The mystery of the elusive Veazie is best explained by how I got hooked on her and the many faces she revealed to us.
How the heck can a town not be rooted in one place? We are conditioned to think that communities pop up and then stay put. Not our Veazie!
Back last Fall I got a text from my metal detector friend Alan. He was working over in the Enumclaw Plateau searching for where this picture was taken.
He sent me this clip of a map explaining to me his confusion. Check it out and see if you see the same thing I do.
Do you see it? Veazie is on here twice! Both Alan and I had never seen this in all of our history searching and researching. And so begun a half year search that was anything but lineal.
Come along with me down the rabbit hole of “The Many Faces of Veazie”. For history’s sake I am going to go through what I found in chronological order. Not the order of my findings but the dates they existed or the dates we think they existed.
Research included several books; found close to 50 maps; Stomping around in the woods and along the old railroad; and created a White Paper. That was organized by date and topics like roads, coal mines, railroads and the maps!! Organized current day photos into excel workbooks by 100 foot increments along the abandoned Railroad. All that to keep track of what was what and where was what!
Enough of that… here we go. Jump high!! It is a deep hole.
The oldest formal maps of the area do not mention Coal Creek (the Community) which is the name of the greater area that included Veazie and Birch. Nor do these maps mention the two little towns. Veazie formed on the northern end of Coal Creek (the community) and to the south of Coal Creek (the creek). Birch is the small town that formed at the southern end of greater Coal Creek community. It disappeared like Veazie but there has never been a doubt about where it was located. Birch is the norm versus Veazie who is an anomaly.
Here is the 1889 Anderson Survey Maps. This was a typical map done by Township and Sections. It also notes ownership plus creeks and lakes. Below is the map for Township 20 North Range 7 East W.M.
We are going to concentrate on Sections 5, 6, 7 & 8 of this Township. I have added a red circle of where you need to focus for your first map on Veazie.
These 1889 maps don’t tell us a lot. Later on I used them to deep dive into the diversion of Coal Creek (the creek) and also when building a map of children’s families homes of the first Coal Creek School (see below more on this first school).
That takes us to an 1894 Anderson Map. I consider this the closest in time to the Veazie Logging Camp and Post Office that existed from 1890 to 1892. When we had all lost our heads over where the logging camp had been I kept returning to this one.
I have three pieces of this map to share. First will be the legend to help you interpret what the symbols mean. Then a wider view from Boise to Enumclaw to Veazie. Lastly, the one that will zero in on Veazie.
Veazie is in the upper center of this partial map. The diagonal line crossing the entire plateau is the Northern Pacific Railroad that was the mainline out of Tacoma and onward to the Midwest/Eastern United States. It was the mainline from 1887 to 1900. After they built the cut-off from Auburn to Palmer Junction it became a Branch Line with less services.
This is a great map. It shows us the fairly new roads and railroad in the area. Most of these exist today with only some minor modifications and re-routes. Veazie is located in only one place and that is in a triangle between the NPRR, Coal Creek (the creek) and the wagon road that connects Enumclaw (in the south) and Franklin Coal Mines (in the North).
Here is a now photo of where the NPRR crosses Coal Creek. This would be just to the NE of where Veazie is on this 1894 map
Veazie is noted as just a village or station on the railroad. It had lost it’s post office by this time. Both Birch and Enumclaw are noted as Post Office Towns. The valley is a big wetland swamp area because Coal Creek flows into the valley and eventually drains into Newaukum Creek (today the creek heads north to Fish Lake). Stay tuned for a later article on how we searched for months to find this first Veazie.
Moving on – 1905 and 1907 brings a treasure trove of information. We have the building of the Veazie School in 1905 and a survey of the area’s resources called Timber Cruiser Maps in 1907.
First we have the 1905 School. To get brushed up on the school situation of the area there is a section you can read in my first Veazie article The Elusive Veazie. Near the bottom of the article you will see my searching for the very original Coal Creek School and trying to wrap my head around where the community of Coal Creek was in relation to Veazie and Birch. I have to remind everyone that it is confusing when talking about the small creek Coal Creek and the wider community of Coal Creek that divided later into Veazie and Birch communities.
The very first school was documented by several folks. Clarence Bagley in his 1929 book “History of King County” describes the first school built as “a split cedar schoolhouse had been built in 1885 on the old Coal Creek Road about ¾ of a mile from the present settlement of the same name, school was held that same winter.”
From this description and other features I created a map showing where I believe this 1885 school was and the next two schools were located.
Those replacement schools are the 1905 Veazie School (upper big S) and the Birch school around 1893-94 (lower big S).
