About Lomita, California

Lomita is a city with a population of 20,256 at the 2010 U.S. Census. The word “lomita” is derived from the Spanish for “little knoll”.

One of the city’s landmarks is the Lomita Railroad Museum which was opened in 1966 by Irene Lewis. It is a small museum in Lomita devoted to the steam-engine period of railroading. Mrs. Lewis, along with her husband Martin, operated “Little Engines of Lomita”, which sold kits for live steam-engine locomotives. Her engines also appeared in movies, including “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952) and “Von Ryans Express” (1965). This operation inspired Mrs. Lewis to earn a mechanical engineering degree late in life and to build the museum as a showplace for her products. When built, the museum was the first of its kind West of Denver. The museum was designed to replicate Boston & Maine’s Greenwood Station in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The Museum was donated by Mrs. Lewis to the City of Lomita in honor of her late husband in 1967. On display are a 1902 Baldwin Locomotive, a Southern Pacific tender, a 1910 Union Pacific caboose, and a Santa Fe caboose. The Museum also houses a full-size replica of a 1920s water tower that was constructed in 2000. The museum also incorporates a small public park, which accommodates a Union Pacific boxcar and a Union Oil tank car. Mrs. Lewis’s little engines were featured on a Lawrence Welk show saluting senior citizens.