Saturday, January 26, 2008

Notes from the Coulee City, WA newspaper

Was looking through archives of the News-Standard the other day and came across these tidbits:

3, Feb, 1944
The Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge crew is tearing down an old landmark at Hartline, the Hartline Depot, which is about 50 years old.

3, Jan, 1947
A roof fire at the Northern Pacific depot Monday night caused little damage, except to the nerves of the H.L. Hutchinson family. Hutchinson, Northern Pacific agent here, said one bundle of shingles would be sufficient to repair the damage. Apparently, the fire was started by the chimney catching fire and soot falling on the roof. Quick work by the Coulee City volunteer fire department kept the damage low. Hutchinson complimented the fireman on the fact that the fire was extinguished without damage to the furniture in the Hutchinson apartment on the second floor of the depot. The fire was discovered about 11:15 Monday night.

22, July, 1949
With the completion date scheduled for late in 1950, all but nine miles of the new relocation highway between Coulee City and Grand Coulee was under construction. The work was one of the biggest highway construction jobs ever undertaken in this part of the state and would cost about 4 and one half million dollars. The Bureau of Reclamation was to pay 31/34th of the cost and the state highway department the rest. There were five separate contracts for grading. Contracts to be let in 1950 would call for surfacing, oiling and building seven bridges. Grading contracts for a stretch of six miles north of Coulee City and one for three miles near Electric City were soon to let soon. The finished road would be 34 feet wide, 10 feet wider than the old road on the coulee floor. The railroad in the bottom of the coulee would be abandoned when the reservoir was filled and trucks would carry heavy machinery from the railroad terminal in Coulee City to the Dam.

9, May, 1953
Northern Pacific Railway, the largest taxpayer in the Coulee City school district, has just completed payment of its first half taxes. The total property taxes to be paid in the 30 counties in the state in which the NP operates is nearly two million dollars.

6, Mar, 1954
Northern Pacific train No. 315 made its last run into Coulee City Saturday with about 30 passengers aboard. The train had been carrying mail, passengers, and express from Spokane for 65 years. The mail service is now being handles by Northern Pacific truck and arrives in Coulee City about noon. The return trip will be about 4 pm. The same truck will pick up cream shipments at the depot and express destined to points within the state. No arrangements have as yet been made for interstate express shipments. The truck driver will carry an open pouch so there will be direct mail service between the towns on the run.

22, Jan, 1972
During the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan 22nd the Cub Scouts and leaders of Pack 35 assembled at the train depot to follow up their monthly theme, transportation. the late arriving sunrise, caused by daylight saving time, did not darken the spirits of the boys who immediately took over the two engines. After a few minutes of switching locally, the train with its enthusiastic passengers departed for Hartline. The Cubs were divided between the two engines and had the opportunity of seeing the engineer run the train first-had. After what amounted to about 45 minutes the boys de-trained at Hartline. Travelin with the boys on the train were Den Chief Steve Razey, Den Mother Nancy Spurgeon, Pack Committee chairman Phil Buob and Patrick Buob. Meeting the travelers at Hartline and returning them to Coulee city were Cub mother Rosie Trexler and Cubmaster Dick Tigges. The leaders, parents and especially the Cub Scouts would once again like to say thanks to Burlington Northern local agent, Skip Conner, Engineer Julian and Conductor McGee who made this fine experience possible.

16, Mar, 1972
The Burlington Northern depot at Coulee City was burglarized Monday night sometime between 4:30 pm and 11:40 pm. Skip Conner, agent, reported the break-in Tuesday morning when he found the office door open when he went to work. The burglar probably gained entry through a waiting room window and then broke the window between the waiting room and office. A small amount of cash appeared to have been the only thing taken. The break-in was established as early evening as the Burlington Northern CW freight train arrived at Coulee City at 11:40 pm and found the station had been entered. The break-in was investigated by Grant County Deputy Sheriff Boyd Jenkin.

11, Oct, 1974
Equipment failure caused a car loaded with John Deere drills for Jim Jess Implement to go off the end of the track west of the Coulee City station Friday night. The car, set out by the local Burlington Northern freight train on the stock track at Coulee City, had a defective air system causing the brakes to be inoperative. The car immediately started rolling toward the depot and the crew was unable to stop it as it rolled by the Grain Growers and the McCall Fertilizer installations and went off the end of the track about 30 feet. Burlington Northern carmen from Ephrata were called and with their special truck jacked the car up and placed rails under the wheels and pulled it onto the main track. No damage resulted to track or contents of the car, according to Skip Conner, agent. Back in the 1920’s, a Great Northern passenger train being detoured from Spokane to Adrian took a wrong turn at the “Y” east of Coulee City and instead of going to Adrian headed for town and ended with the engine over the end of the track in the same spot. (Actual year for the GN train was 1909, according to a photo of the wreck).

1, June, 1977
C.W. ‘Skip’ Connor, BN agent for Coulee City, will retire June 1 after 40 years with the railroad. The railroad will not replace Skip in Coulee City and the depot will close at the end of the work day.

14, Oct, 1979
Depot was built in 1890 and was used as a depot and freight station until 1976. The Coulee City Women’s Club became aware of plans to dismantle the building and asked the BN for permission to use it as a Senior or Community center. It was given to the Women’s Club, who in turn gave it to the Coulee City Senior citizens, provided it be moved to another site. Former resident Tom Price donated land so the depot would be permanently positioned. A total of $2500 was donated by the Coulee City Women’s Club for the move and renovation.

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