Women in Mining History

Special Event at Laws - April 8, 2023

Ferminia Serras, 1840-1915Visitors to Laws Museum are sometimes surprised to find a mining exhibit at Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site. Some might be even more surprised to learn that women prospectors played a role in 19th and early 20th century western mining history. While the 300 plus mile Carson and Colorado Railroad was being built to serve Nevada and California mines, women as well as men caught “gold fever” and crossed continents and oceans to try their hand at prospecting. Some struck it rich, some died in poverty; some deplored the rough life, while others flourished in the clean air, outdoor life, and desert-mountain scenery.

Come to the Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site on April 8th, 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and you will meet history docents eager to share biographies of “Old West” women miners: Ellen Nay, who discovered gold in the hills of Nevada; Frances Williams, a physician and miner; and Ferminia Serras (pictured right), who became known as “The Copper Queen” --the town of Mina, Nevada is named for her.


Tipping Points

By Lynna Walker

The last two weekends of March 2023 at Laws Railroad Museum were the quintessential definition of the “tipping point” concept. Visitors from across the nation rode the last few thousand feet of the original Carson and Colorado Railroad narrow gauge track in the Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site in vintage caboose #401, behind the vintage 1911 Carson and Colorado/Southern Pacific Baldwin steam engine #18.

Few of these passengers had ever heard of Anna Kelly or Myron Alexander.  Anna in 1954, and Myron, in 1996 were two Independence residents who likely never met. But each tipped the scales of local history to make the 2023 Slim Princess Sisters in History 140th Anniversary event possible at Laws Railroad Museum. The Laws #9 Slim Princess Baldwin Locomotive, built in 1909, no longer runs, and is a static display at the museum. Anna Kelly, a young woman in Independence...


Quilt Raffle Fundraiser 2023!

Quilt on WallWe received an amazing donation that could soon be yours! Our very own Kathryn Daniels has lovingly created a 48” x 56” train quilt with super soft minky fabric on the back. Designed and pieced by Kathryn, and long arm quilted by Laurie Morrow of Written in Thread Quilting.

Enter for your chance to win this one of a kind train quilt either for yourself or for the railfan in your life.

What is the Laws Railroad Museum?

Slim Princess Engine No.9Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and designated by the State of California as Historical Landmark # 953, the Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site is not just another train museum.  Located on the site of the Laws Railroad station and rail yard, the land, 1883 depot and other buildings, and the last train, were donated to Inyo County and the City of Bishop by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1960. At the time the railroad shut down its operations, the village of Laws that grew up around the rail yard had disappeared. That village has been recreated by moving in historic buildings from around the Owens Valley...

Library Fundraiser

Did you know our church/library was the original Catholic Church in Bishop located on West Elm Street? It was built in 1921 and moved to the museum in 1972. The entire structure was moved in a single piece.

We are ready to take on a major restoration project. The 101 year-old building needs to have the exterior shingles replaced with fire resistant material. This is a structural necessity to stop water permeating and further damaging the interior walls. Preserving history gives us the opportunity to have a conversation with our past about our future. To learn about ourselves and educate future generations.
Your donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

Get On Board - Volunteer

We host many community events and activities. Without the devotion of our volunteers, many of these would be de-railed. Volunteers are a gift to the community. You can make a difference. We understand that life commitments don’t provide the freedom to volunteer on a regular basis. However, if your days are somewhat flexible and you are able to give us a little time, we would love to have you.