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(S and N Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Home Page Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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The Two-Spot: A history of our iron horse

with annotated endnotes about trains and Chinook Jargon
and Journal history of Puget Sound & Baker River Railroad
(Two-Spot at Baldwin)
The Two-Spot at Baldwin Locomotive Works yard, ready to be shipped, in January 1913

By Ray Jordan, Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, July 2, 1958
      Today, in Bingham Park, hard by the westerly city limits of Sedro-Woolley, you will find the Two-Spot, an old steam logging locomotive, once queen of the Puget Sound & Baker River Railroad [PS&BR, actually Railway]. In the words of former Mayor "Puss" Stendal: "Sedro-Woolley's bread and butter wagon has come home to stay,"
      The first sweet, homey strains of that famous whistle were heard during the year of 1913 as she puffed her way down the Skagit Valley over the logging road from Hamilton on through Sedro-Woolley, to the Riverside log dump near Mt. Vernon (close to the present old Highway 99 bridge) with her-thirty-two to thirty-five loads of green gold.
      She was a skookurn filly, standing forty-eight tons in her stocking feet, seventy tons if you add in the tender, but sleek nevertheless, with that gleaming brass bell, shiny fittings, and the bold Number Two up front, a coal burner then. but later converted to oil.
      On her side you will find a plate bearing the inscription: "Baldwin Locomotive Works, January 1913, Number 39058, Philadelphia, U.S.A. Further inspection reveals that she is a rod engine with three powerful, drivers.

(Al Stewart)
This photo is from Al Stewart's granddaughter Julia Spray. It dates from the years when Al was on a steam-donkey crew before he became an engineer. Written on the front is: "Dempsey Lbr. Co., Kapowsin, WA, 1910," with the men identified, from left as:."? Swanson, Al Stewart, Jim, Gus." Can anyone help with details? Click on the thumbnail above to see the full photo. And see this Journal story about logging equipment for another photo of Stewart on a donkey in the woods.
First crew
      According to the recollection of genial Al Stewart, a railroad veteran with thirty-nine year service, with most of it on the right-hand side of a logging locomotive, the first crew of the Two-spot were: Johnny Yokel, engineer; Howard Wilson, fireman; Grover Welch, brakeman-conductor and John Fisher, brakeman.
      And as Ed Woods, of Hamilton, another veteran engineer (still active) remembers it, the last crew were: Ed Woods, engineer; Oscar Robison, fireman; Bob Shannon, conductor; Ras Chambers, brakeman; and Albert Evans, operator-brakeman.
      Other engineers between times were George Wilson, Motz Hamilton, Louie LaMarr, Walter Welch, Rube Morgan, Al Stewart, and perhaps others. Fred P. Nielson, of Hamilton, veteran shop man, put the Two-Spot to bed at night during all her active life. He says nostalgically that: "She had the sweetest whistle I ever heard." Her last trip was in September 1957. [Journal ed. note: We can imagine that a lot of tough old train guys shed a tear or two that day.]
      Axel Jensen, Hamilton, another veteran shop man, had much to do with keeping the old gal in good health also. Ordinarily the Two-Spot was a discreet gal, never having been mixed up in any serious scandal but even prudent gals have their moments.

Whitmarsh wreck
      Just past Whitmarsh one day, a journal box burned out and wrecked a car. The engine cut loose, went down the line and turned around and came back to clean up the mess. Approaching the wreck, the brakes failed and the Two-Spot herself was wrecked. The One-Spot with Al Stewart driving was called to the rescue. Al says the highway was blocked for hours, as it took all night to put things to right again. Then the One-Spot towed the Two-Spot to the Skagit Steel and Iron Works for repairs.
      Another time Al Stewart was coming down Dempsey Hill with the Two-Spot when a boom stick worked loose from a car, slid back and both jilpoked and sideswiped the caboose coming around a curve. The caboose was mashed up a bit but no one was hurt seriously. But Al still chuckles when he thinks about how funny June Moore looked when he came out of that caboose wearing a window frame for a collar. [Journal ed. note: actually jillpoke, this is an old term for carrying a long pole and impaling it on a stationary object, which causes you stop suddenly or get thrashed about.]

