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(S and N Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition
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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(Railway map)
This Rand-McNally railroad map from 1893 shows early routes north and south of the Canadian border. Map courtesy of Neil Roughley.

Part Two: Fairhaven & Southern —
the metal meets the road

Building the Fairhaven & Southern
      Bennett envisioned an ultimate goal to build a rail line towards the North Cascades Mountains that would impress railroad magnate James J. Hill enough to influence his choice of a route to the coast. A 1993 Fairhaven Gazette article noted that, during an interview with a Seattle reporter in July 1889, Bennett "jabbed at the air with his new ten dollar fountain pen, saying, 'Where will be the terminus? I have got one eye on the Arctic Circle and the other on the Antarctic. I have not decided whether we will run through Blaine or not."
      When Bennett showed up in 1888 and stated his purpose of constructing a railroad to the Skagit River coal mines, many Whatcom landowners assumed that he represented Hill, owner of the transcontinental railroad that would soon be known as the Great Northern Railway. They knew that Hill had surveyors in the field as far west Spokane Falls as his construction crews approached the Rockies on their way west from St. Paul and the Great Lakes. Actually, no one knows if Bennett had made such a deal with Hill by then, even though Bennett and Larrabee did secretly sell F&S to Hill two years later.
      If Bennett et al could beat the deadline for completion of the F&S, he and his fellow investors would collect a bonus of additional land in Fairhaven and exclusive rights to market land in old Sedro. The town boosters offered Bennett land inducements along the rail right-of-way through Happy Valley, east of Fairhaven, but they did not give away the store. They imposed a strict deadline of Christmas Day, 1889, for completion of the F&S line all the way to the Skagit River. If Bennett et al could beat the deadline, he and his fellow investors would also collect a bonus of exclusive rights to market land in old Sedro. Bennett arranged with Seattle attorney Elbert F. Blaine to market the old-Sedro property to Seattle investors. Blaine was later one of the namesakes of Denny-Blaine Park in Seattle.
      Edward Eldridge, another Whatcom father, led a group of citizens from around Bellingham Bay who guaranteed a $200,000 bonus worth of land around the right of way and Mortimer Cook and other landowners at Sedro led a group who guaranteed the blocks around the Sedro tracks Rumors flew that Hill favored the Skagit Pass to reach the Sound; other names for the pass in various newspapers included Cascade Pass or Sauk Pass. In some news stoies, the name Ward's Pass was used interchangeably, which was a bit of mystery. Then we read Fred W. Beckey's 2003 book, Cascade Alpine Guide: Climbing and High Routes. As usual, Beckey's research is top notch, including a footnote profile of Hubert C. Ward:

      Hubert C. Ward in September 1872 surveyed south of Indian Pass and reached Ward's Pass, then ventured east into the Cady fork of Wenatchee. During surveying for the Great Northern Railroad in September 1887, Albert B. Rogers traveled the sauk to Indian Pass and found survey evidence (idary in Rogers Papers). He noted that there was a fear of the upper Sauk among Indians and only four knew the route (p. 91); he felt Indian Pass was the only Skagit to Wenatchee route, but that it was not as good as the Skykomish.
      In her 1888 Early Impressions series (for the National Parks Service) of history about the Cascades and the area that became the national park, Gretchen A. Luxenberg wrote that the Hill fielded a reconnaissance party in the summer of 1887 to explore the upper Lake Chelan region one last time. Under the employ of James J. Hill, the party surveyed the in search of a railroad route through the mountains. Albert Bowman Rogers had orders to locate a feasible route to Puget Sound via the Skagit River. At that point, Hill was adamant about building his rail line along the Skagit River and sent Rogers exploring numerous routes in the Cascades hoping one would lead to the Skagit drainage. Rogers kept a diary as his four-man party set out from Wenatchee on July 6, 1887, and it was filled with one disappointing attempt after another to find a suitable route. By the time that he sent a letter to Hill on Oct. 7, 1887, reviewing the routes via Indian and Ward's passes, which are only two miles apart, he concluding that those were the only prospective route, "connecting the Skagit with the Wenatchee [River]. Besides being much longer it is not so favorable as the route via the Skykomish [which Rogers explored earlier]. .. .The avalanches on the western slope are fearful. Once again, all hope faded for a railroad route through the North Cascades.

Coal was once again the draw
      The Skagit coal mines near Sedro may have been the major attraction for Larrabee because he bought the majority interest in them for the company. Bennett first capitalized the Fairhaven Land Company (FLC) for $250,000 on Nov. 26, 1888, with Messrs. Bennett, Wilson, Cowgill, Larrabee and Larabie as principals. A month later, Bennett and Larrabee and Larabie incorporated the Fairhaven & Southern Railway on Dec. 22, 1888, along with investors Wilson and. Cowgill. A newspaper in Whatcom dubbed the new company "the Liverpool-New York-Whatcom-Yokohama run." FLC announced the company's plan to build a line to the Canadian border and to the Columbia River over Ward's Pass. Larrabee, the largest shareholder, became president of the corporation. One of the first priorities was to build coal bunkers at the Fairhaven waterfront and around the Bay to the north.
      Other investors and settlers packed Fairhaven by late 1889 and the term equity gained fashion. For example, in the 1970 book, Booming and Panicking on Puget Sound, financier George Bacon explained that an investor would put $500 down on a group of lots with a paper value of $2,000. As the town boomed, values increased rapidly to $5,000 or more and he called his profit, equity.
      In the summer of 1888, Bennett bought part of Harris's town site for $50,000 and Charles X. Larrabee bought another part for $25,000. They made those purchases as individuals before the FLC was formed and one of the company's first items of business was to buy that land from the two men for $250,000, a profit on paper of $130,000 before any track was laid. Edson wrote that in December 1888, Bennett bought the Colony Mill holdings, the mill, the water power and the long wharf that the colonists built over the tidelands to deep water on the Bay.
      The third major piece of real estate on Bennett's wish list was the property that Whatcom pioneer Edward Eldridge and Boston investor Erastus Bartlett owned at the site of Unionville/Bellingham — the remainder of the original Morrison and Pattle claims. Eldridge and Bartlett were still suffering financially from losses incurred at their Bellingham Bay Mill Company on the site, so they sold a 50 percent interest to Bennett and the FLC in 1890 and completed the sale in 1899, eventually netting around a million dollars in cash and FLC stock. Harris, who died in Los Angeles on Aug. 17, 1890, was not around to see how Eldridge and Bartlett profited at least tenfold more than he did.
      Boulevard Park, which was cleared and formed under the leadership of the Bellingham Rotary Club from 1973 to 1980, includes the site of the old Bellingham Bay Gas Company. Bennett was not a officer of that company. Brian Griffin notes that it was formed on June 10, 1890, with H.Y. Thompson as president, Eldridge as vice president, Wilson as treasurer and G.E. Brand as secretary. But Bennett was again a driving force behind the scene and provided the natural resource. The gas was manufactured mainly from coal mined at Bennett and Larrabee's mine near Sedro and some came from a mine near Lake Samish, all transported via the F&S. The gas replaced kerosene for lighting and was also used for cooking.

