Making the Dunsmuir Family Connection

The Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society was contacted in March by Denny Kato of Florida wanting to research his mother, who grew up in Dunsmuir, and her family.

Denny’s Grandfather, Kaichi Maekawa, worked for the railroad in Dunsmuir, and Denny believed that his grandfather may have been the chef for the depot manager. The family lived in company housing provided by the railroad from C1920 to 1942. The family was sent to a relocation camp in 1942 (Granada/Amache).

Kaichi Maekawa on Train – year unknown

The Kato family visited Dunsmuir last July and wanted to begin their Dunsmuir family research. Depot staffers Jerry Harmon and John Signor, of the Shasta Division Archives at the Dunsmuir Museum, assisted the Katos in their research.

Following their visit, Denny wrote:

“I can’t tell you how much Jan and I enjoyed the visit to the Museum and Jerry and John were fantastic. I have been trying to contact John about his book online, and lo and behold, we meet him in person. We walked up to Dunsmuir Hardware, talked to, and bought John’s book which he promptly signed. We then went to the high school, got some photos from several yearbooks and copies of my mother’s and sibling’s transcripts. We also visited Black Butte station in search of the Shasta business car SP105 but only the SP109 was there. We have gotten so much insight as to life in Dunsmuir. What a great town you have. Thanks again for all of your help.”

Denny and Janet

Denny has since sent numerous family photos (some are below) including the Maekawa house and the 1940 flood. There is mention of the Maekawa Family in Reva Patrick Coon’s book “Ties & Tales.”

George and Mitzi Maekawa in Dunsmuir Circa 1930
Maekawa House in Dunsmuir
Mitzi by the river in Dunsmuir
George & Banchan Maekawa
Mitzi in Dunsmuir Jan 1933
Dunsmuir Flood Feb 1940
Mitzi in Dunsmuir

The Depot Society was pleased to make the Dunsmuir family connection with the Kato Family and look forward to their next visit!



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Location 5750 Sacramento Ave, Dunsmuir, CA 96025 Phone (530) 235-0839 Hours Open Every 1st and 3rd Saturday, Apr - Oct
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