A follow-up on history: The Union readers write | TheUnion.com

A follow-up on history: The Union readers write

The Union StaffOld Bus No. 3 as it appears today.
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As 2002 draws to a close I’d like to update two stories featured in The Union’s history column: the bus line story of Oct. 12 and the story about the Idaho-Maryland shaft core published on June 22.

I received a letter with photographs about the drill core; I got phone calls from Sacramento and Grass Valley regarding the bus line story. I feel that for the sake of historical clarification and accuracy, this additional information should be shared.

First about the shaft, or more correctly, the Idaho-Maryland No. 2 bored shaft. In July, I received a letter and photographs from Glenn C. Waterman of Bainbridge Island, Wash. Waterman worked for 10 years at the Idaho Maryland as chief geologist and chief engineer. He served two stints; first, from 1934 to 1942, then after World War II from 1945 to 1947.

Waterman is 90 years old, a Stanford University graduate, and claims to be the “oldest living former Idaho-Maryland employee. I don’t imagine there are too many more of us still around,” he said.

In 1935-36, Waterman was in charge of the engineering and connection of the No. 2 shaft to the upper level workings. Regarding the June 22 story, Waterman said, “I was very interested (in the story of the shaft boring.”

He continued, “I want to add a note to your description (of the work on the shaft which) … was designed to be a ventilation shaft for the eastern and upper levels of the mine, a second exit and for lowering supplies … It was used extensively for these purposes.”

Waterman points out that my statement that the shaft did not produce the expected results and was never utilized was in error. My intention was to point out that the shaft was not utilized for the duration of mining operations at the Idaho-Maryland. I am sorry for not making my intent clearer.

He credits the late Errol MacBoyle, majority owner of the Idaho-Maryland and Brunswick mines, with innovations which improved production in the operation of both properties.

About the Nevada City-Grass Valley bus line featured in the Oct. 12 history section. I stated that “the fleet consisted of two aging, mid-1940s vehicles …”

There were actually three, as pointed out by Irene Barbieri Hart of Sacramento, a former longtime Nevada City resident.

“My partner Albert Eckerman and I bought all three buses from Joe Spence with the idea of converting them into motor homes,” she told me.

I had to see old No. 3, which she had parked in her driveway, and drove to Sacramento to photograph it to compare pictures 40 years apart. Hart, her family and friends have driven No. 3 many thousands of miles, having traveled extensively in the west on camping and hunting trips. They are currently undertaking another remodeling and upgrading of the 57-year old workhorse.

Two of the vehicles were converted for recreational purposes, and one was probably used for parts or scrapped, Hart isn’t sure. Eckerman later sold the second bus.

Prior to talking to Hart, I had a phone call from Rod Bonderant, who said that one of the buses might just possibly be in the Camptonville area and put me in touch with Barbara Hogan, who had previously read the bus line story in The Union edition of Oct.12.

Yes, one of the three had indeed migrated to Camptonville! Hogan had purchased the old Ford some 14 years ago from a local Camptonville woman. The Hogans replaced the “million mile” Ford engine with a more powerful Chrysler engine and did additional restoration work.

“When we got the bus it was painted a pretty baby blue and had been used as a residence. It was really nice; it still had the original side mirrors and the driver’s seat,” Hogan said and added, “The old girl was getting tired so we put her out to pasture.” That was about four years ago.

Hogan thinks the bus might still be parked in the woods near that buyer’s home. “The Pendola Fire passed very near to where she was parked. I don’t think the bus burned,” she concluded.

Bus No. 3, now painted a two-tone brown (pictured), was first sold in 1945. It has a 100-horsepower, rear engine Ford V-8 with a 148-inch wheel base. This particular model was manufactured form 1940 to 1946 and was very popular with short-line passenger haulers. Another model was manufactured from 1937 to 1940.

The interior bears little resemblance to No. 3’s passenger hauling days. All the conveniences of one of today’s class A manufactured mobile homes can be found in the extensively remodeled vehicle.

A final note to close the Joe Spence bus story: His home on the old Nevada City Highway is now owned by John and Susan Kelley, who wrote saying that they would like to place a marker acknowledging Spence’s service to the community. Kelley says that Spence donated land for the first house built across the highway from Meek’s Lumber Co. and next door to Joe’s old home.

Bob Wyckoff is a retired newspaper editor, an author of local history, a lifetime student of California history and a longtime resident of Nevada County. You can write him at The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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