Ghost train a-comin’?


WEB 026 MarjorieIt was as if I had stepped back into time and was reliving 1909 all over again.  The day was hot.  Really hot.  Dust blew on the wind across my shoes and into my face as I and others walked across the hard ground before stepping onto the platform. 

Other passengers yet, were already waiting there in heat of this June day.

Depot Days 045

We were headed for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) going on in Seattle.  The group had assembled from all over the world, literally.  There was a doctor from London (Essex) England, a woman coming from Alabama named Suzanna, and there was me, Elfriede Schratzenstaller of Bavaria Germany. 

I was heading to Seattle thru the United States in order to meet up with my distant relatives who had safely made the journey before me and had started a beer brewing business just outside of Seattle.  There were many fields of hops growing in the Kent and Puyallup Valleys. 

ritaAtCleElumMy little dog’s name is “Willy”, short for Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.  I am a very long way from home and Willy’s company has been reassuring for me.

Neither Willy or I speak much English, but know enough hand motions to have made it this far.  We are now about a half-day’s journey outside of Seattle and the end of a long ride is close to an end.

Now flash forward.  Here we are all gathered at the South CleElum Station.  The lot of us are recreating the experience as the travelers would have had 100 years ago on their way thru this historic station which welcomed visitors to Washington State from all over the country and beyond!

Depot Days Telegraphers & Harry 035As part of our day, we interacted with talented Telegraphers who actually used equipment to send historic telegrams this day. 

There was a young “runner” who acted as delivery boy at the station, also in full costume and historical attitude.

Messenger Joey running

“Mr. Mark” was not only the MC at this point, but he was dressed as one of the conductors for the old railroad while others yet, dressed as the engineers.

WEB 009 Group SceneAfter a delightful lunch served up in the now air-conditioned station, we wandered back outside for a second look.  Gone were the famous rails that brought the crowds to and from Seattle.  In their place was now an interpretive walk. 

WEB 025 CabooseOver yonder, a lone car stood next to one of the historical buildings, seeming to call for the other cars, locamotive and caboose which were missing.  If you listened carefully, you could hear the tweet of the steam engine’s whistle and just swear the train was coming around the bend headed once again for the station!

What happened to the train?  As is the case of many of these powerhouses, they were sent to the wayside.  It is now finally, the next generation is looking back and yearning for a slower, quieter time of history when there were genteel men and women traveling along side perhaps some of the more unsavory members of the community, but all dressed in such incredible attire.

Want to see more pictures and learn details of the day?  Please go out toWEB 002 Harry visit Somewhere in Time, Unlimited (SITU – home page).  We are a historical costuming social group that holds 4 parties (Events) per year and participates in numerous community organized events (Dress-up Opportunities) during the year.  We’d love to have you come along sometime to enjoy the fun.

In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you hear the wail of that lonesome whistle near Cle Elum, Washington.  It’ll just be thunderous ghost steel headed for a beautifully restored Victorian South Cle Elum Station!

Depot front

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~ by situseattle on September 16, 2009.

2 Responses to “Ghost train a-comin’?”

  1. Now that Leavenworth has a train station once again it would be great to have you all come over the Cascades from Seattle for a day trip. We could even probably arrange to have a horse drawn carriage pick you up at the station.

    • Thank you so much for the offer! We LOVE coming to Leavenworth. When I get extra $ together, I’ll be buying a home there for sure.

      Now, as to actually visiting regularly in Leavenworth, here’s additional information of which you may not be aware:

      1. Several members of SITU had gone over in Sept 2009 and participated in the Autumn Leaf Parade. There might even be some photos of us taken by the Chamber. I have yet to post the rest of my own photos to the http://www.CostumingInSeattle.com website.
      2. We were back again on Dec 12th to enjoy the Christmas Lighting. My husband and I came in vintage furs and festive hats. Had a great time as usual. We’d hired a bus to take us from Seattle to Leavenworth.
      3. The regular Amtrak train that comes thru Leavenworth that is part of the Empire Builder, runs at the wrong time of day in order for Leavenworth to make decent profit from Seattlites who’d like to visit. On the Leavenworth side, arrives and leaves in the dark, so we’d have to spend many days in town to make it worth the while.
      4. TRICK would be if Amtrak, together with an organizer from Leavenworth, were to take over the Snow Train that has been monopolized by Alki Tours all these years. The cost of $149 per person is pretty steep in these economic times, when the Empire Builder is only about $30-50 to get to Leavenworth. Would I miss the entertainment or food on board? No. I’d rather have the deal on the ticket and bring my own sandwiches and juice.

      I wonder what sort of lobbying townfolk are doing in order to get us to come to town? It would make better sense to have festival-centric trains come to town with a smaller ticket price so that the excess $ in our wallets could be spent IN Leavenworth instead of on the ticket to get there. Just a concept.

      Say “Hi” to your Mayor. He and I have been in fast email/Blackberry conversations….

      Auf Wiedersehn!!!!

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