Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company


Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company

infobox rail
railroad_name=Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company
logo_filename=
logo_size=
marks=
locale=Pacific County, Washington
start_year=1889
end_year=1930
gauge=3 ft (914 mm)
old_gauge=
hq_city=Ilwaco, Washington
The Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company operated a narrow gauge railroad ran for over forty years from the bar of the Columbia River up the Long Beach Peninsula to Nahcotta, Washington, on Willapa Bay. The line ran entirely in Pacific County, Washington, and had no connection to any outside rail line. The railroad had a number of nicknames, including the "Clamshell Railroad" and the "Irregular, Rambling and Never-Get-There Railroad."Hobbs, Nancy L., and Lucero, Donella J., "The Long Beach Peninsula", at 15, 28-29, Arcadia Publishing 2005 ISBN 0-7385-2995-8]

Initial Ownership and Related Companies

The initial owners of the company were Lewis Alfred Loomis, Jacob Kamm, I.W. Case, H.S. Gile, and B.A. Seaborg. L.A. Loomis was a pioneer on the Long Beach Peninsula. He had formed the Ilwaco Wharf Company in July, 1874.Robertson, Donald B., "Encyclopedia of Western Railroading - Volume III - Oregon and Washington," at 222, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID (1995) ISBN 0-8700-4366-8] . In addition to Loomis, incorporators of the Ilwaco Wharf Company included Robert Carruthers, George Johnson, Abraham Wing, and Captain J.H.D. Gray. They sold shares and raised $2,500 to build a pier and freighthouse on Baker's Bay at Ilwaco, near the mouth of the Columbia River. Later, on February 23, 1875, L.A. Loomis and some of the same incorporators of the Ilwaco Wharf Company incorporated the Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company, with the goal of buying a steamboat and running passengers and freight across the Columbia from Astoria to the Ilwaco wharf that they'd built. They sold stock again, raised $25,000 in working capital, and for $22,000, bought the steamboat "General Canby". [Feagans, Raymond J., "The Railroad that Ran by the Tide", at pages 8, 10 13, Howell-North Books, Berkeley, CA (1972) ISBN 0-8310-7094-3]

Other steamboats making the run to Ilwaco in the days before the railroad was built include the "U.S. Grant", the "R.R. Thompson", and the "General Miles". [Feagans, at 10, 14, and 17] . From 1884 to 1888, the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co. is reported to have put the "Alaskan" (sidewheeler) on the run from Portland to Ilwaco. [Affleck, at 7] .

For a number of years the company struggled to make a profit, relying on government mail and troop transport contracts, which did not pay much. Eventually L.A. Loomis and some of his fellow entrepreneurs settled on the idea of building a railroad to replace the stage coach line that they had used to make the connection between Ilwaco and points on the Long Beach Peninsula. Loomis and others incorporated the Ilwaco, Shoalwater Bay & Grays Harbor Railroad on November 23, 1883. Survey work was commissioned, to be done by Major A.F. Searles, of Portland. It was estimated that the railroad could be built for a cost of $5,000 per mile. This meant that it would take about $100,000 to build the railroad. The company's founders raised the money through sale of stock, which took several years to reach a level of capital where construction could begin. [Feagans, at 10-17]

Construction

The company could not locate a general contractor who would build the railroad for less than the company's total capitalization of $100,000, so the company decided to act as its own general contractor, and hire the Portland firm of Hawgood & Habersham as engineering consultants. Narrow gauge (three feet between the rails) was selected to save money on grading and other construction. Also, smaller and less expensive engines and cars could be used. The rails themselves, as well as one of the first engines, came from the Utah and Northern Railway, which had been made standard gauge in 1887. The rails were light, 35 pounds to the foot (52 kg/m). By 1888, the railroad had picked up some more used rolling stock from the Utah and Northern, and completed laying track to Long Beach. Construction began in April, 1888, starting at Ilwaco. The corporation was reorganized at about the same time, so that the Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company became the Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Company (incorporated August 16, 1888). Grading the rest of the line continued through the rest of 1888. The line had reached Long Beach by July 19, 1888. The northern terminus had been originally planned to be at place called New Saratoga, one-half mile south of Oysterville. It turned out that a better steamboat landing was at Nahcotta, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Oysterville, and so Nahcotta became the northern end of the line. By January 1889, grading was almost complete all the way to Nahcotta, however, the railroad had run out of money when the track only reached as far as Ocean Park. More funds were raised, and by May 1889, the railroad had been completed to Nahcotta, costing twice the originally estimated $100,000. [Feagans, at 19-27]

