Copyright 1999 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AHGP
The Pacific Northwest as It is To-day - Education and Social State
- Its Towns,
Scenic Attractions and General Appearance.
EDUCATION AND SOCIAL STATE.
WE HAVE thus far presented mainly the facts in the physical development of the Pacific Northwest. It is inevitable in the case of a new country that its physical life demand the first attention. Forests must be felled, streams opened to navigation, roads laid out, the sod broken, crops sowed and reaped, and the body clothed and fed. Hence it is unreasonable to expect, as some Eastern visitors seem to, that the new regions of our country should be as fully provided with the elegancies of social life, and with the buildings, scientific apparatus, and all the other paraphernalia of education which previous generations have bequeathed to the older communities. The most important thing to ask in regard to a new community is: Has it the appreciation and desire of the higher things of life, such as education, public improvements, morality and the other necessary features of a highly civilized social condition? We can answer this question, not so much by the visible results as by the disposition of the people, the use that they make of their opportunities, and the speed with which they advance from the unavoidable meagerness of their first estate to the rich unfoldings of the future. Judged by this, the only just standard, the Pacific Northwest has kept its social and educational line even with its commercial and industrial. We have not, indeed, any Harvard or Cornell or Michigan University in our midst, with their millions of endowment, their palatial buildings, their libraries and their priceless cabinets of art and science. But - please make a note of this - New York and Massachusetts both fall below Oregon as to illiteracy and the relative amount spent for education.
The original settlers of the Pacific Northwest were mainly of the hardy frontier stock of the West. Illinois, Ohio, Iowa and Indiana furnished a great proportion of the pioneers of this country, though many came from Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky. They were usually men of more energy than polish, - of more hard "horse sense" than school training. Practical results were what they commonly looked for in life; and, like the typical American in general, they acquired originality, boldness, mental independence, and the ability to go across lots to conclusions and to frame new rules for their new circumstances. Such men's children almost always grow up, however, with a strong desire for education and social advancement. The rugged ancestral virtues become transformed by inheritance into a mental acumen and inquisitiveness which form the best material in the world for a solid, common-sense, practical kind of society. Such a society, with the ideas of education, of business, of general advancement which naturally grow out of it, is now in possession of the Pacific Northwest. The present time amply proves that the brawny hand of the "forties" can hold the pen and wield the brush and fashion the graceful building all the better for its early toil. The "hand of iron in the glove of silk" promises to have a fine exemplification in the development of this, the garden spot of the union. With increasing wealth and time has come the desire to acquire and practice the refined arts which go so far to enhance the worth of living.
During the past decade there has been, accordingly, a very great increase in the school facilities and the accompanying means of improving public taste and enjoyment. This has been illustrated by the erection of numerous public school buildings, city halls, beautiful churches, opera houses, and other tokens of the higher life of our people. Portland now contains the most beautiful and costly high school building in the United States west of the Missouri river. Salem abounds in fine public buildings. Seattle, tacoma and Spokane have costly and elaborate churches, schools and public buildings. In all of these places and many smaller ones, such as Astoria, The Dalles, Walla Walla and others, the last few years have witnessed the erection of many beautiful private residences. Some of these, of Portland in particular, are a matter of astonishment to visitors form the East who have thought of this as a wild, cowboy land, partly inhabited by savage Indians. It is indeed frequently said that the larger towns have more articles of luxury in their homes, such as pianos, organs, fine pictures, well-assorted books, etc., than most cities of the same size in older states. The churches are strong and rapidly growing. while there is, as might be expected in a new country, less of formal and conventional religion, and greater
freedom of speech and opinion, it may be questioned whether in the general tone of public morality, and the general observance of the vital principles of law and order, and unaffected piety, the Pacific Northwest is not equal to the Northeast.
Oregon, Washington and Idaho each has a well-arranged school system, and a good number of well-started colleges. These have not, in the nature of things, any great amount of endowment or very costly buildings, or very extensive scientific apparatus; but in thorough work in their fields, in wide-awake preparation for the greater number of pupils which are sure to come to them in the future, and in a general moulding influence on society, they may rank with the Harvard, the Yale, and the Oberlin of early times in the East. This country is going to develop faster, too, than the old states did; and in view of that we may justly expect the colleges to reach a degree of power and perfectness correspondingly sooner than did their prototypes in the East.
The public schools of Oregon have been for seven years under the efficient superintendence of Professor E.B. McElroy, and during the period of his incumbency have made great advance in attaining a systematic plan of working. The goal of Professor McElroy's efforts has been a regular graded system, by which any child of the state may proceed from the primary schools to the State University. The difficulties in the way of this have been those common to all new countries. The degree to which they have been overcome may well be a source of pride to the superintendent and of satisfaction to the sate. As now administered, the public schools of Oregon are in a fair way to reach the highest standard; and they furnish an added inducement to seekers of homes to establish themselves here. The crowning feature of the school system of Oregon is the State University. We present herewith a summary of the facts with regard to this institution taken from the excellent account in the last New Year's number of the Oregonian."
"The University of Oregon, as this school is called, is an institution of learning where the state offers the advantages of a higher education than is afforded by the common schools under state control. This school was founded and located at Eugene by an act of the oregon legislature at the session of 1872; and it was opened for the reception of students four years later. The school is endowed with the sum of eighty thousand dollars, realized from the sale of certain lands set apart by the general government for the founding of such a school in Oregon, and also with an endowment of fifty thousand dollars received from the hands of Henry Villard during his palmiest days. The other source of revenue of the school is the sum of five thousand dollars annually set apart by the state legislature for the support of this charge of the people, and the tuition received from those scholars in attendance at the institution who have not had the opportunity of availing themselves of the county scholarship entitling them to free entry to the institution.
"A diploma of graduation from the High School of Portland entitles the holder to admission to the State University without the formality of any further examination. Others applying for admission are subjected to a most rigid examination; and, if it is found that these applicants are in any way deficient in the requirements which entitle them to entry, they are relegated to the preparatory department of the school, where they submit to a thorough training before entering the college proper. The course of the school is most thorough; and the usual degrees conferred by any of the colleges East are obtained by the students here after completing the course. The charge of the affairs of the school is in the hands of a board of regents, consisting of twelve members, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate; and it is this board which has the power of granting diplomas and of conferring such degrees as other universities are disposed to grant.
"The faculty of the school includes nine teachers, with Professor John W. Johnson, A.M., an instructor of great learning, as president of the institution. The board of regents of the school includes the names of Honorable L.L. McArthur, of The Dalles; Honorable Henry Failing and the Honorable Matthew P. Deady, LL.D.., of Portland; S. Hamilton, of Roseburg; Honorable C.C. Beekman, of Jacksonville; Honorable R. Scott and Honorable R.S. Bean, of Eugene; and Honorable A. Bush, of Salem. The board is officered by Honorable Matthew P. Deady, President; Honorable J.J. Walton, Secretary; and Honorable A.G. Hovey, Treasurer.
"The university now has a good library, which contains at the present time about two hundred volumes. Henry Villard bought a part of these books at a cost of one thousand dollars. Four hundred dollars is the annual fund now received from the Villard fund for the purchase of books, which sum is now being expended for the purchase of books of reference for the institution. The library, through the efforts of the Honorable J.N. Dolph, has been made the depository of all the documents published by the general government at Washington. In the library rooms may also be found a large lot of magazines, reviews and other periodicals published in England and the United States. The university now has about two thousand dollars' worth of mathematical instruments. students in surveying and engineering, by means of the solar compass and the engineer's transit, can become acquainted with the practical field work in their department; and by means of the sextant and other instruments they can easily learn the observatory practice, to the sidereal clock, the forty-two-inch astronomical transit and the sextant; and with these instruments they will be able to find the latitude and longitude, as well as the exact solar time, of the university building by the methods used by astronomers and navigators.
"The apparatus belonging to the
department of physics and chemistry has cost the university more than three
thousand dollars; and, though such a collection of instruments can never
it affords greater facilities for the class illustrations than can be found elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. The departments of geology, mineralogy and natural history are provided with large and valuable collections to illustrate their teachings. Professor Condon's cabinet is already widely known on the coast, and is justly noted for the wonderful record of ORegon's former history. To these collections large additions of the Eastern and foreign minerals are yearly made; and the whole is freely used in illustrating truth to the classes taught in these departments. Tuition at this school is charged at the rate of forty dollars per year. There are no dormitories connected with the university. The degree of Bachelor of Arts is conferred on all who have completed the classical, the scientific or the English course.
"Each county in the state is entitled to one free scholarship in the collegiate department of the university, and an addition free scholarship for each member of the legislature and joint member of the legislative assembly to which such county shall at the time be entitled. Each student in the university pays merely the sum of ten dollars per year for incidentals. Some of the prominent members of the state are in the alumni of this university; and, from the time of the first graduation of a class in the year 1878, the college has continued to make constant and rapid advancement; and the school is to-day one of the leading educational institutions of the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to the State University, Oregon has also an Agricultural College. This is located at Corvallis, and is under the presidency of Professor B.L. Arnold. This important institution has, after various vicissitudes, come entirely under the control of the state; and, with the important addition to the resources of the fund from the government to carry on its work as the experimental agricultural station for Oregon, it may look forward to a most important and extended career of usefulness. New and beautiful buildings and an enlarged faculty, together with a superb farm of over a hundred acres, and with a suitable supply of the necessary apparatus for its work, all combine to make the outlook for the Agricultural College under the new régime highly satisfactory. Its regents desire to have it understood that this is to be a real training school for farmers. To secure this end, President Arnold spent a large amount of time in visiting the Eastern agricultural colleges, and has incorporated their best features in that of Corvallis. The labor feature is compulsory, and the fact made constantly prominent that practical farmers are to be the fruit of the institution.
