August 6th, 1895: Attached to our train from Missoula station were two special cars bearing an excursion party consisting of the new receiver of the Northern Pacific Railroad and his friends, one of whom we were told was the United States Supreme Court Judge who had appointed this receiver. An invitation was sent in to Mark to ride in their car but as it came for him alone and did not include the ladies he declined. [00:51]
The Bitterroot Valley was the ancestral home of the Salish tribe of the Flathead nation. In early September of 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed Lost Trail Pass from present day Idaho in order to connect with the overland route through the Rocky Mountains, passing down Camp Creek and the East Fork. They followed the Bitterroot River northward to the point where it connects with Nez Perce Trail and Lolo Creek. [01:43]
Before continuing their difficult journey to the west, they named their camp Travelers Rest. Returning to this site in early July of the following year, they split the corps of discovery furthering their explorations both to the northeast, Lewis, and to the south, Clark. [02:10]
The first White settlement in the valley was the founding in 1841 of St. Mary's Mission, near present day Stevensville, by Father De Smet. Fort Owen was established nearby in 1850 and difficult relations occurred between the white settlers and the Salish until 1891 when the native tribes were located to the north. [02:44]
In 1877 Chief Joseph and the Nex Perce tribe passed south through the Bitterroot Valley fleeing the u.S. Army. They exited the East Fork via Gibbons Pass near where they fought at the Battle of the Big Hole. [03:08]
Arlee was named for the Salish leader Arlee. In October 1873, he moved a small group of his people from the Bitterroot Valley, a “conditional reservation” according to the 1855 Hellgate Treaty, to the Jocko Agency, later known as the Flathead Indian Agency, located a few miles south of the town of Arlee. This forced move stemmed from the efforts of a congressional delegation led by future president James Garfield to negotiate a Salish removal from the Bitterroot Valley. [04:12]
The Indians of Arlee have a celebration that happens to fall on the fourth of July. The earliest evidence of an attempt to hold a Fourth of July Powwow was in 1891. In the 1890s, however, traditional Indian dances were illegal under Bureau of Indian Affairs rules, and the Indian police and Flathead Indian Agent Peter Ronan used the threat of U.S. Army intervention to break up the dance. The Bureau of Indian Affairs found it difficult to argue that it should be illegal to celebrate the Fourth of July, though for a time government attempts to suppress traditional dances forced the tribes to hold them secretly. Because of this persecution, we cannot, at this time, establish definitively when the first Fourth of July Powwow was actually held. [05:30]
The second Indian Agency on the Blackfeet Reservation was built in 1879 at Old Agency, at the bend in the Flathead River. Agent John Young moved the buildings from Upper Badger Creek with help from the Blackfeet Indians. Both men and women dug cellars, hauled stone and mixed mortar. The women covered the exterior with lime from Heart Butte. The Indians called it "Old Ration Place" after the government began issuing rations there. [06:32]
The "Starvation Winter" of 1883-1884 took the lives of about 500 Blackfeet Indians who had been camping in the vicinity of Old Agency, the result of an inadequate supply of government rations during an exceptionally hard winter. [06:57]
In 1894, after the Great Northern Railway had extended its tracks across the Reservation, the Agency moved to Willow Creek at the present site in Browning. [07:14]
The Flathead River originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles, empties into the Clark Fork. The river is part of the Columbia River drainage basin. The river has a drainage basin extending over 8,795 square miles and an average discharge of 11,380 cubic feet per second, the Flathead is the largest tributary of the Clark Fork and constitutes over half of its flow. [08:13]
Wild Horse Plains is nestled in a circular valley at an elevation of 2,450 ft., drained by the Clark Fork River. During the Pleistocene glacial periods, glaciers dammed the Clark Fork River Valley creating Glacial Lake Missoula. The ice dams broke periodically and at that time the Clark Fork River carried more water than the combined flow of all of the streams of the world.
The Missoula Floods, also known as the Spokane Floods or the Bretz Floods. The waters of the lake would rush down the Clark Fork and the Columbia River, flooding much of eastern Washington and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. After the rupture, the ice would reform, recreating Glacial Lake Missoula. During the last deglaciation it is estimated that a cycle of flooding and reformation of the lake lasted an average of 55 years and that the floods occurred several times over the 2,000-year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. There is evidence of at least twenty-five massive floods, the largest discharging 13 times the Amazon River. Estimates for the peak flow rate of the largest flood include 17 cubic kilometers per hour and range up to 60 cubic kilometers per hour. The maximum flow speed approached 80 mph.
