The Fowler Pope Train Engineer Diary Collection (1876)

Overview +

Collection Number



This diary was created by Fowler Pope who worked on trains in Santa Cruz in 1876. The diary was acquired around 1990 by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.


Number of Containers: One (1) Box Linear Feet: 1 linear foot


Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Archives 705 Front Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060


This collection consists of one (1) leather bound Bancroft’s Pacific Coast Diary for 1876. The diary measures approximately 4.5×3” in size and belonged to Fowler Pope, an engineer for the South Pacific Coast Railroad Company. Inside are about one year’s worth of diary entries from 1/1/1876—12/15/1876. The entries are about Fowler’s home life as well as his duties working on trains. The diary is full of interesting train-related vocabulary, detailing work done on the train engine and bonnet.  Date range: 1876

A full transcription of the diary is available at:

History Notes

Fowler Pope (18??-1897) was a resident of Mission Street in Santa Cruz, CA after coming to California in 1861. Mr. Pope worked with the South Pacific Coast Railroad company and worked on engines such as the “Santa Cruz” and “Betsy Jane” (according to MAH donor file). Mr. Pope experienced some prominent events in the history of trains including being an engineer on the trip of the first freight train to run between San Francisco and San Jose, as well as being one of the first passenger engineers on the train. Fowler Pope also was significant for bringing the locomotive “Betsy Jane” to Santa Cruz. The “Betsy Jane” was the first locomotive on the Watsonville and Pajaro Railroad. Fowler Pope was survived by his wife and son Norris whom attended Stanford University (Source: F.Pope obituary, S.C. Sentinel 11/2/1897).


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Preferred Citation

The F. Pope Train Engineer Diary Collection, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the head of Archives at MAH. Researchers may be responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

Process By

Renata McRee

Date Completed


Contents +

Series I. Diary

One (1) Diary

Series Scope and Content Summary:

This collection consists of one (1) black leather bound diary approximately 4.5×3” in size, published by A.L. Bancroft and Co.   Diary entries date from January 1st 1876—December 15th 1876. This diary was written by Fowler Pope, an engineer for the South Pacific Coast Railroad Co. Entries detail Fowler Pope’s home life such as attending church (possibly the First Congregational Methodist Church) and his work on trains such as fixing train engines. Some sample entries include “Monday, January 3, 1876 Worked all day on engine in shop. Billie Johnson helped me. Tucker was sick. We worked at fitting the bonnett down on the ring on top of the smoke stack making it much better. Had rain so the train did not run.” and “Wednesday, January 5, 1876 Run Santa Cruz all day on construction. Tucker fireman.12 We ran up sight of Powder Mill where we worked near all day. J.M.Tucker fired up in AM & as he was not well he walked back home & let Fred Tucker fire for him.” The diary is in good to fair condition with all pages still bound and intact but with some cracking of the leather binding and warping of the pages.

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