Startup Addendum #2: Highway 2 from Everett to Wenatchee

(click to enlarge photos)

As Paul mentioned, I’ve been out shooting photos for our upcoming MOHAI exhibit opening in April 2010. Before we begin, allow me to proffer two delicious views of the interior of the King Street Station clock tower, where I reshot a panorama of the city (for that pan, you’ll have to wait for the exhibit!). My intrepid guide, pictured below, was Brian Henry.

The interior of the clock room - each exterior face is connected to an actual clock mounted inside the wooden box. The spiral staircase leads up to the pyramidal top of the tower.
The door leads out onto the exterior walkway, from where I'm about to take panoramas of the city. Note the extraordinary glass tiles, lit up now by hanging fluorescent bulbs. The face of Smith Tower can be glimpsed through the window.

And now on to our Startup addendum #2, which may be interrupted at any time if the weather gets nice today (Monday). In fact, let me hasten to add, between rainfalls, I’ll be updating this very post throughout the next couple of days between photo expeditions.


We will insert now first a post-war postcard of Seattle’s “railroad center” when it still competed with the airlines.  It includes a good look at both stations from the south, and the GN’s tower.   Then – disobeying Jean’s reluctance to share the central business district pan of the city from the tower when it was new – we will post a detail of a pan from the tower – the part showing the south portal to the railway tunnel under the city and the intersection of Main Street with 4th Ave. S.

The intersection of Main St. and 4th Ave S. seen from the Great Northern Tower ca. 1905-6.

Also visit Startup Addendum #1 for more illustrations (84 more) of some of the sites along Highway 2 between Everett and Wenatchee.

The following photos and accompanying text are taken in large part from our book Washington Then and Now.

(PLEASE KEEP CLICKING TO ENLARGE.  We take care to put up high resolution images but you have to click to see them so.)

Our journey along Highway 2 begins in Everett.

In celebration of his wedding and successful real estate speculations, Bethel Rucker built his namesake mansion in 1904 as a present for his bride.

Jean climbs the porch of the Rucker Mansion

He also hired Asahel Curtis to photograph a sweeping panorama of Everett harbor from the porch.

Everett from Rucker's porch by Asahel Curtis
In Jean's repeat from 2004 the bay is screened by a pleasing screen of trees.

So Jean also used the deck of a neighbor to gain an unobstructed shot.

Everett Harbor now

Another photographer, George W. Kirk, nicknamed Everett ‘The Pittsburgh of the West.’

Everett: Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh, indeed—except this town was built of lumber not steel.

Next up on our Highway 2 journey: Snohomish! Which photos will include the one shot taken from a helicopter in the book.

Flooded Snohomish, 1909
Snohomish River now, sans flood

If the reader takes a moment to study the 1909 Snohomish River flood scene, she or he will find the Snohomish Condensery water tower from which the following panorama of Snohomish was recorder, perhaps the same year.  Its dark rectangle is to the left of the tall silo burner near the center of the flood scene.

Snohomish watertower panorama
An elevated repeat of the watertower pan, taken from a helicopter as the watertower no longer exists

The condensery was built on the south side of the river in 1908 so an opportunistic photographer may have soon climbed its tower for this grand record of Emory Ferguson’s town a half century after the founder unloaded a portable cabin here from a steamer and set up a store in the path of the planned military road.  This government thruway never amount to much more than a horse path but Ferguson held on and ultimately his riverside town prospered in service of lumber and agriculture.  It was an opportunism typical of many communities in the forested and fertile valleys along the east side of Puget Sound.  Advertised as “the longest swing bridge in the world” the bridge to Snohomish was nearly 20 years old when the panorama was recorded.

The flood photo was taken from the first bridge to Snhomish, the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern’s 1888 timber trestle.  Most likely the earlier river view printed above was also recorded from the railroad bridge that when it was completed put the town of Snohomish suddenly a mere two hours from Seattle.  Jean’s repeat also looks down river from the Burlington Northern railroad trestle.  While open to photographers with the will to walk it this steel replacement has long been closed to trains.