(One Spot)
The One-Spot at Baldwin Locomotive Works yard, ready to be shipped, in the summer of 1907

      Then Al remembered more. Motz Hamilton was easing the Two-Spot down the hill from the Dempsey Camp with a drag of logs crowding hard behind. Albert Nielson was hauling milk in ten-gallon cans from the John Cook place to the Dempsey cookhouse with the gas speeder and highballing to make it up the hill to camp before the Two-Spot came by.
      Whizzing around a curve he suddenly saw a big shiny brass Number Two staring him in the face. He became tired of riding right away and promptly dived off into the salmonberry brush understandably forgetting to slow down first. The speeder smacked our old girlfriend; the can lids flew off and dunked Motz Hamilton with a barrage of milk. Motz was a busy man for awhile, what with clawing milk out of his eyes, applying the air and doing all the things that an engineer has to do in a crisis like this, with nothing to see with.
      No one was hurt much, but the engine had to visit the shop doctors for the removal of some serious wrinkles in the front parts. And one evening when the Two-Spot was standing on the trestle at the log dump on Similk Bay, Walter Welch fumbled and dropped his lantern over-board. The lantern stayed lighted and Walter, never one to pass up an opportunity, called to Clarence Love, the fireman, and asked if he had ever seen an electric fish. Clarence hadn't, so he came over and displayed quite an interest in the "fish."

Narrow escape
      But for the quick thinking and acting of Fred Nielson and his shop crew the old Two-Spot would have had a bad wreck one time, though, maybe her last. In 1923 or '24, the woods locomotive was puffing down the switchback above Dempsey's Camp One, the headquarters, with the string of eighty-foot boom sticks loaded on the old-fashioned trucks, which had no reaches and equipped only with hand brakes.
      After the train passed the switch and started down the second switchback, which passed the camp and shop, the loads were ahead. Unknown to the train crew, the six head loads cut loose in a curve and took off hell-bent for election on their own.
      Part of the shop crew, doing some switching on the double tracks, suddenly became aware of the screeching rails telegraphing trouble. And sure enough, up the line they could see the runaway coming with smoking brakes. At the same time, they could hear the Two-Spot down below, snorting to make the hill to the end of her run. This was a dilly. Something had to be done pronto, and they did it.
      Six men glommed brake sticks, hopped up on the speeder and hightailed up the line toward the oncoming cars, not knowing for sure whether they were on the same track as the runaway or not. They weren't. At the right moment they jumped off and strung out along the track. When the loads went by, each man ran with a car tightening a brake wheel, then using a brake stick for more purchase, dragged along with the cars. Coming to a stretch where the grade wasn't so steep, by dint of fancy hand and footwork, they finally brought the runaway to a halt before it got to the shop and pitched over the hill into the Two-Spot.
      Fred Nielson says the runaway would have been making about forty miles an hour by the time it would have hit old Number Two, if it hadn't been stopped. With six loads of eighty-foot stuff on board, well, you know the answer. Nothing was said to the Two-Spot crew about their narrow squeak. Just another day.
      The crew on Number Two that day consisted of Motz Hamilton, engineer; Blake Tait [he also spells the name, Tate, below], fireman; Grover Welch, brakeman; and another unnamed brakeman. The shop crew who took part in the rescue were Fred Nielson, John Preston, George Kelly, Jim Stoughton, Albert Nielson and Doc Daley. And nary a headline.
      Louie LaMarr, another old timer of the line, dug down in his bucket of memories and brought up this one. Big Nick Downs, superintendent of the Dempsey Logging Company and also superintendent and manager of the Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad, from 1907 until 1913, loved to run the Two-Spot when time permitted. Every chance he got he would push Rube Morgan out of the driver's scat and take over. Once at Butler Station where the logging road crossed the Great Northern tracks [about two miles west of Sedro-Woolley, where the tracks south towards old Sterling], Nick stopped to let Bob Shannon off to open the right of way gate. Maybe Nick was thinking over some weighty logging problem, but anyway, he drove on to Riverside without stopping to take Shannon aboard. Bob sat on the tracks and cooled his heels until the train returned.

