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Pino Grande, California facts for kids

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Coordinates: 38°52′13″N 120°37′34″W / 38.87028°N 120.62611°W / 38.87028; -120.62611

Pino Grande
Unincorporated community
Location in California
Country United States
State California
County El Dorado County
Elevation 4,022 ft (1,226 m)

Pino Grande (formerly, Pinogrande) is an unincorporated community in El Dorado County, California. It is located 8 miles (13 km) north-northwest of Pollock Pines, at an elevation of 4022 feet (1226 m).

A post office operated at Pino Grande from 1892 to 1899, with a move in 1893, and from 1902 to 1909.

Pino Grande was the lumber milling area for the Michigan California Lumber company. Besides the mill there were dozens of workers cabins, a hospital, school, cooks building, machine shops and sheds. The camp was, in itself, a small town. The narrow gauge railroad the lumber company built served the area for decades. The mill, camp, railroad, tracks, trestles, engines, rollingstock, etc., are now long gone. The area where Pino Grande once stood is within the Eldorado National Forest.

The Pino Grande Railroad traveled along the narrow gauge track through the Georgetown Divide area. These narrow gauge railroads hauled vast amounts of Ponderosa and Sugar Pine timber through the rugged terrain of the Divide as well as other parts of El Dorado County.

In 1892 the American Land and Lumber Co., later to be the Michigan-California Lumber Co., brought in the first locomotives to run on narrow gauge track through the canyons of the Divide. Trestles were built around curves in the mountains and across canyons. The little locomotives that ran the rails of the Michigan-California Lumber Co. were mostly Shays, small steamers usually weighing around 65,000 pounds, but built to pull the heaviest loads. There were other types of locomotives used, the Heisler and the Climax, but the Shay was the workhorse of the Michigan-California Lumber Company.

Shay No. 2, the oldest engine in the Michigan-Cal line, retired in 1951 and is now resting outside the mill in Camino where narrow gauge railroad buffs visit it often. Today, on the Georgetown Divide, the Canyon Creek Narrow Gauge Railroad Association has planned to resurrect the old Pino Grande narrow gauge railroad that was owned and operated by Michigan-California Lumber Co.

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