The newly formed Nevada-California-Oregon Railway (N-C-O) historical society hosted its first volunteer weekend May 15-16 in Alturas. The original N-C-O was a narrow-gauge railway that ran from Reno to Lakeview from 1880-1929. Volunteers from around the region came to help clean up two historic railway cars retained by the group. The first car, No. 72, was a baggage and mail car built in 1897. After the railroad was decommissioned, it found a home as a workshop in an alley of Alturas. The car is in overall really good shape for being well over 100 years old. The second car, No. 22, was a mail and express car built by the N-C-O at their Reno shops in 1891 and one of only two surviving N-C-O built passenger cars. It eventually became a residence in Wendel.
About 20 volunteers worked hard to remove the “lived in” feel of 22 including removing the electrical wires, linoleum floor, asphalt shingles and more. After a busy morning of cleaning and documenting the passenger cars, the crew went out to tour a couple surviving boxcars the N-C-O purchased from the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad in 1915. All were excited to see how much of the N-C-O railway still exists today.
On Day two, volunteers teamed up with the Alturas Garden Club, helping them with repairs and maintenance of the NCO Depot that has been the Garden Club’s home since the 1950s. This beautiful depot has a rich history in Alturas, once residing near the current NAPA auto parts store, it is now on North East Street. Everyone had a great time learning more about the NCO railway, getting the Garden Club ready for summer, and conducting some deferred maintenance. The Alturas Garden Club is also working on a new exhibit on firesafe landscaping that everyone should check out. Overall, the weekend was a great success, and we are looking forward to doing it again this fall!