It has been estimated that the oldest of the Pleistocene Missoula floods happened before 1.5 million years ago. Because of the fragmentary nature of older glaciofluvial deposits, which have been largely removed by subsequent Missoula floods, the exact number of older Missoula floods cannot be estimated with any confidence.
In the early 1800s Native American tribes traveled through the area. The fertile valley was used for wintering their ponies, harvesting salmon, and holding great councils. Mountain men, trappers, surveyors, and map makers were soon to follow. White settlers began their movement into the valley in the late 1860s. During the decades to follow farming, ranching, and lumbering would flourish in the valley.
The Northern Pacific Railway arrived in 1881-1883 and the town began to increase in size and importance. Businesses flourished and eventually the name was shortened to Horse Plains and finally to Plains. [12:18]
Thompson Falls, named after British explorer, geographer and fur trader, David Thompson. He founded a fur trading post called Salish House in 1808. The arrival of the railroad in 1881 brought the first real activity to the area and two years later a gold rush hit nearby Cor d Alean. The town grew to accommodate the men going over the Murray trail to the mines. Then in 1885 John Russell bought forty acres and plotted the town site. Thompson Falls dam is constructed right on top of the waterfalls. [13:24]
In the 19th century the Clark Fork Valley was inhabited by the Flathead tribe of Native Americans. It was explored by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the 1806 return trip from the Pacific. The river is named for William Clark. A middle segment of the river in Montana was formerly known as the Missoula River. The river was also referred to as the Deer Lodge River by Granville Stuart. David Thompson used the name Saleesh River for the entire Flathead-Clark Fork-Pend Oreille river system.
For most of the first half of the 19th century the Clark Fork river and surrounding region was controlled by the British-Canadian North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company. In the mid-19th Century the Clark Fork River wound through the valley where cattle had replaced bison. This was when Conrad Kohrs purchased a ranch from Johnny Grant that is now called the Grant-Kohrs Ranch. Since the late 19th century many areas in the watershed of the river have been extensively mined for minerals, resulting in ongoing stream pollution. Most pollution has come from the copper mines in Butte and the smelter in Anaconda. Many of the most polluted areas have been designated as Superfund sites. Nevertheless the river and its tributaries are among the most popular destinations for fly fishing in the United States.
Today, the Clark Fork watershed encompasses the largest Superfund site in America. As a mega-site, it includes three major sites: Butte, Anaconda, and Milltown Dam/Clark Fork River's Milltown Reservoir Superfund Site. Each of these major sites is split up into numerous sub-sites known as Operable Units. Remediation and/or restoration of these sites is ongoing. [16:37]
Heron, MT: Before the railroad arrived the lower Clark Fork River valley was very quiet, traveled seasonally by the local Salish and Kootenai peoples and then by the occasional fur trapper and adventurer following on the heels of David Thompson. Steep mountains, rain, snow, and river rapids made travel challenging. Camps were temporary, used only for berry picking, camas digging, fishing and hunting. They then moved on. [17:36]
Originally a railroad town on the Northern Pacific, the North Pacific Railway reached Heron in 1882. Within a year Heron had about 400 residents, 3 stores, 6 saloons, 2 hotels, 2 restaurants and a town water system. In January 1884 Heron’s first post office was opened. In September the first school district was created. By October 1888 the water source for the steam engines dried up and the railroad terminal moved to Hope, ID. The post office closed before Thanksgiving and Heron was almost wiped from the map. People left in droves. [18:32]
A few stubborn folks hung in here and eventually a new wave of in migrants arrived, lured by out of region promoters. This cycle repeated itself many times over the decades. Heron has been rebuilt and reinvented numerous times. Lured by the promise of something better, homesteaders, farmers, trappers, miners, loggers, business owners continued to arrive. Some endured. Many moved on when the extolled riches never materialized or were burnt up in the frequent fires or lost to the spring floods. [19:20]
It was an enjoyable ride to Spokane where we arrived at 11:30 and put up at the Spokane House, the largest hotel I ever saw. It was a large commercial building covering an entire block, revamped into a hotel. A whole store was diverted into one bedroom and nicely furnished, too. Reporters were in waiting to interview the distinguished guest. Mark is gaining strength and is enjoying everything, so the interviewers had a good time. [20:32]
August 7th, Sam sees squaws prowling about back doors & windows begging & foraging — “a nuisance once familiar to me”. [21:12]
We found here a magnificent new theatre — the Opera House. It has cost over $200,000 and was never yet a quarter filled. The manager was greatly disappointed at the receipts for the lecture; he had counted on a full house. Where he expected the people to come from I don't know. The receipts were not much better than in Missoula. 'Mark' didn't enjoy it, and manifested no delicacy in so expressing himself. Reviews, however, were quite good. [22:24]
>We spent all day, August 8th, in Spokane. In the forenoon Mark and I walked about this remarkable city with its asphalt streets electric lights nine story telegraph poles and commercial blocks that would do credit to any Eastern city. There were buildings ten stories high with the nine top stories empty and there were many fine stores with great plate glass fronts marked “To Rent”.