Besides these institutions the state maintains schools for the blind and for the deaf and dumb at Salem. Orphan homes are also sustained at state expense at Portland and Salem. In addition to these, the state patronizes, as normal schools, the academies at Weston, Monmouth, Drain and Ashland.
The private colleges, academies and seminaries of Oregon are numerous and well conducted. In upholding the banner of higher education, they have performed a work whose momentous consequences cannot be estimated. We giver here a list of these, large and small, new and old:
Academy of the Sacred Heart; Willamette University; Salem. Academy of Perpetual Help; Albany Collegiate Institute: Albany. Academy of Mary Immaculate; St. Mary's Academy; Wasco Independent Academy: The Dalles. Academy of Holy Names, Jesus and Mary: East Portland. Ascension Seminary; Leighton Academy: Cove. Bethel Academy: Bethel. Bishop Scott Military Academy; Columbia Commercial College; Independent German School; Medical College of Willamette University; Medical College of State University; Portland Business College; St. Mary's Academy; St. Helen's Hall; St. Michael's College; Sacred Heart School: Portland. Drain Academy; State Normal School: drain. Friends' Pacific Academy: Newberg. Grace Church Parish School: Astoria. Jefferson Institute: Jefferson. La Creole Academic Institute: Dallas. Linnean Academy: Harrisburg. McMinnville College: McMinnville. Mount Angel College: Mount Angel. Notre Dame Academy: Baker City. Pacific University and Tualatin Academy: Forest Grove. St. Mary's Academy: Jacksonville. Santiam Academy: lebanon. St. Paul's Academy: St. Paul. St. Scholastica's Convent School: Gervais. St. Joseph's Academy: Pendleton. St. John's School: ORegon City. State Agricultural College: Corvallis. State Normal School: Monmouth. State Normal School: Ashland, State Normal school: Weston. University of ORegon: Eugene City. Umpqua Academy: Wilbur. Verboort's Visitation School: Cornelius.
Of the private institutions, the Willamette University at Salem is the oldest, largest and best provided with buildings. Its beginning was the Oregon Mission Manual Labor School, established in 1834 by Jason and Daniel Lee. It was not formally incorporated as a university until 1853. Its present executive is Reverend thomas Van Scoy. In all its various departments and correlated academies, it employs thirty professors, and has over four hundred students. Its graduates number over four hundred, a number largely in excess of that of any other in the Pacific Northwest. Pacific University at Forest Grove, founded as an academy in 1843 and advanced to a university in 1854, enjoys the distinction of having the largest library and the most endowment of any of the private institutions. McMinnville College has the largest and most costly single building, and is well attended by a large number of students. The Bishop Scott Grammar School of Portland is distinguished for providing an excellent military training in addition to thorough work in other departments.
Our decreasing space warns us,
however, that we must not add more, interesting though it might be and
due as it is, to describing the special features of these institutions.
The general public school system of Washington is similar to that of Oregon,
modeled after those of the most progressive states, such as Illinois, Massachusetts,
California and Kansas. It is most ably superintended by Superintendent
Morgan. Washington, too, has its quota of private schools. The people of
the various places where these are located take great pride in their advancement,
and both by sympathy and encouragement, as well as material support, assist
them. The names and locations of these instructions are given below.
The State University, located in Seattle, is mainly supported by the state, the legislature appropriating something over ten thousand dollars every two years for its maintenance. It was erected in 1855. There are now in attendance ninety-two female and one hundred and nine male students, a total of two hundred and one. There are three thousand books and one thousand pamphlets in the library, besides several valuable cabinets. Whitman College, in Walla Walla, has one hundred and ninety students of both sexes, and a library of two thousand, nine hundred books, and two thousand pamphlets and a choice cabinet.
there are also the following institutions: Waitsburg Academy; Spokane Business College; Olympia Collegiate Institute; Washington College; The Annie Wright Seminary (female): Tacoma. Empire Business College; St. Paul's School: Walla Walla. Colfax College; Academy of the Holy Name: Seattle. Washington Seminary: Huntsville. Chehalis Valley Academy; Catholic School: Vancouver. School of Languages: Walla Walla; and excellent institutions in Ellensburg, Cheney, Coupeville, Lynden and other places.
The Methodist University, to be erected under the auspices of the Methodist church, will be probably, the leading educational institution of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. It will be erected in Tacoma, the citizens of which town have subscribed a bonus of seventy-five thousand dollars in cash and land.
The schools of Idaho are, in view of the youth of the territory, in a most flourishing condition Like their older brethren of Oregona nd Washington, the Idahoans are true to the general American instinct to bring the fundamentals of learning within the reach of every child in the commonwealth. Their schools are administered in the same general way as those of Washington. The larger cities of Idaho, as Hailey, boise, Wardner and Ketchum, are considering their age, remarkably well provided with institutions of learning. A very important step in educational matters has just been taken by the Idaho legislature, and that is the establishment of a territorial university. This will be located at Moscow, in the most fertile part of the farming country of Northwestern Idaho.
In conclusion, we may truthfully say that the educational, social and ethical forces of the Pacific Northwest have been established on a broad basis, and wait but the fullness of time to equal those of the most favored parts of the country. The homeseeker who desires for his children those fundamentals of life, - intelligence and morality, - may plant himself in the Pacific Northwest in the full assurance that here, as far as exterior conditions can secure them, they may be found.
TOWNS, SCENIC ATTRACTIONS AND GENERAL APPEARANCE.
And now, gentle reader, as well as ungentle, if such there be; scientific as well as speculative; hard-headed railroad man as well as beauty-loving artist; hard-handed emigrant as well as plethoric-pursed tourist; keen-eyed and sharp-nosed trader looking to see if "there is anything in it," as well as esthetic dreamer, seeking the novel in scenery and life, - we have given you the "frozen facts" in regard to the Pacific Northwest; and, if you will now kindly accept us as escort, we will journey through the regions already made familiar to you in a general way by our various chapters of history, biography and descriptive matter. Before starting on this trip, spread out your map again and recall what you have already learned of the general contour of the country and its lines of transportation.
There are six chief centers of oscillation in the Pacific Northwest. From them radiate railroads, wagon roads, steamboat lines and Cayuse trails ad infinitum; and from them and their outlying dependencies we can frame a picture of the country which the limits of our space precludes extending to all points. These six centers of oscillation are Portland in the West, Ashland in the South, Walla Walla in the East, Baker City in the Southeast, Spokane in the Northeast, and in the Northwest - but here we hesitate - far be it from us to decide whether Tacoma or Seattle is to be considered the center of the empire of the Sound. Even a humble journalist may well tread cautiously on such volcanic ground as a comparison of the respective merits of these two cities of destiny. Let us avoid peril by waiving the question for the time being, and contemplating the two places as revolving around a common center midway between. To the quill-driver of the twentieth century we relegate the ultimate decision.
We may divide our tour into three natural sections, over three separate lines of railroad, - first, over the Northern Pacific from the eastern boundary through the Sound to Portland. The second is by the Southern Pacific from Portland to Ashland and return. the third is from Portland again by the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company and the Oregon Short Line to Eastern Oregona nd Washington and Southern idaho. Let us make this round of say two thousand miles (let not the distance startle the reader from the effete and limited East), in the flower months of April or May. This is early for the tourist travel, but not too soon to see the great valley of the Columbia in its rich splendor of spring garniture, and in the glad budding and sprouting of its forthcoming harvest, ere the arid summer has stained the fair landscape with smoke, and the light soil, driven by the fresh gales of the west, has dulled the vernal bloom.
Suppose we have left the multitudinous
interests of the East, have traversed the fantastic freaks with which Nature
has signalized her presence in the "Bad Lands," have journeyed up the flat
and fertile though wintry valley of the Yellowstone, have thence pierced
the crest of the Rockies, have threaded the
uncounted cañons and ridges with which the great range lets itself down to the level of the Columbia Plains, and winding along the timbered heights which encircle Coeur d'Alene Lake we find ourselves upon the border of the treeless and undulating, though infinitely diversified, prairie which extends thence westward to the summit of the Cascades! We observe that the greater part of Northern Idaho is very rugged, and that but small patches are suitable for agriculture. But it contains within its wild and savage scenery what has, for the time at least, a greater value than the richest farms; for as we pass Heron, Rathdrum, and the other little places between the eastern boundary of Idaho and Spokane Falls, we perceive that we are near a great mining region. This is none other than the world-famous Coeur d'Alene mines.