Operations on original Line

Frugality of management

The line was built with 35-pound per foot rail, which was too light for the equipment. Loomis as president was very frugal, especially on maintenance expenses. For example, even though there were several derailments caused by rotting cross-ties, Loomis refused to pay for any replacements unless he could punch a hole the tie with his walking stick. For all of these reasons, it took the train several hours to complete its run of only convert|15|mi|km. No trains ran on Sunday, at least in April 1905. [Feagans, at 37 and 46] The railroad's early operations attracted some criticism from a local newspaper, which in an 1896 purported "advertisement" for the railroad, stated among other things [Feagans, at 30, reprinting editorial from the "Pacific Journal"] :Quotation|Their Elegant Steam Tub Leaves Astoria every day that she can escape the eagle eye of the Inspectors. Passengers are required to furnish themselves with life preservers, and to take their own risks, and also a pair of stilts in case of low water on the spit.
Notice--A spotter is employed on every train, to prevent beach visitors from being robbed by the Ilwaco Councilmen and attorney, while en route through the city. Keep on the train and no danger need be apprehended from that source. Passengers alighting in Ilwaco do so at their own risk.|

Running by the tide

Because of the extreme shallow water at the railroad's dock in Ilwaco restricted steamboat access to times when it was permitted by the tide, for so long as the railroad's southern terminus was at Ilwaco, the railroad's schedule was based on the tide charts. For example, a schedule for April, 1905, shows times of departure from Astoria for the steamer "Nahcotta" as varying from as early as 5:00 a.m. to as late as 8:30 a.m. [Time schedule reprinted in Feagans, at 46.] Mills imagined the scene as follows:

teamboat connections

"See also Steamboats of Willapa Bay"The line made connections with steamboats at both ends. At Ilwaco, steamboats meeting the trains included, at various times, the "Ilwaco", "Suomi", "General Canby", "Nahcotta", and the "Ocean Wave". From 1894 to 1896, the company also put the naptha launch "Iris" on the Astoria-Ilwaco run. In 1898, the railroad commissioned the twin-propeller steamer "Nahcotta", built in Portland, Oregon in 1898 and after resolving some engine troubles, placed her on the Astoria-Ilwaco run.

After the line was acquired by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company in 1900, the company put the "T. J. Potter" on the route from Portland direct to Ilwaco to bring more vacationers to the Long Beach Peninsula. The new company also made improvements to line's trackage, which presumably resulted in the improvement of service so that it only took an hour to complete the train's journey from Ilwaco to Nahcotta. Presumably things had improved by 1905, when the railroad claimed to be able to make the run in just an hour from south to north. [Feagans, at 28, 31-35, 43, 46 and 49]
* [http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/transportation&CISOPTR=605&REC=19 Photo of side-wheeler "Ocean Wave"]
* [http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/transportation&CISOPTR=598&REC=18 Another photo of "Ocean Wave"]

At Nahcotta the propeller steamers "Shamrock" and "Reliable" would met the train at the end of the Nahcotta dock, and pick up passengers bound for South Bend across Willapa Bay. [Faber, Jim, "Steamer's Wake", pages 82-83 (including large photograph of "Shamrock"), Enetai Press, Seattle, WA (1985) ISBN 0-9615811-0-7] [Newell, Gordon, and Williamson, Joe, "Pacific Steamboats", page 192 (with photo of "Reliable"), Bonanza Books, New York, NY (1963)] In 1896, another steamer employed on the Willapa Bay run was the "Edgar". [Feagans, at 34, reprinting advertisement from the Washington Magazine]