In the afternoon our entire party drove about the city in an open carriage. Our driver pointed out some beautiful suburban residences and told us who occupied them. That house, he said as we drove by a palatial establishment, is where Mr Brown lives. He is receiver for the Spokane Bank, which failed last year for over $2,000,000. You all know about that big failure, of course. The receiver lives there. Pointing out another house he said That man living up in that big house is receiver for the Great Falls Company. It failed for nearly a million. The president and directors of that company are most all in the State prison. And this here house, that we are coming to now, is where the receiver of the Washington Gas and Water Company lives, etc.
Mark said to the ladies, “If I had a son to send West, I would educate him for a receiver. It seems to be about the only thriving industry”. [24:56]
As we have a day here, the ladies have overhauled and repacked their trunks. I think there is no occupation that has the fascination for women when travelling as the unpacking and overhauling of large travelling trunks. They go at it early miss their luncheon and are late to dinner and yet show no signs of fatigue. [25:49]
There was another incident here. Our ladies dressed their best for dinner and outshone the receiver's excursionists who occupied most of the great dining hall.
Mark didn't see it as he never comes down to dinner. I know I saw it and enjoyed a feeling of pride I just felt and knew I was envied by the men at the other tables. Clara Clemens is a beautiful girl. As we passed out of the dining room into the great parlor she sat down to the Chickering grand piano and began playing a Chopin nocturne. It was in the gloaming. Stealthily, guests came in from dinner and sat breathlessly in remote parts of the boundless room listening to a performance that would have done credit to any great pianist. Never have I witnessed a more beautiful sight than this sweet brunette unconsciously holding a large audience of charmed listeners. If it was not one of the supreme moments of her mother's life who saw and heard her then I have guessed wrong. It was an incident forever fixed in my memory. [26:09]
That night at 11:30 we went aboard the sleeper on the Great Northern Road. Everything was in readiness for us.
While resting in the Spokane hotel room, Mark greeted newspaper reporters, old friends and people claiming to be old friends. One such person was an old miner that had read Mark's article in the North American Review, “Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses”. “Clements”, he said, putting a “t” on the end of Sam's name, “I didn't think it was in you. Did you really write it? Now honest, did you do it yourself?” “Well” was the solemn reply, “I got the money for it”. [00:52]
August 7, 1895: That night at 11:30 we went aboard the sleeper on the Great Northern Road. Everything was in readiness for us.
The Great Northern operated over a mile of trackage rights over the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern through downtown Spokane. It shared the SLS&E Union Depot with the Union Pacific. From Spokane the line went west to the Columbia River and Wenatchee. There were two changes of locomotive between Spokane and Seattle, one at Wilson Creek and the next at Leavenworth. With the opening of the line to the coast, GN received twenty E-7 Ten-Wheelers (4-6-0's). Sporting 72" drivers and a tractive effort of 17,730 lbs, they were the first Ten-Wheelers acquired specifically for passenger service.
The E-7s were limited to 9 passenger cars and 350 tons. While reliable Eight-Wheelers (4-4-0's) continued to handle the train for the level parts of the journey, the E-7 serves as the backbone of the transcontinental passenger power pool. Eight sets of equipment were needed for the 77 hour schedule between Seattle and St. Paul. Three sets were traveling eastbound and three others westbound. The remaining two were at the east and west terminals being cleaned and readied for departure. The consist of each set was a Baggage/express car, Day Coach, Free Colonist Sleeper, Diner and Buffet car, and a Palace sleeper. The cars were illuminated at night with oil lamps and heated by stoves which had round metal chimneys prominently showing on the roofs. The all wood cars for the most part were built with truss rods, open platform ends, clerestory roofs, single rectangular windows and many of them rode on four wheel trucks. The exterior body was a 2" grooved wood sheathing, painted maroon with gold lettering. The roof, underbody and trucks were painted black. Great Northern operated its own diners and sleepers rather than contracting with Pullman. The coaches and sleepers were finished in polished oak. The Buffet-Library cars were 60 foot and featured wicker chairs, design woodwork with wrought iron trim, colorful curtains and ornamental lamps, all in contemporary Victorian fashion.