Below is one of the three photos I found of the 1905 Veazie School. From several maps we know exactly where it stood. This location is to this day still considered Veazie on current road maps. On that above 1913 USGS map the upper left Veazie is this location. Look close and you will see a little black square with a flag on it. That is the school.
As time went on this school was absorbed into the Enumclaw School District and closed. At some point the Moose Lodge acquired this building. It burned down in the 1960s and the lodge moved to an Enumclaw location.
Next is a taste of the Timber Cruiser Maps. These are the most beautiful maps. A glimpse into how things looked over 100 years ago. I keep referring to them over and over because of their detailed look at our area.
These maps were organized by Townships. They have a map of the entire area and then have individual maps and information by section. Below is the map of Township 20 North Range 7 East W.M.
The Veazie location with the school is on the border of sections 6 & 5. Look for the NPRR which is a red line in the upper left. Where that intersects with that section line is where the school and what today is the area we call Veazie today. Look close & you will see a black dot where the school was.
This next Timber Cruiser map is of section 6 and it gives you a clear idea of how detailed these maps are. Notice the school location.
Below is a snip of what this area looks like now. The school used to stand behind where that grey house is on the right. Fell hill is on the left. The railroad which is not visible runs from left to right and parallels the Veazie-Cumberland Road. We are on SE 392nd Street just before it’s intersection with the V-C Road.
How about another 1907 map of the area. This was also published by Anderson and documents land ownership, roads and the Northern Pacific Railroad. Veazie area is in the upper left corner where the Sections 5 & 6 join. Plus slightly north of where the railroad crosses over the main north south road that connects Enumclaw and Franklin.
Birch is marked but Veazie is not. It can be seen on the left side of section 18. Look close and one can see the platting of that little town who was hoping for prosperity along the railroad.
Wait – can’t leave 1907 without mentioning Coal Mining. Part of the promise of Veazie was both logging and coal mining. In an article in “Black Diamond Now – Veazie Boom or Bust” it mentions two dates in history that were important to the development of Veazie. Here are the two quotes:
Coal mine speculation and rich timber resources – and timber came first. The town was logged in 1886 before being settled. By 1890, the town had a post office only to be closed in 1892 when no coal had yet been found.
Somehow, the town hung on and a new vein of coal was eventually discovered in 1907, though it too appears to have been short lived.Black Diamond Now – June 15, 2016
I have done a bit of research around the coal mines of the area. Later I will write a more comprehensive article on all the details. So, I will leave you with a clip from 1909-10 Coal diagram from Coal Fields of King Co – by Evans in 1912. Remember Veazie where the school sat is on the border between section 5 & 6 Mid sections. On this map just like the 1907 ones Veazie is not listed. She was slowly slipping away into obscurity.
I love a good now and then comparison. To finish out this 1905-1910 era and the main feature the Veazie School here is a current photo of where that school was.
A few years later Kroll drew an updated map of the area. It is very similar to the 1907 Anderson. It has Birch but no Veazie. If you look close to the upper left corner you will see the school building noted but nothing else stands out in this corner of the world. Birch’s school is also noted. A big addition is the second railroad that parallels the Northern Pacific track. That new railroad is the Chicago Milwaukie St Paul Pacific Railroad (CM&PS RR).
The Chicago Milwaukie St Paul Pacific Railroad was completed to Tacoma around 1910. This was 10 years after the NP had become a Branch line instead of the Main line. It connected to the Weyerhaeuser/White River Logging Track east of Enumclaw at what is now called Enumclaw Junction. Milwaukee and Weyerhaeuser shared the same line into downtown Enumclaw where the Milwaukee terminated.
In my research the sources vary on the date this railroad opened. It varies from 1909 to 1911 with one stated April 2, 1911 as the date the depot was opened & the new RR was preparing their yard. There is truth in all of this and have to assume the railroad was operating at some capacity before the depot was opened.
This brings us to a few new faces of Veazie along these two railroads. In my prior article about what came first Veazie or the Railroad, I shared the NPRR plat maps. I am going to start with them and move along to the Milwaukie. Veazie is noted in five places along the railroads. Yes FIVE!
This map shows our target area of section 5 & 6 junction in Township 20, R7E. At the top is a carrot of information that drove a lot of searching activities. That is the Veazie Abandoned Station.
We have only a few clues on what the heck that meant. A neighbor (Kathy) in the 1970s had done some research on a small pile of rubble. They learned that it was a telegraph station along the railroad. That was when it was required to have one every so many miles. Every version of this map has it abandoned so one would assume this was very short lived around the time the NPRR was built starting in the mid 1880s.
Here is a photo of what this place looks like today. We are looking south and the old station would be on the left behind that blackberry brier and in front of the transmission line tower.