Organizing the F&S
      As you will see, Nelson Bennett was a very punctual person and that trait paid off in cash more than once. Bennett's contemporaries described him as "a man of strong physique, big broad shoulders, wide forehead, strong farseeing eyes, and like most men of his day, he wore both beard and mustache." The late historian Murray Morgan describes him as being five-feet-nine in height and almost as wide, and Lottie Roeder Roth described him in her 1926 book, History of Whatcom County, "Put a mustache and goatee on a bulldozer and you would have a reasonable facsimile."
      C.X. Larrabee's grandson, who uses the same initials, is retired and lives in North Carolina after a career in the public relations business. In 1994, he shared the "Summary Statement for the F&S," which was compiled through May 29, 1889, and gives valuable insight into the scope of investments and disbursements during the first five months of this very expensive line. The first detail that a reader notices is that Larrabee was already in the driver's seat where the railroad and coal mines were concerned.
      The documents shows that grading of the F&S roadbed started in April and by May the crews were building southeast toward Sedro. The total investment to that time was $126,418, of which C.X. and his brother extended the largest share, $110,000, about 87 percent. Bennett's share was $7,065 and E.M. Wilson, the treasurer and general manager, invested $9,354. Bennett's expertise was obviously worth a bundle. The largest disbursement by far was $43,684 for 941 tons of steel rails and $6,541 for fastenings.
      Two 4-6-0 standard-gauge locomotives from Schenectady, New York, were purchased for $18,461. The initial passenger cars, from a plant in Detroit, Michigan, cost $11,397. They were painted olive green and had a broad blue stripe down their sides. The excursion cars were truly deluxe with cushioned seats on both sides of the coach and reclining and revolving chairs down the middle. The equipment was state-of-the-art for those days, as modern as any railroad back East. Engineering expenses totaled $6,845 and construction crews were paid $4,746. The difference between the F&S books and the paper railroads of the time showed in the cash balance of $26,836 held by agent A.P. Fisk, and $1,107 in the checking account at Merchants National Bank in Tacoma

Engineer John J. Donovan leads the field work
      Earlier in 1888, while he was still negotiating with the Fairhaven interests, Bennett assigned civil engineer John J. Donovan to survey all the possible rail routes west from the Cascade foothills. Donovan explored routes to three potential termini: Bowman's Anacortes (actually Ship Harbor, the present San Juan Islands & International ferry connection); Samish Point — which Donovan praised; and Fairhaven. Bennett preferred Fairhaven because of the deeper harbor there; Samish Bay was much too shallow for the ships that would carry U.S. goods to the Orient. The partners believed that Ward's Pass in the North Cascades was also still feasible as a route for the Great Northern. Donovan probably explored the Cascades region with his Massachusetts classmate J.Q. Barlow, who would soon be associated with the Monte Cristo mines and the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway and was the namesake of Barlow Pass in that region. In a March 3, 1924, interview with the Bellingham Herald, Donovan recalled that:
      Samuel Hill, son-in-law of J.J. Hill, famous railroad builder, had told him a few years ago the reason why the Great Northern railroad was built into Everett instead of Bellingham. Mr. Hill said he and his father-in-law had sat up all night trying to decide the point and finally selected the southern route because it was possible to build a switchback at Stevens Pass, whereas Sauk Pass, which would have brought the railroad down the Skagit, afforded no such engineering possibility. He recalled that the chief engineer of the Great Northern convinced that Fairhaven would be the terminus of the Great Northern, had paid $100 a front foot for twenty-five lots in Fairhaven before the decision was made.
      If Larrabee was the financial backbone of the company because of his personal fortune, Donovan was the eyes and ears and strong backbone of the group because he got his hands dirty and dealt directly with the terrain that the proposed railroad would cover. You can read our more extensive biography of Donovan at another webpage in this issue. Born in New Hampshire on Sept. 8, 1858, Donovan earned a B.S. degree in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1882. He met Bennett on his first field job later that year as a rodman on the survey team that preceded Northern Pacific track layers across the plains. He was soon promoted to leveler and six months later he was promoted again to assistant engineer of construction in charge of erecting truss bridges in Montana. Bennett took Donovan along with him when he obtained the contract for the Cascade Division of NP in the 1884-88 time period. In May 1888, Bennett called on Donovan to resign from the NP and join the F&S planning team.
      While surveying in Skagit County, Donovan also explored a route for Bennett's planned second phase, a branch projected to cross the Skagit River at Sedro and to continue south along the west side of Clear Lake — then called Mountain View, and the eastern side of Big Lake. We know that Bennett was serious enough about that plan that he platted the town of Montborne on the east side of Big Lake that year, named for Dr. Hyacinth Montborne of Mount Vernon. The town was located down the slope from where the Big Lake Bar & Grill stands today.
      Another key Bennett employee was John J. Cryderman, who joined the F&S crew after the Canfield Road folded. He also worked in siting the Skagit County part of the line and then he was hired by the Oregon Improvement Company, which built the Seattle & Northern Railway (S&N) east from Anacortes into Woolley, the town north of Sedro, in 1890. That was the second line, after the F&S, to cross through P.A. Woolley's new company town.

