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Fred Beckey - Range of Glaciers

Part I. First Inhabitants and Early Settlers

Chapter 2 - "Absolute Lordes and Proprietors": The Hudson's Bay Company and the Fur Trade

p. 62: In 1811, David Stuart of the Pacific Fur Company founded Fort Okanogan above the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan rivers. This was the first American settlement in present-day Washington state.

p. 63: Fort Nisqually was established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833 as an intermediate station between Fort Vancouver and Fort Langley. It was the first European settlement in the Puget Sound region.

Chapter 3 - McClellan's Railroad-Pass Survey, 1853-1854

p. 71: This chapter describes surveys of potential railroad routes over the Cascades by Capt. George B. McClellan under the direction of Governor Isaac Stevens. On p. 89 the author writes that construction of the Northern Pacific Railway began in 1870. The line was opened to Portland in 1883. A line across the Washington Cascades--the switchback over Stampede Pass--was completed in 1887.

Chapter 4 - The First Wagon Roads

p. 91: Washington Territory separated from Oregon Territory on May 2, 1853.

p. 92: During the summer of 1853 a group of Olympia businessmen widened the Naches Pass trail into a wagon road. In September of that year, James Longmire and a 148-member party from Indiana crossed the pass to reach the Puget Sound region. The journey required sixty-eight crossings of the Naches River, sixteen of the Greenwater, and seven of the White. On the west side of the pass they lowered thirty-eight wagons down "Summit Hill," a hazardous bluff.

p. 96: In September 1854, Ezra Meeker led another immigrant party over the Naches route. This was the last recorded crossing, although small groups continued to cross the pass in the following decades.

p. 97: In 1865, Seattle citizens raised money to construct a wagon road over Snoqualmie Pass. A train of six wagons made it over the pass in October of that year, after rafting across Keechelus Lake. In the 1870s the pass was frequently used to drive cattle from the Columbia Basin to Puget sound. The pass was kept open throughout the winter of 1882-83, and by 1884 tolls were being taken. The opening of the Northern Pacific Railroad over Stampede Pass in 1887 ended the era of wagon transportation across the Cascades. Use of Snoqualmie Pass diminished until 1909, when a New York-to-Seattle auto race was organized in conjunction with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. Interest in automobile use of the pass increased, new surveys and construction were authorized, and on July 1, 1915, the Sunset Highway was dedicated, the first automobile highway across the Washington Cascades.

Chapter 6 - A Mountainous Crown Colony: British Columbia and the Cascades

p. 135: The Canadian Pacific Railway, which crossed the Cascades by following the difficult Fraser River canyon, was completed in 1885.

Part 2. Surveyors and Railroad Engineers

Chapter 9 - Legacy of the Land Grants: The Northern Pacific Railroad Surveys

p. 221: In 1870, William Milnor Roberts led a party for the Northern Pacific Railroad to examine routes from Puget Sound eastward along the Columbia River and over Snoqualmie Pass. In 1872, Roberts was chief engineer for the railway and supervised the search for a pass through the Cascades (p. 230). Tacoma was chosen as the Puget Sound terminus of the railroad on September 10, 1872 (p. 232).

p. 234: In late winter 1881, a party under Virgil Bogue surveyed a railroad route from Tacoma to Stampede Pass.

p. 236: In 1881, Henry Villard, a financier whose interests centered in Portland, became president of the Northern Pacific. Villard favored a route that would avoid the Cascade Range and run directly to Portland and a Columbia River port. He completed the line to Portland in 1883.

p. 237: In 1882, Stampede Pass was surveyed for a tunnel route. The Stampede Pass route was approved by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1884. Expedited construction began in 1885 or 1886. In 1887, the line opened with a hastily constructed seven-mile switchback that would serve until the tunnel was finished in the spring of 1888.

p. 239: The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 granted sections of public land to the railroads along railroad routes. By 1905, 183 million acres passed from public to railroad ownership in this way. The Northern Pacific sold nearly 90% of the lands it was granted. By 1924, it had realized from these sales more than the entire original cost of the railroad.

