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JoAnn Roe - Stevens Pass: The Story of Railroading and Recreation in the North Cascades

Chapter 3 - Early White Settlers

p. 38: In the 1930s and 1940s, Georgia Allen, wife of pioneer Dale Allen, who worked in various capacities for the U.S. Forest Service, operated the small Telma Resort on Lake Wenatchee.

p. 40: Photo of deep snow on Leavenworth streets, early 20th century.

p. 41: In 1907 the Chelan Consolidated Copper Company (CCCC) built a wagon road up the Chiwawa River to access its Red Mountain mine.

p. 42: In 1916, J. Lonergan and James Naughten bought up some CCCC claims and formed the Royal Development Company. They made discoveries on Phelps Ridge. Between 1923 and 1928 they developed mine facilities there and build a company town called Trinity. After seven years of construction, the mine shipped its first ore in October 1929. After only a year of regular operation, the eastern financiers sent notice to close down the mine immediately. During extended court battles, the mine operated on a limited basis until 1936. The company was dissolved in 1940.

p. 46: In 1979, Two Rivers, Inc., acquired the Trinity property with the intention of building a high-country resort for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in winter. Due to heavy snows and difficult winter access, they gave up the idea and sold most of the property and buildings in 1990 for use as a private vacation estate.

Chapter 4 - The Search For Stevens Pass

p. 49: The author describes attempts to locate a railroad route over the North Cascades by E.F. Cady (Cady Pass, 1859), General James G. Hilton (Skagit/Skykomish, 1867), D.C. Linsley (White Pass, 1870), and Albert B. Rogers (Wenatchee River area, 1887). In 1890 John F. Stevens followed the crest of the Cascades from the headwaters of the Wenatchee River to Snoqualmie Pass and back. He discovered the pass now named for him.

p. 56: Stevens described the pass: "There were no signs of any trails leading to or from it, within ten miles in either direction. No blazes on trees and no signs of any wanderers' camp or camp fires. Heavily timbered--covered with almost impenetrable brush, and not offering any hope that the mountains contained minerals, the region promised nothing to the prospector, while Indians and Whites crossing the mountains used either the Snoqualmie on the south or the Indian Pass on the north for route of transit."

Chapter 5 - Rails Westward

p. 63: The Great Northern Railroad (GNR) headed by James J. Hill completed its line over Stevens Pass on January 6, 1893. The line initially ran over the pass, the last section on the west side requiring a complicated series of switchbacks.

p. 66: Work on the first Cascade tunnel began in August 1897. The tunnel ran from Wellington on the west side of the pass to roughly the location of the Yodelin ski area on the east side. It opened on December 10, 1900.

Chapter 6 - Construction Camp Settlements

p. 70: Wellington was renamed Tye after the disastrous avalanche of 1910. Most of the people who lived at Wellington/Tye moved to Berne at the east end of the new eight-mile tunnel when it was completed in 1928.

p. 73: The Scenic Hot Springs Hotel was built in 1904 and rebuilt in 1909 after being destroyed by fire. The author writes: "Since the area received three to five feet of snow and was just a four-hour train ride from the city, it was a popular winter-sports destination for Seattleites of the time."

Chapter 7 - Electrification and the Cascade Tunnel

p. 81: The GNR line through the Cascades was a busy one. In April 1907, 270 freight trains stopped at the Leavenworth station, each averaging thirty cars.

p. 84: The author describes the Wellington disaster, which climaxed with a huge avalanche on March 1, 1910. Two trains, trapped for days by slides and heavy snow, were swept down a mountainside into a canyon. The author doesn't give an exact total of the loss of lives, but it seems that about ninety people were killed. Following the tragedy, the GNR built more snowsheds. In 1913 more than 60 percent of the nine miles of track between Wellington/Tye and Scenic were covered by snowsheds. Before the GNR could enclose all its hazardous areas, between fifty and sixty snow shovelers were killed in an avalanche on January 12, 1913 (p. 90). [Note: This appears to be untrue. See ww-1913-jan-14.]

p. 88: Photo of bodies from the Wellington disaster being removed on sleds.