Sedro and Skagit County prepare for F&S in 1888-89x
      According to Herbert Hunt and Floyd C. Kaylor, in their 1917 book, Washington, West of the Cascades, the actual grading of the Fairhaven & Southern (F&S) line southeast from Fairhaven began in April 1889, after the long rainy season. By May, the F&S teams carved a route southeast out of Fairhaven and east around Lake Samish, past Friday Creek and down the steep grade past the modern fish hatchery to a valley where land once again leveled out at Jarman's Prairie, east of Bow Hill. After crossing the south fork of the Samish River the next section would take a while because switchbacks had to be carved out around Butler Hill before the final straight stretch that ran on a diagonal southeast to Sedro. Crews started laying rail in July. At the same time, crews built a roundhouse at the southeast corner of 24th and Donovan streets in Happy Valley, east of the town of Fairhaven, in anticipation of a northern line that would be called Fairhaven & Northern.
      Bennett invested in Skagit County before he ever approached Fairhaven. The Skagit News in Mount Vernon reported on March 19, 1888, that the owners of the Crystal coal mine, V.A. Marshall, J.E. Smith and Lafayette S. Stevens, of Sterling, went to Tacoma to talk to investors. On March 26, the same paper reported that Nelson Bennett of Tacoma had bought the mines. Actually, he just made a down payment in preparation for his negotiations in Fairhaven. That undeveloped mine was located on a hill four miles northeast of Sedro and west of the future Northern State Hospital. From that point on, the mine would initially be called by several names, including Skagit Mines and Bennett Mines and Great Northern Mines.
      Here on the north shore of the Skagit, two Sedro towns formed in anticipation of the railroad — old Sedro, which grew from 1885 onwards at Cook's original townsite of Bug, and new Sedro, which suddenly grew in 1889 about a mile to the northwest, above the bench of the ancient Skagit channel and high-water line. Old Sedro really began booming in late 1888 when speculators gambled huge sums that the new town would become the hub on a vast Puget Sound network of trains.
      Sternwheeler steamboats were still the main means of transportation and shipping in the region back then and Cook's wharf — 25 miles from its mouth of the river, became a principal stopover for upriver business. In months of higher water levels, cook's wharf at Sedro replaced Ball's Landing at Sterling as the last regular community stop heading upriver through the late 1880s. Logging and mining were the main businesses upriver from Mount Vernon, but that would soon change. When the railroads began construction, the two towns of Sedro became the natural crossroads of the county for businesses in the mercantile, hardware, real estate, restaurant and sin trades. After the roots of the logged trees were yanked out, the soil underneath proved ideal for agriculture, including timothy hay, corn, peas, beans and berry crops.
      Starting in the summer of 1889, loggers and construction teams were felling timber, yanking stumps by horsepower, and clearing lots for new houses and businesses in both towns of Sedro. Contrary to some popular opinion, no original trees remain in Sedro-Woolley, except for a handful of cedars in Riverfront Park. James McDonald moved to old Sedro in the summer of 1889 after logging for 25 years in the Minnesota and Michigan woods, which had been clear-cut without replanting. McDonald recalled in the 1906 Illustrated History that the only homes in town when he arrived belonged to Cook and two of the four British bachelors who homesteaded the area of the future town, William Dunlop and William Woods. The homes of David Batey and Joseph Hart, the first two bachelors, were located to the west, outside the village proper. The only other buildings in town when he arrived were Cook's shingle mill and a cluster of shacks.
      Cook and Woods were the landowners who most profited from the speculation of those heady days. Woods was an officer of the Sedro Townsite Co. and may have lived there much of the time in the early days because he was not enumerated in some of the early Territorial censuses. He preferred not to benefit from the lot buyers in Sedro who lost their land during the Depression of the 1890s. As evidence of that, we found record of eight acres that he sold to the FLC, which was then sold to an investor. Sometime after 1893 Woods bought the land back at a forced tax sale. In the unique spirit of those pioneer days, he then split the parcel in half with the owner who lost it and gave him the mortgage on it.

(F&S 1900)
      By the time this photo was taken in the late 1890s, the F&S had become part of the Great Northern line, but this locomotive and passenger cars were part of the original purchases by Nelson Bennett and the Fairhaven Land Co. Photo courtesy of an unnamed, undated 1890s magazine.

Donovan's horseback ride in the nick of time at the 11th hour
      Construction of the F&S line proceeded ahead of schedule, so Bennett's bonus seemed assured. Bennett was already planning construction of the northern leg of the F&S line — called both Fairhaven & Northern and New Westminster Southern, via Blaine to New Westminster, British Columbia. Meanwhile, Norman R. Kelley, who was a former draftsman for the SLS&E railroad, had organized the Sedro Land and Improvement Company out of his base at the Rainier Club in Seattle in 1889. He became aware that a clause of the Bennett bonus required that a train traverse the entire route from Fairhaven's tidewater to Mortimer Cook's Sedro wharf by Christmas Day, 1889. He also realized that Bennett would realize a bonus of $200,000 worth of old Sedro land if he met the deadline, but Bennett had failed to make any deal with Kelley, whose plat the line would cross on a diagonal. Kelley apparently decided to throw a wrench into the works.
      All the local newspapers from those days have either burned or the ones that did survive ignored that crucial period of the railroad wars in the summer of 1889. But the late Barbara Taggart saved a copy of the June 30, 1906, Bellingham Herald, with a long article about early Sedro and Woolley. That article noted that Kelley filed an injunction in the Skagit County Superior Court in December 1889 to halt final construction across his plat of the newer town that we call new Sedro. While an F&S construction train steamed north with details of the court action, rail construction crews panicked as they sat within sight of Sedro, unable to push through to their final goal. That winter was the coldest since the famous snows of 1880; as drifting snow cut off Mount Vernon from the outside world for 27 days at one point. Imagine a Perils of Pauline scene from an old silent movie.

