Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Story Teller

"The Story Teller"

The Puget Sound Electric Railway ("PSER") was the region's first experience with the early 20th Century electric interurban phenomenon that swept the land.  In 1902 the PSER inaugurated service between Seattle and Tacoma with electric trains operating as fast as 60 mph.  While service ended in 1928, the legacy lives on with the last remaining example of the railway, interurban car 523.

PSER 523 was donated to the Northwest Railway Museum in September 2017, and a grant from 4Culture funded movement of the car from Petaluma, California to Snoqualmie.  In January 2018 the car was nominated and listed to the King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmarks Registers.  And how appropriate that 523 is now located in Snoqualmie given that 523 was powered in part with electricity from the Snoqualmie Falls hydroelectric power station!

Museum Executive Director
Richard R. Anderson and 
artist J. Craig Thorpe pose
with "The Story Teller" at
the February 22 unveiling.
To raise awareness and help educate, the Museum commissioned noted artist J. Craig Thorpe to produce an original artwork featuring PSER car 523.  "The Story Teller" depicts the northbound car 523 at Auburn in Fall 1915 as it transitions from overhead electric (catenary) to electrified third rail.  It also illustrates the adjacent Milwaukee Road line, and in the distance is Mount Rainier.  The painting is named for its role in interpreting the historical uses of the car, but also for its future at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.

Copies of this beautiful painting are available for $9.95 from the Depot Bookstore at 38265 SE King Street in Snoqualmie.  Proceeds of poster sales will support rehabilitation of car 523.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Back to the Snoqualmie Depot

The Snoqualmie Depot is the most iconic structure in historic downtown Snoqualmie, and the most recognizable object in the Museum's collection.  It was built in 1890 for the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway by the firm of Anderson and Scott in just two months, but in keeping with 1890 technology it did not have electricity, indoor plumbing, or even insulation.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmark.

The structure was extensively rehabilitated and restored between 1979 and 1981, and it remains the centrepiece of historic downtown Snoqualmie.  The rear of the depot was particularly difficult to rehabilitate and restore because there was just one photo illustrating that portion of the building.  Now there are two. 

Thanks to a tip from Kent S. from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, the Northwest Railway Museum was able to purchase a "new" rear view of the Snoqualmie Depot.  It shows perspective that would have been from within the footprint of today's Woodman Lodge, itself a King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmark, and built in 1903.  The photographer is not identified, but the photo was taken during the period when the Kinsey Brothers lived in Snoqualmie and were learning the trade. 

The "parlor card" was exposed in the early 1890s and it is reassuring to note that the only "big" difference is incorporation of the accessibility ramp into the raised platform, which was installed in 1980.  The listing on Ebay had just one day remaining and fortunately the Museum was able to secure this important image.  Thank you Kent!