March 31, 2022
105 YEARS AGO • MARCH 29, 1917
ICE MELTS IN LAKE
During the past week the ice that has covered the lake above the dam to a depth of more than a foot has practically disappeared. Only a few small pieces remain along the shore. The warm weather rotted the ice away and almost all of it melted without going over the dam.
The passing of the ice has released many of the logs along shore and they are beginning to drift into the runway that is to carry them over the dam. A crew of men is at work and the logs are kept moving as fast as they strike the boom. Lights have been strung along the booms and a gang of men will be kept on the job day and night when the big rush comes to prevent a jam. The largest body of logs is caught in the ice near Weeksville. It may be that they will not come down until high water releases the jam.
90 YEARS AGO • MARCH 23, 1932
WESTBOUND NORTH COAST LIMITED IS WRECKED
Engineer and Fireman are Killed
A 20-ton rock came down the mountainside in a big slide at Weeksville, eight miles west of Plains, Friday at 6:40 p.m. The huge rock in its descent down the mountain crashed a large tamarack tree in its path to splinters, jumped the road and struck the track, ripping and destroying 400 feet of rails. Mr. McKay, residing on the opposite side of the mountain, saw the avalanche descending but could give no warning since the North Coast Limited crashed into the damaged tracks a minute or so after the rock descended. The watchman there had no time to give warning, and the calamity was a pure accident.
The engineer had no time to stop the train, and the big locomotive when it struck the damaged track plunged over a 20-foot embankment and buried itself in the mud, killing engineer Patrick C. Gallagher and fireman Maurice Stookey, both residents of Spokane. The baggage, mail, tourist, diner and day coach were derailed but remained upright. The Pullman cars on the rear of the train remained on the track. No one else was injured other than shaken up somewhat. The baggage car was split open.
Wreckers arrived from Spokane that night. The bodies of the engineer and fireman were found buried in the mud, scalded and crushed.
They had just taken the train at Paradise on their run into Spokane and had made only about 14 miles of the 186-mile trip to Spokane. It does not stop at Plains. The big boulder cut the power line when the train was wrecked and plunged Plains and Thompson Falls into darkness. Other debris and slide material carried by the big boulder blocked the track.
The night was foggy, wet, and miserable. It has been reported by heresay that the engineer and fireman before they left had a premonition of disaster and were reluctant to leave. They were extra men, the regular fireman and engineer being off. One was said to have expressed his opinion that this would be his last run.
The passengers were returned to Paradise and routed over the Milwaukee and the freight over the Great Northern. For a day Thompson was without regular mail service. Many Thompson Falls people attended the scene of the wreck. Dr. Coates of Plains administered first aid to the day coach passengers who received minor hurts.
Tuscor was a station on the N.P. Railroad line that fell to progress under the backwater of the Noxon Rapids dam. It was located down the valley wet of “Old Trout Creek” now known as Larchwood. The entire town consisted of a depot and a combination post office and store. The post office ran from 1914-1956. The first building was 11x24 and was built by Bob Donahue, with a small addition for living quarters on one side. Myrtle and Irwin Swett were the second owners and N.J. La Rue purchased it from them in 1921, with a stock of old notions, such as crochet thread and elastic and many ladies’ hats and bonnets. This he replaced with staples such as coffee, flour and sugar. Gas was also added to the consumer’s list and stored in three barrels in a small shed. A barrel was rolled up to the car and the gas hand pumped into the tank. Gas then was 25 cents per gallon and 15 cents for kerosene.
In 1926, the building became too small for his increase in trade. This brought about the erecting of a new building 24x40 with living quarters in the rear. A luxury enjoyed by all was piped in water. Before it was carried from a spring. A Conoco gas pump was added. The second story on this building was where the Saturday night dances were held. Mr. LaRue’s great concern on the nights festivities was the gas lamps and fear of fire.
James Smith was the next owner until it burned in 1933. Another one tor building was the last store. Ed and Helen Muster bought it in 1935 for $800 and later sold it to Bob and Margaret Cluzen who were owners from 1944 to 1956 when I was bought by the Washington Water Power to make room for the dam.