New Railroads Received Considerable
Attention By Hopeful Cities
Nothing was more important to the development of the Pacific Northwest than the development of railroad lines. Rivalry was intense, and competing companies of both long and short lines were constantly developing new routes and, in efforts to raise capital, expounding the virtues of their proposed lines. The following excerpts are all from 1887, and were printed in The West Shore.
“Bids have been received for the grading of 30 miles more of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern railroad. This will take the line to the head of Squak Lake. The immediate point of destination is the Andrews coal mine, in Squak Valley.” (It was the object of this company to reach the mine as quickly as possible, and bring the coal to Smith’s Cove for shipment, where large coal bunkers would be erected.)
“Construction work on the California & Oregon railroad is being pushed with great vigor. The graders are at work in the Siskiyou mountains and in a short time the gap between the end of the track and Ashland will be reduced to 50 miles. This will make 50 miles of the most comfortable and agreeable staging to be found on the Pacific coast.”
Another of the more specialized types reported was the line being laid by the Port Blakely Mill Co. which reported the completion of 9 miles of standard gauge railroad, from Little Skookum Bay into the timber in the direction of Gray’s Harbor. “The farther into the woods the road extends, the better the timber becomes. In order to prevent long hauls with cattle, the company will build spurs into the timber all along the line. It is stated the company intends to build ten miles more this season, which will take the road to Elma, and to continue the line down the Chehalis, to Gray’s Harbor, at an early date.”
“Active construction on the Oregon Pacific, eastward from Albany, will no doubt be continued throughout the year. Ten thousand tons of steel rails are en route to Yaquina by sea. The company declares an intention of constructing 140 miles of road the present year. Several parties are at work in Eastern Oregon, grading a number of important passes, in order to secure them against any rival company. A complete survey to Boise City has been made.”
“Citizens of Roseburg, Oregon, have incorporated the Oregon Southern Pacific Coast & Utah Railway Co., for the purpose of constructing a railroad from Salt Lake City, across Utah, Idaho and Oregon, to the Umpqua river and its branches, to Roseburg, and on toward the coast, till it joins the line of the proposed road from Drain to the ocean. Capital stock is fixed at $100,00, just about the cost of a complete survey of the route.”
“The movement at Walla Walla to secure connection with the Northern Pacific has advanced to such a stage that organization has been effected. The Farmers’ Union, of Walla Walla, Columbia and Umatilla counties, held a convention at Walla Walla and deputed nine prominent citizens of Walla Walla, Waitsburg, Dayton and Milton, to incorporate as directors of the Walla Walla & Puget Sound Railroad Co. Articles of incorporation, fixing the capital stock at $2 million have been filed.”
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Laminated Rosewood A Victorian Winner
John Henry Belter was one of the formost makers of American Victorian furniture. In the 1840s, he developed a technique of laminating 4 to 16 strips of thin rosewood together to form an early type of “plywood.” Then, through a patented steaming process, these could be bent into the curved and scrolled shapes so popular for chairs in the Victorian period.
The laminated product was very sturdy, also an asset in creating his curving lines. Belter is said to have once thrown one of his chairs out of second floor window of his factory to impress on his customers how strong the chair was.
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