The car is one on the greatest conveniences to tourists in making long journeys. It is a comfortable thing to find a library of books ... daily newspapers, writing materials, easy chairs, a bathroom, a barbershop and smoking room.... It is a club life carried through out the journey. The sleepers were grooved wood sheathed cars, containing 10 sections and 2 staterooms and were delivered with open platforms. [05:25]
Harrington, Washington: Back in 1880, Lincoln County was known only as "a howling desert". However, the Harrington, Furth, & Robinson firm saw that the soil, glacial loess and volcanic ash, was fertile and could be used for farming. So in 1882 they bought the land that would later make up the town of Harrington. It was in the same year that the Northern Pacific Railway Company looked into stretching their rail lines through the area. In honor of W.P. Harrington, this land was given the name "Harrington". One year later people first inhabited the town. The first store was opened by Edward Willis and Charles Billings. The next year, the post office was opened by Edward Willis who assumed the role of the first post master. Soon after in 1884, the black smith shop and the Pickell Hotel were established and two years later, the first saloon opened. In 1892, the farming community had its first grain bins that came along with the Great Northern Railway Company tracks running down the middle of town. Within the next two years, the town grew as the railroad continued construction on its railways. Then the Hotel Harrington opened. The main street was established and made the city come more alive, and there was a two- room school house built, along with a drug store, stables, meat market, barber shop, two hotels, four general merchandise stores, drug store, bank, and furniture stores. By the year of 1890, the town was booming! [07:45]
The train traveled through the night across landscape only later to be recognized as the channeled scablands. Land scoured clean of soil many times by the massive Missoula floods I spoke of in an early leg of our journey from Elmira to Victoria. This is a land of abandoned erosional waterways, streamless coulees with empty cataract cliffs and plunge basins, potholes and deep rock basins, all eroded into the basalt of the gently southwestward dipping slope of the Columbia Plateau. The pattern of dry stream ways; a plexus, an anastomosis; totally unlike any other drainage pattern on earth. A debacle was demanded to explain this landscape, the volume of which would fill normal stream valleys to overflowing. These great floods spilled over former divides, eroding their summits to complete the new network. Associated with the enormously enlarged drainage ways were similarly huge mounds of stream gravel; great river bars. Huge stream-rolled boulders occurred in these bars. The boulders were obviously plucked from the columnar basalt bedrock by the high-velocity currents. The term valley would not suffice for the abandoned rock-bound former waterways; channels, and the entire composite; the "Channeled Scabland."
The total area involved was 18 townships wide by 22 townships long (approximately 15,500 sq miles). This seems to call for a return to “Catastrophism”, a discredited theory harkening to Noah's flood. But this was no such flood and was never caused by a month of rain. This flood, or rather series of floods can be traced all the way to the Willamette Valley, south of Portland, Oregon, wherein is found a river delta of 200 square miles. Caused by the bursting of ice dams across what is now the Clark Fork of the Columbia River system in the Idaho panhandle. A lake of 3,000 square miles containing 500 cubic miles of water, half the volume of Lake Michigan. The dams are thought to have been 2,000 feet high. [11:10]
Wilson Creek: a division point with an eleven stall roundhouse. This area has been sparsely populated and lies within an eco region known as shrub-steppe, a dry grassland characterized by shrubs such as sage brush greasewood, bitterbrush and by grasses such as blue bunch wheat grass. The Indians that lived here included the Salish, Wenatchee and Okanogan and they were generally found along the Columbia River. The first white settlers arrived in the mid 1800's and were primarily involved in raising live stock. With the railoroads moving in, they started trying to farm here but there's not a lot of water. [12:33]
The Great Northern had to compete over its 2,000 mile route against three established rivals, the Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Northern Pacific Railway. All three had been operating trains for several years with a growing population and traffic along their lines. The Union Pacific had an established route from Chicago to Portland via the Oregon Shortline and the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. The Canadian Pacific, Great Northern's former partner and transcontinental service acquired the Soo Line in 1893 and now had a competing route from the mid-West to Puget Sound. The North Pacific, like the Great Northern, had its eastern terminal at St. Paul and western terminal was at Tacoma, with service to Seattle. By 1893 it had better equipment and was an established route with a growing population and industries along the line. That year, the Northern Pacific was able to cut its transcontinental schedule two hours, from 72 to 70 hours, five hours faster than the Great Northern. [14:07]
