134 Years In The Making. The desolate, desert community of Hodge, Calif. briefly feels tremors caused by the weight of a 1.2 million pound steam locomotive, UP 4014, as the 1941-built, 4-8-8-4 product of the American Locomotive Company pounds the iron of BNSF's Cajon Subdivision on its westbound journey home to West Colton on Day 2 of a trip benefitting the Rail Giants Train Museum. In the foreground, a pair of concrete bridge abutments dating back to the original, 1885 construction of this line by the California & Southern Railroad (C&S) enjoy a glimmer of their past life as they witness the world's largest operating steam locomotive pass by them...perhaps a stretch, though not too far of a cry from the days they supported the weight of 3751 and 2900 class engines of the Santa Fe Railway. It was the C&S, which would be purchased by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in 1906, that established a station here in 1885 and gave this location its very first name - Cottonwood - which it wore until the siding here was renamed "Hicks." In 1926, the name was again changed to its last and current name of "Hodge" after an important rancher of the Mojave, and journalist, Arthur Brisbane suggested to name it in honor of Gilbert and Robert Hodge, both owners of a ranch there in the Mojave since 1912. The Hodges were from Buffalo, NY. Recorded to have a population of 102 people in a 1939 "Guide to the Golden State" publication issued by the Works Progress Administration, Hodge today can be missed in the blink of an eye for those who still travel along the original Route 66 and chose not to traverse the vastly superior Interstate 15...which some say played the final death blow to this desert community.
Zooming back out, this is was I consider a scene 134 years in the making...spanning the gap from 1885 to 2019.