HISTORIC PAST, BRIGHT FUTURE
In the spring of 1921, the Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway of Mill Valley, California took delivery of a brand new, Heisler locomotive from its manufacturer back in Erie, Pennsylvania. This steam powered locomotive was designated “Number 9” and put to work taking tourists up and down Mt. Tam on the “Crookedest Railroad in the World”. In 1924, the engine was sold. It spent the next 26 years working for lumber companies in Siskiyou and Humboldt counties. In 1953 the Pacific Lumber Company bought the retired locomotive for display next to its new museum in Scotia, California. The display celebrated both No. 9’s logging and tourist history. In 2018, the town decided to dispose of the locomotive and put it up for auction.
Number 9 is the sole piece of original, remaining equipment known to exist from this historic railway. It’s historic value to Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County and in fact to the whole country is immeasurable. Recognizing this, a group of citizens banded together and in three weeks formed a limited liability company and secured $54,000 from other, like-minded people. They successfully secured Number 9 for Marin County by edging out the next lowest bidder by only $3,590. In November 2018, the engine was moved with big cranes and a truck and trailer to a temporary location in Sonoma County.
We started restoration work on Engine No. 9 in 2019, With that effort now well underway, we are working hard on securing a future home for this cultural treasure. We are seeking a site that highlights the historic relevance of the locomotive, where it will be safe and protected, and where the engine will be accessible to the public. We welcome the support and input of our Marin County community as we pursue a permanent home for No. 9, where it can be a source of inspiration for future generations.
The next steps require everyone's help and support. Friends of Number 9, Inc. is coordinating the restoration and relocation of our locomotive to a site where it will be viewed and appreciated in perpetuity by future generations. It will inform visitors about a key moment in our history and how our communities have changed since then. Number 9 will be restored to the way it looked when it first arrived in Mill Valley in 1921.
We want your help in funding this effort to Bring No. 9 Back Home through monetary donations, volunteering time, and spreading our mission and enthusiasm through word-of-mouth.
We cannot achieve our goals without you.
Twenty years ago the idea of bringing No. 9 home was a dream. Others had been trying since 1953 with no luck. It was an absolute thrill when we won the auction and knew No. 9 was finally coming back to the very first place it worked.
No. 9 represents not just an era but a rare attraction that promoted wilderness preservation. It carried the first tourists to Muir Woods at a time when providing easy public access to a wilderness park was a new idea. John Muir rode the railroad to Muir Woods at least 3 times. Of course he was treated like a rock star when he visited.
Other notable passengers included Susan B. Anthony, Jack London and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
We are delighted to have the only piece of this historic railroad. It’s thirty-six tons of real history and the last piece of the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway.
FRED RUNNER - CHAIRMAN & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR