Garrison Frost of the South Bay’s art-focused “The Aesthetic,” has a funny-but-true post up today asking why certain cultural attractions get signs, but others don’t. He makes CalTrans’ sign policy sound almost as random as the contents of a blog (or at least my blog).
One could also wonder why the tiny Lomita Railroad Museum gets a sign at all. Have you seen it? Sure, it’s a neat little thing, but let’s get serious, if you see that sign on the freeway, you’re likely to picture something a lot more significant. Even though it is Lomita’s big claim to fame, it is not nearly as big a deal as the Torrance Airport or the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.
One could also wonder why drivers going north get specific directions to Manhattan Beach while drivers going south do not get a sign at all.
You might now be curious about the Lomita Railroad Museum. What about it struck CalTrans’ signmakers as so noteworthy? It does have a website, which reveals that the museum has been around since 1966.
Dedicated to the proud era of the steam engine, complete authenticity is the hallmark of the Museum. On display is a Southern Pacific Railroad Steam Locomotive(1902-1960) and Tender. Nearby stand a 1910 Union Pacific Caboose and a modern all-steel Santa Fe caboose. On display at the annex are a 1923 Union Oil tank car and a 1913 Southern Pacific outside-braced wood box car. Also check out our Water Tower.
And of course who can forget the 72 x 25 ft. Railroad Mural at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Narbonne Ave that once guided visitors to the museum. Postcards if (sic) the mural are available at the museum.
One clue could be the museum’s vintage. In 1966, CalTrans and most other state government agencies thought they had a lot of taxpayers’ money to throw around. That was the last year of the great Pat Brown era, when anything could happen, if it was made of steel or concrete.