Rosalia Railroad History Presentation and History Hike – October 12

Railroad History Presentation

Join us for a railroad history presentation about the Spokane & Inland Empire Railway by Tom Hillebrandt at the Rosalia Community Center (located at 106 W. 7th Street, just off Whitman next to the grocery) on Saturday, October 12 at 1 p.m. Mr. Hillebrandt is author of Palouse Rails, Granger Railroads of the Inland Northwest.

For many years, citizens of Rosalia and other communities on the Palouse could catch a fast, clean, ‘interurban’ train into Spokane, and return the same day, for shopping or to conduct business. What we today call “light rail systems,” electrified passenger trains used to link suburban towns with nearby city centers, were once commonplace in the United States. Among these, the Palouse’s own Spokane & Inland Empire Railway was a fine example, and Rosalia was an important stop on that line. This presentation will discuss the S&IE and the important role it once played in transporting people, freight, and most importantly, wheat from the farmlands of the Palouse into Spokane, and beyond. Vintage photos of the electric passenger and freight operations, as well as later diesel-powered freight trains, will be shown, along with some discussion of these lines’ later disposition.

History Hike on Rosalia Bridges

After the presentation in town (about 2:30 p.m.), there will be a caravan of vehicles from Rosalia to Thunderhawk Ranch, 202 Pine City – Malden Road (the crossing of Pine City- Malden Road and the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail). Parking off the road is available on the driveway just west of the trail. The hike will follow the former Milwaukee Road, now the Palouse to Cascades Trail, over the concrete arch bridges to the site of a “daylighted” railroad tunnel, now a deep cut. The hike includes guided narrative with a display of historic views of the sites over the years. For the history hike, sturdy shoes are recommended for walking the gravel trail surface. The history hike is up to two miles round-trip. Permits for trail use are included in the guided tour. Light hospitality will be served.

Chili Lunch

Before the presentation, Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition will be hosting a chili lunch at Pinewood Cottage, 208 W 2nd St., Rosalia (one block west of Whitman Ave. near the Rodeo grounds). Lunch starts at noon. Donations will be accepted with proceeds going to support the Coalition.

This event is presented by Cascade Rail Foundation in cooperation with:

  • Whitman County Library System (Rosalia Branch)
  • Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition

For more information, contact Mark Borleske.

Photo by David E. Klawunder

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