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Merced River by chateaugrief Merced River by chateaugrief

I could paint Yosemite Valley for ages, like many other better painters have done before me.  This is the Merced River, the one that goes over Bridalveil falls.  There’s an old railroad running up Merced Canyon into Yosemite, the old Yosemite Valley Railroad, built  starting in 1905 and running until a flood in 1945 caused so many problems that the railroad was closed later that year for good.  It wouldn’t have happened without the particular skills of one man though, James H. O’Brien.  

The railroad itself was incorporated in 1902, and involved a huge amount of political wrangling with Teddy Roosevelt to change national park boundaries to accommodate it.  After years of fighting in congress, nothing had been done on the construction of the railroad, but they finally had the green light from TR.  But there was a lot of political turmoil going on in San Francisco, and I’m not exactly sure how it shakes out from the article, but James H. O’Brien was a leader in a faction called “Horses and Carts” that featured heavily in San Francisco’s 1903 elections.  I can’t find much info on this political faction, but O’Brien was during this time modernizing a lot of San Francisco’s streets, grading and paving them,  (ctrl.f his name in the ocr section) and was a formidable speaker, a good-natured local character, who was noted for the ability to get things done.  He had zero experience building railroads. 

However, he bid on and won the contract for the Yosemite Valley Railroad in 1905.  And he promised to build by the end of the year.  That’s a bit of an insane promise, given the difficulty in building railroads.  This is a 78 mile track that rises 2000 feet in altitude, also not an inconsequential feat.  At the finish it would have 24 stations, and go all the way from Merced to El Portal at the entrance of Yosemite.  There were four tunnels through solid rock, two of them 500 feet long, one 1000 feet long, and one 1659 feet long.  There were seven bridges, mostly in the 300’ foot range, but one 1500 feet long.  There were 65 pile and frame trestles with a total length of over a mile and a quarter.  

O’Brien didn’t waste any time, from February to September, he planned, plotted, and sent calls out to the Merced area, anyone with a horse and wagon, grading equipment, anything, show up to work and we’ll pay you board and $20 a month apply James H. O’Brien, Merced, CA.   Grand opening day of construction was September 27, when they started building the station in Merced, by October they’d begun tackling bridges and other stations, on November 4, the first spikes were being driven, by Nov 25 he had his first locomotive shipped into Merced, and on December 18, he officially opened the Yosemite Valley Railroad for passenger service.  You could go six miles.  Tourists started to flock in to take the little ride, have a nice meal in the dining car, and then tell all their friends back in San Francisco.  

Of course, O’Brien had many miles of track left to put in, and he wasn’t wasting time, he’d made it to the 24 mile mark at Merced falls when the April 1906 San Francisco Earthquake devastated the city and destroyed all the early records of the railroad in the subsequent fire.  O’Brien was a steamroller though, and was not going to be delayed by a little thing like the devastation of the railroad headquarters.  By the end of April he had extended his tourist jaunt from 6 miles to 24 miles, and one year later, he’d finished the entire 76 miles.  The round trip fare was set at $18.50, which was complained about as too high for years, and on May 15, the first official train ran from Merced to El Portal.  Two hundred people rode the initial train, including O’Brien who gave a banquet speech at the Yosemite Hotel.  

After this victorious little jaunt, O’Brien was quickly snatched up by Associated Oil to build a line from the Kern oil fields to Port Costa in the Carquinez Strait in SF Bay. I don’t know if he ever attained political office as he’d originally desired, but he sure could build a railroad.  

Xander doesn’t even have a garden railroad, which I find somewhat surprising. 

