Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oakdale Manufacturing Works

Another Oakdale industry has been completed, the Oakdale Manufacturing Works. This was a prototype business located in that city during the late 1800s. They built wagons, carriages, buggies and farm implements according to their ad in the Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad Guide published in 1885. This was a throw-away guide telling a bit about the communities through which the railroad passed and, more importantly, carrying ads for local businesses.

I have not not found any photographs of the prototype so I took inspiration for my structure from Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. The Richart Wagon shop is a small building preserved there which seemed ideal for the railroad. In the 1800s, horse-drawn vehicles were easy to build and did not require much in the way of specialized equipment so many small towns had their own shops. The Oakdale Works and Richart were both of this pattern. The long sloping ramp is typical of many wagon shops. It was used to maneuver the finished carriages down to street level. Unlike one might expect, individual parts were made on the first floor and the final assembly and finishing done on the second. This puzzled me for a bit until someone explained that, if the woodworking was on the second floor, sawdust would always be floating down on the freshly-painted carriages drying on the first floor.

My model was built of styrene following the Richart dimensions. Shingles were from Minuteman Scale Models. Since this was to be a source of revenue for the S&C, I built a small loading ramp which will be located next to the tracks. Right now, I am not quite sure where the Works will end up. It was originally planned to be at the south end of Oakdale adjacent to the gas works but there may not be enough room there. I'll have to finish the gas plant and see if both can be squeezed into that space or if things will need to be rearranged.

I also have to build up some wagons and carriages. After all, a factory needs some evidence of the product produced.


  1. Don,
    Now you have gone off and modeled a wagon shop. In the far corner of my Sahwatch St. is the Diltz Wagon and Iron works. Looks like I will be shamed into including it,even though it used the team tracks and did not have a dedicated siding.
    Tom VanWormer