In the drink
      But the sister and co-worker of the Two-Spot, the One-Spot, born in 1907, at the same place [Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], was an older and more adventuresome girl. She even went so far as to take a bath in the salt chuck once. On May 7, 1946, according to Blake Tate's calendar, at the log dump on Similk Bay, while the train crew were maneuvering on the trestle, the tired piling gave way and the One-Spot paid a visit to Davy Jones.
      Ed Woods, the engineer, looked up and could see through his open window. As he was having some difficulty in breathing down there he started digging his way upward and finally came out on top. Albert Evans, one of the brakemen who was aboard the lokey, luckily popped up without any serious injury. But Blake Tate, the fireman, was discovered floating among some debris from the trestle, almost unconscious and seriously injured. Evans swam over and kept him from drowning until help in a boat came. Tate, a veteran of thirty years, says he doesn't know until this day how he got out of the engine.
      An odd twist to the accident was that Tate's watch was found on the running board of the locomotive when it was fished out later. The One-Spot lived to haul logs until 1949. LaMarr recalls, too, that the One-Spot and a Great Northern train once had a tie at Butler Station. The string of loads behind Number One was cut in two, but no one was killed.

(Al Stewart and One-Spot)
This is a photo of the One-Spot, taken in about 1912 when Al Stewart was an engineer. Courtesy of his granddaughter Julia Spray.
Joint Venture
      From 1907 or 1908 until approximately 1923, the logs from the Hamilton Logging Company (Ed English interests), later the Lyman Timber Company, and the Dempsey Logging Company [the Dempsey brothers of Michigan], were hauled from Hamilton to the Riverside [log] dump near the old Highway 99 bridge north of Mt. Vernon, over the Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad, a company jointly owned by [the English and Dempsey] companies.
      About 1923, after the purchase of the defunct Interurban electric line (the portion from Butler Station to Burlington)] the logs were hauled from Hamilton to Butler Station over the original logging road, thence over the Interurban line to Burlington, then over the Great Northern to the Similk Bay booming grounds.
      Since about 1937, until the present time, the log run has been over the Great Northern line from Hamilton to Similk Bay, but always with Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad logging trains and crews. Often the haul was a double-header, that is, two lokeys with about sixty loads.
      Neil Richmyer, Tyee of the Similk boom grounds for the last twenty years, started his service as brakeman on the One-Spot back in 1908, fifty years ago. About 1930, the Lyman Timber Company acquired part of the assets of the Dempsey Logging Company, which included the balance of the stock of the Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad road, which owned the Two-Spot. On January 1, 1937, the Soundview Pulp Company took over the Lyman Timber Company holdings. On November 9, 1951, the Soundview Pulp Company merged with the Scott Paper Company, the present owners.

