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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
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July 11, 2012     The Adams County Record
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July 11, 2012
 

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Page 10 Wednesday, July 11, 2012 q-he Adams County Record The History Corner By Dale Fisk -- 253-4582 The Idaho Northern Railway reached Smiths Ferry in 1913. The elevation change of 1,729 feet from Banks (2,809 ft.) to Smiths Ferry (4,538 ft.) twenty miles later was quite a climb. Trains carrying a heaW load north often had to have "helper engines" push from behind to make it up the 2.5% grade. Helper engine engineers had to be careful not to push too hard, as he could push cars off the tracks on corners. At its peak, the Smiths Ferry railroad yard contained a 1,967 ft. siding and 1,947 feet of other track, including a big wye to turn the locomotives around. There was a stockyard with 4 pens and two loading chutes, a two- story passenger and freight depot, a section house, bunkhouse, handcar house and a coalhouse. Water was supplied via pipes running to a cistern up the canyon to the east. The railroad facilities at Smiths Ferry are across the river from the more familiar buildings along the highway. A bridge crosses the Payette just south of Cougar Mountain Lodge to access the old depot grounds. Just north of this road, before it reaches the tracks, is a large railroad wye extending toward the river. A big livery barn once stood near the end of this wye, and a big hay barn was southeast of it. On the north side of the wye, there was a horse racing track. In the center of this track was a baseball field. The depot stood just north of where the road crosses the tracks, on the west side. The water tank was also west of the tracks. The stockyards were on the east side. The old section house still stands (at least it did in 2005), although it is unused and deteriorating. When Union Pacific decided the section house was too old to use, a doublewide mobile home was placed across the road to the south to house the stationmaster. A building similar to the old section house once stood with the Smiths Ferry facilities; it had only three rooms and no second story. Several railroad outbuildings are still standing. The old bunkhouse north of the section house is an old wood framed "outfit" car. These cars were used as mobile units to house workmen. When these cars were phased out, the wheels were often removed and they were placed wherever bunkhouses were needed. During the logging era, a number of Boise- Payette Lumber company employees lived at Smiths Ferry. A New Story Last week I got a call from a guy named Jeff who told me a story I had never heard. Jeff's friend, Rick, who was trapping beaver at least twenty years ago, found a safe about half way between Council and Tamarack. Rick took the safe door to the Council Museum, and an older man there (who apparently has since died) told Rick that a safe had been robbed from a train years before, and no one had ever found it or the robber. Evidently the safe was found near the railroad tracks, as Jeff found it after looking several times where Rick had told him it was. Jeff said the safe is about 18" by 20" and looks as if an explosion has damaged it from the inside. He found the combination dial from the door nearby. This is a new one to me. I've never heard or read of a train robbery around this area. If anyone has any information about this, please let me know. The depot at Smiths Ferry. This old "outfit" car at Smiths Ferry was con- verted into living quarters for maintenance crews. The catwalk on top of this old car is an artifact from the days when hrewmen walked along the top of trains from car to car. 2005 photo. i This was the section house that the railroad agent once lived in. I took the picture in 2005. Bear Facts By Tina Warner -- 258-4471 The Pecora family, Ken, Shirley and Kent, spent several days at their ranch at Bear for spring clean up and some visiting. Dan and Sauni McGahey entertained all of Bear Creek Wednesday evening with a picnic on their lawn. Family from California, Washington and Idaho enjoyed the evening. Dale Lake from Battleground, Washington, Harold Kelly from Washington, and Bob Dunnnington and wife from California, were only part of the group for the weekend. Dan and Sauni's family from Boise, and all of Bear Creek, enjoyed Dan's expertise as a cook. The Clinton Moser family moved their trailer, and their cattle, to Bear for Sue's mother, Joan Holmes, the summer. They were at her home there. They busy repairing fences and enjoyed a few days visiting checking water over the with friends, and Tuesday weekend. Their cattle are on they returned home, the pasture for summer, bringing Joan with them. Sue and Tina Warner She is a guest on Bear Creek drove to Las Vegas to visit and plans to stay for the wedding of her grandson, Sam Warner, and Sarah Stewart later this month. There were many at Bear Creek for the weekend, and among them were the Magnuson family from Payette. HEARTLAND FRIENDS OF Invites you to Attend the 8tb Annual ADAMS COUNTY RECORD FNRA Dinner and Rame Saturday, August 4th at 5pm Hunt Lodge/Holiday Inn Express in Mcall Get your Early Bird dinner~raffle ticket package by duly 16tb and double your raffle tickets! MEET FRIEND MAKE NEW ONES AND NAVE A DELICIOUS 88CI TRI-TIP STEAIC DINNET COOKED TO PLrRF CTION 8Y BAR d2? Call Scott Jones at 253-0082 or Mike Wallace at 630-3375 for information and tickets New Aeailable... . . $3.00each Hometown Hero, a Colleetion of The \ Adams County Reeord 2011 Community Spotlights. 108 lllin s Avenue, Council 253 6961