Logging transport

Large logs were hauled out to the Ilwaco dock chained down to flat cars, one log to a car. There, they were dumped in Baker's Bay to be made into rafts for water transport to sawmills. [Feagans, at 51, with photo] Feagans also reports that very large logs were hauled on disconnect logging trucks, and provides a photo, but gives no date or location. [Feagans, at 50, with photo]

Personnel on original line

In 1891, the company's officers were L.A. Loomis, president, J.R. Goulter, secretary, and R.V. Egbert, Superintendent. Egbert left in 1895 and was replaced by Wallace Glover. Loomis and Coulter held their positions at least through 1896. [Feagans, at 32, 37, and 43]

Depots, stops and facilities on the original line

Stops on the line in 1896 in order from south to north were Ilwaco, Holman Station, Seaview, Long Beach, Tioga, Breakers Station, Pacific Park, Cranberry Station, Oceanside, Loomis,, Ocean Park, and Nahcotta.Asay, Jeff S., "Union Pacific Northwest -- The Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company", at 186-89, Pacific Fast Mail, Edmonds, WA 1991 ISBN 0-915713-21-7 (supplying a route map)]

Ilwaco

The railroad ran south down First Street in Ilwaco, and then out onto to a dock in Baker's Bay. Floating logs were stored behind log booms on the west side of the Ilwaco dock. [Feagans, at 33 and 52, publishing photographs of early Ilwaco harbor, from collections of "Pacific County Historical Society" and Ilwaco Tribune]

Holman Station

A water tank was located at Holman Station, which was also known as the Willows. [http://www.pacificcohistory.org/sw1989_4.htm#19 Weathers, Larry, "Place Names of Pacific County," The Sou'wester, Vol. 24, page 34, Pacific County Historical Society, South Bend, WA (1989) ISSN 0038-4984] ]

Black Lake

The railroad kept a cranberry warehouse at Black Lake, a little north of Ilwaco. [Feagans, at 15] Feagans states that this warehouse was built about March 1915, the same time that the second Nahcotta depot was built to replace the one that had been destroyed by fire in January of that year. [Feagans, at 80] Black Lake itself was sometimes called Johnson Lake or Whealdon's Pond. B.A. Seaborg, one of the founders of the Ilwaco railroad, had a sawmill on the lake, where he cut boards to make crates to pack the salmon he canned at his plant (called "Aberdeen Packing Company") on Main Street in Ilwaco.

eaview

There was only a platform and shed at Seaview until 1905 when a regular depot was built. That depot building still exists, and is now a restaurant. [ [http://www.depotrestaurantdining.com/aboutdepot.html The Depot Restaurant, Seaview, Washington] ]

Long Beach

"For further information see": Long Beach, Washington

The railroad's major destination was Long Beach, an early tourist trap, and location of a number of popular hotels, including the Tinker's Hotel and the Hotel Portland.

Breakers Station

The stop at the Breakers Hotel north of Long Beach was called "Breakers Station." There had been two hotels at this location, both built by Joseph M. Arthur, and both name the Breakers Hotel. The first Breakers Hotel, built in 1901, burned down in 1904. The second one, pictured in the images here, replaced it. The image at right shows the Breakers Hotel from the beach side looking east. The hotel was built just behind a sand dune, and the rail line ran between the hotel and the trees in the background. A promotional postcard for the second Breakers Hotel advertised it as the "social center of the summer season," with the "best ladies' orchestra," a "large dancing pavilion," and "practically fire-proof." Guests were encouraged to "buy your ticket and check your baggage at any O.R.& N Co. Ticket Office direct to Breakers Station"

Cranberry Station

Cranberry Station was the next stop north of The Breakers. Little is known about this stop, other than it presumably had something to do with cranberries.

Loomis Station

Loomis Station consisted of simply the mansion of Lewis A. Loomis, the founder and president of the line. The station was on the east side of the line. L.A. Loomis died in 1913, his mansion fell into disrepair, and the railroad ceased making stops at Loomis. [Feagans, at 31, publishing photograph from Mrs. Wilson collection showing train passing Loomis, with mansion, outbuildings, and a tower structure, purpose uncertain.]