Chapter 11 - The Great Northern Railway's Search For a Pass

p. 257: The Great Northern was not a land grant railroad.

p. 258: In 1881, James J. Hill offered to Albert B. Rogers that if Rogers could find a pass through the Selkirks in British Columbia, Hill would name the pass for him and give him $5000. Rogers succeeded and later framed the bonus check instead of cashing it, proving that fame, not money, motivated him. In 1887, Hill sent Rogers to look for a pass through the Cascades north of the Northern Pacific line. Rogers reported that Little White Pass was the only practical route between the Skagit and Wenatchee rivers, and that avalanches on the western slope of the Cascades were "much worse than any in the Selkirks."

p. 265: In 1890, Hill sent John F. Stevens to determine the route the Great Northern would take over the North Cascades. Stevens explored the crest from Indian Pass to Snoqualmie Pass. He discovered a low gap, apparently unused by anyone, that he reasoned must be the head of Nason Creek. The pass was later named for him and in 1891 work began on the line that would cross Stevens Pass. The last spike was hammered on January 6, 1893, near Scenic. As originally completed, the line employed a twelve-mile switchback over the pass.

p. 268: The Cascade Tunnel was started in 1897 and completed in 1900. The author describes the Wellington avalanche disaster on March 1, 1910. Construction on the 7.79-mile lower tunnel began in March 1926 and was completed on December 24, 1928. On January 12, 1929, the tunnel was dedicated with a coast-to-coast radio broadcast by President Herbert Hoover.

Part 3. Miners, Mountaineers, and Tourists

Chapter 12 - From Wagon Roads to Highways

p. 275: Arthur A. Denny and party explored Snoqualmie Pass in 1865 and a rough trail was completed in 1869. The trail was used to drive cattle to market and improvements were slowly made. A toll road, sponsored by cattlemen, was opened in 1884. Boosters supported other passes as well. The road across Stevens Pass was completed on July 11, 1925. The Chinook Pass highway was constructed in 1930.

p. 276: The author describes efforts to establish roads through the North Cascades at Hannegan Pass, Austin Pass, Skagit Canyon, and Cascade Pass. In 1896 there was a four-foot-wide wagon road from Marblemount to Gilbert's cabin on the Cascade River and from Pershall's to Bridge Creek on the Stehekin (p. 279). In 1933, the Cascade River road was built 12-1/2 miles beyond Marblemount (which would be a couple miles beyond Sibley Creek, p. 281). Mine-to-market road funds were used to extend the road to the junction of the north and south forks (at Mineral Park) in the 1940s. After World War II, the road was extended to within three miles of Cascade Pass. On September 2, 1972, the North Cascades Highway was dedicated.

p. 282: James Longmire and party came over Naches Pass in 1853 and settled along the Nisqually River near the base of Mt Rainier. In 1883, returning from an ascent of Mt Rainier, Longmire discovered mineral springs. He filed a mineral claim and soon built a trail and buildings there. A toll road was completed to Longmire Springs in 1891. The success of Longmire's resort helped accelerate the movement for a national park.

p. 283: The author describes the founding of mountain towns including Index (1889) and Darrington (about 1891). He discusses Skagit River settlers including Gilbert Landre, who built a log cabin below Mt Johannesburg after arriving in 1888. In the late 1920s, John Dayo built Rock Cabin near Fisher Creek, where he spent two winters. In 1897, Lucinda J. Davis and family settled at the present-day site of Diablo, where they operated a roadhouse to serve the second Ruby Creek mining boom. Gaspar Petta built a cabin at the foot of Jasper Pass and trapped in the winters from 1912 to 1956, using small snowshoes to negotiate the steep valley slopes (p. 287).

p. 287: Boat transportation to Stehekin on Lake Chelan was established as early as 1889. James R. Moore and Merritt E. Field built hotels at Stehekin in the 1890s. Hugh and Ray Courtney trapped along Company Creek and in other valleys near the head of Lake Chelan. Guy Waring arrived in 1891 and opened a general store at what became Winthrop.

Chapter 13 - Early Mountaineering on the Volcanos

p. 318: In late December, 1895, E.S. Ingraham attempted to climb Mt Rainier by the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers in winter, sponsored by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The well-outfitted party took snowshoes, a toboggan, and sleeping bags, perhaps the first to be used in the Cascades.

