Central Pacific Railroad No. 1 Gov. Stanford

This forty-ton wood-burning steam locomotive was the pioneer engine of the Central Pacific Railroad. The Gov. Stanford was built in 1862 in Philadelphia, then shipped disassembled in crates around Cape Horn from Boston to San Francisco on board the sailing vessel Herald of the Morning. It arrived in Sacramento on October 6, 1863 by the river schooner Artful Dodger, and was unloaded the next day and reassembled at "K" and Front Streets. It began its long career in Sacramento on November 6, 1863 when the boiler was successfully fired. The Gov. Stanford had the distinction of pulling the Central Pacific's first excursion train, first revenue freight train (March 25, 1864), and first scheduled passenger train (April 15, 1864). The locomotive also hauled materials for the construction of the Central Pacific over the Sierra Nevada. It was later downgraded from mainline service. From 1873 until its retirement in 1895, the locomotive served as a switcher and fire engine (outfitted with a water pump and hose to extinguish small fires along the track) in the Sacramento area.

The Southern Pacific saved the historic engine from being scrapped in 1895. The Gov. Stanford was refurbished and in 1899 presented to Jane Lathrop Stanford (1828-1905), widow of former California Governor Leland Stanford (1824-1893). She, in turn, donated the engine to Leland Stanford Junior University, where it was placed on display until 1963.

In May 1963 the locomotive was loaned to the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society for inclusion in its historic railroad equipment collection. Those pieces, including the Gov. Stanford, form the nucleus of the California State Railroad Museum collection.

As the Gov. Stanford aged, parts were replaced or exchanged among similar Central Pacific or Southern Pacific locomotives. The locomotive was also painted numerous times. Reconstruction to its 1860s appearance would literally have destroyed the existing locomotive and resulted in a replica. After careful research, it was therefore decided to refinish the locomotive to its 1899 appearance, the year it was presented to Stanford University.

Today the Gov. Stanford occupies a prominent place in the Museum's Sierra Scene diorama, just a short distance from where it began its life under steam on the banks of the Sacramento River.