In the early 1900s a decision by Southern Pacific Railroad to relocate the regional operations to this area helped turn a small town once known as Junction into the City of Roseville. Locomotive 2252 is a symbol of this history and of the social and economic impact of the railroad on Roseville.
This 2252 was manufactured by Crooks Locomotive & Machine Company of Patterson, New Jersey. In March 1897, as one of 38 identical T-1 class locomotives built that year. Only two, the 2252 and the 2248 located in Texas, remain.
A locomotive is traditionally classified by the wheel configuration. The SP 2252 is considered a 4-6-0 because the engine has 10 wheels consisting of four lead carry wheels, six large drive wheels, and no trailing carry wheels.
Originally numbered SP 1838, the engine became the 2252 when Southern Pacific's numbering system was changed in 1901. The locomotive was first used for freight services along the Donner Pass Line. On May 27, 1929, it was released and equipped to fight snow-shed, brush, and forest fires along the Donner Pass Route in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
After nearly three decades as a firefighting locomotive the 2252 was officially retired on February 27, 1956 and subsequently donated to Roseville through the efforts of the Roseville Junior Chamber of Commerce. On April 25, 1956, as part of the "Cinderama" celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of Southern Pacific's relocation to Roseville, it was placed on display at the Placer County Fairgrounds.
In 2001, the Community Coalition for the Relocation of the 2252 was formed when a planned expansion at the Fairgrounds made it necessary to consider options for relocating the locomotive. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Coalition, Roseville Historical Society, City of Roseville, Placer County Fair Board of Directors and the community an agreement was reached to place the 2252 on permanent display at this site.
On October 13, 2004, after a ceremony that featured a "bon voyage" christening By Roseville City Officials and a train whistle salute by local students, the 70 ton locomotive was transported across the city. Today, the "Mighty 2252" steam locomotive stands as a vivid testament to Roseville's proud railroad heritage.