Ephrata: The region was known at the turn of the century for the great herds of wild horses that roamed the land. Horse trading was an important element of the local economy, and Ephrata served as the staging area for the horse round-ups. Historically, the settlement of Ephrata is quite recent. There was no known settlement until 1886, just three years before Washington attained statehood. The horse rancher Frank Beezley was the first to settle near the natural springs, thus the area was known as Beezley Springs. [14:56]
Mark's conversation with Marie Jousaye, back in Toronto, made comments about traveling and the packing of trunks. We both hate packing and looking after luggage. And Mark confides how his soul chafes under the cast-iron rules and regulations laid down for him by Mrs. and Miss Clemens. “They mean well,” he says dejectedly, “but it is a fearful nuisance. Why I actually have to wear different clothes for different occasions; and just think of the barbarity of making a man shave when he don't feel like it. Why when I traveled alone on my lecture tour some years ago I had just a single grip with a few collars and a dress coat in it; the trousers and vest of the dress suit I wore while traveling. When I buttoned the other coat up nobody could tell what kind of a vest I had on; couldn't even tell if I had a shirt on. I didn't mind traveling in those days. There was nothing to bother me or hold me back. Why I used to go'flying light' and if I didn't shave before the lecture it didn't matter; only the first few rows could notice it, and they couldn't tell for sure whether it was a for want of a shave or bad soap. Those were good times, but now--” [16:40]
The area of Rock Island was used by native American tribes for fishing and crossing the Columbia River due to the nearby Rock Island Rapids. The site had been previously settled in the late 19th century and was known as Hammond. Early maps sometimes show the city as Hammond PO. In the Teacup Valley, in which Rock Island is currently located is two men, Ingraham and McBride opened a trading post in the early 1860's. Their patrons were local Native Americans who often fished that stretch of the Columbia when the fish were running. The two men would later move their post to the mouth of the Wenatchee River leaving little trace of their stay. The most notable figure in Rock Island's founding is James E. Keane. As the first permanent settler to the Rock Island area, James Keane arrived with a crew of men in 1887. Keane planned to build a home and improve the land that he had acquired through the homestead, pre-emption, and desert acts. Four years later, the Great Northern Railroad made its first survey of the area and began construction toward the valley from the east. One half mile upriver from the well-known Rock Island Rapids, Mr. Keane platted a townsite he named Hammond. Hammond was located nearly 2.5 miles south of the present site of the City of Rock Island due to changes in planning by the Great Northern Railway. Keane moved his townsite to this new area and named it Rock Island, named aptly for the rock islands in the Columbia River near the site. Between 1891 and 1893, Rock Island became a town of considerable importance for the railroad. The mammoth steel bridge that was built across the Columbia drew many laborers to the area, and the small town boomed. Several stores popped up to meet the needs of the workers, and the Rock Island Sun newspaper began publication. The site was thought to be the area where the large city of the area would develop as it was located near the Rock Island Rapids and near the bridge which spanned theColumbia River for the Great Northern Railway. Despite these strategic advantages, the large city in the area would become Wenatchee, just seven miles upriver from the site of present-day Rock Island. In 1893, however, the completion of that first bridge across the Columbia marked the downfall of Rock Island. With few jobs in town to entice them, the employees of the railroad moved away. [20:12]
Wenatchee: The Great Northern Railway and the Wenatchee Development Company Build a New Town Although located as a mid-point between Spokane and Seattle, the Wenatchee Valley was largely inaccessible because it is surrounded by mountains. Despite topographical limitations, the City's great potential as a productive agricultural region and business center did not go unnoticed. With this vision in mind, a group of Seattle businessman formed the Wenatchee Improvement Company in December 1890 to acquire property and build a town. The Great Northern Railway spurred development of new towns and provided important transcontinental service for many communities along its vast route through the upper Midwest, northern Great Plains, and the Pacific Northwest. In early 1892, the Wenatchee Development Company, in close consultation with the Great Northern Railway, surveyed and platted the present site of Wenatchee. On May 6, 1892, this plat was filed with Kittitas County (Chelan County had not yet been created), and lots were placed on the open market the same month. Within five days, $100,000 worth of property was sold. By the late 1890s, Wenatchee was growing considerably and the need for a new county became clear. Ellensburg was the Kittitas County seat, but was separated from the Wenatchee Valley by a range of mountains. It proved inaccessible during the winter except via Spokane or Seattle by railroad, making it difficult for Wenatchee citizens to make the trek to Ellensburg for business purposes. The state legislature created Chelan County in 1899, carving it out of the existing Kittitas and Okanogan Counties. [22:48]