Two Seattles
      The number .of board feet of logs hauled from Hamilton to the log dumps by the Two-Spot and One-Spot has been conservatively estimated at about three billion feet, which adds up to about twelve million tons of logs, enough to build two cities the size of Seattle with plenty left over for repairs. It took a lot of snoosh [actually snoose, meaning chaw or chewing tobacco], sweat, calked shoes and the old Two-Spot and One-Spot to put that much sound stuff in the drink.
      The old Two-Spot, visible from the Upriver highway, will be a wonderful tourist attraction. She's bigger than Tusko if not quite so spectacular, and will be of much more lasting benefit. It will be about the only chance for many children of today to see a real live steam locomotive. And many an old busted-down logger will hobble over for a visit with an old friend. She's the symbol of logging since the ox and horse-team days, a victim of the temperamental Diesel (which doesn't even have a decent whistle, and dear to the hearts and sentiments of Skagit Valley residents. This honest hard-working gal, with the mighty thews [sinew or muscle] represents the romantic era of 1ogging when Steam was King, and the simplest to keep in working order of any powerful machine ever devised by man. The contribution of steam to logging has been incalculable; the memories priceless.
      No more shall hear that comforting melancholy whistle as she labors busily down the valley wreathed in steam, bearing a future home on each skeleton car, with a steamer of smoke drifting backward from her stack, or wave to the friendly crew of the Two-Spot as she passes. But she will be in a place where we can always go and look at her, anyway. Some will wonder why all this "her" and 'she" business in talking of logging locomotives. Well, it's a manner of speaking. If you want to know more, ask Ben McClure. He has the copyright on the perfect explanation.
      Thanks To Scott Paper this memorial to the days of railroad logging has been made possible by the generosity of the Scott Paper Company, West Coast Division, Everett, Washington, in conveying title to this locomotive from their Hamilton operation, to the Sedro-Woolley Junior Chamber of Commerce on September 23, 1957.
      Sedro-Woolley and Skagit Valley residents are deeply touched with .the sentiment and willingness shown by the officials of the Scott Paper Company in helping to perpetuate a memory of times that will never come again. We are indebted to Harold Grant, Superintendent of the Hamilton operation, and Harry Tatham, office manager, who have given so much of their time and patience in gathering information and smoothing the way, also for standing guard along with Axel Jensen and Joe Vogel, over the Two-Spot. After all, what good logger wants to see an old buddy mangled with a blow torch?
      Many hands and heads aided in contriving this memorial, triggered by chance conversations between Harry Lumbert, Lawrence Burmaster and "Puss" Stendal, "Puss," then mayor, put in a telephone call to Scott Paper, which started the ball rolling.

Chamber carries ball
      The Chamber of Commerce, headed by Harlan Martin, and later by "Chuck" Carroll, is to be commended for resolving many perplexing problems and in footing the bill for the final move, aided and abetted by the Jaycees. Al Doorn for handling correspondence; Puss Stendal on negotiations and Skagit Steel for storage and other accommodations.
      Others making contributions, time, labor and material were Leroy Hilde, removing sod and grading for the park railroad; Willis Rogers and Pearson, ties; Guy Rowland, treating ties; Harry Bean, spikes and arranging with the county for ballast gravel (thanks, Brown Wiseman and Seeley Miller.
      Harold Grant (Scott Paper) potlatched enough rails to enthrone our museum piece; the Great Northern Railroad Company hauled the Two-Spot from Hamilton to Sedro-Woolley for free. Fred Howell did a neat job in building the park railroad and moving her from the Skagit Steel yard to the park, taking a substantial jolt in the region of the pocket book. The moving crew consisted of: Allen Handy, Dee Kuhn; George Handy; Rex Howell, Fred Howell and Henry Singer. These boys sweated in weather hotter than hell's hinges, preparing for and making the move on June 20, 1958.
      And to Harlan Martin, the man who ramrodded the job from start to finish, cheers. We are sure that he has many more gray hairs to count now than he had a year ago. Thanks, one and all, to those who helped. If we have inadvertently missed anyone, you have our permission to shoot us. And there she sits today, in proud dignity on her own private short line, a tired matron taking her well-earned rest, but ready and willing, with a bit of face lifting, to take up the burden again.
      Scott Paper, we thank you for our iron horse.


