Coastside Creeks: “I have fished almost all of them…”

Story by John Schmale

Email John ([email protected])

Hello June,

I read some posts on your site about fishing for trout in the coastal streams. I have fished almost all of them and have fond memories of picnics among the redwoods and the a camp fire at dusk. That reminds me of an old, true, family story of fishing in Purisssima Creek back in about 1949. My uncle Lyle who lived in San Francisco and worked at Stanford University spent a  great day fishing in Purissima creek and had scored a limit of trout. I belive it was 15 fish then. He was at the family home cleaning his catch when his brother Robert (Uncle Bun to us, as he was born on easter) came to admire the efforts of a day on the creek. Bragging about the big one that got away “right under the old log bridge” and stating “WOW, it muust have been 14 inches”, poor uncle Lyle bragged a little too much, for the very next afternoon, in the very same sink, stretched out next to a metal tape measure was “Big Ned” as Uncle Bun named the wily giant that eluded Lyle the previous day. Uncle Bun jokingly teased Lyle, who pretended to be happy that someone caught the fish, by stating “just for the record Big Ned was only 13 inches.”
These were some of the best memories of my life.
John Schmale

John Schmale: On Saving Ocean Shore Railway Cars

Hi June,

Thank you for posting the Ocean Shore Stanley Steamer piece and the information about our new Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway book. We enjoy your Coastside history articles. Much more history is lost than is saved. You are certainly doing your part to save it.
Jeff Millerick, the man who discovered Ocean Shore Railroad passenger car 1409 came over to our house last night and we recounted how fortunate it was that the car was saved. I believe that it was September of 2004 that he made the discovery of the car in a backyard of a home in Sebastopol. A short time later he called me and took me over to the property to view the car. When I saw it I knew right away that it was a Holman passenger car and that it was  built in San Francisco during 1909 for the Ocean  Shore Railway. The number 1409 lettered over the door frame confirmed its identity. It was in sad condition and several railway museums passed on acquiring the car for their collections. The once beautiful passenger car was going to be flattened via bulldozer. I made a call to Kathleen Manning of the Pacifica Historical Society and she set the machinery in motion. Through the Herculean efforts of Scott Lindner and a dedicated group of volunteers the car is now safe and secure at the Shamrock Ranch in Pacifica- about a mile from its home tracks. Like an aging Hollywood starlet the ancient car is enjoying a complete spa treatment and make-over.  JS
Thanks again,

Railroad Historian John Schmale: Please call Copperfield’s Books

Hello June, My name is Grace Bogart, and I handle events at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma.  I found your website because I was Looking for John Schmale.  He has a new book coming out with Arcadia Prees about the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroads 0738559598 and I was thinking that he might like to come into our store for an author signing.   These historic Petaluma books are very popular with our clientele; we have hosted Katherine Rinehart numerous times- she also has a book on Petaluma with Arcadia- as well as many other authors of books with a local flavor.  Your website is the only contact I could find for John, and it looks like you are in touch with him.  Could I prevail upon you to forward this email on?  Don’t do it if you feel it’s inappropriate, but I would really appreciate it if you can.  Thank you so much! Grace O’Neil Bogart Copperfield’s Books – Petaluma, Ca. 707-762-0563 [email protected]


When railroad historian emailed, about the Ocean Shore RR, this is what he wrote;  please click here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, Hi June,

Yes, we did a local (Sonoma County) book and put the Ocean Shore Railroad Book on a side track for a few months. We have a potential publisher. Still a daunting task-in a good way. There are over 400 photos to edit.
Thanks for forwarding the message. Arcadia publishing would have been a more logical place for them to find me, but whatever works. I will send a copy of an article I wrote (when I get it) for the spring issue of the Stanley Steamer Magazine on history the two Ocean Shore Railroad-owned Stanley Steamer buses . I got a chuckle out of your archived email. I still remember old Rudy Brandt. He was some character. Did he make you take him to the chicken restaurant on Mission Street? I enjoy checking out your site and get a nostalgic kick out of your great articles. I still miss the Coastside. I used to fish in all of the Coastside creeks. Now the fish are protected and called  steelhead and some salmon. In the old days they were just trout and the limit was 25, then it went to 10,  and now zero. In my dad’s day the limit was 50. I hope the fish return to pre -fishing levels. I now practice catch and release. I heard someone say ” If you are going to teach you kids to fish you should leave them something to catch.”
Thanks again, John Schmale & Kristina Schmale

I Hear From Ocean Shore RR Historian John Schmale

rbrandt.jpg“Rudy” Brandt

A while back I posted a three-part short history of the Ocean Shore Railroad based on a 1980 interview I did with the colorful Ocean Shore Railroad historian, Randolph “Rudy” Brandt (his father had been an original investor in the Ocean Shore).

I also posted this photo, believing that it was the Ocean Shore’s observation car.


Well, now I’m not sure what it’s of…I’m honored to share this email from Ocean Shore Railroad historian John Schmale:
“Hi June. I was struck with nostalgia at seeing the photo of Old Rudy Brandt in your article on the Ocean Shore Railroad. For over 30 years I exchanged Ocean Shore RY information, photos, documents etc with Rudy. He left me all of his OS RR material. Thanks…You have a scene of an observation car and water tank which I question is Ocean Shore RR. Do you know anything about it? Sorry, I am not being critical. The car is not Ocean Shore. I was wondering if the location is identified? Maybe Leased equipment? Regards, John Schmale”

John Schmale also emailed me this photo taken in Pacifica, 1940s (see below) rudypedro_1.jpg

At left, “Rudy” Brandt, center, E.H. Dannman, at right, Lorin Silleman (photo, courtesy John Schmale)
Hi again June, Yes Rudy was one of the last of the old time rail fans. He
drove his old 1950’s Plymouth all night and two whole days to photograph
some rotting narrow gauge trains down in the middle of the Arizona copper
mining region. He related running into unfriendly natives, as in “Native

…I was interviewed by the folks at the local Pacifica TV station regarding
the poor old Ocean Shore RR car which now lives at the Shamrock Ranch near
the South end of Linda Mar. I helped save it from getting a good bulldozing.
The car sat in a vine covered backyard 6 miles from my home in Sonoma Co.. I
have had this address for 20 years. Wow! one should get to know the

I found one photo, enclosed, showing Rudy on left, E.H. Dannman (Pedro
Saloon man) in center, and Lorin Silleman on right. Picture taken at Pedro
Station in the 1940’s…

I have really enjoyed your historical works on the Coastside and look
forward seeing to more.

Best regards, John Schmale