The second mention is Veazie Gravel Pit. I have to confess when I started down my Veazie rabbit hole I thought this was Fell Hill. That caused me to mis-orientate myself between this map and today’s current roads and landmarks. I was so wrong, there are actually two gravel pits in the area. They are this very early one noted on the old RR map and the Fell Hill quarry that was developed later and is still a periodically active.
Next is the NPRR Plat map that is north of this one. Cumberland and Sunset are still north of this and are on other map pages. Look to the bottom for what we seek.
Just a bit to the north of our abandoned station and across the track and road there is another Veazie. My belief this is an updated version of the railroad map. Maybe in the 1920s but it is hard to tell. These maps were ever changing as track, stops and depots changed.
This also brings us to the other spelling of Veazey. I have a long explanation from the great railroad aficionados. But not wanting to bore you this name will pass back and forth between the two railroads for years perpetuating the mis-spelling.
To recap before we go further, we have located five distinct Veazie locations. 1895 close to Coal Creek (the creek not the community), the school in 1905, and three NPRR map locations.
The Milwaukee also had plat maps which we can analyze and they reveal more Veazies! Here is the section showing our target area around sections 5, 6 and 8.
I have a bunch of detailed information around the Veazie stops on this railroad. It included timetable information that had distances from Enumclaw and Cumberland. I spent hours measuring out distances. Here is what I found.
The first stop for Veazie (this is #6 Veazie) was assigned when the Milwaukie first opened it’s rails. On the map above this original Milwaukie RR stop is the rectangle just to the left of the Section 5 marking. (top red circle) Here is my analysis of where this is:
The 1911 Milw time schedule has it 2.9M to Enumclaw Jct. / 2.5M to Cumberland pens out to a place just to the East-SE of the NPRR Veazie Gravel Pit. Today that would be on the south side of 392nd where the RR would have ran between Haystack & Fell Hill.Robin Adams Research calculations
I have pinpointed in today’s world this Veazie railroad stop is in a farm field. The Milwaukie railroad is no longer visible and the right of away has been sold to adjacent landowners. All the track is gone and in most places no one would know a railroad had been there.
I have taken a 1930s map from the King County Road Maintenance Map Vault and added all this information. It helps one get your bearings on where these things used to be. Note the yellow marks. Those are Fell Hill and Haystack.
This brings us to a full blown platform located where the 1913 USGS map showed a second Veazie. According to the Milwaukie Timetables the move happened for sure in 1919 but a correction was made in 1913. Because of the USGS map location I believe it happened in 1913 and the timetable got a corrected detail version in 1919.
Then it moved to the longer term location which is stated on the 1913 Milw time schedule as 2.3 M to Enumclaw and 3.1M to Cumberland. This is where 408th St crossed 295th Pl today. The Milw RR map says there is a platform there. Plus it had a 6 car spur which I can see on the RR map.Robin Adams Research calculations
The spot today where this platform stood is just two private roads crossing 408th Street. Like I mentioned earlier the rail is gone and one has to use a map & be looking for it to know it was even here about 80 years ago.
Time for a Veazie head count again. Before we looked at the Milwaukie two stops we had five. My math now has us at seven locations for Veazie. What the heck!!
This Veazie railroad stop Southeast of the old school carried on into the 30s. Here is a map showing what became known as Veazie Station.
Then the Milwaukie abandoned their railroad tracks and consolidated with the Northern Pacific on their tracks to the west. Veazie Station faded away as that transportation route disappeared.
When that happened an eighth Veazie spot was created. One of my fellow history searcher who specializes on railroads sent me the research he did on Veazie with one of his buddies. What they found was that in 1942 the railroads had set up the Veazie location sign right across from where the Fell Hill Quarry entrance is today. Here are the documents and maps that Dow and his buddy Map Kelley sent me.
Starting with the time table above I did more measurements to see where 3.4 miles from Enumclaw would be. It is exactly where Dow and Map Kelley said it was. Here are the two maps they made for me.
Here is a photo of this spot today. Not a lot to write home about with abandoned track and a hardly used rock quarry.
So my question is …. do we count this as Veazie number eight? It is pretty close to the 1905 School. Even so, seven or eight locations shows us that this little town was never much of a permanent town. It was more of a greater community that kept trying to find roots but in the end became lost to history.
Granted they are all in the general area but this does not fall into what you would call a town’s location. Why is Veazie playing with us and why is her history so forgotten? Bet we will never really know the why but there are a lot of clues left scattered about.
This is the third chapter on my Veazie findings. (links to the prior two are – The Elusive Veazie and Which was first? Veazie or the Railroad?. Like my other series, I will develop a directory of articles. Should have enough to do that very soon.
Remember Times are a changing. Blink and all will be changed. Literally, a town can disappear into the fog.