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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Mexico Building a 20-Square-Mile Empty City in Which to Test Renewable Energy

In the old West, ghost towns often formed from catastrophe, when natural or economic disasters led occupants to abandon their homes and buildings in search of better options. But in the new West, one purposefully-built ghost town will a center of opportunity.
New Mexico will soon be home to a 20-square-mile mock city, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings. Structures will be erected to model various styles, old and new, to make it more realistic. Its Stephen King-esque name, The Center, seems fitting of a city that will be home to no one.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bloedel Donovan Lumber Mill Tressel Remnants Skykomish

Bloedel Donovan Lumber Mill railroad tressel remnants Skykomish.

Julius Harold Bloedel (March 4, 1864, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin – 1957, State of Washington) moved from Wisconsin to Fairhaven, Washington (later Bellingham) in 1890, where he became president of Fairhaven National Bank. He engaged in several frontier business ventures, including the Samish Lake Lumber and Mill Company, Blue Canyon Coal Mines, and, as mentioned, the Fairhaven National Bank. He partnered and worked closely with the Bellingham pioneers. Although many of these operations folded eventually, Bloedel's financial know-how managed to keep him afloat through a series of boom-and-bust economic trials. In August 1898, he founded the Whatcom Logging Company with fellow frontier businessmen John Joseph Donovan and Peter Larson, which would later become known as the Bloedel-Donovan Lumber Mills.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maloney General Store Skykomish WA

Maloney General Store Skykomish WA 1915 and 2011

Maloney's General Store built in 1893. 

John Maloney. Not one to miss an opportunity, he quickly staked a claim near the top of the pass, realizing that the many men who would build the rail line and clear the pass would need supplies, housing, and a post office. Initially his claim was known as Maloney’s Siding, but in 1893, soon after the rails were joined a mile upstream, the community was named

Skykomish Hotel

Skykomish Hotel 1905 and 2011. 

Don Flynn owned the Skykomish Hotel from 1990 until the Stevens Pass company purchased a lease-option on it in September. Shortly after buying it, he claims, he encountered the ghost of a prostitute named Mary, who in the 1920s supposedly was murdered by one of her customers in room 32.  Many people of reported paranormal experiences. 

The Hotel, constructed in 1904, remains a valuable state and national historic landmark, but unfortunately, the fully leased structure was not able to reopen following completion of environmental remediation in February 2010, as it was returned to owners seriously injured and without operational utilities.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The missing town of Moncton.

History Link.org

Beginning in May 1915, the community of Moncton, located along the northern shore of Rattlesnake Lake, experiences one of the slowest floods in King County history. Throughout the summer, the lake is fed by seepage from an upstream dam, causing it to slowly rise. By the end of the year, Rattlesnake Lake has inundated the town, which is later condemned.
Not There Long

In 1906, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway was built through the Cedar River watershed to provide access for the water department workers and their families who lived in nearby Cedar Falls. In a short time, a new community was built on the rail line a half mile north of the generating station at Cedar Falls. Located along the shores of Rattlesnake Lake, the new village was named for one of its settlers, a Mr. Moncton.

Whereas the Seattle Water Department owned worker homes in Cedar Falls, private individuals owned most of the houses at Moncton. The idyllic setting along the lake was ideal for many water, logging, and rail workers who wanted to own their own property. By 1912, Moncton “absorbed” the name Cedar Falls, due in part to urging from Seattle Water Department Assistant Engineer, J. D. Ross, but many who lived there continued to call it Moncton.

By 1915, more than 200 people lived in Moncton, and the fledgling community had a hotel, a barbershop, a saloon, a restaurant, a few stores, and even an indoor swimming pool. A school on the north end of town provided education for children up through 8th grade. Older students had to walk or ride a horse seven miles to the nearest high school in North Bend.

Springs in the Springtime

In 1914, the City of Seattle began building a masonry dam on the Cedar River between Cedar Lake and Rattlesnake Lake. The dam was needed to impound water to generate electric power for City Light. By the spring of 1915, the masonry pool was filling up, which unfortunately caused seepage through the vast glacial moraine underneath.

Throughout the clear-cut hillsides that rainy season, nearby residents saw springs burst forth out of the ground, not a good sign. The moraine, filled like a sponge, was squirting out water wherever it could. As more water filled the pool, and more rain fell from the skies, more pressure caused more mini-geysers to erupt in the hills above Moncton. The excess water in the moraine had nowhere to flow but into Rattlesnake Lake.