Long before white settlers ventured into the American West, the Wenatchee Indians inhabited the Wenatchee Valley, from Stevens Pass to the Columbia River and present day Wenatchee. But the great Pacific Northwest beckoned explorers, trappers and a few white settlers who entered the area in the early 1800's. By the mid 1800's settlers were flooding into the area. By the end of the century the Wenatchee Indians were all but gone. In the early 1880's homesteaders staked claims about 10 miles east of Leavenworth, near present day Cashmere, then known as Mission. [23:54] Leavenworth, originally known as Icicle, started out in 1885 when a small group of homesteaders settled where the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers meet in the Leavenworth Valley, known as Icicle Flats. It was the site of a Wenatchee Indian salmon fishery. By the 1890s settlers were also moving up into Chumstick Valley and around Lake Wenatchee and Plain, then called Beaver Valley. As in all parts of this fledgling country railroads brought great change and growth. The Great Northern Railroad began laying track up the Wenatchee Valley in 1892 along what is now Highway 2 and over Stevens Pass. In 1893, transiting the Cascade Mountains, they constructed a round house, switch yard and division headquarters in Leavenworth. Making it an important railhead. [25:06]
Now, Mark was asked about his health, he said “Yes, my health is good with the exception of an abominable carbuncle, and that is improving. I wrote to my friend Carey, of the Century, giving him a minute description of my affliction, He replied that he was an expert on Buncles, and from my description he was convinced that this one did not belong to the ordinary or plebeian family, generally known as carbuncles. He said it must be an aristocratic Pullman carbuncle.
Back in Leavenworth a second engine was attached to the front of the train. This engine helped pull the train up through Tumwater Canyon along Neeson Creek, past Berne and up to the Cascade Tunnel Station, at the foot of the eastside switchbacks. [00:25]
A depot, an engine roundhouse and turn table for turning locomotives and snow plows, an electric substation and motor shed, a few cottages, a bunkhouse for train crews and a number of make shift shacks created by removing the wheel trucks from the bottoms of old box cars. The bulk of its winter time population consisted of crews of transient snow shovelers, typically down on their luck types recruited from places like skid row in Seattle. Cascade tunnel station was in short a rough work-a-day and sometimes unsavory place, even under a forgiving blanket of snow. [01:23]
Stevens Pass is named for John F. Stevens, an engineer in the employ of the Great Northern Railway. He had located the route the railway took over the Rockies, Marias Pass, and he had found the route over his eponymous pass. Not an ideal route but workable and James Jerome Hill had little time to waste.
This narration can't help but be a bit anachronistic as there were three different attempts to establish an acceptable route over the Cascades. We are interested in the first route, the path Mark Twain and company traveled in 1895. The first route over Stevens Pass required eight switchbacks, sharp curves, steep grades up to four percent, and a crew of 3,000 men working 12 hours a day for two years to complete. The final spike was driven on January 6, 1893. Mark Twain traveled this route August 8, 1895 riding the Great Northern Railway from Spokane to Seattle. He rode on the engine with the engineer, who was delighted. [02:57]
Arriving at Cascade Tunnel Station at about 7am, a third locomotive was attached to the rear of the train. Mark was allowed a seat in the point helper, the engine added in Leavenworth. There were two men on this engine, an engineer and a fireman, and a vacant seat behind the fireman on the left side. [03:27]
The train backed up into the first switch, then started forward again, along Stevens Creek for a short distance before making a sharp turn and returning to Neeson Creek and up the second east side spur. [03:48]
Soon after the Great Northern reached Seattle, much of America suffered the Panic of 1893. It was devastating to many established businesses but proved a boon to the new businesses along the line. JJ Hill had been very busy extending the advice of Horace Greeley, continue on west. This helped provide a renewed supply of labor to develop, among other places, Skykomish Valley, just west of the switchbacks. Earlier transcontinental railroads had employed cheap Chinese labor, upsetting unemployed whites, resulting in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1881, a federal law barring Chinese from entering the United States to work on railroads. Hill had been negotiating with the Japanese, he wished to sell them U.S. goods and import silk and tea. It is also possible that he was able to procure cheap Japanese labor, although this is not documented. The 1900 census mentions 47 Japanese workers in Wellington and Martin Creek but it does not mention the town of Nippon. [05:21]
