Steven Nickles

Steven Nickles

New tour brochure marks way to history along former North Olympic Peninsula railroad

SEQUIM — A new self-guided tour brochure is available that points the way to the North Olympic Peninsula’s historic Bridges, Trestles, Rails and Trails.

The brochure by the Dungeness River Bridge 100th Anniversary Committee gives directions for a self-guided tour of historic stops along the former Milwaukee Road railroad and a timeline starting in the 1890s, when the first train tracks were laid on the Peninsula.

The tour map highlights 12 rail stops from Port Townsend — where freight cars were loaded onto a barge for transit to Seattle — to Forks.

Most of the tour stops are on the Olympic Discovery Trail, and all are readily accessible by car.

12 places to see

The tour starts at the Port Townsend and Southern Engine House, a small building sheathed in metal just east of the Larry Scott Trailhead.

The engine house is private property.

The Larry Scott Trail runs from Port Townsend’s Boat Haven to Four Corners, part of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Follow it up with a stop at the Jefferson County Historical Society Research Center, 1692 Airport Cutoff Road.

In Blyn, stop at the Sequim Bay Scenic Pullout and Transit Shelter, part of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Campus along the Discovery Trail, and see the Johnson Creek Trestle, just east of Sequim.

The trestle is 85 feet high and 410 feet long. It was built by the Seattle, Port Angeles and Western Railway in 1914.

Just west of downtown Sequim, the Dungeness River Railroad Bridge is a stop, too.

Built in 1915, the 156-foot-long bridge is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Its western trestle is undergoing reconstruction after being damaged by a February storm.

Morse Creek Trestle, just east of Port Angeles, is another tour stop just off U.S. Highway 101.

Rail enthusiasts will want to check out the former Port Angeles Freight Depot, now occupied by Pacific Rim Hobby at 138 W. Railroad Ave.

The store has a binder of photos that help tell the Milwaukee Road rail story in the Port Angeles area.

Anniversary in Joyce

Like the Dungeness bridge, the Joyce Depot Museum is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is the next stop heading west.

While it’s currently under reconstruction, the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north side of Lake Crescent is the tour’s 10th stop.

The railroad line along the lake was designed to carry spruce logs for use in aircraft in World War I.

In Forks, stops 11 and 12 are the Shay steam engine in Tillicum Park and the Forks Timber Museum.

Project coordinator Julie Jackson said the brochure came about because a number of area historic sites and nonprofits have significant anniversaries this year, including the Joyce Depot Museum and the Dungeness River Railroad Bridge.

She added that naturally, members of the railroad and trails communities provided a great deal of input.

The brochure was funded by a grant from the Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau, and 15,000 copies have been printed.

Local chambers of commerce are already making the brochure available to visitors and those looking for relocation information.

Free copies of the brochure are available at the Dungeness River Audubon Center, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road in Sequim, as well as other outlets, including visitor centers in Sequim, Port Angeles, Forks and Port Townsend, and the Joyce Depot Museum.

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Reporter Mark Swanson can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5054, or [email protected]

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