1. Skookum
      Chinook Jargon developed as a vocal language used by sailors and merchants and trappers from Nootka Sound to Puget Sound to the Columbia River in the 19th Century as they traded with Indians of the Pacific Northwest. By the 19th century, linguists and lexicographers. Although only a few hundred words were defined, the resulting dictionaries became important to merchants who arrived on ships and trains to set up stores in what only a few decades before had been beautiful, sublime wilderness.
      By general consensus, skookum was the most-used word, at least by the white settlers. My friend and a descendant of the Sedro Odlin and Bingham families, the late Reno "Spike" Odlin, became a linguist, as he explained, because he had been kicked out of so many prep schools and colleges that he eventually had to do something with his mind. I never met anyone quite like Spike and certainly no one who knew the Jargon like he did. Here is what he wrote me once, which will explain the Jargon in, shall we say, a non-linear way:

      I believe I am one of a dwindling handful of beings who still speak the Chinook Jargon at all -- much less now, mind you, than when my grandfather was still alive, 55-60 years ago [William T. Odlin, a clerk for Mortimer Cook and a country banker in Sedro ( )]. Perhaps everyone in the Puget Sound country may fairly be said to speak what time and attrition have made of the Jargon, namely Standard English more or less, such words as Skookum, which everyone knows but few now use. When I was young and foolish, I wasted much time and energy in the attempt to devise for the Jargon an orthographic equivalent which should be free of the maddening inconsistencies which beset the existing systems of transcription. Fortunately, I awoke from this dream of folly before any one caught me at it. So that when, in the deliberate pursuit of a much riper folly, I came to translate such works as Ezra Pound's The Return and the ancient Chinese Song Ascribed to the Subjects of Yao into the Jargon, I eschewed the diacriticals and other fripperies of my erstwhile quest and employed instead the downright spellings of the generation of miners and mule-skinners and country bankers for whom the Jargon was a matter of daily necessity.
      According to a section of Wikipedia, skookum was used "in the Jargon either as a verb auxiliary for to be able or an adjective for able, strong, big, genuine, reliable - which sums up its use in BC English, although there are a wide range of possible usages: a skookum house is a jail or prison (house in the Jargon could mean anything from a building to a room. 'He's a skookum guy' means that the person is solid and reliable while 'we need somebody who's skookum' means that a strong and large person is needed. A carpenter, after banging a stud into place, might check it or refer to it as 'yeah, that's skookum'. Asking for affirmation, someone might say 'is that skookum' or 'is that skookum with you?' Skookum can also be translated simply as 'O.K.' but it means something a bit more emphatic." So, that can easily be applied to Jordan's usage. I wish he had written down his own dictionary. Or maybe he did. We talked to his widow a dozen years ago and she said she had none of his notes from the time when he was an author during his first marriage. We hope a reader will find the remnants sometime at a garage sale. [Return]

2. Whitmarsh
      Whitmarsh Junction was just southwest from Padilla Bay, where the Reservation Road dead-ends at the South March's Point Road. The original tracks of the Seattle & Northern Railroad extended from Ship Harbor and Anacortes to Hamilton and finally to Rockport. After the Riverside Log Dump was closed in about 1923, PS&BR leased the trackage west from Butler's Junction/Sterling. See this Google map. [Return]

3. Dempsey Brothers Lumber Co
      We plan to profile the Dempsey brothers later this year, but hear is a capsule. J. Clark McAbee wrote to the Journal two years ago and gave us more information about the men than anyone has ever published before, even though the Dempsey company is often mentioned. Brothers James, John J. and Lawrence T. Dempsey were based in Manistee, Michigan — the same town where the von Pressentins lived 30 years earlier before moving to the upper Skagit River. In fact the Dempseys lived in Manistee after immigrating from Ireland in 1871 and may have employed Karl von Pressentin. Lawrence T. Dempsey appears to have been the lead brother in Washington, coming out here as early as 1901 and investing in 4,000 acres of timber in Skagit County and the Pierce County area; they also built a mill in Tacoma.
      In July 1905, the Skagit County Courier (Sedro-Woolley) reported that logging entrepreneur Ed English and Nick Dowen, Dempsey's representative, agreed that they would no longer tolerate the Great Northern Railroad hiking rates for shipping timber downriver. (Source thanks to Dennis Thompson, Logging Railroads in Skagit County.) They joined together with the Tozier Company (or Tozer) at that time to plan the Puget Sound & Baker River Railway [PS&BR], which would lay track parallel to the Great Northern and eventually stretch from the Eastern Terminus at Birdsview, west to the Riverside Log Dump, north of Mount Vernon. Incorporated on Aug. 30, 1906, the company hired a little-known gravel contractor named Henry J. Kaiser, who supplied the ballast for the line and would go on to make a bit of a name for himself. M.F. McNeil of Hamilton led the survey for the route in the fall of 1905 and the contractors quickly laid bed and rails through the Kiens homesteads north of Sedro-Woolley on the route that is now the John Liner Road. See the Dempsey and Butler endnotes below for more information. [Return]