Oceanside

Oceanside is reported to have been an unscheduled stop from 1908 to 1930.

Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station

The railroad also took the crew of the Klipsan Beach Life Saving Station to wherever a vessel might have stranded on the beach along the line. Occasional special runs were made to bring on-lookers to a wreck site, and weekly excursions were made to take vacationers to watch the lifeboat rescue drills at the Klipsan Beach Station. [ [http://www.pacificcohistory.org/sw2001_3.htm Weathers, Larry, "The Lifesavers of Klipsan," The Sou'wester, Vol. 37, No. 3, page 9, Pacific County Historical Society, South Bend, WA (Fall, 2001) ISSN 0038-4984] ] [Feagans, at 41]

Ocean Park

Ocean Park had been founded by Methodists as an alcohol-free summer community. It was much closer to the beach than it is today, because of sand accretion. The depot at Ocean Part was located on the east side of the tracks immediately to the north of a road crossing. There were several businesses in the area. The railroad transported boxes of canned razor clams from canneries at Ocean Park Park. The railroad also built a siding in Ocean Park for the Ilwaco Mill & Lumber Company. [Feagans, at 15, 25 and 37.]

Nahcotta

The railroad built a long dock out into deep water in Willapa Bay at Nahcotta. Willapa Bay was the location of a major oyster fishery, and transporting the harvested oysters south to Ilwaco, and eventually Portland, became a significant business of the railroad. The first Nahcotta depot was located just south of the tracks. The lading extended northwards from a freight door a few feet towards the track, which at that point had a stub switch. The railroad had a three-stall roundhouse, water tank, and a gallows turntable at Nahcotta. Businesses in Nahcotta included the Bayview (formerly the Morrison) Hotel, built in 1889, and the Nahcotta Hotel, and Morehead's general store. Most of Nahcotta's business district burned down on January 27, 1915, and was never rebuilt, a total insurance loss of $32,500. The railroad ran a train of volunteers to Nahcotta to fight the fire. Structures lost included the first Nahcotta depot, valued at $1,500 for insurance purposes. The railroad's car sheds survived, as did the cars inside. [Feagans, at 27, 40, 78-80]

Oysterville

Oysterville was not a stop on the original line. In 1890, citizens of Oysterville attempted to organize an extension of the railroad north from Nahcotta to improve business conditions there, but were not able to raise the funds to do so. [Feagans, at 29]

Improvements and extension under new management

In August, 1900, Loomis sold his stock to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, which assumed total control over the railroad, which had then total assets in rolling stock, track, and real property valued at $248,000. The new owners made a number improvements to the track and rolling stock of the railroad. Trains now ran faster and on time. The dock and railroad facilities at Nahcotta were improved. [Feagans, at 47, and 49-55] Two important safety items, air brakes and Janney couplers, were adopted in 1903. The railroad also got into the business of hauling logs from Nahcotta down to Ilwaco. The company acquired the steam tug "Flora Bell" to round up log tows on Willapa Bay and bring them to Nahcotta to be loaded onto trains bound for Ilwaco.

For a number of years there had been a plan by various persons and companies to build a standard gauge railroad all along the north bank of the Columbia from the ocean at Ilwaco to Wallula Gap near the junction of the Snake and the Columbia rivers. The first leg of this work was to be a railroad built along the north shore of the Columbia river from Ilwaco to Knappton, a small settlement 17 miles (27 km) to the east. The work was contracted out by the Columbia Valley Railroad, but it was supervised by the chief engineer of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. After various legal and survey matters settled the route (which actually ran inland from the Columbia shore), construction began in 1907 and was finally completed, following many legal and financial difficulties, in June, 1908, with a terminus at Megler.

