The Great Northern Railroad - Old Town, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 11.139 W 117° 01.832
11U E 497730 N 5336935
Quick Description: In Rotary Park on the Right Bank of the Pend Oreille River in Old Town, ID are two kiosks containing no less than ten signs of history. This one tells a little of the story of the building of The Great Northern Railroad.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 3/25/2015 2:38:49 AM
Waymark Code: WMNJT4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member muddawber
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Great Northern Railroad

Local folks celebrated the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in Albany Falls (railroad spelling), Idaho on February 20, 1892. The arrival of the Great Northern in Idaho signalled the beginning of prosperity for hundreds of people living along the Pend Oreille River. Idaho's forests held enormous timber wealth during the early part of the 20th century. Getting wood products to market by riverboat and freight wagons was slow, and at times, nearly impossible in winter due to heavy snows. It was a joyous event for the remote mountain community because train service not only provided efficient transportation; trains also gave a sense of connection with America.

Track crews employing 3,000 men laid track at three miles per day heading to Spokane, Washington. By March of 1892, the Great Northern arrived in Newport, Idaho. Railroad officials hastily placed a converted railroad boxcar to serve as Newport's depot. At the time, the town of Newport was located in Idaho. Newport was named for the "New" port, built on the Pend Oreille River—a harbor for steamboats and log towing tugboats.

In 1894, when fire destroyed the boxcar depot, it also transformed Newport. Great Northern officials planned to replace Newport's depot with a permanent building. However, William Vane, a notorious businessman realized a chance to profit handsomely from the Great Northern. Quickly, a dispute over property between Great Northern officials and William Vane stonewalled negotiations. Frustrated, Great Northern built the new depot instead across the state line in Washington. When the new depot was ready for service, many town folks decided to move next to the depot. Mostly deserted, the original town of Newport became "Old" town, Idaho.

Hearing the whistle from a distant Great Northern train was a comforting sound. For nearly eighty years, the Great Northern brought prosperity to northern Idaho. The last passenger train departed from Newport in 1971. In 1983, the track was officially abandoned. The depot in Newport, Washington, built in 1910, now serves as a private business building. Next to the depot, the Newport Historical Museum has displays honouring the pioneering spirit of the Great Northern.

The Great Northern Goat, known as "Old Bill", originated in 1914. Old Bill became one of the most recognized railroad symbols in America. Old Bill was replaced by "Rocky" during the mid 1920s. The "modern" style goat with its big sky blue background remained the railroad's most recognized symbol.
From the History Marker

Photo goes Here

Marker Name: The Great Northern Railroad

Marker Type: City

Marker Text:
See Above

County: Bonner

City: Oldtown

Date Dedicated: 2008

Group Responsible for Placement: America's Byways: All American Road

Web link(s) for additional information:

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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