These two pictures of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Shops are the newest ones in the collection. They barely make it in – I have an arbitrary cutoff of about 1980 for what’s considered “contemporary” compared to “historic”. But I also allow myself to make exceptions; if you have a photograph of something that’s not around anymore, you’re in.
These photos are from about 1985, and they show how run-down the shops had become by then. The shops were built in 1873, and were the main enginehouse and machine shops for the railroad for the rest of its existence. In 1950 the railroad went out of business, and the shops were abandoned. Many proposals for renovating them were talked about, but none of them gained any traction. In 1991 the shops were dismantled and the bricks sent to the Napa Valley, reportedly to be used in the construction of a winery.
The decay in these photos is starkly visible. Funnels are missing, the roof is caving in, and some of the bricks look to be falling out. You can see why this building, without any kind of upkeep, would have been declared a hazard. I think it just reached a point where it had to be torn down before it fell down. It’s too bad, but by the time of these pictures, the cost of renovating the shops would have been astronomical.
Here’s a picture of the shops in their heyday, just so we don’t end this post on a depressing note. The date here is June 16, 1882, and everything looks sparking and new.