Monday, September 15, 2014

Mill Creek Camp

During construction of the Great Northern Railway Cascade Tunnel in 1926 a vertical shaft near Mill Creek was bored 622 feet deep to the tunnel floor elevation to allow workers to tunnel east and west. The construction camp was located east of Stevens Pass.

Construction camp in 1927.
Site of the construction camp in 2014.
Lee Pickett stood on the track used to dump spoil from the tunnel to get this photo of the camp in 1926.
Most of the rock from the tunnel excavation has been hauled away from the site, there is still a small area with tunnel rock near the spot where Pickett photographed the camp.
Another view of the camp showing the tunnel axis line.
The headframe over the shaft was used to hoist spoil out of the tunnel.
The headframe in 1927.
The shaft to the Cascade Tunnel 622 feet below.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Snowsheds at MP 1721.5

The Denver Public Library has a nice collection of photos taken during construction of a snowshed at Embro on the Great Northern Railway in 1917. One of the pictures caught me eye, two snowsheds are visible in the background down in the Tye River valley east of Deception Creek.

Looking toward the snowsheds from Embro in July 2011.

I did some research and found that there were snowsheds at MP 1721.5 and 1721.6, both removed in 1937. These were the old style snowsheds with the timber cribbing rather than the concrete back wall. They were probably similar to this snowshed at Embro, shown here being dismantled in 1917 so that a concete wall could be built.

The snowsheds are 2/10 of a mile east of the Deception Creek bridge.

We decided to explore the area to see if there were any remains. Starting at the Deception Creek bridge we hiked east. We shortly discovered our first clue where a culvert crossed under the tracks. Water had exposed a few timbers that were once part of the retaining crib along the tracks.

Looking across the tracks we saw more timbers. We had found remains of the snowshed at MP 1721.5!

We followed the creek up the hill and found this flume. This was probably built to prevent the creek from eroding the ground under the snowshed, we found a short section but it most likely went all the way down to the tracks to the culvert. You can see the top of the flume is resting on timber cribbing, further down the hill it has collapsed and is on the ground but at one time it must have been attached to the timbers in the foreground.

To try and visualize this, here is another picture of the Embro snowshed being dismantled. Our snowshed was probably similar to this. I have drawn a line to show how the flume may have been located under the snowshed. Of course all this wood is gone now except for the timbers that rested on the ground, I suppose they were not salvaged because they were rotted. We were able to get an idea of the size of the snowshed by following the timbers and spikes from end to end.

A modern example of heavy timber construction, the retaining wall for the road under the Foss River bridge.

Bob Kelly has kindly provided us a copy of Authority For Expenditure 53267. Reasons and necessity for extension, improvement, or other change: Timber in these structures decayed and expense of renewal not warranted in view of fact we have not had a slide over these sheds since they were erected in 1916.

We found this about 30 feet up the hill from the top of the snowshed. It looks like a winch drum, a piece of iron to the right of the worm screw is broken. It may have been used when the snowshed was removed, or maybe during construction of the BPA transmission line a few hundred feet up the hill.

This 10 x 10 was probably at the top of the snowshed. The roof, most likely 10 x 10s, probably butted up to the big rocks. The copper pipe on the right is my brush whacking stick.

These timbers are just above the tracks.

The concrete wall of the Embro snowshed can be seen from the tracks at MP 1721.6

 I suspect these two are not employed by BNSF.

Keesha did not share our interest in the snowshed discovery.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cascade Tunnel

While hiking on the Iron Goat Trail a few years ago I stopped at Windy Point to get a picture of the west portal of the Cascade Tunnel near Scenic.Just above the tunnel entrance is an area of half century-old fir trees surrounded by old growth forest. The A.Guthrie construction camp was located here during construction of the tunnel from 1926-1929.

A Lee Pickett photo of the west portal, May 1926.

In this 1928 photo you can see a covered walkway from the tunnel to the construction camp.

A picture of the camp in 1927.

Another view of the camp, looking in the opposite direction from the photo above. The big building on the left is the cookhouse. All the buildings are gone now, but we have a special interest in the cookhouse.

The cookhouse in 1926.

In May 2012 we visited the construction camp, photos are showing  the approximate location of the photo above.

Donna is holding an old coffee pot, notice in the 1928 photo inside the cookhouse there are several coffee pots similar to this hanging from the ceiling . The Lee Pickett photo is captioned "The dish up at Scenic." The dishes are still here, and quite a few plates too.

Food dishes?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Forest Service Road 6066

About two miles east of the Skykomish Ranger Station is Road 6066. I have been meaning to drive up the road for a while now, after studying old maps and photographs it appears to be an old logging railroad.

This 1933 photo from the Skykomish Historical Society was taken from the Great Northern Railway tracks about one mile east of Tonga. Looking northwest, you can see the railroad across the valley in the center of the photo, curving around the hill on the right. I have added the approximate location of Highway 2, the Old Cascade Highway was in use in 1933, you can see part of it south of the Tye River.

This was much too easy, less than a mile up 6066 are pilings for a railroad bridge, clearly visible from the road. It must have been about 300 feet long and 10-12 feet off the ground. The diagonal pieces are 2x8 braces spiked to the pilings. See the Google map above for approximate location of the bridge remains.

Keesha examines an old logging cable.