The mines lie some distance south of the railroad; yet their proximity is sufficiently obvious from the mining implements which we notice around the stations, from the numerous mining "sharps" who board the train bound for Spokane Falls or the Sound, and from the excited, extravagant style of talk about "big strikes," etc., which seem to be inseparable from mining countries. In the wild and almost inaccessible defiles of the Coeur d'Alene Mountain, Nature has treasured up some of her richest deposits of gold and silver; and there have sprung into sudden being a number of booming towns, of which Wardner is the chief, the whole aim of whose existence is to uncover the precious deposits. Access to the mines is now rendered easy by railroad lines, as well as by the beautiful steamboat route across coeur d'Alene Lake and up the St. Joseph river. Both the Northern and Union Pacific Railroads recognize the future immensity of the trade from the mines, and both are completing lines to them.
As with other mining regions, the Coeur d'Alene has its tales of sudden fortune to rival those of Monte-Christo. The half-starved prospector who went in yesterday on foot with a pack on his back, a rifle in one hand and a frying-pan in the other, will come out to-morrow with a train-load of bullion, and the next day, arrayed in plug hat, diamond pin and gold-headed cane, will walk among the millionaires of Spokane Falls, Portland or San Francisco.
The experiences of Mr. N.S. Kellogg, the discoverer of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines, the opening of which may be said to have fairly begun mining on the Coeur d'Alene, is a good illustration. He was an old California miner, but, through many years of adventure and hard work, failed of realizing the fascinating yet illusive dream of wealth. Becoming convinced of the hidden wealth of the Coeur d'Alenes he spent the summer of 1885 in prospecting; but the whole summer passed without a strike. The early and snowy autumn of that high altitude soon made it plain that what he might accomplish he must do quickly. Determining to make one more effort before he gave it up, he found himself one biting October day on a bleak and snowy jag of mountain with no companion but a donkey, confronting the fact that he had no provisions for self or beast, and that the gray and lowering sky portended a furious storm. Sitting down on a rock to meditate on the mutations of fortune, his donkey went off a little way and began to paw the snow in the hope of finding some grass underneath. In doing this he pawed up some fragments of rock. Glancing at these carelessly, the keen eye of the old miner was suddenly riveted to them, for they looked like ore. Quickly seizing a piece, with his blood on fire with excitement, he found that his sight had not deceived him. It was ore of the richest kind. That night a happy though very hungry miner, with a small and exceedingly hungry donkey, picked his way through the snowstorm to Wardner. Subsequently disposing of half of his "find" to Portland capitalists, and now enjoying an income of five or six thousand dollars a month from the remainder, Mr. Kellogg can afford to clothe his faithful donkey in purple and fine linen (metaphorically speaking) and to keep him on the fat of the land.
This brief glimpse at the Coeur d'Alene would be incomplete without at least a word about the wonderous scenic attractions of the Lake. Walled round with rocky ramparts, whose hues of sapphire and purple and lapis lazuli mingle with the saffron and carmine of the sky, it bears upon its own changing surface such marvels of coloring and rippling light that we think of Poe's castle, how "Banners yellow, golden, glorious, on its ramparts float and flow." The day is now near when the attractions of this lake for tourist, artist, hunter and fisherman will be fully recognized. Its waters abound with the finest kinds of fish; and on its shores are all manner of birds, deer, bear and elk innumerable. Compared to its wild and inexhaustible charms, the resorts of the crowded east are tame indeed.
And now the outlying network of mining gulches and grazing land being passed, we find ourselves within reach of the centrifugal power of the great city of the Upper Columbia basin. This is Spokane Falls. Our Eastern friends have been hearing of this all the way from Chicago. Its first appearance is very prepossing. It lies on both sides of the rushing Spokane, which here falls about one hundred and thirty feet in a mile of distance, the greatest fall in any one place being about forty feet. The water power represents in its lowest stage the power of ninety thousand horses, being somewhat in excess of that of the Mississippi at Minneapolis. On the south of the river the land rises steeply, and is much broken with volcanic rocks of the most picturesque form to the height of about two hundred feet. On the north side of the river a beautiful and level, though gravelly, plain extends four miles to a bench which corresponds in height and general structure to that on the south side. Distant mountains of the most majestic height and form, and of the most beautiful coloring, are the fitting background of a scene which has witnessed the most extraordinary transformation in its human accompaniments of any within the limits of Washington.
Ten years ago there were living
beside the falls of the Spokane a hundred people. There are now fifteen
thousand. Ten years ago there were standing there a blacksmith shop, a
store, a postoffice, a
saloon and a dozen or two ramshackle houses. The last year (1888) beheld the erection of thirteen hundred buildings, one of which cost two hundred thousand dollars. As one goes down its spacious streets, a hundred feet wide, and contemplates its massive blocks of brick and stone, and sees its tasteful and costly residences, its horse-cars and motor lines, its numerous bridges, it metropolitan stores and its gigantic mills, he has to rub his eyes and ask himself if he has not in some way become transmogrified, and is not in the city of Chicago or St. Paul. Much use is made of granite in the newer buildings, and this gives to the city a greater appearance of stability and massiveness than is seen in any other place in the entire Northwest. Great effort has been made during the last year to put the streets in first-class condition, the sum of two hundred and fourteen thousand, three hundred and forty-four dollars having been employed for this purpose alone. Just as this volume was going to press, about forty of its most elegant blocks were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of nearly ten million dollars; but with great pluck and energy the citizens are rebuilding their ruined city.
Spokane possesses the almost incalculable advantage in these days of monopolies of having two rival railroads. These are the Northern Pacific and the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern. The former has, in addition to its main line, branch lines to the Coeur d'Alene mines, and to the great agricultural country southward. The latter is to go, when completed, from Seattle through the coal fields of the Cascade Mountains, and over the vast and as yet undeveloped farming lands of the Big Bend to Spokane, and thence onward to some Eastern connection. The prospective rivalries of these two great systems have partly caused the wonderful development of the latter city. This development seems indeed unaccountable at first sight, especially as the resources of the city are not at once visible. But a few days devoted to a topography of the country in general, will make it plain to anyone that Spokane Falls is the natural center of the Upper Columbia basin, and as such is already beyond the reach of competition. It is, moreover, the natural point of junction of five great lines of enterprise, in each of which there is an unlimited possibility of expansion. These are manufacturing, agriculture, mining, stock-raising and milling.
Spokane Falls is the natural point of exchange for these future colossal interests. While it is undeniably true that the growth of the city thus far has been mainly prospective, yet so morally sure of realization are those prospects that there is nothing fictitious about the growth of the place. One of the most picturesque features of this city is the frequent abrupt piles of volcanic rock which adorn the southern side. They vary from the size of a hay-cock to a bold precipice a hundred feet high; and so advantageously are they disposed that, without materially impeding the use of the streets, they can be so employed in laying off buildings and grounds that they are a unique and ever-varied element in the physiognomy of the town. But you must not neglect to see the farming country contiguous to the city. You must go twenty miles to see it. Nor can you see anything of it from the main line of the railroad. This lies, unfortunately, in a wretched strip of swamp and straggling timber; and unless the stranger be informed, he is likely to get a very unfavorable impression of the whole region. To the end that we may dissipate this impression, we would take a round on the Spokane & Palouse branch. This leaves the main line of the Northern at Marshall, twelve miles south of Spokane Falls. It carries us over the great prairie of Hangman creek and the Palouse, vast in extent, of unsurpassed fertility, genial in climate, abounding in springs of pure water, fringed here and there with timber from the picturesque mountains on the east, attractive, even fascinating in its whole appearance. Do not be disconcerted by the hilly character of these great plains. It is not sufficiently so as to interfere with cultivation, while the advantages in drainage and diversity of crops and times of plowing are so great as to quite overbalance any possible disadvantages. There is also less liability to spring frosts, which on the flats are frequently destructive. It is said, too, that the hillier the land the richer it is. You will see sundry little downs along the line of railroad, as nerve centers, such as Spangle, Rosalia, Belmont, Oaksdale, Garfield, Farmington and Palouse City. The chief place, however, between Spokane Falls and Walla Walla, is Colfax. This we find a bustling and pleasant little city of two thousand people, the county-seat of Whitman county, strung along the cañon at the confluence of the two branches of the Palouse. In spite of the depressed location, the people have so taken advantage of it as to show many attractive homes, while in the business part many substantial bricks have taken the place of the flimsy structures which, in the manner of our new towns in general, at first occupied it.
This vast plain, lying between the Snake river on the south and the Spokane on the north, is the largest and, with the exception of the Walla Walla and Umatilla valleys, the richest wheat region west of the Rocky Mountains. It is now well provided with railroads. The Northern Pacific and the O.R.&N. have locked horns here, their lines crossing each other at Garfield and at Oaksdale. Neither need fear a lack of business; for both together, even now, are not able to carry away the immense harvests until far into the winter. We discover that the Northern has not yet penetrated south of Colfax; and that town has but one line. This is the O.R.&N.; and by means of it Colfax has outlets in two different directions, one through Walla Walla to Portland, and the other by the Palouse branch to a junction with the Northern Pacific, and thence to the Sound or to Portland.
And now, with this glance at
the foothills of the Palouse, which need but to be tickled to laugh out
their tons of golden grain, we must retrace our course to Marshall, and
thence resume our journey Southward over the main line. There is but little
opportunity for sightseeing between Spokane Falls and the Columbia. From
Marshall, the road continues in a dismal belt of rock and swamp to Cheney.
