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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Pacific Railroad’

Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 17, 1891

J.C. Dillon crushed to death by a railroad train in a peculiar manner

Palmer, May 16 (Special) — While J.C. Dillon was at work on the track at Palmer station Friday morning the overland train came along unexpectedly.

He jumped out of the way and struck against a tripod which had been left close to the track with point toward it, so that there was only just room for cars to pass. He was crushed to death between the cars and tripod, the pulley block being jammed into his back.


Palmer was originally a telegraph station on the Northern Pacific Railway opened during the construction of the railway’s line across Stampede Pass circa 1886.

Between 1899 and 1900 the Northern Pacific built a cut-off from Palmer Junction (just east of Palmer), crossing the Green River to Kanaskat, and thence westward to Ravensdale, Covington, and finally Auburn.

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 8, 1907

President A.J. Earling of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul gave out a statement in Milwaukee today to the effect that the St. Paul will complete the construction of its Pacific Coast line by 1909 and will be running trains into Seattle before the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opens.

In connection with this announcement, Earling confirmed the report that the St. Paul has ordered the vacation of all property sold to his road in Tacoma and will immediately begin work on the terminal system of the St. Paul in that city. (more…)

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Maple Valley Historical Society, March 1987

Here’s where me and the railroad got together.

My brother went up to Maple Valley for some reason or other and saw this gang of railroad men working to save the track that was being washed out. Being nosy, he went up to the foreman and asked if they were hiring anybody and he said yes, and get anyone else you can.

He came home and got me and we started work filling gunny sacks with sand at 4:00 p.m. and didn’t stop til 4:00 p.m. the next day. The rain never let up and gunny sacks got hard to get because everyone else needed them too for the same reason we did. We wound up using sacks that had been filled with rock salt and the salt cut our hands making them very sore. We didn’t have the little bags they use nowadays but the 100-pound size which we about two-thirds filled. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 7, 2015

By Bill Kombol

Railroads played a key role in the development of most King County towns, including Ravensdale. The arrival of the nation’s second transcontinental railway, the Northern Pacific (NP) in 1883 dramatically accelerated growth throughout the Washington Territory.

The development of a production-scale coal mine required a rail link to deliver the massive equipment needed to operate the mine and to transport the coal to market.

The extension of the Columbia and Puget Sound (C&PS) railway in 1884 from Renton by Henry Villard’s Oregon Improvement Company enabled the coal mines at Cedar Mountain (1884), Black Diamond (late 1884), Franklin (1885), and Danville (1896) to begin production. (more…)

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Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, March 31, 1908

Fifteen minutes before a train loaded with 200 passengers would have been on it, the Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad bridge across the Cedar River beyond Maple Valley, fell under the burden of a coal train and plunged six cars of coal instead of the cars of human beings into the river.

Had the coal train succeeded in getting across, there is no doubt that the passenger train would have plunged into the river, still swollen by recent floods and no one knows how many lives would have been lost. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Star, February 9, 1914

An appeal was filed this morning by Attorney Thomas Meade against the decision of the county commissioners prohibiting the town of Harrisburg to be incorporated instead of Ravensdale.

The fight involves a “dry” and “wet” issue.

Ravensdale was incorporated last year by the “wets,” and former Deputy Sheriff Starwich opened up a saloon. It was later discovered that a clerical error located the incorporated town six miles from where it is actually situated.

In spite of this, Meade charges, the saloon was allowed to operate, because the Northern Pacific, which owns most of Ravensdale, wanted it to run.

The “drys” got up a petition of their own, included a part of Ravensdale only, and sought incorporation. The Northern Pacific fought it, and Commissioners Hamilton and Knudsen threw the petition out.

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