Tag Archives: California

The Quest to Protect California’s Transcontinental Railroad Tunnels | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine

Built by Chinese immigrants in the 1860s, the caverns cutting through Donner Summit helped unite the country

By Shoshi Parks, Freelance writer, January 12, 2022

The Donner Summit tunnels and 13 others in the Sierra Nevada built by Chinese railroad workers remain a testament to ingenuity and industry.  Shoshi Parks

A summer hike led me straight to the yawning maw of the Donner Summit tunnels high above Donner Lake in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Not even the longer of the two, a man-made cavern 1,659 feet in length, appeared on my map. There was no historical marker, no plaque, no interpretive signs—no signage of any sort.

I had no way of knowing that I’d accidentally stumbled on one of the most important engineering marvels of the 19th century, the one that united America.

The Sierra Nevada, the 400-mile-long range of granite peaks that form the backbone of California, was the most formidable obstacle in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

The only way past them was through. But in the mid-1860s, an era without dynamite or heavy machinery, the task seemed insurmountable. The granite was too hard, the mountains too steep, the 7,042 foot elevation where snow arrived early and stayed late was too treacherous for train travel.

Source: The Quest to Protect California’s Transcontinental Railroad Tunnels | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine

Academy Museum: Movie Exhibit Highlights – Sunset Magazine

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open Sept. 30 in Los Angeles, offers much more than those famous ruby slippers.

By Jennifer Konerman  – September 13, 2021

Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Saban Building. Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

Just as the 2022 Oscars season is beginning (in earnest) for awards-hopefuls, the long-awaited Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is set to open in Los Angeles.

The museum, first announced more than eight years ago, opens its doors at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard on Sept. 30 with several exhibitions and screening programs in store.

The collections vary from technology and the history of cinema to behind-the-scenes props from famous moments in film (like matte paintings that you probably thought were real life).

On display (so far) will include The Wizard of Oz‘s famous ruby slippers, a Cinerama camera from 1954, Nightmare Before Christmas‘ original expressive heads of Jack Skellington, Shirley Temple’s tap shoes, an annotated script of To Kill a Mockingbird, and the head from Alien.

Source: Academy Museum: Movie Exhibit Highlights – Sunset Magazine