Slowly the lake began to rise. First, the water edged up to the homes nearest the shoreline. A few days later, the streets muddied, and after that, standing water filled the lower section of town. At first, residents may have hoped that the slow-motion flood would somehow be diverted elsewhere, but it soon became apparent that their community would be underwater by summer’s end.

The Creeping Flood

During the month of May, the water rose a little over a foot per day. Rowboats and a barge were floated in so furnishings and personal items could be removed. After that the levels kept increasing to the point where houses popped off their foundations, causing them to float like corks into the middle of the lake.

Moncton residents kept a stiff upper lip and hoped for the best. Although many were now homeless, those who worked for the water department or the railroad were sheltered in tents while new homes were built for them. Others were out of luck.

The school, located on higher ground, was still in use, but a storm ripped its roof off, and classes were moved to a church on the south end of the lake. By the time Rattlesnake Lake stopped rising, the buildings on the south end were the only ones spared.

Moncton, We Hardly Knew Ye

Worried that the wreckage-strewn lake would next seep into the watershed, the City of Seattle condemned the town of Moncton. A total of $47,658.03 was paid to residents for their land. The next year, water levels receded enough for Seattle City Light to finish off the town.

A crew of workers was sent in to tear down the waterlogged homes. A few were salvageable and were bought by nearby residents and moved to higher ground. The rest were torn apart, soaked in kerosene and lit afire. What water couldn’t destroy, flames quickly erased. For a long time afterwards, Cedar Falls residents were not allowed to swim in the lake for fear of further contamination of the water supply.

Years later it was discovered that the moraine had filtered out impurities. The lake was once again opened to the public. In 1970, Rattlesnake Lake Park was created, and the lake is now used for boating, fishing, and swimming.

Today (2000), little trace of Moncton remains, except for the adventurous. Those with scuba gear can probe the murky depths of Rattlesnake Lake and still find the foundations of this short-lived town.

BOAS, Inc., “Morse Pump Plant Cutural Resources Mitigation: Rattlesnake Lake and Boxley Creek,” City of Seattle Water Department document No. 9214 1994, pp. 23-28; Additional information provided by Seattle Public Utilities.

Monte Cristo WA - See it before it's gone

As of the Fourth of July snow depths still were impressive in Glacier Basin and at Poodle Dog Pass. A winter avalanche widened the trail to some ten feet at the steep, exposed rock area by Glacier Falls. Roughly fifteen feet of snow remained in the basin. On the Poodle Dog side ice axes were recommended for descending, and the upper trail was hard to find. Several feet of snow remained at the creek crossing, along with a blown down log across the trail at the beginning of the rock slide.

from Monte Cristo Preservation Association

Cascade Earth Sciences of Spokane Valley, WA, contractor for the Forest Service, completed its annual high water sampling the last week of June. They helicoptered in a ton and a half of supplies and operated out of the townsite. In the middle of September their crew will return to take low water samples, creating baselines to help evaluate the success of the cleanup.

At this point it appears we may be able to use the new access road next year to remove MCPA materials and tools from the townsite for storage until the project is complete. Permission will be required from both ranger district and regional levels.

To date there is no Memorandum of Agreement between the Forest Service and the Washington State Historic Preservation Office as to how artifacts and historic sites are to be handled. This is an area of major concern for us. We hope damage will be minimal with artifacts inventoried, stored professionally, and made available for study and interpretation.

No reply was made to our inquiry as to where the proposed townsite repository might be located nor what its size might be. It appears that many project details remain to be worked out.

I spent a day last summer with the president of the assocaiton at Monte Cristo. I know one area of concern is the site of the concentrator remnants. This site appears it may be destroyed completely.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Truth About Bigfoot

From canyon to cave, the Sasquatch legend persists.


Rumors have circulated for years that Washington’s Cascades are the native habitat of Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch). Some certainly emanate from events that occurred (or not) one evening in 1924 in a canyon—ever since known as Ape Canyon (elevation: 4,200 feet)—southeast of Mount St. Helens. A group of miners shot at a mysterious 7-foot-tall apelike creature that was milling around the makeshift cabin they had built in the canyon to assay a nearby claim. That night, as the miners tried to get some shut-eye, their cabin was reportedly pelted with rocks, logs and other forest debris by a band of at least three of the “Big Foot” ape creatures—the miners later measured footprints at up to 19 inches long. In the morning, the story goes, the miners came upon and shot one of the ape creatures, which fell some 400 feet into the canyon, presumably to a certain death, although no remains of any kind were ever recovered. While other alleged Bigfoot “sightings” have occurred throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, the events that took place (or not) at Ape Canyon in 1924 will forever stand as the beginning of our fascination with the legend. These days, you can check out Ape Canyon while visiting the lesser known south and east sides of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. On the other side of the mountain lies Ape Cave, which may also have a connection to Bigfoot, but only because a troop of Boy Scouts, sponsored by a group called the St. Helens Apes, explored the cave extensively in the 1950s. Alas, they found no evidence of previous human—or semihuman— habitation. The St. Helens Apes, incidentally, were mostly foresters, and their name may have come from “brush apes”—a nickname for foresters—and not from the legend of Bigfoot.