This was a place of great expectations, even a rival of Spokane Falls;
but, though situated in a sightly place,
and more accessible to the great wheat fields to the south and west, it has evidently missed its destiny, and does not now contain a tenth the population of its lusty rival. Sixteen miles north of Cheney is the wonderful Medical Lake, whose healing and cleansing waters have drawn many thither, and round whose picturesque shores quite a village has sprung up. It is evident that, though shelved for the present, Cheney will sometime realize to some extent at least, the sanguine hopes of its founders.
Passing Cheney, we emerge from the stunted pines upon the plains, lost on all sides except the rear in the flickering horizon. The monotony of the landscape is relived by occasional picturesque bluffs, and by the abundant bunch-grass and the gaudy flowers of spring. It it were autumn, you would think the plain a desert; for, after the long drought of summer, vegetation shrinks to nothingness. Sprague the capital and metropolis of Lincoln county, is the only place of importance on this part of the plains, though others are spring up which will be important sometime. Sprague is an attractive, well-built town of two thousand inhabitants, finely located, and doing an immense business with the vast and just ow fairly opening region of the Big Bend. It is the division headquarters of the Northern Pacific, and also of their land department. it contains the car shops and the other paraphernalia of a railroad town. There is a beautiful lake a few miles beyond Sprague, right on the line of the railroad, which adds an element to the attractions of the place unpossessed by any other of our inland towns. Of the few little places beyond Sprague, time forbids us to speak; and, while the purple mists of evening are closing over the boundless landscape, we find ourselves entering the coulee, whose rocky walls would henceforward shut off the greater part of our view, even if the darkness did not. These coulees are a curious feature of the Columbia plains. They are ancient channels of rivers. At some far-distant age, these now dry prairies abounded in water. Diminished by the failing springs, resulting from some great change of climate, and gradually drunk up by the increasing sunshine of a drier age, the now vanishing floods have left as their only memorial these winding clefts in the plains. Down one of these ancient channels the Northern Pacific Railroad goes for many miles. The sightseer and the intending immigrant should be informed of this; for a daylight trip down this barren coulee, shut off from sight of the fertile lands above, will have a most depressing effect on the average traveler.
And now (in the early part of the night, if we be on the Eastern express) we draw near the mighty Columbia, river of romance, adventure and sublimity. An immense bridge now spans the deep and impetuous current, the only one to which the river has yet submitted in Washington, though it is crossed twice by the Canadian Pacific in its upper section. Beyond the great river, we enter the valley of the Yakima. Here we would see, if it were day, that the 'lay of the land" is different from any that we have yet passed. It consists of flat, narrow valleys, separated by barren, rocky hills. One of these valleys attains a great width, being twenty miles across. This is the valley of the Simcoe. It is the best part of the Yakima valley, but is almost wholly within the limits of the Indian Reservation. It is a fair land to look upon, and apt to inspire envious feelings in the heart of the settler, especially if he be informed of the fact that there is some ten times as much land as the Indians can use. In the case of this reservation, as in that of the even more beautiful Umatilla Reservation, it appears that the pick of the land was bestowed upon the Indians, but the latter has been divided up, and the former no doubt soon will be; and thereby a vast area of the finest land will join that already opened to swell the output of the Columbia basin.
Taking the privilege of a historian and guide to see into the darkness as we journey through this great valley, we discover that the successive valleys beyond the reservation are usually but a mile or two in width, but are of extreme fertility and have a very rapid descent. This fact, couple with the correlative one that form the snowy heights of Mount Ranier and Mount Adams and their lesser brothers, which now tower above us, there are abundant streams, tells the story of how irrigation is here made to supplement the scanty rainfall, and thus produce the marvelous crops for which this region is famed. This is the driest part of the great Columbia basin, and without the wonderfully easy natural facilities for irrigation would be a very uncertain farming country. We find but two towns in this valley, though it has an area of nearly five thousand square miles and a rapidly increasing population. The first of these places is North Yakima, with the remains of what was formerly called Yakima City. The railroad managers located the new site; and, in order to establish it, they eviscerated the old town insomuch that nothing now remains of it except a few straggling buildings and a few residents whose obstinacy and sense of justice outrun their business judgment. We find North Yakima to contain about two thousand inhabitants, to be very substantially built, and to have a very commanding situation in the very center of the valley. It lies near the Yakima river, whose rushing torrent affords fine opportunity for water-power, and down which a large part of the logs used for ties, piles, wood, etc., throughout the Inland Empire are floated.
A few miles beyond Yakima the
valley disappears entirely, the bare, grassy hills coming almost to the
water's edge. This continues for nearly fifty miles; and then from the
battlemented cañon we suddenly emerge upon a broad and level prairie
of perhaps twenty miles in either direction, besides foothill belt, sloping
gently up to towering mountains, making in all an area of probably a hundred
miles in circuit. This is the Kittitass valley. A few miles after
entering the valley our train halts at the booming town of Ellensburg.
Here we feel a rush and thrill of activity which reminds us of Spokane
Falls. Ellensburg contains about three thousand people. It has improved
more rapidly in the last year than any town in the Inland Empire except
Spokane Falls. Until a year ago the buildings were mainly hasty and flimsy
affairs, ill-adapted to the rigorous winters for which the place is noted.
But during the year past a surprising number of solid and handsome buildings
have been erected.
Ellensburg hopes, and indeed expects, to become the capital of the new State of Washington, basing her hopes on her being the geographical center, as well as possessing a kind a variety of resources which cannot fail to make her permanently prosperous. The people of this lively little city deserve the prosperity which has come to them, although the principal part of the place was recently destroyed by fire; for they have displayed great energy in opening communication with the places and interests outside, and in rebuilding the ruined district. They have placed a steamer on the Upper Columbia as a link in the chain of travel to the Conconully mines on the Okanagan. They have also made great efforts to gain and hold the trade of the coal regions of Roslyn and Cle-Elum. The observer can hardly fail to ask himself whether or not the trade of these extensive regions will not ultimately fall into the hands of more distant and larger centers, such as Spokane Falls or the Sound cities. However this may prove to be, it is evident that there are other and more immediate resources sufficient to amply repay her active and patriotic citizens for the money and effort which they have expended to elevate her so suddenly from the station of an unkept "cowboy" town to the fifth place in the state. Its prosperity will be but temporarily checked by the terrible fire of July 4th.
And now, leaving Ellensburg, we approach the Cascades. we are soon winding along the tumultuous course of the Yakima, which cleaves its way amid the rugged lesser slopes. The main chain is now before us. The giant forms, clad in forests, present a most grateful change to the eye wearied with the treelessness of the great plains. Leaving the brawling torrents of the Yakima, we find ourselves slowly making our way, with much puffing, up the dizzy zigzags of the" Switchback" over which the tourist travel of the summer goes, though the great tunnel, two miles long, is now completed and in use for all ordinary trains. That "Switchback" ride over the crest of the Cascades is a most thrilling one; and the view over the wilderness of mountains west and north and south, and on the timbered ridges and distant bare slopes to the east, is one of unsurpassed grandeur and beauty. From the summit we get our first near view of Mount Ranier, already seen at intervals in the valley of the Yakima. Massive, many-peaked, a smooth and glittering dome in the center, and on either side splintered crags, its fifteen glaciers extending their fingers far down into the border land between verdure and perpetual congelation, it stands in isolated majesty, the finest mountain in the land; and indeed some old travelers say it has no superior in the world. Its name is a matter of much and bitter controversy. It is about all a man's life is worth to call it Ranier in Tacoma or Tacoma in Seattle.
An explanation is necessary, here, in regard to the name of this mountain: Captain Vancouver designated it "Regnier" in honor of a British naval officer, a name which was afterwards corrupted with "Ranier." By the latter appellation it was known to all the early settlers up to the time of the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad to Tacoma. The railroad company then renamed the mountain after the city, claiming that to be the original Indian word designating its title. the truth of the matter is, however, that the Puyallup Indians, inhabiting the region, called all snowy peaks by the same name, - Tak-ho-ina, - the meaning of which, according to their translation, is "the breast that feeds," meaning to convey the idea that from the eternal snows come the perennial waters of the rivers flowing into the Sound. In this work the intention has been to follow the history of the white man, not that of the Indian; hence the mountain is designated throughout as Mount Ranier in order to carry out this idea, and to more accurately give a conception of the name the mountain peak was known by to all the pioneers previous to the advent of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
As soon as we reach the west side of the mountains, you will be struck with the marvelous change in climate and the general appearance of all things. Instead of the crisp, dry, invigorating air and the dazzling sun, you find the atmosphere heavy with the vapors of the ocean, while a canopy of clouds hides the sun from sight. Instead of the bare, rolling hills, with their green coats of bunch-grass, you see a wilderness of giant trees, cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock and innumerable lesser growths, around whose feet clamber such a profusion of shrubbery, vines, creepers and ferns, that the rich soil from which they draw their nourishment is visible only in occasional patches.