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:iconrazmakai:
Razmakai Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm absolutely blown away at how wonderful your landscapes are, not only are they detailed but the colors are mind blowing. I'm gonna hafta go back and read yer comic from the start now :P 
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:iconsepiame:
sepiame Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Breathtaking scenery. Lovely juxtaposition of colors. Would love to visit here too.
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:iconichorpetrikit:
IchorPetriKit Featured By Owner 6 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely stunning!! <3
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:iconxxlunacakexx:
XxLunaCakexX Featured By Owner 6 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist Artist
Holy moly sweet rawioli thi is AMAZING.
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:icondjmattricks:
DJMattRicks Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2018
I like :) (Smile) 
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:iconblaser124:
blaser124 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2018  New Deviant
me encanta mirar la imagen y perderme en su inmensidad , tanta belleza , tanta paz ... y real mete piensa que hay pintores mejores que tu pero no se trata de quien es mejor,  solo se trata de que sensacion quiere transmitir a través de una pintura una puerta a un mejor lugar...
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:iconxwolfie36x:
xWolfie36x Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
Your history lessons are always so entertaining and informative! "not going to be delayed by a little thing like the devastation of the railroad headquarters" lol!

Absolutely gorgeous painting!!!
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:iconkuronekokeef:
KuroNekoKeef Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018  New Deviant Professional Artist
As much beautiful as fantastic !
Remarkable drawing !
Awesome skills !
Wonderful talent !
The depth of field is so impressive, it's like we could see the other side of the planet !
Damn it, you're so fucking good !!
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:iconpinestater234:
pinestater234 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018   Photographer
VERY Nice!  Fav
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:iconmegavenator:
Megavenator Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2018  Hobbyist Filmographer
Simply a wonderful landscape!
Congrats! 
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:iconxenon132:
xenon132 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2018
Great job
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:iconxerovore:
Xerovore Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I love how you managed to have lots of hue variation in a way that feels incredibly cohesive supplementing the expansive angle of the shot.
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:iconsiriusaya:
Siriusaya Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really well drawed!
The lightning is really beautiful.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:iconpuppeteerz:
Puppeteerz Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Student General Artist
Omg. Wow! This is really nice. 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconbradbradshaw:
bradbradshaw Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Love this, great talent 😎
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:iconquirkybrainiac:
QuirkyBrainiac Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Always a fan of your tidbits along with your art :)
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!  Glad you like the stories!
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:iconquirkybrainiac:
QuirkyBrainiac Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Always! :D
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:iconjustjaxx:
JustJaxx Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018
Beautiful work!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconcorgkii:
Corgkii Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
A picture is worth 1000 words, yet your piece leaves me speechless. The scenery conveys such depth and the water feels as if you could dive right into it. I'm blown away but the use of warm and cold lighting, it brings that cozy feeling only the coming and going of day brings. The piece shows how you see the world to light, how I wish I could see through your eyes and be able to express it in such detail. My only critique would be the single hard line through the one cloud however it's not exactly noticeable as the rest of the piece is eye candy. Comparable to Bob Ross I can see you going places. Keep it up, you've gained a new watcher and hopefully many more to come! c:
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
oh thank you again!  I saw this posted somewhere else with me tagged, can't thank you enough for your kind words!
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:iconcinnabarchestnut:
cinnabarChestnut Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:iconbrendanrizzo:
BrendanRizzo Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist
This is amazing.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconvenom-v13:
Venom-V13 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018
Very nice...getting those Red Dead Redemption 2 vibes just looking at it...
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
Reply
:iconvenom-v13:
Venom-V13 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018
You're welcome!
Reply
:icondarthlangdon:
DarthLangdon Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  New Deviant
Love the history lesson with artwork!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:iconamberart212:
AmberArt212 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
love your undying passion to paint !
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks! I do love to paint!
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:iconlilsock:
Lilsock Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
this is freaking amazing!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
Reply
:iconcooltroll101:
cooltroll101 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  New Deviant
nice
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:iconwrite-on-time:
Write-on-Time Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
This is beautiful, nicely done! Applaud fella (Reactions) 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconspiraloso:
spiraloso Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Clap Clap Clap Clap 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:icondancingdemonart:
DancingDemonArt Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconsevensimplified:
SevenSimplified Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018
Beautiful.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconjabroyles:
jabroyles Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Photographer
Very pretty!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
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Submitted on
October 24
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