Events, Happenings and some sad Passings

Shay Locomotive Grant Work Complete

In late February, 2013, the Shay with its boiler restored, ran a short distance on compressed air, thereby satisfying the requirements of the CalTrans grant.

Click here to go to Shay section


Docent/Friend, Betty Fitzgerald Dies

Editor’s note: This is taken in whole from the story in I’m sure that a family member wrote it, and won’t mind having our visitors read about this remarkable woman. I was her partner many times as we did our docent duty at the museum. She was a truly exceptional woman.

Betty Wohlert Fitzgerald was born and raised in Iselin, New Jersey. Her parents were immigrants from England and Germany. She graduated from nursing school in Plainsfield, New Jersey and began her nursing career in New Jersey and New York. She married Donald Fitzgerald in 1957. Wary of the increasing New Jersey congestion, she moved to Angels Camp in 1964 with her husband and three young children; Grace, Clare, and Chuck. The fourth child, Julie, was born in California. For many years, Betty worked as a Registered Nurse for Dr. Smith and Dr. Styskel in Murphys. She served as the resident nurse to the Amador Ave. neighborhood throughout her years living there. She and Donald were very active in their childrens’ extra curricular activities during their formidable years, never missing a softball game, cheerleading event, spelling bee, wrestling tournament, track meet, basketball game, or football game. She dedicated much of her spare time volunteering for community organizations, especially American Field Service. Betty was the AFS Chapter President for many years. She was a “mom” to many foreign students, maintaining relationships with some of the students over the years…

In 1991 Betty was named “Woman of the Year” in Calaveras County. In her retirement years, Betty lived for her next trip. She traveled extensively taking cruises and visiting family members. Despite the distance, she never missed a grandchild’s special event. She most enjoyed family vacations with her children and grandchildren to faraway destinations. All the while, Betty continued her role as an active community member until her death on November 7, 2013. She is survived by her four children and eight grandchildren: Caitlin, Brooke, and Zoey Bonner of Lakewood, Colorado; Noah and Rachel Lamb of Moorpark, California; and Shane, Brad, and Elise Fitzgerald of Camarillo, California.

Norm Friborg, Docent/Friend/Community Benefactor Dies

Editor’s Note: I didn’t know Norm well, having only met him a few times when he was docenting at the Museum. However, he left a wonderful impression with all of us, and the reaction across the state to his death was really special, giving recognition to all he had given of himself in any of the communities where he lived, worked, or donated his time and service.

Norman Carleton Friborg
Resident of Arnold
Jan. 6, 1938 – July 22, 2012
Norman Carleton Friborg passed away Sunday July 22, 2012 in Modesto of cardiac disease. He was 74. Norm was born January 6, 1938, in Oakland, CA and raised in Walnut Creek. Norm graduated from San Jose State University with a masters in Physical Education. He was a guidance counselor and teacher for East Side Union High School District for 38 years. His 30 year career as the basketball coach at James Lick Piedmont Hills High School, was recently recognized by the induction into the Piedmont Hills Athletics Hall of Fame. He also provided driving lessons through Friborg School of Driving. He retired to Arnold, CA in 1998. Norm was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, SIRs, Sierra Nevada Logging Museum Docent, the Moose Lodge, Lube Room Ski Team and SWCC Men’s Golf Club where he got a hole in one. He was also President of Blue Lake Springs HOA. His many hobbies included reading, golf, fishing, water and snow skiing and everything sports related. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years Anne; his daughters Sandi Friborg; Susie and son-in-law Dwayne Graybill; granddaughters Adrienne and Natalie; sister Judy and brother-in-law Bruce Wilson; brother Charley and sister-in-law Kim Hauner; Aunt Alice Friborg, and cousins Sharon Bob Smith, nieces and nephews cousins. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 10AM, Chapel of the Oaks. In lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions to the American Heart Association . – See more at:

Bill Wakefield Dies

On August 18th, 2011 Bill Wakefield died at the age of 84. Bill was a valuable source of information for this web site. We have stories that he told and we have stories about him. One of our first museum post cards, which we still sell, shows Bill and Carl Fields ripping a huge log into two halves that would fit into the mill. Great photograph. Unfortunately for the museum, Bill was one of the last of the Blagen Mill/ Linebaugh Logging era lumberman who could give us history, tell us stories, and correct our (my) mistakes. He will be sorely missed, especially by this editor who was his first cousin, more like a brother.

