four of these cars are in operation and were recently repainted and re-lettered. There will also be a section on the passenger cars and some of the maintenance-of-way equipment.

Two Trains at Lavon The section on #40 and #93 is being reworked with new photo sections of close-up detail photographs. Back in June, #40's rods were down and I was able to do some new and interesting abstract studies of them. I have been trying for some time to get a good photo of #40's Nathan Monitor Lifting Injector. On the last trip I caught one of the injectors in beautiful light in the engine house. This photo, plus an earlier one of #93's Hancock Inspirator, form the start of a piece on injectors. I found technical information on the web and then from Abe Books got a copy of Locomotive Boiler-Feeding Devices, I love the title, published by the International Textbook Company of Scranton, PA., 1937. With the photos, diagrams and information, I am putting together a technical description of how injectors work including the special features of the Hancock Inspirator.

Wrecking Crane & Staff For printing I have selected Hemlock Printers of Vancouver, B.C., one of the worlds best, they win Benjamin Franklin awards for the quality of their black and white printing. We will be using the stochastic line screen duotone process. The pages will look almost exactly like the original photographic prints. I'm hoping that we can win a Benny. If you read LensWork Magazine or have some of Nils Huxtable's Steamscenes calanders you have seen examples of their work. In fact a couple of issues of LensWork have won Bennies.

Main Rod Ends While the details of the contract have yet to be worked out, Stanford University Press and I are expecting to enter into a partnership arrangement where I will do the book design and hold the Copyright, they will provide the copy editor, the Stanford imprint will go on the book, they will do marketing and they will handle order fulfillment. This arrangement will give me control of the look and feel of the book and they are already comfortable with my abilities in this regard. I will also be able to do my own marketing, sell books retail on my website and have my own merchant accounts. While that is all subject to change, I really can't imagine a better arrangement.

Monitor Injector As I mentioned above, I was in Ely from September 29 to October 3 for the Centennial Celebration. The museum put on a good program with special trains, driving of the copper spike re-enactments, silent auction, bar-be-que, speeches, etc. In attendance were a number of members of the Requa family, (for more in the Requa's, see my two previous newsletters, November 2005 August 2006) Ralph Requa, Kristine Requa Snyder, George Good and his family, but most significant was Marcia Russell Good, the historian of the family. Marcia has written and edited a book of letters between Mark Requa and his wife Florence from the time of their marriage until the driving of the copper spike in 1906. The book titled, A Vision in Letters, the Early Career of Mark Lawrence Requa was completed just in time for the centennial and on sale there. It is available from the NNRy Museum Gift Shop.

Valve Gear Rod Ends This book filled in a number of missing details about Requa's career prior to his involvement in Ely and outlined much of the work that he did there. Mark was very much a family man who was devoted to his wife and children, but non-the-less he was away on business much of the time. Prior to coming to Ely he was involved in mining ventures in the Owens Valley and Arizona and spent time selling properties for the Southern Pacific Company in Southern California. Once he began work on the copper mines he spent a great deal of time on the east coast working out of New York's Hotel Netherland with side trips to Boston and Washington, D.C. handling financial and other business matters. Interestingly his normal mode of travel to the East Coast was on the Overland and Twentieth Century Limiteds.

As my book moves closer to publication there will be further announcements and prepublication offers. Stay tuned.

Gordon Osmundson

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