This extensive Railroad and Western museum is open year round; it is located 4.5 miles north east on US 6 which you can catch from downtown Bishop. Laws was one of the numerous stops on once was a narrow gauge railroad that rain from Mound House (near Carson City in Nevado) to Keeler (near Lone Pine). The railroad reached Laws in 1883 and the last train through Laws was in 1960. This museum opened in 1966.
The decline of this particular railroad was because of a number of reasons, including the closing of local mines, trucking providing a cheaper alternative to rail and the City of Los Angeles buying up much of the valley for water rights.
This unique museum features the original railroad depot that used to be for a former city called “Laws”. The museum sits on 11 acres and contains 40+ buildings. With the exception of the railroad depot, these buildings were preserved and moved here from surrounding areas. Many of the items are on display outdoors.
The focus of the museum is to preserve and educate the general public about the railroad history of the Owens Valley. Not only do you see train artifacts and train related buildings, but you will also visit other restored buildings complete with artifacts of the time period. At times a visit here feels like walking on a Hollywood Western set – at other times it feels like a unique and treasured peek into a special part of California’s history.
This museums is open daily from 10 to 4, weather permitting. Donations are accepted. Suggested admission is $5. The friendly folks at the entrance will give you a map and more information about the grounds and displays. For more information call (760) 873.5950 or visit: www.lawsmuseum.org
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