Chapter 14 - Prospectors and the Mining Boom

This chapter groups mining activities into the following regions: Mount St Helens to Darrington, Chiwawa River to Okanogan River, Skagit River to Ruby Creek, Stehekin to Horseshoe Basin, Thunder Creek, Mt Baker, and finally Monte Cristo. (See map on p. 325.)

p. 326: In 1901, a road was built from Castle Rock to Spirit Lake to improve access to mines in the Mt St Helens area. Mining claims were developed east of Mt Rainier, along Silver, Morse, and Union Creeks, beginning around 1880. Prospecting in the Snoqualmie Pass area accelerated after 1884, when the toll road through the pass was built.

p. 329: By 1897, a trail had been built from Leavenworth to the upper Chiwawa River, where mineral discoveries had been made in the Chiwawa and Phelps basins. By 1901, prospectors had crossed Buck Creek Pass to find rich copper deposits on Miners Ridge. In 1896, James H. Holden discovered a large deposit of gold and copper-bearing ore near Railroad Creek. In 1902, a road was built up Railroad Creek valley to the Holden Mine.

p. 332: In 1879, Albert Bacon, Jack Rowley and others struck gold in Ruby Creek. A rush followed, with hundreds of claims. The precipitous Goat Trail was built up the Skagit Canyon to access the claims. The boom was short-lived, and by October 1880 the Puget Sound Mail pronounced it "a failure."

p. 336: In 1889, the Rouse brothers and Gilbert Landre made claims in Boston Basin. Because of their inaccessibility, these discoveries did not lead to a rush. By 1897, there was an eight-mile wagon road from Marblemount, with twenty-one miles of trail continuing to Cascade Pass.

p. 338: At the end of the 1880 Ruby Creek rush, a few miners remained to continue prospecting. The payoff came when Alex M. Barron discovered the Eureka lode in 1891. The focus moved east from the mouth of Ruby Creek to the Slate Creek mining district. Prospectors approached from both the Methow and Skagit rivers. By 1894, the town of Barron had been built near the Eureka claim. A horse trail was constructed from the Methow River across Harts Pass, and a three-foot wagon road was built to Barron in 1902-03. The gold rush eventually subsided, and Barron was abandoned in 1907. In the mid-1910s, the Ballard brothers and C.R. McLean established the Azurite Mine. The mine produced almost $1 million in gold from November 1936 to February 1939.

p. 339: In 1885, George and John Rouse found ore in Horseshoe Basin above Lake Chelan. In 1889, M.M. Kingman and A.M. Pershall staked claims in Doubtful Lake Basin. In 1908 a sawmill was built at Doubtful Lake. In the 1920s, mining in upper Horseshoe Basin nearly ceased for two decades. Mining resumed in the 1940s and continued into the 1950s.

p. 342: Mining began in Thunder Creek in 1892 after John Russner and two others found ore after crossing the Boston Glacier from Horseshoe Basin. By 1919, Thunder Creek mining had ended.

p. 343: In 1897, Jack Post discovered gold near Twin Lakes, staking the Lone Jack claim. After the news spread, a rush to the Mt Baker district began. Gold production at the Lone Jack mine continued until 1924. The other great strike in the Mt Baker district came in 1898, when Tom Braithwaite discovered the Boundary Red ledge on Mt Larrabee (then called Red Mountain).

p. 353: In 1891, the city of Everett was promoted as the headquarters of the new Monte Cristo mining district. In 1892, the Everett and Monte Cristo Railroad was incorporated by New York investors (p. 355). The winter of 1892-93 brought an especially heavy snowfall, with over thirty-six feet recorded at a road camp seven miles from Monte Cristo. The railroad came to Silverton in 1893 (p. 360) and reached Monte Cristo on August 5, 1893 (p. 355). A steam-driven rotary snowplow arrived early in 1894, enabling trains to run to the townsite during the winter. 1894 was a boom year in mine production.

p. 361: Most of the Monte Cristo mines, under new ownership, produced well in 1906, but the owners were forced into receivership in the 1907 depression. Gold and silver extraction dropped in the following years. In 1915, the Northern Pacific gave the Rucker brothers a lease to run the railroad. The Ruckers promoted tourism, building the Big Four Inn in 1920. The inn was destroyed by fire in 1949. Over $7 million in precious metals were extracted from Monte Cristo, making it the richest gold and silver strike in the Cascades.

