MILEPOST #1008

By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection

TITLE: THE LEGEND OF BLACK ANNIE: In December 1890 the Arrowhead Reservoir Company was incorporated. Company president Adolph Wood announced, “We shall be able to reverse the direction of the mountain streams and cause them to flow into the valley early in the summer of 1892.” A new road was built up Waterman Canyon and soon 12- and 16-team wagons were hauling up heavy equipment and needed supplies to start work on the project. When it was discovered in 1904 that the bedrock in the gorge was decomposed granite, plans for a masonry dam had to be scrapped, and a new design for a considerably larger concrete dam were drawn up. Much additional equipment would be needed. Two steam locomotives were added to the project. This week’s image is a real photo of the Joe. Douglass., a narrow-gauge engine purchased from the Geary Street Railway Company in San Francisco. It was built in 1882 by H. K. Porter of Pittsburgh PA and spent her first 20 years hauling ore and tailings from the mines in Nevada. The Joe. Douglass. is a small, 0-4-2T type engine, with four drive wheels and two small wheels behind supporting an attached water tank and wood bunker. It pulled multiple dump cars and gained a reputation as being a real workhorse. The nickname “Black Annie” stemmed from its “feminine temperament.” Her story inspired a song written by a local called “The Legend of Black Annie” which can be found on YouTube by searching black annie ken brafman. When Annie was eventually retired, she was displayed at Lake Arrowhead Village for some 20 years, and then she seemed to disappear. It was rumored she had ended up on the bottom of the lake, but in reality, she changed hands among collectors for many years, ultimately being acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum in 1994 and lovingly restored. Having proudly retired to her Nevada roots, she is enjoyed by thousands of visitors and is displayed in a place of honor.

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1 Comment

  1. Kelly Rego

    How interesting! It’s nice to remember and pass on things from the good ole days, when people would care enough to put Annie on display for 20 years. It’s fitting that she ended up being restored and put in a place to be protected forever.

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