(Courtesy, Sultan Historical Society)
That is Ethan, Jean's oldest of two boys - by now a man nearly as tall as Jean - adding "human content."

SULTAN – The bridges of Sultan

This photograph from 1890 looking east across the Sultan River down Main Street was provided by archivist/ historian David Damkaer of the Sky Valley Historical Society. Where the swinging bridge once hung, busy Highway 2 hums and chatters with traffic headed towards Steven’s Pass and beyond. A 1920s photo (below) also looks east down Main Street from the old Wagon Bridge torn down in 1940. Fire frequently visited Sultan, leaving few wooden structures untouched for posterity.  What does remain (though concealed in the “now” photo) is the dogleg Main Street takes at Third Street.  In the 1890 shot, two barely visible sheds block the road.  Damkaer imagines the recalcitrant owner of those sheds saying, “‘Go around or beside,’ which is why to this day, Main Street takes a turn there.”


Index birdseye and another Lee Pickett recording, here looking down at his hometown.


In 1888, Persis and Amos Guy homesteaded here, opening a hotel and a tavern to serve miners, loggers, and railroad workers carving the Great Northern line through the Cascades.  The town, platted in 1893, was named after nearby Mt. Index and, although dramatically ringed by mountains like an alpine village, is a mere 500 feet above sea level.  Its distinctive granite was used in the capitol steps in Olympia.  Notably, photographer Lee Pickett made his home here and for nearly forty years documented the life and work around him.  His photograph of Index was taken from the bluff on which the old schoolhouse stood.  Pat Sample, of Paradise Sound Recording, kindly allowed me on his roof to retake the shot.



The above photo and its repeat demonstrate not the power of natural erosion, but the explosive charges placed by the Great Northern to smooth the bed of its railway, increasing Lee Pickett’s “easy jump” by several feet.  Generations of young cliff jumpers have dived into the pool visible beyond the boulders.  Two of them posed for the “now” photo. Al Faussett, a local lumberjack, took up a $1500 challenge from Fox Pictures in the spring of 1926 to go over nearby Sunset Falls in a canoe.  Although Fox reneged on the deal, Faussett gave up logging and became a professional daredevil.  On Labor Day, an enormous crowd gathered on the banks of the Skykomish to watch him shoot Eagle Falls.  In a performance less impressive than his debut, Faussett’s canoe became wedged in a narrow channel halfway down until a friend pried it loose with a pike. Faussett went on to greater heights and broken bones, gaining renown as the Evel Knievel of his day.  Pickett’s photo of the top of Eagle Falls (below) illustrates the dangers of the high water river earlier in the season.  JS

*  Primary waterfall photo, Courtesy U.W. Libraries, Special Collections.  Photographer: Lee Pickett *  Smaller photo of falls in flow,  Courtesy Drew Miller


Courtesy Pickett Collection, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections. There are more views of the Skykomish Hotel included in the Startup Addendum No. One.
Jean's repeat from 2005.


The published photographs of this imposing roadhouse-hotel could paper its walls.  Built in 1905 to accommodate the men working on the Great Northern Railroad, with the depot and roundhouse it helped make Skykomish a railroad center for over sixty years.  While the population of more than 8000 in the 1920s has dropped now to under 300, the town is still well invested with landmarks, including the Skykomish hotel – some months open and some not.  In 2005, the year the Jean photographed it, the big hotel celebrated its centennial in silence, and empty.



The highway over Stevens Pass opened officially on July 11, 1925.  At an elevation of 4061 feet it was 1039 feet higher and ten years later than the Snoqualmie Pass highway.  Index photographer Lee Pickett reveals how civilized the pass was in 1926 by posing Cowboy Mountain as backdrop for a gas station and a highway sign that reads “This is God’s Country.  Don’t set it on fire and Make it Look Like Hell.”