The railroad never quite made it to Knappton, which was about one and a half miles further east. The most notable engineering feature of the extension was a tunnel, the only one on the line, blasted through the rock at Scarborough Head. This was right under an army coast defense facility known as Fort Columbia. A large dock, supposedly the largest on the Columbia was built at Megler. [Feagans, at 49-62] The tunnel was 910 feet (277 m) long and The dock was reported to measure convert|120|ft|m by convert|900|ft|m in area.

Operations on the extended line

Marine connections improved at south end of line

Entire trains would run out on the Megler dock to large depot to meet steamboats arriving from Portland or Astoria. Because the water was deep enough all the time at the Megler dock, the railroad was finally able to run independently of the tide. [Feagans, at 62.] In 1903, "T.J. Potter" made daily trips, departing from the Ash Street dock in Portland at 8:00 a.m. (1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, no run on Sundays). The heavily retouched photograph at right shows the Megler dock looking southeast.
* [http://digitum.washingtonhistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/genphotos&CISOPTR=237&CISOBOX=1&REC=5 "T. J. Potter" at Megler Dock] At this time, the Willapa Transportation Company was running both of their steamboats, the "Reliable" and the "Shamrock", on the run from South Bend to the Long Beach Peninsula, so that it was now possible to travel from South Bend by steamboat to Nahcotta, board the train and ride down to Megler, transfer to the "T. J. Potter", and travel on the "T. J. Potter" upriver to Portland. The fare for this was $4.25 one-way and $7.25 round trip. The only alternative route required transfer to the "Nahcotta", going south across the Columbia River to Astoria, and then boarding a train bound for Portland on the Astoria and Columbia Railroad. Since the rail trip from Astoria took as long to get to Portland as it took for the "T. J. Potter" to steam upriver, the alternative route was not favored. [Feagans, at 65]

Additional stops along extended line

A traveller from Portland would board the train right on the dock at Megler. The train then proceeded almost due west for about 1/2 mile around Point Ellice, where, after 1921, Captain Elving's ferries would dock. [http://content.wsulibs.wsu.edu/cgi-bin/viewer.exe?CISOROOT=/maps&CISOPTR=750&CISORESTMP=/site-templates/search_results.html&CISOVIEWTMP=/site-templates/item_viewer.html&CISOMODE=grid Astoria, Port of, Map of Astoria and Vicinity 1927 (accessed 12/8/07)] ]

Next, for about a mile, the railroad ran along flat bench next to the river until it reached McGowan, where the McGowan family had built a large dock and a cannery.. A passing track was built at McGowan. [Feagans, at 71] The railroad then entered the tunnel under [http://www.fortcanby.org/visit/columbia1.html Fort Columbia] . Just on the west end of tunnel was the small depot for the fort's needs. A long pier extended into the river from Fort Columbia, this is shown on the Corps of Engineers maps as the pier "QM", for quartermaster.

The next stop on the line was Chinook, where the railway ran through the streets of the small town. By 1927, an auto road had been built from Megler to Chinook and then to Ilwaco. This roadway ran parallel to the railway up to Chinook, where the railway then went inland somewhat to cross the Wallicut river.. Subsequent stops on the line's extension were Ellis, Wallicut, and a stop called China, after the large number of Chinese cannery workers who lived there.

Business reorganization and improvement with extension of line

Business increased substantly following the extension of the railroad. More passenger trains were run. Shipping of freight, particularly of raw logs increased greatly, until the Willapa Bay area was logged out a few years later. The extension had been built to allow ready conversion to standard gauge, by use of larger standard gauge cross-ties. However, by 1910, the Northern Pacific abandoned its plans to build out to the mouth of the Columbia on the north bank, and as a result the Ilwaco railroad never had any outside rail connection.

On December 23, 1910, the Union Pacific, the owner of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company reorganized its operations, and the Ilwaco railroad became officially known as the Ilwaco Division of the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company. The company then embarked on a publicity campaign to get more summer vacationers to travel to the Long Beach Peninsula. Improvements were also made to the rolling and floating stock of the company. Starting in the summer season of 1910 through 1913 (there was a slight dip in 1912 due to persistent bad weather at the beach), these efforts produced the most business the company had ever seen.

