All that's left of Hooterville. Those of us who are over 50 remember the TV sitcom called Petticoat Junction (PJ). The railroad action scenes that were used in that series were all shot on the Sierra Railroad back in 1963 (for Black & White) and 1965 (when the show went color). The opening credits very prominently featured a wooden water tank with a shot of the lovely Bradley Sisters skinny-dipping in the open top. The final shot in the opening sequence also featured a distant shot of the three ladies walking down the hill next to the water tower to meet the train. That shot was taken from about where I shot this scene.
Yes, the wooden water tower featured on PJ was indeed the Jamestown Tank, the most recent version of which is pictured here. If you look at the opening credits from PJ, you'll note that the water tower depicted there was wider, taller and didn't have a roof. That tank was built by the Sierra back in 1938, and served Jamestown until about 1970, or around the time PJ was finally canceled. By then, the tank was in need of replacement. Unfortunately, it was replaced with less robust tank, which didn't even last 30 years. In the early 2000s, yet another replacement was needed. By that time, the owning entity was the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park....part of the California State Railroad Museum. When the tank was rebuilt by Railtown, it was decided to revert to an old Sierra design with a roof over the top, which was typical of the tanks on the line in the early 1900s. That's what you see here. Only the concrete footings (dated 1938), the spout and some other hardware are left from the famous Petticoat Junction Tank. Most of the surrounding structures remain the same, however. The large oil bunker, a portion of which is visible just to the left of the tank, is still there, minus the roof that it had back in the PJ days. The small shed on the right is also original. And then of course, there's Sierra #3. She's got a new boiler and tender tank, but rest of her, heart and soul, is original.
So Petticoat Junction fans, there is just a little bit of Hooterville left. And if you walk back here on a warm, sunny afternoon, you can still gaze up at the tank, and almost imagine that Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo will suddenly pop their heads up over the rim any second.