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Stateside With Rosalea: Niles, CA – Part 1

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Niles, CA – Part 1

See also… Part 2

I skived off last weekend to Niles, California. It’s just a short BART and bus trip from San Francisco, but is another world altogether. The town’s two main claims to fame are the Niles Canyon Railway, which is maintained and run entirely by volunteers, and the Essanay Silent Film Museum, housed in the building where Charlie Chaplin had his studio. This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Essanay Film Company and in June the museum will hold its 10th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival from June 25 to July 1. The excursion trains run the third Sunday of every month.

::Part 1: The main street::

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Besides the name being writ in white letters on a nearby hillside, this arch marks one entrance to the main street.

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The town’s main street is lined with antique stores and a tea shop where you are given a hat to wear to add to the Victorian ambience.

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But it’s not all tea and trainwhistles! Niles is part of the City of Fremont, which had a 50 percent vote in favor of GW Bush in the 2004 election, compared with the average of 23 percent who voted for him in all Alameda County, of which Fremont is part.

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Rather fittingly for the very weekend that “Wild Hogs” and “Ghost Rider” were released, the other side of the street was lined with bikes as their riders partook of their usual Sunday social gathering in a local bar and eatery.

Essanay Museum:
Niles Canyon Railway:



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