The summer of 1913 was the absolute peak for the railroad. The weather was good, a competitor resort had been destroyed by fire, and jetty projects at the mouth of the Columbia River required hauling passengers and freight. New facilities were built at Nahcotta and improvements were made to the station and trackage in Ilwaco. At this time, there were few automobiles on the Long Beach Peninsula. The railroad charged $68 to transport an automobile from Portland to Ilwaco. [Feagans, at 55, 67, and 69-76]

Decline and abandonment

After 1913, business fell off for the railroad, and would never come back to that peak. Even so, the owners continued to make some investments in the line, such as completing the relaying of the line with 56-pound rails all the way up to Nahcotta. A paved highway was completed from Portland to Astoria which caused river passenger traffic to fall off. The "T. J. Potter" was condemned at the start of the 1916 season and not replaced, which cut off direct water access to the Long Beach Peninsula from Portland (the source of most of the tourist business) to the railroad's dock at Megler. The railroad still ran the steamers "Harvest Queen" and "Nahcotta" down the Columbia until 1921, but apparently only on the Portland-Astoria run. This left only the previously-thought inferior route of taking a train from Portland to Astoria and then a steamboat (usually the "Nahcotta") to the Megler dock.Ruby, Robert H., and Brown, John A., "Ferryboats on the Columbia River", at 16, 17, 121 and 122(with photo of "Nahcotta"), Superior Publishing Co., Seattle, WA, 1974 (No ISBN; LoC Card number 74-75658)] [Feagans, at 78 and 80-81]

However, by 1920, the real competitor for the railroad had become the automobile. A paved highway on the south bank of the Columbia was completed in 1916, running from Portland to Astoria. On May 1, 1921, regular automobile ferry service was initiated from Astoria to a dock at McGowan to McGowan, west of railroad's dock at Megler and closer to the Long Beach Peninsula. Now people could drive their automobiles all the way to Astoria and onto a ferry to take them over to the Long Beach Peninsula, without the need of either railroad or steamboat.

Ferry traffic quickly rose, and the ferry company, owned by Captain Fritz S. Elving, rapidly built new ferries ("Tourist", "Tourist No. 2", and later, "Tourist No. 3") and dock facilities. The ferries departed from a specially-built dock at 14th Street in Astoria which included a ramp to allow rapid loading and unloading of automobiles. Pacific County, Washington helped out the Elving Company, giving them a $400 a year subsidy, and probably more importantly, building a road on pilings around the rocky promontory at Fort Columbia that the railroad had been forced to blast a tunnel through.; Feagans, at 83-86]

In 1926, the Union Pacific Railroad tried to best the Elving company by building their own automobile ferry, the "North Beach." Union Pacific had ferry slips built at Astoria and at Megler. Although the "North Beach" was a well-built vessel, launched on April 28, 1927 with fanfare, and making its first run on July 6, 1927, "North Beach" could never manage to compete with Captain Elving's boats. J.W. McGowan, a businessman of McGowan, owned stock in Elving's ferry company, and he made it difficult for the railroad to build a road over his property to their competing ferry dock at Megler. Union Pacific shut down ferry operations to Megler in September 1930 selling to one of its employees, claiming they'd lost $40,000 per year in the ferry business.; Feagans, at 87-92.]

Roads were extended and improved in the Long Beach Peninsula in the early 1920s. At the same time freight business fell off sharply for the railroad. Steamboat connections were lost both at Nahcotta and Columbia River terminals. Meanwhile, the railroad was still trying to pay the expenses for the expansion of the Megler facilities to accommodate the ferry enterprise. [Feagans, at 99-101, 107]

In 1925, motor truck operators in Astoria started using the ferries to transfer directly over to the Long Beach Peninsula which cut sharply into the railroad's freight business. The railroad calculated that the line had suffered losses of $300,000 from 1925 to 1928. Apparently the railroad then hit on the idea of forming a new subsidiary, the Astoria, North Shore and Willapa Harbor Railroad, selling stock in the railroad to local residents, and then using the proceeds from the stock sale to buy out its losing operation. Supposedly the new operation would return the route to profitability by operating cheaper small diesel-electric engines and cut its expenses by 90%. The plan also included a new ferry for motor traffic and used of trucks instead of rail to deliver freight. There were some problems with the legality of the stock proposal, as the sale could not proceed without the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Local opposition was high, and the plan eventually came to nothing.

