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Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Trip to Washington State

This symbol is the logo from The Great Northern Railway; it was an American Class I railroad. Running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, it was the creation of 19th century railroad tycoon James J. Hill and was developed from the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad. The Great Northern's route was the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the U.S. In 1881 Hill took over the 1856 charter of the Minneapolis & St. Cloud Railroad. He first used its franchises to build the Eastern Railway of Minnesota from Hinckley, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth. Its charter was liberal enough that he chose it as the vehicle for his line to the Pacific. He renamed the railroad the Great Northern Railway; the railway then leased the St. Paul Minnesota & Manitoba RR and assumed its operation. Hill decided to extend his railroad to Havre, Montana, west to the Pacific, specifically the Puget Sound at Seattle, Washington. He had briefly considered building to Portland, but it was already served by the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company and the Northern Pacific Railway. Hill's surveyors found an easy route through the Rockies over Marias Pass. The Great Northern was opened through to Seattle in 1893 using a temporary line over Stevens Pass. In 1900 the first Cascade Tunnel, 2.63 miles long, provided relief from the switchbacks and the 4 percent grades of the temporary line and lowered the summit of the line from 4,068 feet to 3,383
feet. As you can see in this image of a train going over a bridge over Deception Falls in Washington, today it is part of the BNSF Railroad:

The train in this post card belonged to the Great Northern Railway. It is going over the same bridge - maybe it has been upgraded - as the train in the picture above. They are both going over the bridge over Deception Falls, very close to where the golden spike of the most northern transcontinental railroad in the United States was driven. This is a description of Deception Falls I found on line:
"Lining the busy Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks, a block south of US-2, Skykomish is a quirky and engaging place that seems to belong somewhere else, some long time ago. Around eight miles east of Skykomish, a well-marked turnout along US-2 gives access to one of the region’s prettiest and most historically significant sites. On the north side of the highway, the parking area’s interpretive exhibits tell the story of the Great Northern Railroad, the transcontinental railroad which was completed on this spot in 1893. A plaque displays a photograph showing the driving of the traditional golden spike, while other exhibits discuss the construction and importance of the railroad in the growth of Puget Sound. If you’re not interested in railroad lore, head along the 100-yard-long paved trail that loops back under the highway to the powerful cascade of Deception Falls. Deception Creek crashes down a few steps, then glides over smooth rock under the highway and ends in a square, misty plunge before emptying into the Tye River. If you can stand the usually bone-chilling snowmelt, you’ll be pleased to find a number of deep and clean swimming holes in the area." The Falls are just over ½ mile long.

On the back of the post card it tells us that it was published by the Lowman & Hanford Company. The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City refers to them as the Lowman & Hanford Stationery & Printing Co. They were a "publisher of books, greeting cards, and view-cards depicting scenes from Washington State and Alaska."
They were started in 1898 but we are not sure when they stopped business. They are out of Seattle, Washington, a perfect location for publishing this post card (being only 66 miles from the falls).
Of note to me is the red postage stamp in the image above of the back of the post card. It is a two cent stamp. The sender had to use it because he was sending this post card to Switzerland. I am fascinated by the fact that this post card went from Everett, Washington to Switzerland, came back to the United States and is now in a collection in Canada. Very international!!

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.