Thursday, April 7
“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”
The famous line from the ending of the classic movie Sunset Boulevard came to mind when we approached the near-fully restored 1940s-era wooden caboose that sits proudly in front of the Raymond Museum. Its close-up will happen during the upcoming 25th Annual Raymond Parade and Family Fun Day, a spring celebration that occurs every third Saturday in April. It features a parade, craft and food fair, stick-horse barrel racing for kids and big kids’ bull riding event—the elements of life itself! Who could ask for more?
Two people from Hollywood put the Raymond museum there. Wayne and Lynn Northrop took a break from their television careers and rode into town, bought a spread to raise cattle, and thought Raymond was a whole lot more interesting than the current residents realized. The community responded by contributing some significant artifacts to the museum.
In the late 1880s Raymond was the terminus of a Southern Pacific Railroad line. From Raymond, passengers took the stagecoach to Yosemite which was at the time a state park. President Theodore Roosevelt rode into town and took the stagecoach to Yosemite for a historic meeting with John Muir. After that meeting, he declared that Yosemite should become America’s second National Park, after Yellowstone.
Yesterday we were returning from a shopping trip in Fresno. We saw that someone was working on the caboose and decided to stop. When we approached the caboose, Wayne was about to leave, having finished some more work on it. He graciously invited us in to see how the restoration was coming along. (We had dropped by several times previously to check the progress.) It was remarkable! Our neighbor Bruce had contributed hundreds of hours of work, and with his superb woodworking skill had performed some remarkable magic in bringing back the aura of old time railroading. An awful lot of time and a whole lot of money has gone into restoring this piece of history. I hope people will respect that as they parade through the car, giving it its close-up.