      An exciting ride taken by J.J. Donovan and C.W. Howard from Fairhaven to Mount Vernon saved the day. They had horses placed in a box car, went on the train to the point nearest Mount Vernon [probably at Belfast near Jarman Prairie], mounted the horses and rode through the mud and woods at a rate neither has since traveled, reached the Skagit County seat, plastered from hat to shoe sole with the evidences of the trip, presented their case with testimony to the superior court, and had the Kelley injunction dissolved in time to get trains through to the Skagit and secure the bonus.
      The irony there is that when he platted the town of new Sedro in 1891, Kelley named the streets to the north and south of Block One — the present location of Sedro-Woolley High School, Nelson and Bennett. We hope that a reader will have clippings or issues from that year so that we can determine what transpired during those crucial final months. Clinton W. Howard was soon the city attorney of Fairhaven in 1891 and his partner was Thomas G. Newman, whose long list of prominent clients included the Fairhaven Land Co., Cornwall's Bellingham Bay Improvement Co., BB&BC Railroad and the Northern Railway & Improvement Co.
      The town of Woolley was not in place yet. P.A. Woolley arrived with his family on November 27, 1889, just before the F&S route was completed. The F&S rail bed continued on a southeasterly diagonal next to the site of the mill Woolley was building — and the site of the future Skagit Steel complex. It then sliced through Kelley's Sedro plat to Jameson Avenue, where it turned south a block east of the Township Road and continued down to Mortimer Cook's wharf on a route that was alternately platted as Fairhaven/Graves Street (named for Sedro boomer and Seattle financier E.O. Graves).
      . Eva Van Fleet Beebe — Emmett and Eliza Van Fleet's oldest daughter, later recounted her first ride on the F&S train in the fall of 1889:

      My father and I were two people to ride on the construction train of the Fairhaven and Southern Railway when they completed their line into Sedro. This was in 1889. We met the train about halfway between Sedro and Woolley and rode down on it as the track was laid. The flat car in front held the ties, the next one the rails and the next one the enthusiastic boosters with the engine farther back. Everyone was in a happy mood and the track was laid in a hurry. Along in the afternoon, the terminus was reached. This was near Cook's store in old Sedro. I remember men on the train talking about how valuable those lots were. One man said he had just bought a lot for $500 and considered he had a bargain [and equity].

The two Sedros briefly boom
      Of course, those old-Sedro lots are now park or pasture land. The investors or their unfortunate customers had to eat their humble pie-in-the-sky a few years later during the nationwide Depression. The initial businesses in old Sedro clustered a block west of the F&S depot, a 24x60-foot structure that was being erected between Cook and McDonald avenues, two blocks north of the river, in the fall of 1889. That site is now the parking lot for Sedro-Woolley's Riverfront Park. In August 1890, The Washington Magazine insisted that the F&S depot was finer than the ones in either Seattle or Tacoma. Note, however, that neither the Union Station in Tacoma nor King Street Station in Seattle had yet been built. The businesses in Sedro by the time the line was completed included the general stores of Cook and the Paulson brothers, a dray line owned by Martin Gillespie, a meat market, a furniture store, several restaurants and saloons. We have no surviving record of businesses or buildings on Kelley's new Sedro plat in 1889 except for a shack that Albert G. Mosier described as his base of operations as he platted Kelley's town.
      Kelley actually filed the plat for new Sedro with the county first, on April 29, 1889. His section was referred to legally as "Kelley's plat of the town of Sedro" or sometimes informally as Kelleyville or Kelley's Town. His name was often misspelled as Kelly and Mosier continued that confusion for decades. The FLC filed the old Sedro plat on Oct. 17, 1889. Bennett's company platted a combination of almost all of Cook's original 40 acres, and 80 acres each from the homesteads of two of the original four British bachelors — Woods and William Dunlop. Charles J. Wicker Sr. also offered part of his homestead north of Woods and south of Emmett Van Fleet in Skiyou, but that option was apparently never exercised.
      In between the two Sedros, a handful of businesses were originally erected on Jameson Avenue and Fidalgo Street. We know of only twp businesses there for sure in that 1889 season. One was the Sedro Hotel on the southwest corner of Township Road and on Fidalgo street. That should not be confused with the much grander Hotel Sedro, which Kelley's interests erected a year later on his plat. The original Sedro Hotel was a boarding house for rail crews and then for the crews that cleared the townsites. After those laborers moved on, it became the St. Elizabeth's Hospital in 1892, the first hospital in the county. The only early building on Jameson Avenue was described only as the Smith Brothers store in the 1906 Illustrated History., which was probably a company store for one of the rail-laying companies. June Burn, author of the 1941 book, Living High, interviewed Sedro and Skagit pioneers in 1930s who remembered old Sedro and described the main drag, McDonald Avenue:

      Stores and warehouses and docks lined the river bank itself. Across the road from the waterfront the saloons and joints were built on stilts, or anyhow, high off the ground. The sidewalk ran along in front of this line of buildings, also on stilts [they were pulling her leg about the stilts]. When a man had drunk so much he could drink no more, they pushed him out of the door and he generally rolled off the sidewalk and dropped the seven or eight feet into the mud below. Mr. Bingham says he has come down many a sunny Monday morning to find the road lined with drunken loggers and railroaders. When the sun would come out and completely thaw them out they would get up, stumble around a little and then make off into the woods to their work.
      We now know that the living pioneers or their descendants pulled Burn's leg a little. We discovered actual photos of MacDonald Avenue and the depot when we visited Barbara Taggart, Mortimer Cook's granddaughter, in Rockford, Illinois in 1993, and we found more in the 1890 edition of the Fairhaven Illustrated. There were no stilts and most of the buildings in old Sedro, including Cook's house and store were either destroyed, washed away or moved off their mooring during the disastrous flood of 1896.

F&S schedule No. 10, July 15, 1891
    2 trains daily each way, one 1st class for passenger, one 2d class mixed with freight
(bullet) F&S northerly route 2d class
Sedro 4:20 p.m. Leave; Woolley 1.3 miles wait hour 5:30 leave — Jackman 4.3 miles — Collis 5:50 6.5 miles — Jarman Prairie 5:58 7.7 miles — S&M Junction 6:05 9.4 miles — Desmond 12.5 miles — Alger 13.9 miles — Samish Lake 6: 30 16.4 miles — Chuckanut 6:45 19.9 miles — Welbon 21.4 miles — Quarry 22.4 miles — Happy Valley 7:10 24.9 miles — Fairhaven 7:20 arrive 26.1 miles leave north 7:40
(bullet) BB&BC Crossing 7:50 27.6 miles
New Whatcom 7:55 28.6 miles — Fort Bellingham 31.7 miles — Marietta 33.6 miles — Brennan 34.9 miles — Ferndale 8:20 37.1 miles — Sand Pit 39.6 miles — Custer 8:35 42.7 miles — Blaine 8:55 50.1 miles
(bullet) Becomes New Westminster Southern Railway
Blaine 0 miles — Hazelmere 3.4 miles — Colverdale 8.4 miles — Clayton 10.6 miles — Port Kells 13.6 miles — Bon Accord 20.4 miles — Liverpool 22.7 miles — Brownsville 23.7 miles junction with Canadian Pacific
(bullet) S&M junction is where F&S crossed the GN tracks from Seattle; BB&BC Crossing was at the trestle over Whatcom Creek
(bullet) 1st train north — 1st class departs Sedro north 12:10 p.m. arrives at end in New Whatcom 2:40; 1st train south — 2nd class departs Blaine 7:30 a.m., arrives Sedro 12:05; 1st class departs Blaine 2:45 p.m., arrives Sedro 4:15 p.m.

