Across the Columbia Plain: Railroad Expansion in the by Peter J Lewty

By Peter J Lewty

In exactly many years of prosperity, among 1886 and 1891, a wave of railroad development broke around the carefully populated inland simple of the Pacific Northwest. Racing to safe strategic routes and assets of site visitors, the railway promoters outfitted an intensive and bewildering community of competing strains. carrying on with the saga he started in To the Columbia Gateway: The Oregon Railway and the Northern Pacific, 1879-1884 (WSU Press, 1987), Peter Lewty describes the region's dramatic railroad increase within the years 1885 to 1893. Recreating the present surroundings of optimism and pleasure, he lines the growth of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific platforms within the inside Northwest, chronicles the development of the Pacific extension of the nice Northern Railway, and provides a multi-faceted portrait of railway operations at the final frontier of yankee cost.

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Title. 09795'09034 dc20 94-39630 CIP Washington State University Press Pullman, Washington 99164-5910 Phone: (800) 354-7360 Fax: (509) 335-8568 Page v To Beverley, with love Page vii Contents Preface ix Prologue xiii 1 Lease and Joint Lease 1 2 To Moscow, Pomeroy, and Weston 21 3 Rivals in the Palouse 27 4 The Cascade Branch 35 5 The Stampede Tunnel 59 6 The Columbia River Bridge 67 7 The Hunt System 71 8 Lexington, Heppner, and the Coal Mines 93 9 Coeur d'Alene 99 10 Oregon Railway Extensions 119 11 In the Big Bend 129 12 The Great Northern Railway 143 13 Down to Juliaetta 171 14 To Keep the Wheels Turning 177 15 The Road to Ruin 211 Appendix A: Railways in the Columbia Interior, 1879-1893: Distances and Elevations 219 Appendix B: Glossary of Railroad Terms 239 Notes 267 Bibliography 307 Index 311 Page ix Preface When I first went to live in the mountains of the West Kootenay I was surprised to find that if I followed the Columbia River south into the State of Washington it soon brought me to a wide-open prairie country, a land of broad wheat fields on rolling hills, with small towns nestling in the dry valleys between.

Besides exchanging and publishing correspondence with Thomas F. Oakes (who was already Villard's successor elect to Robert Harris) and Daniel C. Corbin, concerning discriminatory rates charged for shipping Coeur d'Alene ore to Portland, they also made issue of the continued isolation of the Columbia & Palouse line from the main part of the OR&N system. Northern Pacific, they pointed out, charged $1 per ton to haul Portland-bound grain from Palouse Junction to Wallula. Since an average of 20 loaded cars was handed over to Northern Pacific daily, the OR&N, they averred, had already paid out 10 times the sum of money required to lay track on the abandoned Texas Ferry to Pampa roadbed.

Before my questions could be answered, I had much to learn, and not only about railways. Donald W. Meinig's admirable book, The Great Columbia Plain, provided me with a wealth of information. Moreover, the threads of regional railroad history, so skillfully woven into it, suggested that someone should make an attempt to assemble a more detailed account of the way in which the railway system developed. Without fully realizing what was involved, I foolhardily decided, in 1978, to write a complete story of railroad construction in the Columbia Interior between 1879 and 1914.

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