Sunday, January 27, 2008

1902 Announcement of the Adrian-Cutoff

What is unusual about this event is the bigwigs from the various railroads, including the Oregon Railway & Navigation guy. Funny thing about it, the OR&N doesn't run anywhere near the location spoken of below.

From "An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country Embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin Counties State of Washington." Published 1904 by the Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane.
Pages 117-118.
Monday, August 4, 1902, will be remembered by the people of Lincoln county as a day of important and unusual events. Sometime previous elaborate arrangements had been made for a conference between the farmers of the Big Bend country and the presidents of three great railway lines. We have said that this was an unusual event, but the implication extends no further than this section of the country. For several years previous it had been the practice of President J. J. Hill, of the Great Northern Railway Company, to hold "heart-to-heart talks" with the farmers and stockmen of the states of the middle west; these meetings assembling at various times and at various places. But to the residents of the Big Bend this conference was an innovation. It was unique, attractive, and the interest excited was widespread.
Davenport had been selected as the place at which to hold the conference between shippers and the leading officials engaged in the business of transportation. Invitations had been extended to Presidents J. J. Hill, of the Great Northern, C. S. Mellen, at that period president of the Northern Pacific, and A. L. Mohler, of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. On the day named the following distinguished gentleman connected with the transportation industry arrived in Davenport.
--Great Northern President James J. Hill; John. F. Stevens, general manager; Louis Hill, assistant to J. J. Hill; F. S. Forest, superintendent Spokane Falls & Northern Railway.
--Northern Pacific President C. S. Mellen; Jules Hannaford, general traffic manager; W.
S. Gilbert, superintendent; Thomas Cooper, assistant to the president.
--O.R.&N President A. L. Mohler, R. B. Miller, general freight agent; B. Campbell, assistant traffic director of the Harriman lines; J. P. O'Brien, superintendent; W. W. Cotton, general attorney.
At the Central Washington station these gentlemen were met by a reception committee, after which followed a general introduction. The freedom of the city was tendered the guests by Mayor G. K. Birge, which President Hill affably acknowledged. The visiting officials who had arrived in their private car were driven to the Auditorium in carriages at
10:30 o'clock, a. m. J. Grier Long, N. W. Durham and R. H. Hutchinson represented the Spokane chamber of commence. Among other prominent visitors were Don Ryrie of Spokane, E. J. Lake of Elk, George W. Seal of Addy, Julius Siemens of Ritzville, Rev. W. R. Cunningham of Ritzville, Stanley Hallett of Medical Lake, D. W. Metcalf of Wilbur, Howard Spining of Wilbur, C. G. Garrettson of Harrington, H. C. Farrell, F. H. McKay and H. Morarity of Spokane and a representative of the Spokane Chronicle. A delegation from Reardan included the following: John Raymer, Peter Fram, Claus Carstens, C. Shannon, John Wickham, and W. B. Warren.
Farmers and stockmen from every part of the Big Bend were present in large numbers. Shortly after ten o'clock in the forenoon, of this gala day the crowd, constantly increasing in size, began to gather at the Auditorium wherein the conference was to be held, and where the oratorical portion of the exercises subsequently took place. Mr. James Odgers, editor of the Davenport Tribune, presided and introduced the speakers, of whom President Hill was the first. He showed conclusively that, while he was an acknowledged genius in railway building and railway management, he was more than this, a man fully conversant with the various branches of diversified farming. President Hill was followed by President Mellen. The latter sprung something in the nature of a surprise. He announced the contemplated construction of what is known as the "Adrian Cut-off," a line of road since built between Coulee City, the terminus of the Central Washington Railway, and the town of Adrian, on the Great Northern Railway, about twenty miles in length. President Mellen said that the road would cost $350,000, and that it was a gift, as the country through which it would pass was barren and unprofitable, all of which is doubtless true. But he said that this matrimonial alliance between the
Northern Pacific and Great Northern systems would place Davenport and other towns along the Central Washington Railway on a through line to the coast, thus saving the haul to Spokane and doubling back on the main lines west. This announcement was greeted with cheers and other exhibitions of marked enthusiasm. President Mohler made a few remarks mainly in a humorous vein.
Following the speaking at the Auditorium the entire assemblage repaired to the Armory Hall. Here a banquet had been prepared to which, in the language of the average conventional newspaper, "all did ample justice." President Hill mingled with the crowd and touched elbows with everybody in a most friendly spirit. In the afternoon the different delegations met with the railroad presidents in the lodge room over the Auditorium. Here all the grievances were presented, discussed, and measures of relief promised. Mr. T. M. Cooper presided at this meeting. Charles Bethel, John F. Green, J. W. Fry, T. C. Lakin, W. P. Nichols, W. H. Childs and Mr. French presented the side of the farmers and business men in as favorable and forcible a style as possible. They placed the cost of raising a bushel of wheat at from 35 to 42 cents. Mr. Hill occupied the floor about half the time replying to questions and explaining why certain rates were maintained. The discussion was con-ducted along the most amicable lines. There was an absence of any bitter criticism of the railroads, some of the farmers going so far as to say that they had no particular criticism, to make. President Hill, however, made no definite promises, further than to say that after conferring with the farmers in other sections, the presidents would consider the question as to how great a reduction in freight rates they could make. At 4 o’clock p.m. the Conference adjourned, and the presidents and other visitors immediately went to the depot and returned to Spokane the same evening.
Shortly after this visit a reduction of ten per cent was made on grain rates from eastern Washington to Puget Sound, and also to eastern markets.

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