SLS&E breathes down Bennett's neck
      The F&S itself was born in a boom time and died as the result of the nationwide Depression that started in late 1892 and climaxed the next year. Bennett's principal role in the line lasted only a year and a half. Once the first train completed the journey from Fairhaven to Sedro on Christmas Eve, 1889 — once again assuring a bonus, Bennett had another task at hand — building a route to his coal mine. The connection to the main F&S line was at the "wye" at Jameson Avenue, but according to the 1988 book, The Great Northern Railway, a History, the track northeast from Sedro only progressed only a little more than a mile by the end of 1890.
      Bennett apparently tried to build an extension across the Skagit River first, as soon as the track was completed into old Sedro in December 1889. That branch would proceed south through the town of Montborne, which he platted in 1888 on the east side of Big Lake, then along the west side of Lake McMurray near the Snohomish County line and ultimately to Seattle. Unfortunately the complications with the last-minute injunction and the race to finish the line to Sedro had taken his eyes off the ball. A competing line was also heading for the narrow strip of land in the hills around the north and west side of Lake McMurray that only had room for one rail line.
      Bennett must have become aware of the progress north from Woodinville by Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern (SLS&E) railroad construction crews. Two years after the SLS&E formed in 1885, with a main line pointed easterly through King County, investors incorporated the Seattle & West Coast Railway (S&WC) in April 1888, with short-term plans to cross the Snohomish River at Snohomish City and an ultimate goal of crossing the border at Sumas and meeting the CRP at either New Westminster or Hope. CPR's first through train from Montreal had reached Port Moody, B.C., on April 7, 1886. A year later the company decided to place its terminus at Vancouver, which had been incorporated on the nucleus of the former Gastown on April 6, 1886. The first through train from Montreal rolled into the booming town on May 23, 1887, and from then on until the Great Northern line formed, a connection with the CPR and its cross-Canada route acted as a magnet for potential rail investors.
      Capitalized at a million dollars, The S&WC let five contracts, mainly to Sinclair & Co. of New York, former builders for CPR, and the Earle & McLeod Co., and they soon had several hundred men in the field. They reached Fiddler's Bluff, south of Snohomish, in March 1888. Later that month, the SLS&E absorbed the S&WC and the San Francisco Bridge Company began building a bridge over the Snohomish River in early May, just as the Bennett brothers finished the Stampede Pass Tunnel down south. The bridge was completed in September that year and regular passenger trains ran between Snohomish and Seattle by October. At that point, construction slowed for the West Coast Branch, as the line was then called, partly because the bridge washed downstream after the log boom at Pilchuck gave way upstream during a flood.
      Another reason for the slowdown was that SLS&E was running short of capital. The most comprehensive source for details of the line's construction north of Snohomish is the 1976 book by the late Varee and Fred Bandazy, McMurray, Gone With the Trees. They took the time to research newspapers all over the state. They discovered that the Earle and McLeod firm sued for $87,000 in payments in August 1888 and they were not paid until that fall. While the bridge was being rebuilt, measuring 380 feet long with a 160-foot draw span, field crews resumed work to grade road bed and bridge five streams and rivers. By early 1889, full crews were back in the field but a combination of winter and spring rain, deadfall trees in the dense forests of Snohomish County and complications in fording all the rivers and streams kept the crews busy for nine months until they reached the Snohomish County Line.

The F&S stalls south of the Skagit
      We wonder if Bennett felt flush with success as final connection with Sedro was near in early December 1889, and as his crews south of the Skagit River faced south from Montborne. If so, perhaps Bennett and Larrabee and their investors were unaware that they were about to meet their Waterloo on their way south from Sedro. The 1906 Illustrated History gives us the only detailed account of the collision between the two rail lines, quoting an unnamed newspaper on Dec. 16, 1889, that detailed just how the F&S was soon snookered:
(Railroad map)
This is just one of the marvelous railroad maps that Neil Roughley at his website, along with many stories of the Great Northern and other lines, including the F&S, from a Canadian point of view. It is packed with information for any serious railroad researcher.

      The West Coast Road . . . and the Fairhaven & Southern each have a construction force of men at work on their respective roads near McMurray Lake. These two roads have been fighting for possession of a narrow pass around the lake, and things have been pretty lively in that vicinity lately. The F&S crew has been encamped near the lake and was intending to begin work of construction last Saturday morning before the SLS&E] could arrive on the ground. But Friday afternoon a construction force under Earle & McLeod landed at Fir and proceeded by pack train to the vicinity of the pass, arriving there late that night, and went into camp without lighting fires. They were up at an early hour next morning and, by the light of lanterns, made a detour through the woods, gained the pass, and were at work and in full possession when fifteen minutes later, the Fairhaven force arrived. This seems to decide the right-of-way in favor of the West Coast, and the Bennett Road will probably have to build further to the west.
      A Skagit News article made clear that SLS&E won the battle and the line also soon won the war for the route to Seattle because Bennett chose not to continue the effort. Thomas Earle and James McLeod (sometimes misspelled as Earl & McCloud) had 1,500 men in the field by then, joined by 300 men from the Smith Brothers. The Smith Brothers store in Sedro that we mentioned above was owned by that company. E&M also bought the townsite on the south shore of the Stillaguamish and planned to boom it under the name of Arlington, bypassing an earlier townsite a mile north at the forks of the river called Haller City.
      A week after that report, the San Francisco Bridge Co. announced that it was building a trestle over the Stillaguamish, and when they finished, they moved north and built a similar trestle with a draw span over the Skagit River, a half mile west of Cook's Sedro village. That trestle still stands today, the last legacy of the SLS&E. Secrecy ruled in all the railroad operations and the jockeying for position and investments, but rumors already started in 1890 that, whoever the real owner was, Northern Pacific investors pulled the strings.
      SLS&E's future was cloudy, as the Depression set in and weakened further the company's financial foundation. Although the line did not declare bankruptcy until 1896, the Illustrated History reported that NP's President Thomas Oakes announced on July 25, 1890, that NP had bought the majority of capital stock of SLS&E for $40 million. NP remained in control during the hard times of the 1890s even as SLS&E went bankrupt in 1896 and took control of the stock by 1892 and NP owned the line from then on, even after it was reorganized as the Seattle & International and then took on the Northern Pacific name in 1901. Of course, by then, James J. Hill had gained control of the NP, too, having bided his time since the NP itself fell into the hands of receivers back in 1893, but that is a different story.

