Each year, a group of horse riders known as the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons & Riders do a cross state ride, on the Milwaukee Road right of way across Washington State, now the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail. They start in Easton on May 21 and end in Tekoa near the Idaho line, 17 days later, on June 7. Unfortunately the 2020 ride will not happen because of the pandemic. For everyone staying safe at home, we are providing a virtual journey across the state and back in time on the same schedule. For the next 18 days, this site will post at least one historic photo from the Milwaukee Road covering the same territory covered by the trail riders, roughly 20 miles a day. We hope you enjoy the tour.
Before the ride starts, we’ll warm up with a few photos from locations along the trail west of Easton. Here are some photos of Cedar Falls. The Palouse to Cascades Trail starts at Cedar Falls, at the eastern edge of the City of Seattle watershed. We will begin our journey at Cedar Falls, spend the day here along Rattlesnake Lake and below Rattlesnake Mountain. This little community was originally known as Moncton. The name was later changed to Cedar Falls, honoring the Cedar River which flows through the watershed, down to Maple Valley and Renton, along the Milwaukee Road.
Cedar Falls had a depot with a train order operator, a brick electric substation, a small yard with limited facilities (like the sand house pictured behind the boxcab locomotive). There were three bungalows, or company houses for the substation operators and a bunkhouse. This was also the junction off the main line for the Everett Branch, serving Snoqualmie, Carnation, Duvall, and Monroe. Much of this scene is obliterated, the watershed taking over much of this territory, however the depot was disassembled and moved piece by piece. It now serves as a residence.
Tomorrow, May 20, we climb the Cascades, up Snoqualmie Pass to Rockdale and the Snoqualmie Tunnel.
Depot and yard at Cedar Falls, WA, in May 1964. Cascade Rail Foundation, Gary Oliver Collection
MILW EF-2 boxcab electric E-40 at Cedar Falls, WA on October 7, 1961. Gary Oliver photo in the Cascade Rail Foundation Gary Oliver Collection