Durham, WA now up on Ghost Towns of Washington

Durham, Wa now up at http://www.ghosttownsofwashington.com/Durham.html

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Burnett, Wa Cemetery

I have been doing some exploring again in the Carbon River area along Burnett, Wilkeson, and Carbonado.  I had heard a rumor of Burnett having a cemetery at one time.  I could not find any records of the cemetery existing today or location.  I finally ran across a small piece of information I found fascinating.

Ten graves (or more) were exhumed and moved in 1954.
There was an epidemic of tyhpoid and to protect the community
graves were removed.  Who and where is unknown.
The small listing below was left at that time.
Mary Barber was a child and the relatives in California had her body exhumed
to be there.

A local resident was paid to upkeep her grave site for many years before she was
moved.  He built a picket fence and took flowers annually on her death date.
All stones and graves are gone and this cemetery is now non-existent.

I cannot find any other information on the exhumation.  I have seen the movie Poltergeist.........hmmm makes one wonder.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Washington State Soldiers Home Cemetery

Washington Soldiers Home Cemetery Orting, WA

Washington Soldiers Home Cemetery is a 20 acre site located in Orting, WA.

The soldiers cemetery, on the hill just above the Soldiers Home, is filled with a history of our nation with gravestones for soldiers dating back to service in the Civil War.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Most Amazing Ghost Towns in the World

Some abandoned ghost towns are now tourist attractions, while others might be dangerous or illegal to visit. Meet some of the most fascinating ghost towns from around the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lone Pine Cemetery

The Lone Pine Cemetery is historically significant for its direct connection to the early pioneer settlers of the Tekoa and Lone Pine area. Although specific details of the establishment of the cemetery are not known, the location of the cemetery indicates patterns of early development by Euro-American settlers.
The Lone Pine area originally developed as a stage coach stop between the communities of Farmington and Cheney. Stories persist that the area was named because of a single pine tree that stood on a hill in a vast barren landscape. As an obvious marker on the landscape, the location became a logical stopping point. Eventually a log cabin was built to serve as a post office, stage depot, general store and school house.

In 2009, the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, under the abandoned cemetery provisions (RCW68.60) formally warded care and maintenance of the cemetery to the friends group.
Records of early burials in the cemetery are sketchy or non existent. The first burials are for the Kizer twins born in 1882 and died in 1883 and that of Ruthie Cozier in 1883. The last interment was that of Valentine Higbee in January 1953. Today no more burials are permitted. According to a chart at Kramer’s Kimball Funeral Home in Tekoa, a total of 115 burials have been made, however only 56 have markers can be accounted for.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coal Runs Deep Well Received

The first episode of "Coal" delivers a riveting  story line (the mine could go bankrupt if they don't get enough coal out) and illustrates the dangerous lives these guys lead.

"It took us four years to find a mine to get into," said executive producer Thom Beers, the grandfather of tough-guy TV who also makes the docu-reality cable series "Deadliest Catch," "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men." "We got offered mines, but they were big mines and big corporations. As you know from our shows in the past, it's all about the personal stakes."

David Hinckley of the New York Daily News writes that “ the most engaging moments of ‘Coal’ are the ones it spends in the mine, where the working environment looks even harder, dirtier and more dangerous than most of us spoiled above-ground workers imagine. It's somber stuff and grownup stuff, which is worth noting because most Spike programming is aimed at younger dudes. Sure, almost everyone eventually has to get a job, but as a recruiting video, "Coal" plays more like "Scared Straight."

Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter (“Coal”) immediately stands on its own as a worthy subject, not just a way to capitalize on a trend. The men who go into the coal mines in West Virginia are originals with the kind of amazing stories and backgrounds, vocal patterns and lifestyles that conjure a documentarian’s dream. Of course, “Coal” is billed as a docu-reality series and will undoubtedly, in future episodes, fall into some familiar patterns (human behavior and editing being what they are).