James J. Hill in the driver's seat
      James J. Hill had a number of advantages over competing rail lines. When he amalgamated his St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba railroad and headed west from St. Paul, Minnesota in the early 1880s, he was the sole boss. Other lines had boards of directors and major investors who they had to coddle and consult for all major decisions.
      Hill also eschewed government land grants. His field agents and engineers built from one town to another, boomed the towns, attracted settlers and built feeder spurs to natural resources before they moved on. Those who met Hill in business negotiations often described him as a visionary, which was ironic because he had only one good eye, the result of an errant arrow during a childhood game of cowboys and Indians. The 1973 book, The Railroaders, describes him as "short and bandy-legged with a long torso, a huge chest, powerful arms and thick muscular neck . . . his good eye glared like the headlight of one of his locomotives."
      Hill had a firm goal in mind and he moved in a nearly straight line west instead of zigzagging across the map as the NP and UP did. That was one reason why the SLS&E was not a target for a Hill buyout, since their route from Seattle was planned to head towards Walla Walla rather than extending directly to Spokane and the wheat fields of the Palouse. Some sources also noted that the rails that SLS&E used on most of its route were only heavy enough to barely support a train, as a cost-saving device, a practice that Hill did not emulate. Hill envisioned a fleet of ships on which he would transfer wheat and other cargoes from the Midwest and then sail that cargo to ports in the Philippines, Japan and China.
      When 1890 dawned, he still had not made a firm decision about where to site his terminus. As noted above, some of his engineers favored crossing a North Cascades Pass and then continuing down the Skagit and up to Bellingham bay via the F&S, but the earlier survey apparently convinced Hill against that option. Several towns planned for the day when a transcontinental railroad company would choose their site for its end of the line on the Pacific Coast. An article in the Feb. 17, 1890, Skagit News of Mount Vernon announced that Hill had several parties of surveyors in the field between Seattle and Montana and that the towns of Blaine, Whatcom, Anacortes and Mukilteo and even villages on Whidbey Island like Holmes Harbor were all in the running for the line's terminus.
      Fairhaven and Port Townsend also competed and each competing town printed broadsides and flyers, crowing about their virtue. Hill visited several of the towns and enjoyed the hoopla but behind the scenes he assembled a company that could take advantage of any routes that would strengthen his position. His right-hand man in Washington was Col. W.P. Clough. An August 1913 issue of Railroad Age magazine noted that he was hired as legal counsel by NP in 1880 and rose to become vice president in 1887. In February 1890, when the new Great Northern company took over the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba properties, Clough became a director. Two years before he became president of Hill's Northern Steamship Co. in Wisconsin, which connected Buffalo, New York, with Duluth. For the next decade or more, steamships became a major focus for Hill, an even higher priority than a connecting line through Oregon to California.

(Drawing of old Sedro depot)
      This drawing of the Fairhaven & Southern depot in old Sedro is the only illustration we have from this perspective, looking east from McDonald avenue, the only business block in old Sedro. In other Sedro stories linked below, you can see the perspective looking north from Cook's wharf. The depot was described in various contemporary articles as being the most modern and attractive in the state at the time. The drawing was published in the Washington Magazine August 1890 issue, which you can see in the University of Washington Library archives..

Great Northern incorporates with the help of Thomas Burke
      Judge Thomas Burke was Hill's principal Seattle agent and the chief justice of the Washington Territory Supreme Court in 1888-89. Hill told Burke that the S&M company would be the "back of the railroad rake" that he intended to build in the West. Hill argued that GN required a vertical axis line from Port to Vancouver, B.C., which would then feed passenger and freight traffic east to St. Paul on the handle of the rake. Clough secretly visited Burke, one of the Seattle Establishment luminaries who were still smarting from the 1873 snub by NP, and asked Burke to head the efforts to obtain space for GN on the waterfront.
      On Feb. 1, 1890, Hill formed the Great Northern Railway as an amalgamation of all the lines that Hill had cobbled together over the years, based on the original St. Paul & Pacific line formed during Minnesota Territorial Days in 1853. Hunt & Kaylor wrote that Clough told reporters that he was in Seattle on vacation, but on March 7, 1890, he oversaw the incorporation of the Seattle & Montana Railroad, a company that was formed to "build a railroad from Seattle to the eastern boundary of the state and branch lines and lines of telegraph; to acquire other railroads and telegraphs; to build and sail steamships; to build wharves and bunkers . . ."
      Burke drafted an ordinance that allowed Hill and the S&M to connect land they acquired north of town at Smith Cove to other tideland property they had quietly purchased. The city council met behind closed doors to draft the plan and they also gave GN a 60-foot-wide swath of space on Railroad Avenue, under what is now the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Acting Seattle Mayor D.E. Durie signed the ordinance and later took some heat for his action when Burke hired him to edit the Seattle Telegraph newspaper.
      Whenever the NP attorneys like James McNaught tried to use their muscle against GN, Hill would make noises about how attractive Fairhaven and Bellingham Bay were. After months of exerting pressure through Clough and Burke, Hill finally arrived at Puget Sound on Sept. 17, 1890, and immediately played off Seattle versus Fairhaven. On that trip, he apparently decided that the King Street area would provide the best location for a grand station, but that was still 15 years away, after he replaced the Railroad Avenue route on the waterfront with a tunnel under the city.
      The next day after the S&M incorporation, Clough bought controlling interest in the F&S line from Bennett and Larrabee, assigning John J. Donovan the task of overseeing the construction. He did so in secret and the sale was not made public until July. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on March 8 that Hill had chosen Seattle and Elliott Bay for his terminus. Boosters of other cities did not give up, however, as they awaited a visit to the Sound by Hill himself.
      Hill was attracted to the F&S line for several reasons. First, the purchase kept it out of hostile hands such as NP. Second, it served as a hedge, should he decide to cross the Skagit Pass after all. That possibility was finally quashed later that summer. As early as 1887, Major Albert Bowman Rogers tried to find the best pass over the North Cascades as he searched west of Wenatchee and around Cady Pass, which E.F. Cady and E.C. Ferguson discovered 30 years prior. He was unsuccessful and the assignment passed to GN siting engineer John F. Stevens, who would become more famous in 1905 for his work with designing the big dig for the Panama Canal after the original chief engineer, John F. Wallace, failed to do so. Stevens discovered Marias Pass over the Rockies for Hill in 1889. Author Joann Roe describes in her 1995 book, Stevens Pass, how Stevens, after crawling on his hands and knees at times along the sharp ridges along the eastern side of the crest, finally found the pass, which would soon bear his name, with the help of an Indian guide.
      The third attraction of the F&S was Larrabee's interests in the Bennett mines. When Bennett and Larrabee sold the railroad in 1890, Larrabee bought out Bennett's interest in the Skagit Coal and Transportation Co. and expanded the 600-acre property, building 50 beehive coke-ovens over the next five years. Hill soon assigned construction crews to build the eastern wye of the tracks at Sedro, as Bennett had planned. They graded a route northeast from Sedro alongside a route is now a combination of Railroad Street and the old Minkler or Lyman highway, roads that were graded after the tracks were torn up around 1920. At a point called Cokedale Junction — with the S&N line, the line turned north and snaked up the hill to the mines. In the 1988 book, The Great Northern Railway, a History, by Ralph W. Hidy, et al, Hidy provides a detailed record of all track laying and removal by the company in all states, and the chart shows that the 5.8 miles of rail to the Cokedale Junction and up the hill to the mines was completed in 1891. Hill bought the mines from Larrabee in 1899 and the resulting Skagit Coal & Coke Co. operated continually until May 1904. In 1894 the mines and town around them took the name Cokedale.