Click to enlarge

Bill and Carl with a Mall chain saw, maybe the one we have on display

Bruce Linebaugh: Friend/Contributor Dies

“Hell, I was there”, he could have said many, many times.

Bruce Linebaugh, son of the legendary Doc Linebaugh, and a man of distinction in his own right, died on February 13th, 2009

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his widow, Annette, and the rest of his family.

Bruce, even after becoming ill, still furnished much of the information on this web site regarding the history of his father’s moving of the mill from Calpine to White Pines and of the logging operations that took place after the move. His community, and we at the logging museum, will miss him.

Our Spring  2012 newsletter  featured Bruce’s life story and photos. Interestingly enough, we couldn’t find any really good photos of Bruce in recent years. Still, an interesting story.

Bruce standing-9

Ron Bradley, Executive Director,  Dies

On January 4th, 2011, Ron Bradley died in Parker, AZ.

Ron was an integral part of the origins of the museum, and as executive director for many years was responsible for every aspect of running the museum. His family and friends celebrated his 80th birthday a few months ago. He died quietly and quickly after ailing for some time. Ron’s wife, Patricia, was the moving force in making the museum a reality, but Ron was responsible for taking care of the details that created, maintained, and improved the museum. He will be sorely missed.

Dave Roberts, Docent/Friend/Donor Dies at 83

Editor’s Note: As I thought about what to write about Dave, it occurred to me that maybe the nicest way to let people know about Dave was to have them read Dave’s story about life and love. Great story by a wonderful gentleman.

Heres the link to the story, you’ll enjoy it.

Mark Johnson, Docent/Friend/Grant Writer/Website Editor Dies

Editor’s thoughts: Mark had become a dear friend and partner in our Museum undertakings. He and I developed the website together and I’ve left most everything he ever wrote in place because it was written so very well. Without a doubt, he was the best writer that I’ve ever known. In addition to that, he and I made a number of trips to places historically relevant to the logging industry, sometimes with me exposing him to getting lost, breaking down, hostile residents of Jupiter, CA, and the like. He and I scanned many of the photos that make this site so special. I miss both him and his skills tremendously.   John Hofstetter

New Exhibit at the Museum

As you probably know, we have a Shay Locomotive on display outdoors. This locomotive was used in the Yosemite area and we’ve been interested in a special operation it was part of. Near El Portal our locomotive and others like it brought logs to the top of an incline where the logs on flat cars were lowered down to be taken by another rail line to Merced Falls. Our new exhibit models this operation and is accompanied by a wonderful piece of film showing the actual system at work. Model maker, Stu Heller, has once again out done himself putting together this exhibit. Mike Skenfield did the early conceptual work after John Hofstetter got hooked on the idea after seeing the film. President of FLM, Ginny Kafka, and the rest of the FLM Board of Directors enthusiastically supported the project and authorized the money to put it together. We recognize with gratitude the owner of the film, Warren Haack who let us use it for this exhibit, Our model maker, Stu, adds this detail as to whom we owe special thanks: “At the new display, a four minute video is played over and over, custom made by filmaker Warren Haack, using footage owned by Don Olsen (we have his written permission for use) and we thank them both for allowing us to use it and really make this display special. The footage came from a longer DVD entitled Sierra Shortlines Vol 2, made by these same two men, and available for purchase online – see the website =

come see it!
stu (model builder)”
Some historical still photos of the incline can be found on this web site by clicking here: Incline at El Portal

The Museum In Winter

or why we don’t open in the winter

Click to enlarge  (Note how early in the year this is)

Our International Logging Truck

If you go to its story on this web site, you’ll see that it worked in lots of snow

All of these photos were taken by Ginny Kafka, FLM President, who if she was as tough as her husband Bill, would have gotten close-ups.

The Museum Driveway

White Pines Lake   Brrrrr


  1. Fred Makin Says: April 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm


  2. Terry Parks Says: September 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Do you have old tractors on display in the museum – my friend (a real tractor buff, especially Cats) and I will be traveling to Calaveras County the 2nd week-end in Oct. What days of the week and what hours are you open?

    • We have three Cats of different eras on display with information about them. Lots of other equipment too.

      We’re open Thursdays through Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00.

      We’ll be happy to see you in October.



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