Driving in reverse, the train follows Stevens Creek over the pass to a spur overlooking Wellington on the Tye River. [05:35]
Whether a town was located for mining or for the railroad, they all had sawmills. There was a definite local market for lumber but JJ Hill knew there was a much bigger market in the east. Hill knew he could only make money if he could fill his freight cars in both directions. In addition to products from the Orient, he recognized the Great Northern could transport lumber east on cars that would otherwise travel empty. He convinced his friend and neighbor Frederick Weyerhaeuser to look to the west with him. [06:21]
Even after construction, the railroad remained labor intensive. The large crews needed to build the line became large maintenance and snow removal crews. The route over Stevens Pass was hardly ideal, with eight switchbacks and sections of track above 3,000 feet in a serious snow belt. Snaking railcars in eight-car units up and down the switchbacks required crews working around the clock. [07:00]
Work began on the first Cascade Tunnel in 1897 and was completed in 1900. It relieved the railroad of the switchbacks but brought its own set of problems, particularly the exhaust from the steam engines causing several deaths in the tunnel and numerous close calls. [07:29]
Forward again to a spur at the head of the Tye River Canyon. [07:38]
By 1909 the tunnel had become electrified and electric engines pulled the trains through the tunnel. But the line was still in dangerous snow country. In March 1910, the most disastrous avalanche in U.S. history occurred at Wellington. Ninety six people died when an avalanche crashed into a stalled train. [08:12]
The train backs up to a second spur above Wellington. [08:20]
In 1929 the Great Northern Railway completed the construction of the second Cascade Tunnel, 7.8 miles long and still in operation. This tunnel had disastrous effects on the town of Leavenworth, bypassed by the new route. [08:45]
Now forward again up along the Tye River, then across and along the face of the Siberian Elephant mountain. [08:59]
Navigating the switchbacks employed specially trained crews and required so much tractive effort that each locomotive consumed over 3,000 pounds of coal. The 12 mile route could sometimes be completed in 75 minutes or less or as much as 36 hours. [09:27]
Engines at both ends, monsters – we had the brakes on and both engines pulling backward. Precipitous. [09:41]
Known as Death Mountain during construction, the switchbacks operated for seven years without a single fatality. [09:55]
Back again, across the face of the mountain to the third spur southeast of Wellington. [10:05] Following this contour around, we pass close by what is going to be the western portal of the original Cascade Tunnel. [10:24] Forward, around the curve near the base of the mountain and into Wellington. Mark returns to the passenger car and the rear engine is detached. [10:46]
Wellington consists of little more than three spur tracks built on an artificial flat of tunnel building debris. A large enginemans bunkhouse on the flat and some shanties and small houses on the banks of a small creek. West of the creek was the depot, the section house and the road masters house. On the slope behind were the Bailets Hotel and a tavern called Fogg Brothers Restaurant. [11:29]
Construction of the original Cascade Tunnel began in 1897, two years after Mark Twain's visit. A massive three year, round-the-clock effort with a huge labor force: 800 working, 800 sleeping, and 800 at the bar. Turn-over rates often nearing 50 percent a month. Drunkenness, violence and prostitution, the wickedest town on earth. [12:07]
We travel to Embro, a short distance from Wellington, and stopped for about 5 minutes and rolled rocks down a precipice. [12:25]
Windy Point tunnel was built to prevent trains from derailing around a particularly sharp curve. Built in 1913 and was 1,221 feet long. [12:49]
On Thursday night, January 20th of 1916, more than 14 inches of wet snow fell on the Cascade Mountains and continued until noon on Friday. The temperature rose above freezing and it began to rain. It rained all Friday night. On Saturday morning, January 22nd 1916 . The west bound Great Northern Cascade Limited, train number 25 from Spokane was standing on the railroad tracks on the upper grade above Corea, waiting for a section crew to remove a minor snow slide blocking the rails. At 7:15 am workmen had removed the snow and debris that was covering the tracks and the train was signaled to proceed. At that moment an avalanche swept down Windy Mountain and struck the Cascade Limited broadside. Three rail cars were taken from the middle of the train, the engines and other cars remaining on the rails. The day coach, the dining car were carried over the embankment and tumbled toward the lower grade of the horseshoe curve. The sleeping car was on its side, one end hanging precariously over the embankment. The dining car stopped sliding part way down the hillside and caught fire. The day coach, a steel car, was taken all the way down to the lower tracks and was covered with snow and debris, approximately 80 feet. The section crew, already at the scene, immediately rescued the passengers from inside the sleeping car. Several had suffered minor injuries but there were no fatalities. A search of the dining car yielded three injured and two dead passengers. Although hurt and disoriented, the five dining car employees managed to escape on their own. Rescuing passengers from the day coach was difficult as it had disappeared under several feet of snow. It took workers 30 minutes to cautiously descend to the car's location, and over an hour of digging through the pile of compacted snow and debris to uncover one end. The job was risky. Deep banks and drifts of snow on the mountain side were unstable and posed an immediate threat to the rescuers. But undaunted they hacked through the roof of the car with axes and worked as quickly as possible to bring out the passengers. It took six hours to get everyone out of the car. During the rescue operation another avalanche occurred near Embro, demolishing more than 400 feet of snow shed. [16:17]