3a. Tozer or Tozier
      We cannot be certain because of the complicated genealogy and various spellings of the surname, but we are pretty sure that the Tozier Company was owned by the family of David Tozer, who owned the Tozer Lumber complex out of Stillwater, Minnesota. If you look at land ownership records of Skagit County and southern Whatcom County in the Teen years and the 1920s, you will see the Tozer name on sections from Alger to Birdsview. Tozer's ancestors were Huguenots from France and David's grandfather, Jared Tozer fought in the Revolutionary War under Gen. George Washington. Jared Tozer logged in New Brunswick where grandson David was born. In 1856, at age 33, David moved to the St. Croix River in Minnesota, where he built a logging empire. Various members of the family wound up in Washington Territory and we believe that one of them was A. Aamot Tozer, who was the early partner in 1889 of druggist Albert E. Holland in old Sedro by the Skagit River. Tozer called himself a doctor earlier that decade in the town of Avon, north of Mount Vernon, but he had no license. What he did have is a well-honed skill at investing in timberland. We will tell the story of the Tozers/Toziers in a future issue. David and Aamot were early contributors to a medical partnership in Minnesota owned by brothers, and doctors, William J. Mayo and Charles H. Mayo who developed one of the world's first private integrated group practices of medicine and soon gained fame for their Mayo Clinic. [Return]

4. Dempsey Camp 1
      According to Thompson's Logging Railroads, "Dempsey's Headquarters Camp, engine-house and shop were located north of the Pinelli Road, and about three miles west of Birdsview Siding. The construction was announced in July 1905 and proceeded through July 1906. Initial shipments were pulled downriver by a Heisler locomotive, an early purchase by Dempsey in November 1906, with the full scale shipments beginning in the spring of 1907 via the One-Spot Baldwin locomotive of PS&BR. On May 14, 1912, smoldering embers from a GN passenger-train locomotive near Birdsview flamed into a monster forest fire that wound up burning 32,000 acres from there to Hamilton and destroyed four logging camps including Dempsey Camp 1 and Ed English's operation. The fire only stopped when it had burned itself out. [Return]

5. Butler Station
      This station was actually a set of gates north and south of the Great Northern rails that extended west to east from Anacortes to Rockport, originally laid in 1890 as part of the Seattle & Northern line. Some assume that it was named for timberman Si Butler, but his operation was two miles northwest. This station was named for William C. Butler, the first president of PS&BR when it was incorporated in 1906. According to Thompson's Logging Railroads, Butler was an Everett banker who earlier was the financial backer of Edward English's Lyman Lumber and Shingle Co. The company was formed in 1899, and owned two mills, one at Minkler Lake and a smaller one at Lyman. Butler Station was located north of Sterling, near the future Interurban flag-stop of Dempsey, presumably named for the family who owned 51 percent of the PS&BR as well as the logging operation near Hamilton. The interurban rails were laid in 1912 just north of the GN tracks and that is roughly the same roadbed of the present Hwy. 20 between Sedro-Woolley and Burlington. [Return]

6. One-Spot
      The One-Spot was the first locomotive purchased by PS&BR in August 1907 when they launched their line. According to Thompson's Logging Railroads, they bought it from the Baldwin Locomotive Works. It was a 4-6-0 type, 16x24 cylinders, 44-inch driver, 52 tons. One-Spot served the company until the very end, when it was cut up for scrap in 1956, but its tender is now hooked to the Two-Spot lokey at Sedro-Woolley. "She came equipped with Westinghouse automatic air brakes and was able to operate on grades of six percent or less." [Return]