The first town of importance on the west side of the mountains is Puyallup. It is within sight of Tacoma, and is just on the border of the Indian reservation of the same name as its own. Its great distinction is that it is the emporium of the hop trade. It is also the home of two men worthy of special mention in our annals, Ezra Meeker and Cushing Eells. The former is the pioneer hop-raiser of the North Pacific, as well s one of the foremost business men of his section in other respects. The latter is one of the pioneer missionaries of the country. Having been on the coast now more than half a century, he has perhaps a wider general acquaintance with the men and things which have entered into its historical development than any living person. At this active and attractive little city we are within sight and smell of salt water; and a few miles farther takes us to the tide-flats which border the side of the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
Any lengthy account of the extraordinary
city of Tacoma is beyond the limits of this chapter; and we must content
ourselves with such quick glances at it as will serve to disclose its salient
features. The stranger is truck at first with its commanding site. The
Sound here makes a sharp angle to the west; and the tide-flats of the Puyallup
extend far around to the east, so that the city, though on the east side
of the Sound, faces to the east and north. The greater part of the city
is on a bench which on the east rises gradually and on the north almost
perpendicularly to the height of two hundred feet. From this elevation
the prospects over the Sound to the north, and over the Puyallup valley,
with Mount Ranier in the distance, to the east, is magnificent. The chief
streets of Tacoma are one hundred feet wide, the
same as those of Spokane Falls; and the buildings on some of them would do credit to Chicago, or San Francisco. The great stone hotel, the Tacoma, is without a rival on the whole Northwest coast. Worthy of special note, too, are the Episcopal Church, and the Annie Wright Seminary buildings. Aside from these, however, the buildings of Tacoma do not, as a whole, impress a stranger as equal to those of Spokane Falls. Tacoma, like nearly all of the towns of the Pacific Northwest, is well provided with institutions of learning. It has the Annie Wright Seminary for girls; the Washington College; a well-equipped Business College; and the prospective Methodist College, which will be heavily endowed and well sustained from the start. Besides these institutions for higher learning, there are excellent public schools.
The increase in values of real estate in tacoma during the last two or three years has been unprecedented and almost incredible. In some instances property has advanced ten-fold within a year. The last year has outdone any of its predecessors. Over a thousand buildings have been erected. Real estate transactions in the county (Pierce), have amounted to more than eight million, eight hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars. The products of the city have yielded two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Population has nearly doubled in the last year, being now over sixteen thousand.
But this booming city, sprung thus Minerva-like, full-grown, from the Jupiter-brain of railroad development, has a rival. Sixty miles down the Sound is another city of destiny. This is Seattle. Thither we must go forthwith, over the misty waters of the Sound, in one of the fine boats of the O.R.&N. Co., which operates here as well as on the Columbia. There is no lack, however, of means of communication between the two cities. Nevertheless craft of every kind and ownership ply there; while there is also a branch line of railroad leaving the main line of the Northern Pacific near Puyallup. If the sky be clear on this trip, - which is rather rare inspiring, - you may see, beyond the blue waters of the Sound and its bluffy shores, the superb chain of the Olympic Plains in the west, while Ranier the mighty towers in silent majesty to the eastward, a constant picture. And now we pass the picturesque Vashon Island, soon to enter the expansion of the Sound known as Elliott Bay. Here lies Seattle, the "Queen City of the Sound." At first view the sight of the city looks very rough. So bold, indeed, is the shore that in places the thresholds of one street are almost even with the ridge-poles of the one below. In many places steps are used for walks. In spite of this ruggedness, however, the site has many advantages. The city we find to lie mainly on a strip of land about two miles wide, which separates the Sound from Lake Washington.
Lake Washington is a fresh-water lake of grand proportions by twenty-five miles, and, with its smaller adjunct, Lake Union, makes an addition of inestimable importance to the shipping facilities of Seattle. You will hear much on the Sound of the "teredo." This is a barnacle which bores into piling and ships, and is destructive to a degree not easily conceived. About six years is the limit of the durability of timbers subjected to its ravages. They then become perfectly honey-combed. Now this deadly teredo cannot live in fresh water. The lakes of Seattle therefore furnish the means of warfare with the molluscous destroyers. Canals will be cut to Lake Washington, and there the ships of Seattle may take refuge. The evidences of the prosperity of Seattle abound to such a degree that it is not possible to classify them with any degree of fullness. Her three specialties are coal, lumber and shipping. Numerous manufacturing establishments have sprung into being by reason of the cheap lumber and the easy facilities for transportation. Fifteen hundred men find employment in these various factories. Besides being a shipping center, Seattle is also rapidly becoming a railroad center. By the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad it is expected that there will soon be independent communication with the East.
The growth of Seattle has been scarcely less remarkable than that of Spokane Falls and Tacoma. Ten years ago there were five thousand people there. Now there are twenty-five thousand. Values of real estate have continued to climb with a rapidity which is likely to make a cautious man's head swim. But the building boom keeps pace with that of real estate, and that is generally evidence of a solid condition of things. During the year just past (1888) there were one thousand, four hundred and forty buildings of all kinds erected. Half a million was spent in street improvements. Real estate transactions for the county (King) amounted to fifteen million, eight hundred and twelve thousand dollars. As every man has his own peculiar physiognomy and individuality, so cities and towns seem to have their individual tones and expression. In Seattle the special feature of the city countenance, so to speak, which most engages the attention of the stranger, at least after he has been there long enough to become at all acquainted, is the intelligent and self-sacrificing patriotism of the citizens. They "pull together" better than the people of any other place on the coast. This is one great secret of the leading position of Seattle at the present time. For, notwithstanding its fine location, it has had its critical periods; and had it not been for this peculiar devotion of its people it might have succumbed to some of the combinations against it, especially by the persistent efforts of the gigantic monopoly of the Northern Pacific Railroad to break it down and erect Tacoma on its ruins.
If you have time to remain in
Seattle long, you will find its people possessed of rare intelligence and
hospitality. Its educational institutions are well advanced. It is the
seat of the State University. In brief, the bustling energies of this place,
its commanding situation, and above all its adjacent lakes, with the facilities
which they offer for shipping and manufacturing, plainly set the seal of
future prosperity on this not misnamed "Queen City" of the Sound. On June
6, 1889, a conflagration of the greatest ever
known on the North Pacific coast swept away the entire business part of Seattle, causing a loss of twenty millions. But even this fearful loss causes but temporary dismay. The people are "sand" to the back-bone.
Time fails us to note all the beauties of nature and the tokens of industry and advancing progress on our journey down the Sound. We pass through beautiful clusters of islands, and note the growing cities on the mainland, as Snohomish, Mount Vernon, Skagit City and others, yet in their infancy, but with the promise of a powerful maturity not far away. You must give more than a passing glimpse at the immense sawmills of Port Madison. "And not in silence pass Fidalgo's isle," nor the countless islets whose rocky sides are mirrored in the perfect flood beneath. And at the last we come to the most northerly place in our empire. This is Whatcom, on Bellingham Bay. Many believe that here is a city which will ere long contest with Seattle and Tacoma for the leading place among the cities of the Sound. There is indeed a magnificent harbor, and around it are resources of timber and coal inferior to none; while, in the agricultural resources contiguous to it, it undeniably has no equal on Puget Sound. Relatively to its age and size Whatcom has grown faster during the year past than either of its burly sisters up the Sound; and within another year or two it will be at least within "hollering distance" of them. but this active and enterprising place receives special space elsewhere in our pages; and hence we need not add more here.
We should find it very interesting to thread the maze of islands which lie between the Rosaria Channel, on which Whatcom is situated, and the Haro Strait on the farther shore, and thereby recall their historical connection with the question, portentous at the time, of the Northwestern boundary. So, too, we should feel well repaid for a little trip over the boundary, and a few days' stay in the quaint old city of Victoria, and the bustling new one of Vancouver, the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. But time puts a period to these much-to-be-desired explorations, and we make the grand wheel southward. Crossing the Strait of Fuca where they look out on the boundless entrance from the sea, we catch the ocean swell, but soon found ourselves under the lee of the mainland on the western side of Admiralty Inlet; and Port Townsend rises before us from the blue waters. This is one of the places of the old régime on the Sound, belonging to the same geological stratum as Olympia; but during the last two or three years it has woke up to a newness of life, and is now growing with the same energy as the larger places already mentioned. With the completion of the projected railroad lines of the Port Townsend Southern and subsequent connection with main transcontinental lines, it seems likely that this ancient shipping point will have its due measure of the prosperity which is being passed around on the Sound this year. It has a grand location, notably adapted for shipping, and by reason of its nearness to the sea affording much cheaper rates of entrance for vessels than any other port on the coast.
Leaving Port Townsend, and passing as we go the mouth of Hood's Canal, which ramifies among the timbered slopes of the Olympic Range as if it had been constructed purposely to make an entrance and exit for lumbering enterprises, we find ourselves again in the neighborhood of Tacoma. But we will pas it by this time and remain on the steamer as she goes on to the ancient capital of the territory, Olympia. This is the oldest place on the Sound, but it was not built on the track of empire; and, though having many attractions of location and society, it has never been a business center. The onward rush of business in the country during the last year has, however, shaken the dry bones of umbrageous Olympia; and it is beginning to put on the habiliments of modern life. Its daughter city, Tumwater, possesses one of the finest water-powers in Washington, and is the seat of sundry manufacturing enterprises which make it the most active place in the region. Olympia is off the main line of railroad, but has a branch fifteen miles in length by which we may reach the main line at Tenino. By taking this route we have passed by the old town of Steilacoom, which is, like Olympia and Port Townsend, assuming the new life of the present time. At Steilacoom is the State Insane Asylum, in charge of Dr. John Waughop, which has been well administered under his care.