Well, we're off the mountain, arrive near Scenic and head on down the canyon along the Tye River toward Skykomish. [16:37]
Scenic Hot Springs has been known since the 1880's when it was discovered by rail workers, constructing the original rail route over Stevens Pass. The actual discovery of the springs is generally credited to Stevens and Haskell. The nearest Indian tribe was the Skykomish people who populated the area now known as Index and rarely traveled further east than the valleys around the town of Skykomish, mainly along the north fork of the Skykomish River. [17:21]
The inland people, although named for the Skykomish Indians, named derived from the native words “skaikh” meaning “inland” and “mish” meaning “people”), little evidence exists of native habitation near the current townsite. The tribe’s territory was along the Skykomish River, but winter villages were located farther downstream, near the present towns of Monroe, Index, and Gold Bar. Native peoples most likely used the area surrounding Skykomish for temporary campsites during hunting and berry-gathering seasons.
The arrival of Euro-American settlers to the region in the 1850s introduced smallpox and other fatal diseases to many Western Washington tribes. Early estimates of the number of Skykomish Indians vary, but by the end of the century only a few hundred remained. Although they were one of the tribes who signed the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855, and were assigned to the Reservation along Puget Sound, a native village of 240 people was still in existence near Gold Bar as late as 1900. [19:01]
During the construction of the three alignments of the Great Northern route, Japanese workers used the hot springs at the sources. On completion of the Switchback lines over Stevens Pass, an upscale sanatorium and hotel (the Scenic Hot Springs Hotel) was built and the hot springs water piped two and one half miles down the mountain to the hotel, where it was reheated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotel was a luxury resort for the rich and famous and white, from Seattle. The actual hot springs remained the purview of non-white railroad laborers. During those early days the hotel and later the burgeoning community around it were variously called Madison Hot Springs and Scenic Hot Springs. The hotel was torn down in 1929 to make room for the new Cascade Railroad Tunnel under Stevens Pass. [20:19]
The upper Tye River flows through a steep, narrow and densely forested valley. Below Surprise Creek, where we start following it downstream, the Tye Valley alternately widens and narrows. There are dense mixed deciduous and conifer forests in the valley bottoms and thick conifer forests on the valley sides. Much of the lower elevation forests have been logged at least once, now. Old growth forests are found mainly along the higher tributaries. Above Deception Creek the Tye River has a steep gradient and a confined channel resulting in a nearly continuous series steep cascades and small waterfalls. [21:21] Down stream, near its mouth, the Tye's gradient lessens and its channel widens. The valley becomes more broad and flat. The river becomes somewhat braided in this stretch with numerous channel splits. There are many logs and large woody debris in this part of the river. The final mile of the Tye has a steeper gradient with cascades alternating with deep pools. Nearly all the Tye River tributaries are high mountain streams with steep gradients. Some entering the Tye Valley from hanging valleys, plunging down high waterfalls. [22:14]
John Maloney was 33 years old at the time he met John J. Stevens. The only one of five boys in his family to go west. Maloney labored in mines, prospected in at least four states, operated a copper claim in Utah for eight years, and went to Alaska where he floated the Yukon River to the sea in a moose-skin canoe looking for copper. Since it was too late in the year to go back inland, he took passage on a steamer to Seattle. After his job as an axeman on a survey crew out of Bellingham ran out, he moved to the head end of Lake Chelan, where he located a ranch. By the time he met John Stevens, Maloney was an experienced wilderness traveler with an eye for opportunity. When Stevens chose to locate the Great Northern Railway along the South Fork of the Skykomish River, Maloney recognized his main chance. He staked a claim along a wide, flat stretch of river bottom along the route the rails would take in 1891 and began to clear land. He knew the building of the railroad would require all manner of support systems and positioned himself to provide them. The place he claimed became Skykomish.