Chapter 17 - Managing the Mountain Lands: The Forest Service and Park Service Era, 1895-1950

p. 396: On February 22, 1897, President Grover Cleveland issued an executive order creating forest reserves. In Washington, 1.5 million acres were set aside as part of the Rainier Forest Reserve and over 3.5 million acres were withdrawn as the Washington Forest Reserve. Administration of the forests was transfered to the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Forestry in 1905. In 1908, part of the Rainier Forest Reserve was split out into the Columbia National Forest (renamed Gifford Pinchot in 1949). That same year, the Washington Forest Reserve was divided into the Chelan, Wenatchee, Snoqualmie, and Washington (renamed Mt Baker in 1924) national forests. In 1931, the Whatcom Primitive Area was established. It was enlarged and renamed the North Cascades Primitive Area in 1934.

p. 400: Tommy Thompson, a Forest Service fire guard on the upper Skagit River since 1904, recalled that big fires in 1926 "started everyone thinking about discovering the fires more quickly and agitating for the establishment of lookouts." One of the earliest lookout cabins was built on the summit of Mt Pilchuck in 1912 (p. 407). As many as forty-three lookouts were build in Mt Baker National Forest. Church Mountain had the first lookout in the forest in 1928; most of the others were built in the 1930s (p. 408).

p. 409: The intial reason for developing an extensive trail system in the Cascades was fire access. The goal was to enable firefighters to get within two miles of any fire by trail. In 1935, reconnaisance was made of the Cascade Crest Trail route near the main divide. Nels Bruseth, Dale Allen and Hugh Courtney were involved in this effort (p. 411).

p. 411: The Stehekin River road was built to Bridge Creek before 1928, following the old miners' route. The Suiattle River road was also built during this period. The Little Wenatchee and Chiwawa River roads on the east side of the Cascade Crest were built for fire protection and logging in the 1930s. The highway over Chinook Pass was authorized by the state legislature in 1913 and opened on July 2, 1932.

p. 413: Gorge Dam on the Skagit River went into operation on September 27, 1924. Diablo Dam was completed in 1930. The first phase of the Ross Dam project was completed in 1939. The second phase, a 545-foot-high dam creating a twenty-four mile long lake extending into British Columbia, was finished in 1949.

p. 417: The Northern Pacific Railroad arrived at Puget Sound in 1883. Page 240 also mentions this date, seemingly a contradiction to p. 71 and p. 237. My interpretation is that the Northern Pacific Railroad reached Puget Sound by an indirect route through Portland in 1883 (see p. 236). The direct route over the Cascades was opened in 1887. This could explain the confusing information in ficken-1988-p33.

p. 421: A wagon road was completed to Longmire in 1891. By 1895, there was a trail to Paradise Valley and soon a four-horse stage was taking passengers there. The Tacoma and Eastern Railroad was completed to Ashford in 1904. The Army Corps of Engineers, under direction of Eugene Ricksecker, surveyed a road to Paradise Valley in 1904. Automobiles reached Longmire in 1908 and Paradise in 1911.

p. 422: Peter Storbo and associates began copper and silver mining in Glacier Basin in 1897, before Mt Rainier National Park was established. This operation continued until 1930, when Storbo and a partner were found guilty of fraud. The first known fatality on Mt Rainier was in August 1897, when Edward McClure slipped during the descent of a large Mazama party. When two climbers died in a storm on Rainier in 1909 it was recommended that the government license guides and build a shelter at Camp Muir. Rainier National Park Company was formed in 1916.

p. 423: In 1921, a "Wonder Road" was envisioned encircling the mountain. The Mt Rainier Mining Company built a wagon road along the White River in 1914. The road to Yakima Park (Sunrise) opened in 1932. The West Side road was begun in the 1920s and completed to the north fork of the Puyallup in 1935. The road to Mowich Lake was completed in 1932 and the Stevens Canyon road in 1957.

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Last Updated: Fri, Mar 1, 2019 10:54:29 AM