We know there was a train station or rather a small depot close to the coal mines and town. Since there is next to nothing but a few memories and stray cement structures, it has been a big mystery as to where the train picked up and dropped off people and cargo.
We got real excited when my request to the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archives found this photo for us.
I had contacted the Archives hoping they had a photo of this depot not digitized. At first they told me they had put all of the Pacific Coast Railroad photos they had on-line. Then a few days later to our excitment and the archives too, one of their members had a photo. What you see above is what they scanned and sent me.
At this time it was the second known photo of Cedar Mountain. Here was the photo all of us had and thought that was all we could get. (Note: the photo at the very top was a new one too).
The Columbia & Puget Sound Railway (eventually sold to Pacific Coast) erected the depot around 1891. It was destroyed by fire in 1933. So, how old is the depot in our photo? Since there are two sets of track it must be after 1907 when the Milwaukee Road added their set. That is quite a span of years between 1907 & 33. I have been pondering how worn the building and dock look but I would only be guessing at this point.
Question or mystery is where was this depot located? Was it in the area close to the Jones Road Bridge or was it down by the townsite that was on what is now Seattle Public Utilities property? The main key is the background hills and how they have a slide scar plus taper off on the right. Some other clues are the river is not visible making one think it is on a hill up from the river. Here is a map I made of the what I think are potential locations. The numbering does not denote which one is my favorite but rather just from left to right.
This first one is a location that I was not 100% sure of but the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive’s guy thinks this makes sense. First look at this map from the 1930s of the Belmondo Reach area. At this time the area was used by the mine operation for staging. Look where the spur goes off from the main line.
This map is from before the depot burned down. About where the track spur starts is an old fence like post that supported a telephone pole. We found a metal sheet buried next to that. It is also far enough south that the trestle from the bridge would be out of the view. Look at the photos and check out the hill peeking out of the trees.
To give you a feel for this #1 spot here is a shot showing a bit of the area.
Just a bit north of this spot is the current modern Jones Road Bridge over the Cedar River. This next photo is from the 1940s. It is from the PNW Railroad Archives and shows a train emerging from under one of the older bridges and shows that trestle that gave access to the area.
Here is what the new bridge looks like now. A bit of a modernization change!!
I am not 100% sold on this spot. Here is #2 which is a little further south of this one but still in the Belmondo Reach park area.
The hill in the background looks a lot like the depot photo. It has the ridge lower on the right and there is a slide off to the left that the trees mask. Here is a view from a distance for perspective on the site. That bridge over the trail/old RR bed provides the current access into the park. #2 location is about where the blue stake is.
Another view of this #2 location is from the PNWRA. This time it is a 1958 photo of an excursion going by the Cedar Mountain Belmondo Reach area. We have debated what that wood structure on the bank between the railroad and the Maple Valley Highway is. I am betting it is a chute to load coal even though in 1958 the mines were closed. Thoughts? I am open to any comments on this.
Another option is our #3 location. The prior two are close to where the mines are and would facilitate shipping and passengers access to the industrial area. This next location is down by where the townsite was. It would service the store and hotel. See what you think.
Alan turned me onto this location. He did some work with google maps to find our location. Here is that creation he sent me.
Like #2 the ridge is lower on the right side. There is a slide area across the river but not as pronounced as the one by #2 & #1. Here is a look down the trail/RR bed. On the left is the location above. Further down the trail where the row of trees start is about where the store would have been. (building with x on 1889 photo)
All this makes one want to visit the area and see this all first hand. I took these photos mid-January and it is possible we have less foliage in the way of the ridge.
What do you think? I accept any and all comments. Perhaps someone else has a photo of the depot or knows of it’s location. That would make my day!!
One more thing I want to cover. The feature photo at the top of the article was another shot of Cedar Mountain about 1889 or so. It was sent to me by the Renton Museum. It seems to be before they built the store so it is certainly earlier than the other photo that is from 1889.
If you want to read more about my search for lost coal mines here is a link to my directory of articles.
Shoot me any questions or better yet any information you have to add. This is a never ending deep dig into 100 year old coal mine history.
Remember Times are a changing. Blink and all will be changed.