Long time residents of Black Diamond, Judy and I love our community and the unique natural beauty and colorful history we have here. Join us in learning more about our history, local wildlife, must do hikes, conservation areas to explore and the opportunities and challenges faced by our community. Craig Goodwin

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06/28/2016

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Althea Petchnick Craig

Was the town of Lester on Stampede Pass?
My husband Jerry Craig worked for the phone company, A T and T and had to go there several times.

Bill Kombol

Craig - I think I can answer a couple of your questions. The Northern Pacific RR charter, granted by Abraham Lincoln, allowed NPRR to claim millions of acres of land along the route, but only after their tracks provided a direct link to the Puget Sound. Two circuitous routes did reach Tacoma, but the U.S. charged this violated the charter and gave notice for the railroad to complete the direct link or forfeit millions of land-grant acreage.

Northern Pacific swung into action starting from Buckley where tracks had earlier been laid to serve the coal mines of east Pierce County. From Enumclaw the tracks turned north into the upper Green River Valley past Palmer-Kanaskat into dense forests towards Stampede. From the east in Yakima the railroad was extended though Ellensburg to Stampede Pass, not far from Snoqualmie Summit.

The Green River route through Stampede provided a far more direct route to Buckley (where tracks already existing) than would a Snoqualmie-style I-90 route. The switch-backs might have been built to beat the deadline mentioned above with the tunnel planned all along. This info has been adapted from my When Coal Was King column, Sept. 18, 2017, hopefully linked below.

Craig Goodwin

Hi Althea - Yes, the town of Lester (now a ghost town) is along this route.

Craig Goodwin

Thanks Bill.

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