7. Similk Bay
      Similk Bay is the body of water between the Swinomish Reservation — on the mainland of western Skagit County — and the south end of Fidalgo Island to the west Google map. Logs were stored there in large yards until transported to ships or booms nearby, starting in the early years of the 20th Century and continuing until the late 1950s or early 1960s when trucks took over long hauls. See this site by tom Philo about the nearby Wash Coop Egg and Poultry spur track. We wonder if that spur could have been used by the Log Dump trains. Also see this Journal site, based on John Conrad's 1970 genealogical notes, about one of the PS&BR's longtime employees, Jim McConkey. [Return]

8. Demise of the Interurban
      We do not have a date for the last Interurban train between Sedro-Woolley and Burlington; we hope a reader will have such a newspaper clipping. We think, however, that Jordan's estimate of 1923 was too early. We have talked to old-timers who recalled riding in about 1925. We know that the north-south line was effectively over by early 1927 when a Bellingham to Skagit County local motorbus was added to the Bellingham to Seattle express schedule and we know that the Interurban bridge across the Skagit River at Riverside was condemned in April 1928. Please help if you know the answer. [Return]

9. Two-Spot moved 1972
      According to the 1986 book, Memories and Memorials, that the late Win McLean edited for the Sedro-Woolley Rotary, Two-Spot was moved in 1972 from Bingham Park to Big Log Park — now Harry Osborne Park — at the entrance to Sedro-Woolley, the western end of Ferry Street. In 1986, students and staff of Cascades Job Corps renovated, cleaned and painted Two-Spot. We admire all the people who put in so much work in all three operations and we hope a reader will have a news clipping or other information about the process in 1972 and in 1986, so that we can give credit in an upcoming version of this story. [Return]

10. Potlatch and Tyee
      This is another of the Chinook Jargon words that has become part of our everyday language. In original Jargon, potlatch meant "a gift." As the word evolved, it came to describe the elaborate feasts that Pacific Northwest Indians conducted at which they would give away much of their wealth to the point that many hosts would be forced into poverty, all to outshine other peers. The lavish theatricals that were staged at such feasts and the conspicuous consumption of salmon and other resources, both had as the goal to earn prestige and to humiliate peers to force them to follow the lead. Another similar term was cultus potlatch. Cultus was an adjective, generally meaning, bad. That combination of cultus potlatch meant "a mere trifle," an implied message that reciprocity was not required, unless you were similarly ambitious in your band or tribe. In this case, Jordan used the term as a verb. [Return]
      Tyee simply means the leader of a crew or a company or the chief of a tribe — the boss. A very big, fat chinook salmon can also be called tyee. So Tyee could be used as either a noun or adjective. Hyas tyee meant the highest chief or officer or ruler. The word was not exclusively used for males. Hyas Klootchman Tyee roughly meant greatest female ruler, for instance as the Jargon equivalent of "Her Majesty," the historical term for Queen Victoria, and was even used in official British Columbia proclamations to refer to Queen Victoria during her reign. [Return]

Puget Sound & Baker River Railway
& Two-Spot locomotive at Osborne Park

By Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore, ©2007

(Two-Spot today)
      The Two-Spot today, guarding the entrance to Sedro-Woolley, next to the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe tracks, with the Old Log Park behind her.