New York Daily News gives Coal Runs Deep 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How a Coal Mine Fire Earased a Town

Centralia Pennsylvania is a modern ghost town in the US.  An underground coal mine fire earased the town in a matter of five years.  From 1979 to 1984 nearly all the residents of Centralia vacated the town.    

It is not known for certain how the fire that made Centralia essentially uninhabitable was ignited. One theory asserts that in May 1962, the Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. The firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire and let it burn for a time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not extinguished correctly.  This is one of several conflicting theories.

Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful, and it continued to burn throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Adverse health effects were reported by several people due to the byproducts of the fire, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and a lack of healthy oxygen levels.

In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas-station owner and then mayor, John Coddington, inserted a stick into one of his underground tanks to check the fuel level. When he withdrew it, it seemed hot, so he lowered a thermometer down on a string and was shocked to discover that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank was 172 °F.

Very few homes remain standing in Centralia; most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished. At a glance, the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it

Today a few residents remain in Centralia despite the eviction, and are fighting a 1992 eminent domain claim by the state.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coal Runs Deep to Premiere on Wed March 30th

The creators of "Deadliest Catch" and "Ax Men" , and "Ice Road Truckers" bring a new series to Spike to air Wednesday.  A new show about the life and realities of coal mining.

"Coal" focuses on the operations of Cobalt, a small independent mining venture in West Virginia.  The series centers on co-owners Mike Crowder and Tom Roberts, who confide they have invested their life savings in the mine. Also featured are several miners, including the father and son duo of Christian and his protege son, Andrew Jr.

Spike TV spokeswoman Sharon Levy said this series is unique in that it reflects life and death drama unfolding underground. "Danger Runs Deep" is the subtitle for the series.
"Coal mining is an integral part of the American economy and the lifeblood of communities across the U.S. and the world," said Levy. "This series is going to shine a light on the brave men and women and their families who endure the rigors of this arduous profession."

A partial listing of some Ghost Towns in Washington State

Hot Springs
Monte Cristo
Old Torodah
Pinkney City
Ruby City
Skagit City

Newcastle - (Red Town - Coal Creek) Mining Towns

Newcastle was most likely named after Newcastle upon in England, as it was originally a coal mining town founded in the 1870s. Coal was discovered along Coal Creek in 1863. The surveyors Philip H. Lewis and Edwin Richardson made the discovery while surveying the area for the General Land Office.  By 1872 75-100 tons of coal per day were being produced at Newcastle. About 60 men worked at the mines.  By 1876, the Newcastle mines produced 400 tons a day and employed 250 men.

Clipper Mine - Pierce County Washington

Clipper Mine  - Pierce County
The first official report of the internal resources of the Carbon River mining district was made by VV. J. Wood, M. E., in January, 1898, for the Leola Mining Company, of Tacoma, whose prospects had been located by I. H. Wilkenson.

The Clipper Mine is located in the Carbon River Mining District.  Clipper was part of the Surprise group of mines. It was a "Hard Rock" or "Lode" mine.  The mine was developed around 1901.  Clipper mine sits at about 3800 feet.  The mine goes in about 1200 feet and has several  crosscuts or horizontal branches.  These crosscuts only go in about 10 to 30 feet.  This mine contains no vertical shafts.


The Last Coal Miner

Robert Peloli - Wilkeson, WA
by Tim Nyhus November 2010

The year was 1943 and Robert Peloli was 20 years old when a photo was taken of him riding on a coal cart outside the entrance to the Skookum Slope Mine in
Wilkeson, WA.  He recalls a man with camera being there on the day the photo was taken outside the mine.  In many ways this photo would come to symbolize the mining era of Wilkeson.  He is affectionately and factually known as the last living coal miner living in Wilkeson.


Welcome to Ghost Towns of Washington

Ghost Towns of Washington Photographing and documenting remnants of Washington States mining and lumber industies past.

Most outdoor enthusiasts go hiking, fishing, or mountain climbing, ghost towner's have an enthusiasm of their own.  Ghost Towner's  seek out towns that once existed or will  cease to exist in the future.  Photographing and documenting these remnants of the past.
It was not long ago we decided to embark on a series of fascinating self guided weekend expedition to ghost towns in the foot hills of  western and eastern Washington.  We set out seeking the thrill of adventure and undiscovered treasures. What we discovered was much more than we bargained for.

These ghost towns revealed their stories of disaster, sacrifice, and the rich history of the all but forgotten people who shaped many of our communities.

We decided to create this site as a tribute to Washington's early mining and lumber communities. Their history and the people who forged them.