Monday, November 5, 2012

Railroad Trivia & History

How many of you have heard trail whistles blowing? Ever given any thought to what those toots might mean? I live in the West Plains area and regularly hear those rather mournful sounds. It finally occurred to me to do a Google search to find out what they mean and sure enough...... do a locomotive horn signals yourself........ and there will appear a great little graph explaining the railroad toots and whistles! What I've heard most often is 2-long, 1-short and 1-long and sure enough that means "the train is approaching a public crossing." 

Did you know there used to be a railroad tunnel under a portion of Greenwood Cemetery? John Caskey, in his Historic Spokane Ghost Tour last week really piqued my interest and I've been doing some digging........ and will do more; stay tuned.  But I learned that the Great Northern RR built the tunnel so its main line could connect with the Spokane, Portland & Seattle road. Work began in February 1909 at both the north and south ends of the tunnel and workers met within two inches in the middle on April 1, 1910. It was finally sealed off and the tracks removed in preparation for Expo '74. 

So where is this tunnel? If you park at the north end of Greenwood, right next to Mount Nebo, and walk to the back, rocky, wall you'll see where it most probably was.... the "V" indent into the cliffs is smothered by mounded vines and trees. Really, don't bother. 

But who would have thought? A railroad tunnel under Greenwood Cemetery. Doesn't Spokane have some fascinating history?  

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