      The Two-Spot locomotive on the tracks at the entrance to Sedro-Woolley has a noticeable dent on the front that the late Howard Miller showed me a few years ago and then he took me up to a spot west of Lyman where the dent occurred. He pointed out the waterfall that cascades down the hill just north of Hwy 20 in line with where the old Lyman highway branches off to the south. Back when the Puget Sound & Baker River [PS&BR] Railway brought logs downriver from the lumber camps in the hills, the trains stopped at that point to take on water from a long metal spout. One day the spout was not stowed properly on the tower by the tracks and the heavy metal apparatus swung down and made the dent.
      The Two-Spot is a sentimental favorite to old timers in the area and their descendants because it reminds them of the days before the Great Depression when the PS&BR was the local David that Ed English and the Dempsey brothers launched in 1906 to challenge Goliath — James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad. They built their trackage to parallel the earlier line and today's John Liner road north of town follows the old roadbed as does portions of Hwy 20. Having grown up five miles east of town in the Utopia district, my home was about a half mile south of the GN tracks and the PS&BR tracks were a little north of that.
      The Two-Spot was built especially for the new logging railroad by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, one of 1,500 engines that Matthias Baldwin turned out. By January 1913, when Two-Spot was shipped to PS&BR, Baldwin was nearing the peak of its long life, which started before the civil war. In his great book, Logging Railroads in Skagit County, Dennis Blake Thompson provides details of almost all the wonderful old lokeys in the Northwest woods and you can find others in the Locomotive Portraits, Volume 3 in the Darius Kinsey Photographer series by Dave Bohn and Rodolfo Petschek. Both books are among the top ten on the Northwest historian's bookshelf. The Two-Spot was Baldwin #39058 of the 4-6-0 type, 16x24 cylinders, 44-inch driver, 170-pounds pressure in the boiler, rated at 52 tons. We are all grateful to the Scott Paper Co., the evolved company that donated the engine to Sedro-Woolley instead of selling it to a scrap company.
      The Two-Spot was also used for hauling supplies to companies that constructed the upriver Seattle City Light dams. PS&BR was born out of Ed English's frustration with the rising rates charged by James J. Hill of GN, with J.P. Morgan bottomless vault, was trying to dominate all Northwest railroads with their Northern Securities holding company, a deal that Teddy Roosevelt ultimately scotched. We are indebted to Paul Curtiss, a fellow member of, who has researched many railroad companies and logging railroads. He told us that the partners who incorporated PS&BR Railway in 1906 included Lawrence T. Dempsey and his brother John J. Dempsey from Manistee, Michigan, Everett banker William C. Butler, Ed English, one of the founders of Mount Vernon in 1877, and Fred Pape, who was earlier the police judge of Mount Vernon and then Skagit County Auditor during the Depression years of the 1890s.
      The Dempsey Lumber Company, which also owned timber businesses in Pierce County and around Kapowsin, owned the controlling 51 percent interest, with the rest owned by English's Lyman Timber Company and the Tozier Company. The company was capitalized at $100,000. The company also constructed spur lines up to the southern slopes of Mount Baker. On Dec. 28, 1907, the company was reorganized as Railway instead of Railroad for an unknown reason. PS&BR continued under ownership by the English and Dempsey operations until 1930 when it was sold to Lyman Timber Company, which merged with the Hamilton and Baker River Railroad Company. In 1937, the line was sold again to the Soundview Pulp Company, and then again in 1951 to the Scott Paper Company. Operations ceased in 1960 and the company name was dissolved on January 17, 1966.
      Richard Terwilliger of Mount Vernon informed us that his father, Walter "Red" Terwilliger, was apparently the last fireman on the Two-Spot. He also was the Engineer on the new diesel-electric that Scott Paper purchased after they retired the steam locomotive. Ed Woods was the last engineer.
      The steam locomotive on display between the Newhalem Skagit General Store and Highway 20 is the Six-Spot, which operated between Rockport and Newhalem on a 24-mile stretch of railway that once was the only way to get to Newhalem before road and highway construction created easier access. Visitors to the valley may want to visit that location, too, and their kids can climb up and ring the bell. Bill Newby was born in 1935 in the Seattle City Light community there and worked for City Light starting in 1955 as a laborer, digging ditches. He retired in 1996 as Director of Operations on the Skagit River hydroelectric project, responsible for three dams, four power houses, and two communities. In the HistoryLink.Org interview by David Wilma), Newby recalled life in Newhalem and on the Skagit Project and how he personally led the mission to rescue the locomotive.

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