F&S connection with British Columbia
      The last asset of the F&S line was the connection with British Columbia that was already underway before Hill bought the F&S. As the line was built towards Sedro, other crews carved out rail bed north to Blaine and a connection with the CPR, which had completed its transcontinental line across Canada in 1886. As we noted above, Canfield had begun a rail line back in 1888 from Bellingham Bay to Brownsville. B.C., an area on the south shore of the Fraser River. Canfield and B.C. interests earlier obtained a charter for the New Westminster Southern Railway on April 7, 1887, and began laying track southeasterly towards Blaine at the border.
      After Canfield's line from Whatcom to Blaine stalled once again, Bennett bought it sometime in 1889. Researching this route is confusing because different newspapers interchangeably called that line either the Fairhaven & Northern or the New Westminster Southern in various articles, or the W,BB&S in one article that Neil Roughley found. In Brian Griffin's book, Boulevard Park, you can see the map of proposed railroads by Allerton & McFarland that Griffin found after he bought attorney Thomas G. Newman's original home at 1027 16th Street north of Fairhaven. It shows that Bennett originally planned to extend a branch north from the roundhouse in Happy Valley and continue on an inland route on the east side of Sehome Hill, through Whatcom and then northwest to Blaine.
      When Bennett bought out Canfield's interests, however, little track had been laid, so the only real asset was the right-of-way along the Whatcom waterfront. Therefore, Bennett decided to build a trestle out over the Bay. A depot was erected at the corner of Ninth and Harris streets; Ninth is still one block long. The depot did not move to the waterfront until 1902 when Hill built the "Chuckanut Cut-Off" route that brought tracks up along the shore of Chuckanut Bay. You can read many details about the original 1890 trestle in Boulevard Park because the pilings serve as the foundation for part of the park's walkway out over the water. The track along the shoreline used the same right-of-way that the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Amtrak trains use today.
      On May 16, 1890, the Whatcom Reveille reported that the San Francisco Bridge Co. had been contracted to erect a 182-foot drawbridge for the train between Sehome and Whatcom "in front of the sawmill." On August 8, the same newspaper reported that the last pile had been driven, and by that time, the route was called the Great Northern. E.H. Beckler and J.J. Donovan served as field engineers, respectively, for the GN and F&S.
      As opposed to the earlier proposed route on the Newman map, the final route hugged the shoreline until it almost reached the Nooksack River, and then proceeded inland. The Fairhaven Weekly World announced on Oct. 11, 1890, that the first regular route between Fairhaven and Ferndale began that day with regular daily service from Fairhaven at 11:30 a.m. On Feb. 14, 1891, President Larrabee of the F&S and Vice-President John Hendry of the NWS drove the last spikes at Blaine where gaily decorated trains from both ends met to begin the connection between Fairhaven and .Brownsville On Aug. 12, 1891, Larrabee bought Bennett's Fairhaven interests for $495,954.50, signaling the end of Bennett's connection with the F&S, but he did retain interest in the Gas Company and other holdings. At that time, Larrabee shouldered the brunt of the disappointment by those in Fairhaven who had bet on a rosy railroad future. In her book, History of Whatcom County, Vol. II, Lottie Roeder Roth noted in a eulogy for lumberman Julius H. Bloedel,

      The Fairhaven boom was shattered, in 1891, when it was decided to make Seattle the terminus of the Great Northern. The reaction from the high tide of speculation was severe and was accentuated by the hard times which followed throughout the nation during the '90s. But while many of the stranded Fairhavenites met the changed conditions simply by bemoaning their fate and filling the columns of the local papers with doggerel attacks upon J. J. Hill and C. X. Larrabee as the authors of all their misfortunes, there were a few brave spirits who "carried on" and who, in time, wrested victory from defeat, not only for themselves but for the lasting welfare of Whatcom county and the cities of Bellingham bay.
      In one of Cyrus Gates's obituaries, the writer noted that both Larrabee and Gates remained deeply disappointed in Hill's decision, even though Larrabee's grandson cited a family letter that noted a business meeting between Hill and Larrabee at Larrabee's Fairhaven Hotel in 1908. As we will outline in another story, that local attitude towards Larrabee changed considerably after the nationwide Depression lifted at the turn of the century and after his considerable philanthropic generosity was observed and recognized.
      Meanwhile, Neil Roughley reports that the NWS was formally transferred to the GN on Sept. 9, 1891, with J.J. Hill in attendance. On October 12, the Seattle & Montana crews extended track north from Burlington to Belfast to meet the F&S track there and complete the link between Seattle and Brownsville, B.C., via Fairhaven. On Nov. 27 1891, a Seattle Chamber of Commerce excursion train steamed north for the formal opening of the line, stopping at Mount Vernon for a celebration, and then on to Brownsville after another celebration at the Fairhaven junction. The first regular service began between the two towns on December 7. Thus the F&S served as a very valuable tine on Hill's S&M rake.