And now for the ride between the Sound and the Columbia. After passing the barren and gravelly Mound Prairie on which Tenino is situated, we enter a zone of forests, trees gigantic, interlaced with creepers and vines of every description, while every foot of the strong clay soil is taken possession of by some kind of vegetable growth. The sun cannot penetrate these jungles; and, even with the long rainless summers of this climate, they are never dry. Centralia and Chehalis are the chief towns of this region, both bright, enterprising places of the modern age. And now we pass over the "low divide" which separates the valley of the Chehalis from that of the Cowlitz, and find ourselves in the narrow though fertile valley of that stream, and rapidly approaching the great Columbia. Suddenly emerging from the fringe of cotton-woods which screens the mouth of the Cowlitz, we find ourselves on the banks of the river. But how changed is the stream from that crossed at Kennewick three hundred miles above. There swift and turbid, with barren, bluffy shores, here flowing in majestic tranquility, two miles wide, broadening towards the sea from which the freshening breezes now come. The train is carried over bodily on the great ferry-boat; for no bridges yet span the wide expanse. After a half hour's sluggish ride, we find ourselves in Oregon. The shores of this part of the Columbia are densely wooded and somewhat mountainous; but, with their fertile soil and unequaled accessibility to market, these lands are certainly destined to be cleared and cultivated; and without doubt their now forbidding solitudes will soon witness the establishment of many homes and much planting of fruit trees and sowing of grass, for which last they are peculiarly fitted.
We pass no towns of importance
between Kalama and Portland, though St. Helens, a mile from the track,
is the seat of one of the largest lumbering establishments on the river;
and it has been famous
at times for its expectations of becoming the chief city of the state. It would have been a superb place for the establishment of the metropolis of Oregon; but the more ready access of Portland to the wheat fields of the Willamette valley finally decided it to be the city of destiny.
Portland, the metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, and, next to San Francisco, the largest and wealthiest place west of the Rocky Mountains, is so often mentioned incidentally in these pages that nay long account here is not necessary even were there space. Its location is central, its site magnificent, its growth assured. Lying twelve miles up the Willamette, it is at the most convenient point for the midway meeting between the sea and the farms of the interior. It is the natural point of exchange for at least the whole Lower Columbia region. Whether it will become secondary to some city on the Sound as the distributing center of the Pacific Northwest as a whole is one of those uncertain questions which we shall most safely relegate to the twentieth century. That bugbear, the Columbia bar, has been much harped on; but the fact remains that, with the improvements now in progress and certain to be completed, the Columbia river will be one of the best harbors on the coast. And while it is true that a thousand feet of water is more than forty, yet, inasmuch as the latter is all that is needed for admitting vessels, the practical use of having more is not immediately apparent.
Portland contains, with its environs, about sixty thousand people. Its suburbs, East Portland, Albina, Selwood and South Portland, have grown wonderfully in the last two years; while upon the magnificent elevations on either side of the river, Portland Heights on the west and Mount Tabor on the east, eight hundred feet above the river, and out of fog and dust, many costly and beautiful residences are arising. Portlanders pride themselves on not having a boom. The town is one of solid growth. It takes no reckless steps, and hence no backward steps. Portland strikes the traveler very favorably in all respects but one; that is the narrowness of the streets, being but sixty-five feet wide. After the amplitude of Spokane Falls and Tacoma, these scanty streets seem rather niggardly in a place the size of this. portland has two possessions which justly entitle her to a national reputation. The first of these is her High School building. This is truly a grand structure, and is generally said to have no equal west of the Missouri river. The other art treasure is the Skidmore Fountain. This is conceded by competent critics to be the finest work of the kind anywhere in the western half of the United States. Portland people and Oregonians in general do not seem to fully appreciate this fact.
Another distinguished building of Portland will be the great hotel now approaching completion. This immense structure covers an entire block, two hundred feet square, and is six stories in height above the basement. With it fully completed, as it will be before these words reach our readers' eyes, Portland will score a few points over Tacoma. As already described, Portland is the railway center of the Pacific Northwest, and from it we may proceed in any direction. Many steamboats ply on the magnificent watercourses of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. a trip to Portland would be incomplete without a glance at the historic cities of Vancouver and Astoria. A half hour's ride on the steam-motor line takes us to the former, and when you have seen the superb site which it occupies, - its ample and uniform slopes, its matchless panorama of sky and water and distant mountains, - you will be ready to say that, if it never becomes a great city, it certainly ought to. But 1889 is a year of fires; and the old Hudson's Bay Company's capital, too, has had its turn. A longer ride is granted us to Astoria, a hundred miles on the wide river, a distance which the steamboat racers, the Telephone, R.R. Thompson, T.J. Potter, Undine and other fine steamers, cover in about five or six hours. Astoria, with its rugged yet commanding site, its immense lumbering and fishing industries, and its access to the sea and the charming summer resorts on each side of the mouth of the river, is evidently destined to be a place of wealth and importance. As the oldest American town west of the Rocky Mountains, and as the present residence of many prominent pioneers, it possesses a peculiar interest.
Once more at Portland from our seaside trip, and we find ourselves ready to enter upon the circuit of the Willamette valley and Western Oregon. Reaching by a very heavy grade the summit of the picturesque "Heights," on the West Side division of the O.&C. Road, we descend into the thick woods which cover the rich soil of Washington county, passing sundry towns, such as Reedville and Beaverton, and at last emerging upon the flat and fertile plain upon whose edge is located the county-seat, Hillsboro, and from whose grain fields and dairy ranches come a great part of the wealth of the county. Hillsboro, like Cornelius and Forest Grove just beyond it, has a thriving local trade, and like them again, is especially distinguished as the home of several of the oldest and most conspicuous of the pioneers of the state. The plains around Hillsboro were among the first of the state to be taken up; and there Reverend J.S. Griffin, Colonel Jo Meek, Dr. Robert T. Newell and G.W. Ebberts made their residences in the "thirties." The first and last named of these are still living at a great age. At Cornelius, the curious traveler can meet Colonel T.R. Cornelius, and at forest Grove, Dr. Geiger, A.H. Inman and Mrs. Walker, as representatives of the earliest age of our history. At Forest Grove, also, he can see Pacific University, the oldest college but one (Willamette University) in the state.
Leaving the low and humid lands,
belted with many forests, and dotted with frequent pools and swamps, of
Washington county, we enter the more open and breezy expanses of "Old Yamhill,"
the land of Oregon statesmen, and, for its area and population, the richest
and most productive county in the state. With its rolling prairies, park-like
groves of stately oaks, rushing streams, and distant, dark-hued, forest-clad
mountains, this region is justly considered "just a notch ahead of any
in Oregon," though where all is beautiful it is hard to say that one surpasses
another. Aside from its extraordinary beauty and productiveness, this county
is remarkable for the great number of pioneer families which reside or
have resided in it. A complete history of Oregon might be made from material that could be gathered within its borders. Reaching McMinnville, in the central part of the county, we find ourselves at the metropolis of the West Side. This is a bright, enterprising place, recently made the county-seat, vice La Fayette outvoted, containing about two thousand people, well provided with churches and schools, and especially favored as the seat of McMinnville College.
Beyond this flourishing region, we enter the fair vales and scenic hills of Polk county, watered by the La Creole and Luckiamute, and overlooked thoughout by the timbered Coast Range. At Derry on the La Creole we pass the beautiful estate where one of Oregon's most remarkable men passed many of his honored years; for this was the home of Colonel T.W. Nesmith. Many other of the noblemen of the olden time might be found in Polk county, either in person or memory, had we time to search for them. Independence is the only town of much size on our road between McMinnville and Corvallis. At the latter place we find much of the active, enterprising spirit of modern improvement invading the calm which broods over the greater part of Western Oregon. Corvallis, being the junction of the O.&C. road and the Oregon Pacific from Yaquina, has a growing activity and importance which curiously contrast with the ancient style and appearance of many of the buildings; for Corvallis was quite a city thirty years ago, from which time it scarcely changed at all until three or four years ago. Here we find the West Side division of the O.&C. Railroad to terminate. We can, however, go by the Oregon Pacific, or by stage or by boat, to Albany, ten miles down the river, and on the other side, which is reached by the East Side division. Thither we will go, after having visited the fine buildings and grounds of the State Agricultural College at Corvallis.
