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JoAnn Roe - The North Cascadians

Chapter 4 - Settlers and Gold in the Methow Valley

p. 34: In 1892, Alex Barron struck gold near Hart's Pass. He sold his claim to Eureka Mining Company of Anacortes. The boomtown of Barron sprang up around the claim, complete with saloons, stores and crude housing for 2,500 people. In the 1890s Colonel Thomas Hart built a road to Barron over the pass that now bears his name. At Deadhorse Point, the road consisted of planks fastened to the face of the rock with a 1,000 foot drop to the canyon below. The spot was named after a pack horse slipped on the plankway and tumbled into the chasm, pulling an entire pack train with him.

Chapter 6 - Revival of Bellingham

p. 44: In 1886, Banning Austin and five others explored the mountains searching for a wagon or railroad route from Bellingham through the North Cascades to the Ruby Creek mines. They discovered Austin Pass, between Mt Shuksan and Mt Baker, and crossed from the Nooksack to Skagit drainage.

p. 47: The depression of 1893 brought the Okanogan gold mines to a standstill.

Chapter 7 - The Cascade Wagon Road Fiasco

This chapter describes efforts to build a wagon road across the North Cascades from the Skagit River to the Methow River. After several false starts, attention focused on a route over Cascade Pass and Twisp Pass.

p. 49: The author writes: "Mining in the North Cascades was like picking buckshot out of a cougar's hide--a little here, a little there, with constant resistance."

p. 51: In May 1893, Banning Austin, R.M. Lyle and two others scouted a route up Ruth Creek over Hannegan Pass to Whatcom Pass. They reported that it was feasible to build a road to the Ruby Creek diggings over this route and work began immediately. By late 1893 a crude right-of-way had been cleared to within two miles of Hannegan Pass.

p. 52: In 1894, Bert Huntoon and a companion were sent by the State Road Commission to survey the south fork of the Nooksack River. Huntoon seems to have been a natural mountaineer. On July 13, he and his companion climbed Mt Baker one morning just to see the view.

p. 56: Around 1896 the State Road Commission, after surveying possible routes in the upper Skagit, concluded that the Skagit gorge was not a practical route. They settled upon the Cascade Pass route. In 1897 a road up the Cascade River was roughed out as far as Gilbert Landre's cabin. Although the wagon road never went any farther, it was shown on maps as State Highway #1 or the Cascade Wagon Road. Floods in 1897 took out most of the newly completed work along the Cascade River. In 1905, Joseph M. Snow, the first State Highway Commissioner, reported that almost all the money appropriated to that time for a road had been wasted.

Chapter 8 - The Counties Battle While the Mines Suffer

p. 61: The Chancellor Mine was one of the biggest developments in the Slate Creek area. It closed in 1907. While the mines were active, traffic over the Skagit Gorge trail sustained a few crude hotels, including one operated by Glee Davis's family near today's Diablo Lake.

Chapter 10 - Roads and Rails in the Methow Valley

p. 72: In 1905 the State designated a highway to be built along the Methow River from Pateros to Hart's Pass. The road was completed to Hart's Pass in 1909.

plate 23: Photo of Ed Kikendall with one of his sled dogs.

Chapter 12 - The Forest Rangers

p. 93: The author includes humorous excerpts from the memoirs of C.C McGuire, who became a Forest Ranger in 1909.

p. 100: In 1932, Clinton C. Clark of California proposed in The Pacific Crest Trailway that a trail be build from the Mexican to Canadian borders along the summit of the Sierras and Cascades. The idea was approved as a CCC project and much of the Cascade Crest Trail was completed by 1937.

Chapter 14 - Electrical Power and Politics

p. 116: This and the following chapter tell the story of the Skagit dams. Gorge Dam went into operation on September 14, 1924 (p. 123). Diablo Dam started producing power in November 1936 (p. 127). Ross Dam was formally accepted on August 18, 1949 (p. 138).

Chapter 17 - There Is Gold in the Mountains

p. 149: In 1916 and 1917 Charles and Hazard Ballard discovered the Azurite and Gold Hill mines. Little serious mining was done until 1929. By 1934 the mine was going strong and proposals were made to build a road from the mine to Diablo Dam to connect with the Skagit Valley road.

p. 150: The Azurite managers hired Stonebreaker Brothers and Johnson of Orofino, Idaho to supply the mine. In winter supplies were moved by dog teams and sleds handled by Ed and Charles Kikendall. Ed claimed he had "clumb trees on skis" and had run a trap line in the mountains since he was eight years old. The Kikendalls made weekly trips to the mine and back, either over Hart's Pass or the shorter, steeper Azurite Pass.

p. 155: In September 1934 the 801,000 acre North Cascades Primitive Area was created.

p. 156: The author describes avalanche incidents, including fatalities, that occurred at the Azurite and other mines in the 1930s.

p. 158: The New Light Mine was another large company in the area, but not as productive as the Azurite mine. In 1936, Skagit Valley boosters held their first annual "Cascade Days" to publicize their efforts to get a road built to the mines and thus to the Methow Valley.

p. 159: In January 1937, Fred White, a college boy working temporarily at the Azurite mine, was stricken with appendicitis. The author describes the effort by Ed Kikendall and others to bring him out by dog sled. White reached the Okanogan hospital too late and died after the operation. Later that winter two other men at the mine came down with symptoms of appendicitis and were rushed out. Both survived.

p. 162: In 1939 the Azurite mine suspended operation.

Chapter 18 - Publicity and Political Pressure Get Results

p. 166a: In 1940, highway promoters broke the stalemate about routings across the North Cascades that had persisted since the days of Alexander Ross (1814). L.D. Holloway persuaded other boosters to go along with the Forest Service and State Highway Department in scrapping forever the Cascade Pass highway idea and agreeing on a route across Rainy and Washington passes.

p. 166b: The author describes effects of the May 1948 flood of the Methow River.

p. 167: In 1953 the North Cascades Highway Association was formed. Boosters made plans for promotional and political campaigns. During the 1950s, requests were made for huge timber sales along the highway corridor. These proposals were used to support the need for a highway.

p. 172: In 1958-59, the State appropriated funds to build a highway from Diablo to Thunder Arm and to improve access roads on both sides of the mountains. Construction began in 1959.

Chapter 20 - Construction and Contention

p. 181: On September 15, 1960 the Glacier Peak Wilderness was created by Ezra T. Benson, Secretary of Agriculture.

Chapter 21 - East and West Are Joined

p. 189: On January 6, 1966 the North Cascades Study Team report was released. Its proposals included new wilderness areas and a North Cascades National Park. The Study Team envisioned the new road as a scenic highway, not an access for logging, mining or development.

p. 191: A rough pioneer road was completed by September 1968. On September 29, hundreds of four-wheel drive vehicles formed a caravan to make the first crossing and celebrate at the summit of Rainy Pass.

p. 192: On October 2, 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the North Cascades National Park bill.

p. 195: On September 2, 1972 the North Cascades Highway officially opened. The author writes: "The road no longer was to fill the needs of miners, ranchers, and lumbermen because, by the time it was finished, most of the North Cascades had been placed in some form of protected recreational status. Instead, the highway primarily provided access to a vast playground and afforded economic opportunities to the residents of foothill valleys in furnishing amenities to tourists."

p. 199: The Bibliography contains articles about the highway and efforts to designate park and wilderness areas in the North Cascades.

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Last Updated: Sat Nov 9 21:23:04 PST 2002