The Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site A rare glimpse of life in the early 20th century.
Authentic buildings, relocated here from their original sites throughout the Owens Valley, are filled with objects of antiquity. Visitors can see the actual tools used by dentists, physicians, newspaper publishers, gold miners, and blacksmiths, all displayed in historic buildings throughout the museum grounds.
Travel back in time and experience the daily life of early homemakers with period furnishings displayed in a restored 1900 Ranch House, as well as the Railroad Agents House.
Nearly 50 structures on eleven acres surround you with objects of pioneer life, including the original Slim Princess engine No. 9.
The Laws Railroad Depot and the Slim Princess have changed little since the turn-of-the-century. Engine No. 9, with its train of boxcars and caboose, are surrounded by support structures including the oil & water tanks, original turntable, and Agents house. Train service began in 1883, and the Slim Princess steamed into Laws Depot for the last time 1960.The Southern Pacific Railroad station, rail yard, land, depot and other buildings, were donated to Inyo County and the City of Bishop by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1960.
The Bishop Museum and Historical Society was formed in 1964 to preserve what was left of the Laws Railroad Depot and Slim Princess. From that point on, people began donating historic items from wagons, farm equipment, and mining tools, to antiques, old photographs, and entire structures. Our aim is to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may relate to the natural, civic, literary and ecclesiastical history of our area, and to establish and maintain collections.
The Southern Pacific Company gift deeded the original structures and land with the following statement: "In appreciation of the interest of Inyo County and the City of Bishop in preserving the memory of the Far West's last common carrier narrow gauge railroad, the Keeler Branch, Southern Pacific Company is pleased to donate steam locomotive No. 9 together with other rolling stock, and the Laws Station building and surrounding installations for safekeeping in behalf of generations to come."
Laws Museum and Historical Site is officially California Historical Land Mark No. 953 listed on the National Registry of Historic Places under the Department of the Interior. People from around the world have enjoyed this unique setting, where one can experience a physical connection to the past, and see what life was like over 135 years ago
Your donation to the Bishop Museum and Historical Society will help preserve the history of the Owens Valley. Our current projects include restoration of the original turntable, on-going maintenance of the many historic buildings, restoration of the oldest remaining Carson and Colorado Railroad caboose, limited track restoration and expansion, and expansion of our Wagon Display and Storage to provide future storage of Borax Wagons.