Albany we find to be a lively place of three thousand inhabitants, generally considered the most active point in the Willamette valley. Here, as at Corvallis, there is the juxtaposition of the old and the new in a way which surprises the stranger. A large race from the Calapooia river supplies Albany with a fine water-power; and several large mills furnish employment for a considerable number of men. The Albany flour is famous the world over. If the day be clear, you will be entranced with the view across the prairies between Albany prairie, which occupies a considerable part of Linn and Lane counties, is the largest body of prairie west of the Cascade Mountains. It is in the main a very productive region, though parts of it are so low and flat as to have imperfect drainage; and in some sections the soil is hard, cold, whitish and not suitable for cultivation. Nevertheless more grain is raised in Linn than in any other county on the west side of the mountains. The foothill section of this county, like that of the other parts of the valley, is latterly attracting much attention. It is peculiarly adapted to fruit and dairying. throughout the valley, lands are offered for sale very cheap; and, when one considers the advantages of the locality, it occasions surprise to see the comparative lack of immigration to these cheap, productive and attractive lands.
And now over the prairies again to Eugene, fifty miles beyond, the capital of Lane county, and the metropolis of the upper section of the valley. The situation of Eugene is one of the fairest in all this fair land. The pleasant river flows in front; the level plains stretch away in wavering vistas; the bare buttes, dotted with occasional clumps of majestic oaks, tranquilly overlook the scene. Eugene contains about twenty-five hundred inhabitants. It has a remarkably large proportion of tasteful homes, and is especially distinguished by the presence of the elegant and convenient buildings of the Oregon State University. This institution is now the best equipped, in buildings, money and teaching force, of any in the state. It is deservedly popular, and a source of pride to the people of the state. Beyond Eugene, the route lies along the narrow upper valley of the south fork of the Willamette, from which it passes by a low divide into the valley of the Umpqua.
We are now beyond the waters of the Columbia; for the Umpqua flows directly into the sea. This valley is a succession of narrow valleys, separated from each other by low, oak-crowned hills. Here and there, as around Roseburg particularly, there are abrupt and picturesque bluffs. As a whole, this is the most diversified region of the state. The town just named, roseburg, is the metropolis of the valley. It is a place of two thousand inhabitants, and has the same double character of former arrested development and modern improvement which we see so much in all of Western Oregon. Roseburg was for many years the home of an Oregonian of national reputation, to wit, General Joseph Lane. Beyond Roseburg, too, in the beautiful valley of the Yoncalla, still lives one of the foremost of the ancient Oregonians, Jesse Applegate; and in various localities near by are numerous members of that historic family of "the Sage of Yoncalla." Beyond Roseburg, our way lies through one of the most beautiful alternations of hill and dale that the state affords, with its numerous wide-veranded ranch houses nestling amid the sheltering oaks.
Passing now through a succession
of very abrupt and broken hills, we come out into another valley, the Rogue
river. Here the general appearance of vegetation and the general "feeling"
of the region is greatly changed. It is like California. There are clumps
of manzanita and chaparral and lamel groves; the evergreen trees of Western
Oregon disappear; and there is a general appearance of dryness and clearness
which seems to mark a climatic transition. There are five towns of note
in the Rouge river valley, - Jacksonville, Ashland, Grant's Pass, Medford
and Central Point. The first named is the county seat of Jackson county,
and one of the oldest towns in the state. It is six miles from the railroad,
Medford and Central Point being its nearest available stations. Medford
is one of the new growths of the valley, having sprung up on the heels
of railway construction, and having a very favorable location in
the very heart of the valley. Grant's Pass, the seat of justice of Josephine county, is also essentially a new town, and is the center of the lumber trade in the southern part of the state.
Ashland we have already designated as the center of oscillation for the south of our empire; and as such it merits a more extended stay from the traveler. It is located near the rushing waters of Bear creek; and through its streets there pour the various branches of a clear mountain stream, which furnishes an abundant and unfailing water supply for manufacturing purposes. This southernmost of our cities, wholly isolated, until within two years, from the centers of trade, has maintained a fine woolen mill, the fame of whose products has justly gone to regions remote from our own state. Besides being one of the few points of woolen manufacture in our country, Ashland is also celebrated as the emporium of the fruit business in the southern part of the state. Under the hot sun, and in the quickening soil of the Rogue river valley, fruits of all kinds attain unsurpassed flavor and size. This is especially true of the peach, grape, apricot and other fruits not commonly thought a successful crop in the Pacific Northwest. Ashland now contains nearly three thousand people. In climate and beauty of scenery, it has no superior, perhaps no equal, among the cities of either Oregon or Washington. Its many tasteful homes attract the stranger's eye; and it will be very surprising if the combination of excellencies which it presents does not in the near future draw to it something like its due proportion of immigration. Certain it is that the stranger who does not visit ashland and its vicinity loses one of the pleasantest sections of his journey.
Another thing which future visitors will associate with Ashland is that from here roads lead to the wonders, scenic, piscatorial and venatorial, of the Siskiyou, the "Dead Indian" country, the Klamath Lakes, and, most wonderful thing in our whole domain, Crater Lake. Not Yosemite itself, not the Yellowstone Park, presents a finer combination of attractions than this region. This southernmost portion of our empire is sui generis. It is neither Oregon nor California. It is simply itself. As such it is south; for there is yet much to see in the east. So looking back longingly on the double peaks of Mount Pitt, and the supernatural shine of the Siskiyous, we turn our faces northward and retrace our steps. when we reach Albany, we remain on the East Side train; and so from here to Portland we traverse new territory.
We must stop at Salem long enough to see the wide, shady streets, the handsome houses, the stately capitol, the fine buildings of the Willamette University, the Penitentiary and Insane Asylum, the Indian School at Chemawa, near by, the Fair grounds, the superb farming country surrounding, and sundry other attractions which the seven thousand enterprising citizens of Oregon's capital city have drawn around them. In Salem some of the earliest pioneers of the Pacific Northwest, especially those connected with the Methodist Mission, lived for many years. They have all passed away now except Reverend J.L. Parrish. Though now very old, he retains much interesting knowledge of early times. Rich farming lands, interspersed with belts of timber, lie between Salem and Portland. The only town of importance on this section of the journey is Oregon City. This place was an ancient rival of Portland for metropolitan power. Now it looks forward to being a suburb.
Oregon City has been esteemed a sluggish town; but it is now waking up to the spirit of advancement, and to its own possibilities, which are immense. Having just come from Spokane Falls, the population of which quadruples that of Oregon City, and the growth of which has been mainly built on the expectations of future developments of its water-power, we are struck with surprise to witness the comparative backwardness of Oregon City in utilizing its equally great power. The falls of the Willamette here have a descent of forty feet, and represent the power of a million and a quarter horses. And just contemplate the advantages which this point has, as compared with Spokane Falls or any other inland point. Here is an immense and perfectly accessible water-power, surrounded with iron ore, forests, and all the products of farm and river, all within reach of tide water. It is a wonder that Spokane Falls with even its great prospective resources should have gained fifteen thousand people in ten years; but it is a still greater marvel that Oregon City with its already realized resources should have gained only four thousand in forty years. The stranger is forced to believe that there is some lack of enterprise. The ocean with its shipping lies at the gates of this town; and the largest city in the Northwest is in sight of it. The time is surely not far distant when the whole river front between it and Portland will be lined with manufactories.
And now we are once more in Portland. After a little rest in its pleasant eastern suburbs, we are ready to turn our faces to the eastward and take up the last section of our journey. This will be accomplished via the O.R.&N. This road is a monument to the genius and daring enterprise of one man, Henry Villard. The first eighty-three miles of this journey take us through the world-famed scenery of the gorge of the Columbia. The better way for the tourist is to use a day more for this, and go by boat to The Dalles. By this more leisurely manner of viewing the succession of craggy heights and threads of foam which streak their sides you will more fully feel their sublimity, and preserve a more distinct mental photograph of their special scenes. Thus you will see ever after in your mind's eye the Palisades of Cape Horn and the towers and ramparts of Castle Rock; while the white wreaths of Multnomah Falls, tossed by the winds, as it flings itself over the frowning wall of rock eight hundred feet in perpendicular height, will be a permanent picture in your gallery of remembrance.
The scenery of the great river
reaches its culmination of grandeur and interest at Hood River, which,
with its neighbor on the opposite shore, White Salmon, afford the finest
summer resorts in the country. As we journey, pigmy-like, amid these stupendous
scenes, we notice the retarded water of the usually
impetuous stream, and the sunken forests along the bank. The irresistible conclusion from these appearances is that the river has been dammed at the Cascades. To confirm this view, you may get the genial captain or purser of the boat to tell the story of Mount Hood engaging in mortal combat with Mount St. Helens, and hurling at the white brow of the latter a monstrous rock, which, falling short of the mark, broke down a great natural bridge which till then had spanned the Columbia at the Cascades. This, as you may infer, is an Indian legend. You can imagine nothing more charming than lolling on the after-deck of the steamer, looking through the glimmering haze on this succession of views, so mighty, so weird and so unexpected, that you almost think yourself dreaming, and hear some old steamboat man tell you about the Indian gods, old Speelyai for instance, or about the "ion's Head" or the "Thunder Eagles" of Mount Adams or the "Lumei and the Skookum," and numberless others which proves some kinship between the Klikitat Indians and the ancient Greeks. All that the Columbia needs now is some Irving to gather and shape his legends, and he will take his due place among the streams of romance. From almost all points of the Upper Columbia we can see the towering cone of Mount Hood and the amorphous majesty of Adams. The tourist to Oregon should by all means try to add two weeks to the period of his visit, and go to worship at the shrine of these mighty monuments of volcanic energy. Both are very easily reached, and at both, but especially at Mount Adams, more points of interests of every conceivable kind are focalized than at any point with which a long acquaintance on the coast has made the writer familiar.