Skiing at Stevens Pass began in earnest in the winter of 1937-38 with a rope tow powered by a Ford V-8 engine.  Cowboy Mountain was first approached with a mile-long T-Bar lift in 1947.  And in 1960 a chairlift nearly reached the Cowboy summit.  It was impressively named Seventh Heaven.  Stevens Pass Properties purchased the ski area in the mid 1970s and its additions include many new lodges, new lifts, lights for night skiing and a Ski School Center.

*  Contemporary photo by Chet Marler

*  Historical photo: Courtesy of U.W. Libraries, Special Collections, photo by Lee Pickett


Leavenworth's Front Street, Photo by Oakes. Courtesy, John Cooper
Photo by Ellis, Courtesy of John Cooper
Leavenworth's Christmas Lights photographed by Peggy Daczewitz-Hamlin.
Jean's repeat of Front Street in 2005.


When local lumber mills closed in the mid-1960s, Leavenworth neared extinction. Four views, beginning in 1910, document the conversion from typical western town to alpine village. A controversial idea at first, more than a million tourists a year silenced the skeptics. The popular Christmas Lighting Ceremony draws crowds from across the state.



The Wenatchee Valley, providing nearly half the nation’s apple crop, sent its children to Wenatchee’s Stevens School. M.L. Oakes climbed atop the school roof for his 1909 photo of Saddle Rock. A few houses remain, but the John Gellatly mansion, converted into the first Deaconess Hospital in 1915, is long gone. A parking lot replaces the school, so I climbed onto the nearby Federal building for an approximate repeat.

* Credit Oakes Postcard to Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, Wenatchee

This recording of the nearly new Wenatchee Bridge over the Columbia was copied from an early Washington Department of Transportation photo album.
Jean's 2005 repeat, also from the Wenatchee side and looking east.


W.T. Clark, more interested in piping irrigation water to East Wenatchee than in retiring the ferry, first spanned the “Mighty Columbia” at Wenatchee.  When Clark’s water fees did not cover expenses and he proposed collecting tolls locals persuaded the state to buy Clark’s 1,060 ft. cantilever, in spite of what the state inspector described as its “ugliness.”   When a second span was added upstream in 1950 this first one was given to pedestrians and water.  To get his view of it Jean was required to moved considerably closer to the bridge.


Courtesy Federal Archives
Jean's 2005 repeat looking north on the Columbia, upsteam towards Wenatchee.

Next, on to SPOKANE as time allows and when asked to come.

5 thoughts on “Startup Addendum #2: Highway 2 from Everett to Wenatchee”

  1. I am a designer for Eastern Washington University Fisheries Department working on a book about the Fish of the Columbia and Snake River basins. I was hoping you could help me find a higher resolution version of the historical Rock Island rapids panorama.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    Josh Smith

  2. The photo of Leavenworth said to be from 1910 was actually taken in 1908 – most likely in July or August. The building at the far end of the street was under construction at the time, and the tent in the street was temporary shelter for a bakery, pending completion of its future quarters in the building. This is based on reports in the Leavenworth Echo (a weekly newspaper published continuously from 1904 to date) which followed the construction from planning to completion. The building was completed and occupied in September 1908. The pile of bricks down the street on the left points to the same date – a building was under construction simultaneously at that location. A partly completed brick wall is visible to the left of the brick pile. Finally, the “Moore Co.” (a general mercantile company) name high on the building to the immediate left would certainly not survive the year, as the company had been sold at the end of May and renamed the “L-D Store Co.”.

    Would you happen to know where I could find additional information on the “Oakes Photo Co.”? This photo is one of about a half-dozen or so that this photographer took in the Leavenworth area in 1908 (and published as postcards), one of which bears a “Copyright 1908” assertion. Another shows the bakery tent from a different perspective. I found a website documenting some of the Oakes story, but I failed to bookmark it and I can’t find it again.

  3. I have a postcard by Oakes of the “Lamb Dams Co’s Dam, Leavenworth WASH” undated, with some buildings in the background.

  4. I have 8 postcards by Oakes, 5 are of the Wenatchee area. says he was from Yakima but had a studio in Seattle. Seven of the cards are numbered, the highest number is 895.

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