Railroad trestles
Steam and smoke mark the Bloedel Donovan sawmill at Skykomish in the early 1920s. A huge jumble of huge logs await their turn. The completion of the Great Northern Railroad in 1893 opened new markets for lumber produced in the Pacific Northwest, and helped create mill towns such as Skykomish. Darius Kinsey photo #2482. Neg. no. UW572
On an early June day in 1927, this is the summit of Stevens Pass: an epic traffic jam. This is not a typical scene: these motorists are part of a group promoting the improvement of state roads. The service station offers Red Crown gasoline Lee Pickett photo #3908
The promise of agricultural success is represented by this scene of two gentlemen shaking hands agreeably, while the newly-abundant waters flow. The photo was taken in 1911 to promote land and water rights sales by the Moses Lake Land and Irrigation Company. Asahel Curtis photo #21840
It looks like a village in New England, which was exactly what its builders had in mind. This is Port Gamble, a company town of the Puget Mill Company, as it looked on a bleak Friday, February 26, 1907. Although the streets are now paved, the town looks remarkably similar today. Founded in 1853, Port Gamble was maintained as a company town by successor Pope Resources until 1996, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The street trees are sugar maples, whose seeds were sent out from the East Coast. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW4948
The Peace Arch at Blaine once had a more peaceful setting, as shown in this photograph taken in the 1920s. At the right is the sign marking the international border. A Seattle-bound express train streaks past from Vancouver on the Great Northern Railroad. Leonard Frank photo. Neg. no. 1638
Literally carved out of the forest, the Bush House hotel is shown shortly after its construction about 1891. It has been enlarged over the years, and is still a prominent landmark in the town of Index, offering food and lodging. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW14521
In 1960, Leavenworth was a sleepy mill town with a main street of drug stores, a bakery, and taverns, in two- and three-story brick buildings from the turn of the century. A town rejuvenation effort has now buried these storefronts beneath a jumble of faux Bavarian facades. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW15492
A scene of the suburban ideal, circa 1910. At the left, a two-car interurban train of the Spokane & Inland Empire Railroad drops off passengers and express from the metropolis on its way to Liberty Lake. At the right, a country store advertises dry goods and shoes; out front is an automobile, the first of what will become a horde in a few years. In the center, and along the tracks, are the magical electric lines that run the railroad, light the store and houses, and pump water for the orchards.Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW6323
This was the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Jens Moe, the first to be held at the New Salem Free Lutheran Church in Silvana about 1900. The photograph was taken by the owner of the town's general store.Iver Botten photo. Neg. no. UW5246
The accommodations may not be elegant, but they are sturdy. The hotel at Nespelem was photographed about 1910 by Dr. Edward H. Latham, resident physician on the Colville Indian Reservation and an expert amateur photographer. Latham photo. Neg. no. UW4852
A housing project takes shape near Moses Lake in "a scene typical of much of the Columbia Basin Project irrigation area today, as the delivery of the first gravity irrigation next spring nears." The first water reached the area in 1952. US Bureau of Reclamation photo. Neg. no. UW16760
The roads are nearly bare of traffic on the new highway crossing Mercer Island. The completion of the Lake Washington floating bridge east from Seattle in 1940 opened the island to rapid suburban development after the end of World War II in 1945. Asahel Curtis photo #65460
Citizens of Ilwaco, and military men from nearby Fort Columbia, gather around the body of a large sea lion, "killed May 5, 1896," near the mouth of the Columbia River. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW 16759
Surrounded by a weathered picket fence, this is the grave of Mary Kitsap at St. Peter's Catholic cemetery in Suquamish, photographed in 1911. Asahel Curtis photo. Neg. no. #20094
The wheat harvest is underway at the Bush family farm, located near Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, in a photograph taken in the 1890s. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW5537
A woman holds the reins on a horse-drawn combine as it works through a wheat field in Spokane County in the early years of the twentieth century. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW1664
Late morning, Sunday, October 11, 1925: the crowd is celebrating the driving of the golden spike, completing an extension of the Milwaukee Road railroad tracks to the Union Wharf in downtown Port Townsend. That day brought another significant change to transportation to the city and to the Olympic Peninsula, as trains from Port Angeles now connected directly with a new twice-a-day boat to Seattle. The newly remodeled Olympic (formerly the passenger steamer Sioux) could also ferry 45 automobiles. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW5132
Population in the state of Washington increased rapidly during and after World War II. By 1949, Tacoma, the state’s second-largest city, had about 139,000 residents, but, as the scribblings on the sign suggest, the figure was rising. Howard Clifford photo. Neg. no. UW834
There is unmistakable optimism here, as a young man proudly poses behind an infant tree in a newly planted orchard. The optimism was probably warranted. The spread of irrigation in Yakima County where this picture was taken in the early 1900s, helped to create an immensely successful fruit industry in the State. Photographer unknown. Neg. no. UW7040