Sightseeing — Laws Railroad Museum

The Story of Laws
Compiled from The Story of Laws by Clarabelle Hawkins


On May 20, 1880, the Carson and Colorado Railroad Company was formed and incorporated by William Sharon, Hume Yerington and Darius Mills. They planned to run the narrow gauge railroad from Mound House, Nevada, and Carson River to the Colorado River, calling it the C&C Railroad. It never reached the Colorado River but stopped at Keeler, California. It has often been referred to as, "the railroad that was built 300 miles too long or 300 years too soon".

 

As the word was out that the railroad would run east of the Owens River, people started to arrive at what is known now as Laws. A new railroad town was built. It took 3 years for the rails to be laid from Mound House to Laws, with the first train arriving in April of 1883. The depot, agent's house, section boss' house, outhouses, water tank and turntable were all ready when it arrived.

In addition to the railroad buildings, other construction quickly followed which included many homes, barns, and corrals, two general stores, a rooming house, eating house, hotel, boarding house, pool hall and dance hall, blacksmith shop, post office, barber shop, powder magazine and warehouses. Several industrial buildings followed later. Many ranches surrounded Laws and used the railroad to ship their crops.

The decline and demise of Laws and the railroad were the result of the local mines closing, trucking becoming cheaper than rail freight and the city of Los Angeles buying most of the valley for the water rights. By 1959, when the railroad ceased operation, there was no trace of any of the buildings at Laws as they had all been torn down for salvage. Only the depot, agent's house, oil and water tanks and the turntable survived. All the other buildings you see at the museum today were doomed for destruction locally but were saved by being moved to the museum grounds.

 

Laws Railroad Museum Exhibits

RECEPTION CENTER - Gifts and books

CAMERA DISPLAY - Antique cameras and photos

TRADING POST - Thrift store

GENERAL STORE - Early western store

WESTERN DISPLAY - Saddles, brands and antique hearse

POST OFFICE - Last original Laws Post Office

STOVE ROOM - Antique stoves

PRINT SHOP - Printing equipment dating to 1880

PIONEER BUILDING - Antique bathtubs, guns, radios, telephones, pianos, sewing machines and military items

FIRE STATION - Antique fire equipment and auto related items

MEDICAL BUILDING - Old medical displays & barber shop

ORIGINAL 1883 AGENT HOUSE

ORIGINAL 1883 DEPOT - Railroad memorabilia and model train displays

ENGINE #9 AND FREIGHT CARS

CABOOSE

DEATH VALLEY CAR - 929 Self-propelled car from the Death Valley Railroad

BOX CAR VILLAGE - (not open to public)

OIL AND WATER TANKS

ORIGINAL TURNTABLE

WATER WELL

ANTIQUE FARM EQUIPMENT

MINING EQUIPMENT

MINER SHACK

ASSAY OFFICE

RAILROAD TIE BARN

AUTO GARAGE

BLACKSMITH SHOP

ANTIQUE TOOL DISPLAY

WAGON BARN - Wagons, tractors and engines

ORIGINAL 1909 NORTH INYO SCHOOL HOUSE - Local school history

GAZEBO

LIBRARY AND ARTS - Also antique musical instruments

BELL RACK

WELLS FARGO BUILDING - Rock displays, assay equipment, Indian artifacts

BOTTLE HOUSE - Extensive bottle display

RANCH HOUSE - Restored circa 1900 ranch house

11 Acres of Unique Exhibits

OPEN ALL YEAR: VISITING HOURS - 10 am to 4 pm

Operated by the
Bishop Museum & Historical Society
PO BOX 363 Bishop, California 93515
(760) 873-5950

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