(GN One Spot locomotive)
This is a photo of Puget Sound & Baker River locomotive "One-Spot," taken about 1912 when Al Stewart was the engineer for Great Northern. Courtesy of his granddaughter Julia Spray.

The Fairhaven & Southern ends in 1900-1902
      The present F&S Grade Road northwest of Sedro-Woolley follows the original F&S rail bed almost exactly as it extends northwest on a diagonal and then curves around Butler Hill to the Prairie Road and Jarman Prairie. We were surprised to learn from Hidy's Great Northern book that those tracks were torn up two years earlier than other histories had recorded.
      By 1900, Hill decided that most of the F&S line was redundant and during that year, all 14.66 miles of the track from Belfast southeast to Woolley and from the "wye" in Sedro northeast to Cokedale Junction were ripped up. The rails were probably soon used for the new stretch of track that the S&M laid along Chuckanut Bay. The only portions of the original F&S route near the Skagit that were retained were the tracks that ran southeast from the rail triangle where the F&S crossed the S&N and the NP just north of downtown Woolley, through Woolley down to the sawmills around the site of old Sedro, and the tracks from the Cokedale mines to a connection with the S&N at Cokedale Junction. Muddy wagon roads replaced the rails that were removed and they eventually evolved into the F&S Grade Road and the Minkler Highway of today. A 1953 issue of the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times reported that on Aug. 1, 1901, the fine old F&S depot in old Sedro was moved on a flatcar up to the S&N junction at Woolley, north of where the Gateway Hotel stands today.
      Hill survived the nationwide Depression of the mid-1890s pretty well, while many of his competitors did not. The last spike for the Great Northern line — the back of the rake as Hill called it, was driven near the town of Scenic, Washington, in the Cascades on Jan. 6, 1893, and the first overland train towards St. Paul, Minnesota, departed from Seattle on June 18, as the Depression was shutting down capital markets, banks and businesses all over the Sound.
      In 1902, S&M crew built a by-pass line northwest from the town of Belleville, north of Burlington, so that the new GN route turned and hugged the shoreline along the bay north of Blanchard all the way to Fairhaven. The Fairhaven Times reported on Feb. 28, 1903, that "The new Chuckanut cut-off is 18.55 miles long." For the next year the old section of F&S track southeast from Happy Valley was used for freight only as far south as "Yukon," the new name for the stop at Lake Samish, but by the end of 1903, that track was ripped up, too. We hope that a reader will know when the roundhouse at 24th Street in Happy Valley was finally torn down.
      The last stretch of F&S tracks from the wye to old Sedro was ripped out in 1937, 11 years after the fire at the Sedro Box & Veneer plant. Through the early 1950s a small diagonal section of track remained through Woolley as a spur to Johnson's Cannery, but by the late 1960s that was gone, too. The only track that remains today is the hundred yards or so that completes the triangle of track in Woolley, but the F&S remainder may have been a spur built to the Skagit Steel plant when it relocated there in 1910.
      Bennett was the first of the principals to die, on July 20, 1913, at the age of 69. His banks in New Whatcom and Tacoma failed during the Depression, but he went on to build landmarks in Tacoma, including the Tacoma Hotel that later became the nucleus of Stadium High School, the Palmer Cut-Off for the NP railroad and the Point Defiance Tunnel, which his wife had to complete after his death.
      C.X. Larrabee died at age 71 on Sept. 16, 1914, in Fairhaven. His brother, Samuel, had died five months earlier in Montana. Both C.X. and Fannie Larrabee, and Cyrus Gates left quite a legacy, including Larrabee State Park on Chuckanut drive, Larrabee Avenue and Larrabee School, the land for the Carnegie Library, along with the grand new home designed by Seattle architect Carl Gould, which his wife and family only occupied in 1915 after Larrabee's death and which has been maintained by Joel Douglas over the past four decades as Lairmont Manor. Larrabee had transformed the original FLC into Pacific Realty, which bought and sold property all over the county, and he was also one of the primary boosters and investors in the booming Pacific American Fisheries company of Fairhaven and Eliza Island from 1899 onwards.
      Edward M. Wilson died a year after Larrabee, on Aug. 31, 1915. James J. Hill resigned from business in 1907 and died on May 29, 1916, at age 78 in his own bed in his 38-room mansion in St. Paul. He died painfully from blood poisoning, the only illness to afflict him since his childhood accident. Edgar L. Cowgill died in Bellingham on March 18, 1931. John J. Donovan, the youngest of the group, survived them all, dying on Jan. 27, 1936, at age 78. He also made the longest lasting economic impact on the area, after his association with other rail lines, coal mines and timber companies, including his major role as vice president of the dominant Bloedel-Donovan Lumber Co. with partners Julius H. Bloedel and Peter Larson.

Photos of identical F&S and Great Northern depot, moved north to Woolley in 1901. Click on thumbnail below for a larger version
(F-S depot, old Sedro)
(Great Northern Depot)
(Wreck of Great Northern Depot)
Left: Old Sedro just north of Mortimer Cook's wharf and store, 1889-90. See the original depot to the right and, MacDonald Avenue, the business street of stores, saloons and hotels on the left. The photographer was standing at the site of the present log house and barbecue pits, looking north. Courtesy of Fairhaven Illustrated magazine, 1890. Center: Postcard showing the old F&S depot moved north of the present Gateway Hotel, circa 1920s or '30s. Looking west down the Great Northern tracks. Courtesy of Mike Aiken. Right: Photo of a derailment south of and next to the Great Northern/old F&S depot, circa 1920s. Unknown year.

Return to Part One of the F&S story, including: information on the alphabet soup of railroads of Whatcom and Skagit counties, the background of the F&S principals, including Nelson Bennett, C.X. Larrabee and John J. Donovan.

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Story posted July 20, 2001, updated Feb. 6, 2006, totally updated and revised June 28, 2008
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