This left abandonment of the line as the only realistic business option. In that time, abandonment of a common carrier's route required the consent of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Union Pacific sought this consent, and following a hearing, on July 12, 1930, the railroad obtained permission to abandon from the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. [Feagans, 108-09] Asay summed up the terrible financial condition of the railroad at this time:

The last train was run on September 9, 1930. Feagans describes the scene as follows:

By the summer of 1931, all the structures (save for the Megler terminal), the engines rolling stock of the railroad had been sold to a scrapping firm in Portland for $28,000, and the rails and ties ripped up from the roadbed. [Feagans, at 113-14]

The railroad route today

Since 1966, the Astoria-Megler Bridge has crossed the Columbia River, replacing the ferry lines. Its northern bridgehead is just about midway between McGowan and the site of the railway's Megler dock to the east.

Feagans in the early 1970s was able to trace many relics of the railroad. He was also able to interview people who well remembered the railroad and who had even worked on it. These sources may have helped Feagans as he traced down at least four passenger coaches that had been lifted off their trucks and converted into housing units in various locations in Long Beach. He located and photographed various artifacts including a baggage rack and an iron coach stove. Feagans also photographed the ruins of the trestle crossing the Wallacut river and the dock at Nahcotta, as well as places where the rails for whatever reason, had been left in place. [Feagans, at 118-27]

In March 2000, an inspection of the area showed surprisingly many structures still standing related to the railroad. The tunnel under Fort Columbia, widened and shortened, continues to be used by the highway. Fort Columbia itself continues to be maintained well as a state park. The Ilwaco freight depot, which was in a derelict state in the early 1970s, had been restored and permanently preserved as part of the Ilwaco Heritage Museum.

At Long Beach the old station survived as a pair of housing units. By the year 2000, the Long Beach Station had been purchased relocated to a park area by the city. As of March 25, 2000, the station was being reconstructed, as shown in the photo at left.

North of Long Beach, the life saving station still remains, although several remodeling efforts and overgrown shrubs and trees obscure the original architecture. The station has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The highway appears to pass at just about the same distance from the station as did the railway.

The Seaview depot still remains, but is converted into a restaurant. At Ocean Park, the railway ran in the street in front of the Taylor Hotel, built in 1887. The building was still standing and in good condition as of March, 2000, when it was called the Taylor Place. In Nahcotta, the depot built after the 1915 fire, still stands but is now (as of March 2000) a grocery store.

Rolling and floating stock

Locomotives

Passenger equipment

teamboats and other floating stock

"For further information, see" Steamboats associated with Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company.

Notes

ee also

* Pacific County, Washington
* Astoria, Oregon

Rolling Stock

* Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources

Maritime connections

*Columbia River Maritime Museum
*Steamboats of Willapa Bay

References

* MacGregor, Bruce, "The Birth of California Narrow Gauge: A Regional Study of the Technology of Thomas and Martin Carter", Stanford Press, Palo Alto, CA 2003 ISBN 0804735506

External links

Photographs

* [http://www.trainnet.org/Libraries/Lib014/ILWACO.gifIlwaco Railway Engine No. 2]
* [http://www.pacificcohistory.org/sw2003_4.htm Long term Nahcotta resident Lee Riley Osborne describes early days of Nahcotta, in an article including many photos of the Ilwaco Railroad at Nahcotta and other points, as well as the "T. J. Potter" and other vessels employed by the company]
* [http://www.chinookobserver.info/main.asp?SectionID=8&SubSectionID=116&TM=80563.05 Chinook Observer, Chinook Washington (historical photographs page)]

Websites

* [http://ilwaco-heritagemuseum.org/gallerytour.aspx Ilwaco Heritage Museum]


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