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Archive for March 24th, 2013

Just forty years ago rails were laid for what is now the Pacific Coast Railroad

The No. 16 locomotive

No. 16, shown here in Maple Valley, was built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1910. It was scrapped in 1953.

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1, March-April 1916

By G.W. Mertens, Superintendent, Pacific Coast Railroad Company

Poor Nathaniel Hawthorne! If he could only have lived in the year 1916 and stood in the tower of the 42-story L.C. Smith Building, Seattle, and from there written his “Sights From a Steeple.”

No doubt this classic sketch then would have attracted everlasting attention to the great network of steel rails shimmering in the summer sunlight far to the southward. He would have seen how these threads of steel, spreading out like a fan, converge and gradually merge into the blue haze and disappear as if though one little opening in the foothills.

But this little gap is no illusion. It’s no trick of the atmosphere to deceive the eye. The facts are this narrow opening—the Duwamish Valley—holds the key to the transportation problem of Seattle from the south. (more…)

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