The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum is more than a repository of photographs, posters, books, and artifacts; it is a resource for all facets of silent film-making, from their planning and production to their presentation. The Museum offers a way to rediscover America’s movie pioneers, and see their remarkable work in an authentic setting – a theater where Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson saw themselves and their contemporaries on the screen. This museum keeps the spirit of silent films alive.
The Pacific Locomotive Association, Inc. operates the Niles Canyon Railway as a living history museum interpreting the importance of our heritage railroads in the development of California and the nation.
The museum is designed to increase public education, enjoyment, and appreciation of the significance of America’s western railroads by:
- Operating historic railroad equipment using standard railroad practices for train crews, signaling, block operations, and equipment maintenance;
- Preserving the atmosphere of railroads in small-town America before the 1960’s by connecting the historic communities of Sunol, the Niles District of Fremont, and eventually Pleasanton;
- Providing educational programs for schools, civic organizations, and community events; and
- Instructing the public in railroad history, tradition, and the evolution of rail transportation technology.
The Pacific Locomotive Association also has railroad artifacts on display and interpretive educational exhibits at the Sunol Depot.
The Niles Depot Museum’s primary focus is early railroads of Fremont, Newark, and Union City with an emphasis on the Niles District of Fremont – mainly the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads. Present-day railroads such as Union Pacific and Amtrak are also featured, as well as earlier railroads of the area such as the South Pacific Coast.
The museum features a wide variety of exhibits including:
- Equipment & photographs from Niles Tower
- Operating railroad signals
- Passenger train uniforms and artifacts
- Railroad lanterns
- Historic track tools
- Telegraph & railroad communications equipment
- Artifacts & photos of Niles and local areas
- History and photographs of other local area depots
- WP467, a Western Pacific Railroad caboose.
Our mission is the preservation, restoration and operation of historic buses and the acquisition and collection of bus artifacts and memorabilia for the education, appreciation and enjoyment of the membership and the public. Our aim is to preserve yesterday for tomorrow.
Our vision is to become an operating bus museum and to have a permanent site to display its buses and bus memorabilia. To achieve this vision the museum has established a building fund to acquire property in Northern California for a permanent home. Help us build a permanent home by contributing to the museum’s building fund.
The 20.1 acre property is the remnant of the California Nursery Company, a once a grand nursery operation that brought notable presence to the East Bay and was significantly associated with the evolution of the nursery industry on a statewide level. The California Nursery Company’s history dates back to Jose de Jesus Vallejo (1797-1882) who served as the administrator of the old Mission San Jose and military commander of San Jose. Other notable owners were Jonas Clark (1862), John Rock (1865), Williams Landers (1899) and the George C. Roeding family (1917-1968).