Chapter 8 - The Eight-Mile Tunnel

p. 92: This chapter describes construction of the modern tunnel, which was discussed as early as 1914, but wasn't started until 1926. The opening ceremonies took place on January 12, 1929. The tunnel is the longest in the United States and the second longest in North America, outdistanced only by the 9.11-mile tunnel through Rogers Pass in British Columbia.

Chapter 10 - Boomtown

p. 118: Around 1911 Leavenworth businessmen began eying the GNR's abandoned switchbacks over Stevens Pass as a possible part of a new scenic highway. The first automobile made an epic crossing of the pass on November 1, 1924. The Stevens Pass Scenic Highway opened officially on July 11, 1925.

p. 124: Photo, dated 17 June 1924, of a large number of cars on the road near Stevens Pass, apparently before the road was officially opened.

Chapter 11 - Ski Town

p. 128: "Around 1930, Paul Scea, John Parkhill and Walter Pickens of Wenatchee trekked to Stevens Pass and searched for a ski lodge site, but nothing came of the idea for some time. Mountain downhill skiing as we know it today was relatively rare; skiers slid down their hometown hills or went cross-country."

p. 129a: Photo of a ski jumper waiting to start his run at the Leavenworth ski hill.

p. 129b: In 1926, Walter Anderson of the USFS and Milt Cloke promoted construction of a ski hill at Leavenworth. The first Leavenworth winter-sports tournament was held on February 10, 1929. The ski jumping contest was won by Sigurd Hansen of Ione, Washington. Over the years, the hill was improved and the tournaments grew. By 1934, special trains were run from Seattle and Everett and 5,000 spectators attended. Hermod and Magnus Bakke, born in Hurum, Norway, were the local favorites. The national ski jumping record was set several times on the Leavenworth hill.

p. 133: Magnus Bakke and Walter Anderson were leaders of the effort to develop a Stevens Pass ski area. A group of Wenatchee and Leavenworth people formed the Stevens Pass Recreation Association and purchased 121 acres of land-grant property from the Northern Pacific Railroad and gave it to the USFS for a ski area in 1936. Don Adams and Bruce Kehr were the on-site operators and owners of the ski area facilities. They opened a rope tow in the winter of 1937-38. At that time the west-side road was not kept open in winter. West-side skiers took the train from Scenic to Berne and then rode in an old bus to the summit. About 4:00 p.m. the skiers left for Scenic on skis, using the snow-covered highway. The Stevens Pass ski area was formally dedicated on March 13, 1938.

p. 135: In the late 1930s and 1940s several clubs built ski lodges at Stevens Pass. A USFS ski hut was built in 1937-38 but it soon burned down. During World War II the highway was kept open throughout the winter for the first time. (On p. 178, the author writes that 1942 was the first year. The author describes later developments of the ski area, including chairlifts and other improvements, on p. 137.)

p. 139: The crude state of the Stevens Pass highway was a source of irritation to Wenatchee and Leavenworth residents for many years. The road was designated state highway 15 in 1937. In 1940, it was designated an alternate of Highway 10 (which ran over Snoqualmie Pass). Much work was done on the highway in 1949 and the State Highway Department declared it complete in 1951. (On p. 178 the author writes that the road was paved or oiled from Wenatchee to Everett by 1950.)

Chapter 14 - Forests and Fish

p. 165: Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act in 1891 and the Washington Forest Reserve was established in 1897. Starting in 1905, the USFS began hiring men as "forest guards." A.H. Sylvester was appointed first supervisor of the Wenatchee National Forest in 1908.

p. 169: Most trails were hacked out by rangers between 1916 and 1929. Originally intended for fire fighting and patrolling, they were increasingly built and used for recreation. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many trails during the Depression, including most of the Cascade Crest Trail.


p. 179: The Yodelin avalanche occurred on January 24, 1971. Four people were killed in two cabins. In hindsight, the authorities declared that the Yodelin development and ski area should never have been built because the site was a known slide area.

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