At the Dalles we pause a few hours, which we might very profitably make a day, to transfer ourselves to the train. The Dalles we find to be a lively, well-built place of four thousand. The trees are now left behind; and the rolling prairies, with which we become so familiar on the journey across Eastern Washington, again occupy the field of vision. The name of The Dalles we find to be derived from one of the most wonderful features of all that wonderful river, the Columbia. If you can stop long enough, go up the river six miles above the town, and you will find a place where the whole volume of the Columbia is compressed into a channel but a hundred and sixty-feet wide. No one knows its depth. The tremendous current has made soundings impossible. It is generally said, however, that the river "is turned on edge." As one views this lava wilderness, this twisted, contorted desolation cleft by the black, writhing torrent, so deep that it does not roar, but simply groans, and as he marks the fantastic forms, almost human, into which the fire-sculptors have fashioned the once liquid mass, he feels that here the spirits of nature and the subterranean forces, the elemental energies, must have in some far distant con come forth to look on the visible world and been turned to stone at the Gorgon gaze of the stars. We find The Dalles to be the natural center of an immense region southward, as well as across the river in Washington. Time permitting, we would find it very interesting to go to Goldendale and view the fertile Klikitat valley, of which it is the metropolis. Although long thought a practical waste, except for grazing, we see many homes which promise excellent results springing up on this sea of hills around The Dalles.
As we pass on from there we note briefly, in the pauses of the train, the growing towns of Grant, Arlington and The Willows, whose business is mainly handling the vast quantities of wool which come from the ranges southward. From The Willows a branch road goes to the "Queen of the wool trade," Heppner. It is a place of great promise. The traveler, curious to see where two-thirds of Oregon's three million sheep live, cannot do better than go to Heppner. He will see grassy hills and sheep on them ad infinitum. On these immense treeless prairies of Eastern Oregon, the towns are few, and in general the growth of the last five or ten years. We find an exception, however, when we reach Umatilla. It is one of the old, old towns, a sort of reminiscence of the mining times of thirty years ago. Here we turn from the river to the plains, following a short distance the beautiful sinuosities of the lucid Umatilla, whose mellifluous name means "the gathering of sand in a heap."
We are now in the far-famed Umatilla country, one of the fairest and most fertile sections in our whole domain. Pendleton is the queen of the Umatilla plains; and here the traveler can find much to interest him. It is the home of many old settlers, men who followed ox-teams across the plains and through the defiles of the Rocky Mountains, men whose hairs, prematurely grizzled, attest many a desperate adventure with Indian and wild beast. Among these sturdy old pioneers can be found Captain William Martin, Eugene Reith and others, now actively engaged in business, and so engrossed in the present that only incidentally do they ever allude to the stirring scenes of that curious past. Another noteworthy citizen of Pendleton is Doctor McKay, born on this coast sixty-four years ago. He can tell the curious traveler more about the Indians and early times than any living man. We find Pendleton to be a substantially built of about thirty-five hundred. The Indian reservation adjoining it takes much of the most valuable land away from use; but that is soon to be sold at auction, and then, with its immense production added to that already in reach, the prosperity of Pendleton seems assured.
From Pendleton to Walla Walla is about fifty miles; and through the entire distance we traverse a country of almost incredible natural fertility. It is one vast wheat field. It is generally conceded that this Blue Mountain belt has no superior, perhaps no equal, in the known world as a grain country. As we look at the immense harvest of June, and as we hear the accounts of wheat yields of forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and occasionally even eighty bushels to the acre, we are ready to subscribe to the general opinion.
And now we reach Walla Walla,
the "Valley of Waters;" for so its musical name is to be translated. We
are here on historic ground. Walla Walla is, next to Astoria, the most
historic place on the coast. Here lived the "Knights of the Columbia Plains,"
the brave and chivalrous Walla Walla Indians, who were usually the steadfast
friends of the Whites, who succored the starving party of Hunt when the
desperate winter of the Blue Mountains had but just let them emerge with their lives upon the sun-lit plains. Here the "Romans of the Blue Mountains," the fierce and turbulent Cayuses, ranged, to the terror of both white man and savage. Here the far-sighted Whitman set hs stakes for the future, and yielded his life to the ferocious savages for whom he has already sacrificed home and all the opportunities which await one of his calling and ability. To this point the dusty caravans of immigration, the vanguard of American occupation, looked forward as their goal; and, but a little way form here, they exchanged the dusty prairies for the shining levels of the river. Here the fiercest Indian wars reached their culmination; and from here and to here went and came the little armies of Indian War veterans, in those bitter days, when the salvation of white settlements hung in the balance. As we look now on the peaceful town, with its numberless shade-trees and its attractive homes, it seems hard to realize that the tides of business rivalry and Indian warfare surged thus across this fair valley.
Walla Walla is, both by nature and cultivation, the pleasantest town in the Inland Empire. It now contains about six thousand inhabitants. Although it has been far outstripped by Spokane Falls in the race for business and growth, it is now beginning to wake from the lethargy which seemed to have befallen it, and to feel the impulse of the life which will soon be so strongly coursing through all the veins of the new State of Washington. It is more nearly a city of homes than any other town in the state. It is well provided with schools. Its public schools are excellent; and Whitman College and St. Paul's Seminary afford the opportunity for higher education, while the Empire Business College supplies the ever-increasing demand for instruction in business methods. The region around Walla Walla is one of wonderful beauty. Indeed, the entire northern and western slopes of the Blue Mountains possess nearly every attraction conceivable.
From Walla Walla we may go northeast to Riparia, Almota and Lewiston on the Snake river, and to Colfax and Moscow on the railroad. The latter is in the midst of a superb farming country, and is the seat of the proposed Idaho University. It is there that the two great rival railroad systems, the Northern Pacific and the O.R.&N., lock horns. Their interlacements, in this age of monopolies, will be of untold advantage to the regions thus reached. But we had it in contemplation to visit the country south of the Blue Mountains and in the great plains of the Snake river. To do this, we must retrace our steps and go to Pendleton again, and thence proceed to La Grande. This fair city lies enfolded in the embrace of the picturesque Blue Mountains, in the midst of a very fertile valley about fifteen miles wide by thirty long. It is like a dream of summer in the midst of the snowy heights.
Another section of our journey and we are at Baker City, already noted as the center of oscillation for the eastern section of our empire. Baker City has perhaps a larger variety of resources tributary to it than any of the inland towns, unless it be Spokane Falls. Mining, agriculture, stock, lumbering, milling, all are being rapidly developed in the region round about. We find it uncommonly well built for so new a place, and are informed by business men that over a hundred thousand dollars have been expended on building during the year. The town now contains about twenty-five hundred people. Although mining is at the front now in the region about Baker City, it is evident at a glance that the agricultural development will soon be very great. As we go on from Baker City to Huntington, at the extreme eastern edge of Oregon, we see many places where farming is beginning. It waits only for means of transportation.
And now across the turbid Snake at Huntington, and we find ourselves in Idaho. We are on the vast plains of the Snake, a treeless, rainless, monotonous expanse, mainly level, almost uninhabited, about three hundred miles long and a hundred and fifty wide, the largest extent of unbroken plains west of the Rocky Mountains. The soil seems to be mainly good, though crossed in places by belts of volcanic desolation. Up the beautiful valley of the Boise we go, to the city of the same name, the capital and metropolis of Idaho Territory. It is a very well-built town of about four thousand inhabitants, and though greatly hampered by being off the main line of railroad, holds its own vigorously against numerous rivals. Boise is reached by a branch line called the "Idaho Central." Of the numerous towns springing up in the vast interior region of Idaho it is impossible to speak at such length as to do justice to the theme. The most important and most commonly visited is the city of Hailey, the county-seat of Alturas county, and the metropolis of South-Central Idaho. This flourishing place is on Wood river and contains a population of four thousand. It, too, has recently been destroyed by fire, but is being rapidly rebuilt. It has an enormous mineral region around it. There is also an immense tract of fertile land which waits only for water to transform it into gardens. When irrigation has been fairly introduced into the rainless regions of Idaho, there will result a development which will make the next generation hold their breath. This apparent desert is really the most fertile of land, but has no rainfall to speak of, and hence look sterile.
As we go on from the branch railroad
which took us to Hailey, and continue our course eastward over the Short
Line, we ought to pause for two days at Shoshone and visit that grandest
of all of Idaho's many wonders, the great Shoshone Falls of Snake river.
It is twenty-five miles over an unbroken prairie from the town of Shoshone.
It is grander and more terrible than Niagara. The solitary and awful voice
of the lava desolation where it lies, falling over the precipice of basalt
three hundred feet, while its width is just a thousand and fifty, the pillars
of columnar basalt rising perpendicularly a thousand feet on either side,
grim, terrible and sublime, has no counterpart in our whole country. Could
you descend with me the zigzag path that leads from the upper level to
the foot of the fall, and look upward to the dwarfed junipers which cling
with claw-like roots to the shaggy cracks in the grim battlements of rock,