Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern Into Davenport

From "History of the Big Bend Country."


In July, 1889, work was commenced on the extension of the Central Washington from Davenport westward. To Contractor Kirkindall was awarded the contract to push the road through to a point on the western boundary of the county known as Almira. July 26th the Times published the following:

     "The meeting of the committee from this town (Davenport) and the officials of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway Company was held at Spokane Falls Monday, July 21st. The result of this conference was that Mr. Mohr offered to have is road built into Davenport in thirty days provided he received $15,000 and right of way. A representative meeting was held here Tuesday evening last (July 22d), when the foregoing proposition was presented, and unanimous conclusion arrived at that the money should be raised and the right of way given. A committee consisting of Messrs. Nicholls, Ratcliffe, Newman, McAvinney, Luce, May, Finney, Edwards, Simmons, Ramm, McMillan, O'Connor, Essig, Drumheller and Forrest was appointed to solicit subscriptions."

August 16th the Times added the following anent the same matter:

     "A very enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of Davenport was held at the offices of the Big Bend National Bank on Monday last (August 11th) to hear the result of Mr. David Wilson's conference with the Seattle Company's officials regarding the construction of the road to this point. Both business and property interests were well represented on the occasion and the unanimous opinion of the meeting was that trains would be running into town not later than October 1st, next.

     "Mr. Wilson stated that he had met Mr. Paul F. Mohr, vice president of the Seattle Company at Tacoma, and had submitted a proposition to him to the effect that the people here would give the company the right of way from present ed of track to Davenport; would grade the road-bed, built culverts, leave the track ready for the ties and donate the necessary depot grounds provided his company would furnish a competent constructing engineer, survey the road and supply all the rails, ties, fastenings, switch-stands, buildings and all other necessary materials and appliances to complete the road. This proposition was made by Mr. Wilson in lieu of that made by the Seattle Company a short time ago, in which the residents of this section were asked to subscribe $15,000 to the stock of the road, which is just about double the amount that will now be required to carry out the desired object. Mr. Wilson read a letter from Mr. Mohr stating that his company would accept the proposal made.

     "A committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions and a list was immediately made headed as follows: David Wilson, $1,000; May & Luce, $500; John H. Nicholls, $250."

October 11, 1889, the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern railway was completed into Davenport. But this had not been accomplished without a struggle. Of this battle between giants the Times said:

     "The road bed of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern is graded into town, and by Tuesday, October 8th, the iron was laid to the Northern Pacific crossing, only a short distance south of the school house and within the town limits, and the cars would today be running into the depot yards at the head of Morgan street were it not for an impediment that the new arrival ran into. It was nothing less than the opposition of the Northern Pacific people who are barring the crossing with a locomotive. From an employee of the road we learn that the Seattle officials picked up a frog at Medical lake that was the property of the Northern Pacific and had it on the ground here ready to put in Tuesday. When Superintendent Riordan, of the Central Washington, was notified of this fact he ran an engine down to the crossing with a force of men, loaded the frog on board and carried it off. He then had an engine stationed across the track and there it has remained up to the present time, night and day. Both parties are watching each other, the Seattle men to get across, and the Northern Pacific men to prevent it. Of course the crossing will eventually be made, but the hitch is putting the Seattle outfit to considerable expense, besides it is the source of great annoyance to the people of Davenport who are anxious to see the new road in operation. Wednesday the Seattle passenger train arrived at the crossing, and the iron could be laid to the end of the grade in a few hours if the impediment were out of the way. So far the proceedings have been conducted without any violence. Further work will be tied up until the strong arm of the law makes the Northern Pacific officials give way."

It is sufficient to say that this annoyance was of short duration, and when the Seattle Company had provided its own frog, it was put in without further objection on the part of the Central Washington people.

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