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Title Flooded Interurban Tracks
Object Name Print, Photographic
Date c. 1906
Description Two black and white photographic prints of washed out Puget Sound Electric Railway tracks near Kent, Washington. The flood was possibly due to the White and Green rivers flooding in November 1906. The train tracks begin at the bottom right corner of the frame and continue through the center of the frame. Moving water is completely surrounding and partially covering the tracks. There are electrical poles with wires strung between them lining the left edge of the tracks. In the background at the left of the frame are several wooden fences and possibly debris. In the distance, along the top of the frame is a tree line, and at least one residential building can be seen in front of it, to the right of the tracks.

The Puget Sound Electric Railway, or "Interurban," was an interurban railway that ran for 38 miles between Tacoma and Seattle, Washington in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was headquartered in Kent, Washington. The railroad ran for 26 years, until competition from trucks, buses, and automobiles on an ever-expanding road network, as well as the steam railroads led to reduced ridership in the early 1920s, leading to a decision to shut down in 1928. Residents all along the line protested the decision, however, and the rails were not pulled up until 1930.

The White and Green rivers once merged north of downtown Auburn. Both rivers flowed out of the Cascade Mountains and made their way to Puget Sound via the Duwamish Valley. Nearly every year, the rivers would flood. Sometimes the flood was pushed into Pierce County and other times it was diverted into King County. The fall of 1906 saw heavy rains, and a warm Chinook wind that melted snow up in the mountains. By November 14, the rivers began to crest. The water rose rapidly, and a logjam near Kent soon submerged land west of town. After the flood receded an agreement was made -- Pierce County would keep the White River which had diverted during the flood, but King County had to pay 60 percent of flood control. In 1914, construction began on a diversion dam and drift barrier a few miles southwest of Auburn. Later, levees were built and the channel was dredged. This was still not enough, and in 1933 another major flood inundated the Puyallup Valley. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were called in, and by 1948 they had built Mud Mountain Dam, seven miles southeast of Enumclaw. At the time, it was the highest rock- and earth-filled dam in the world, and has prevented any major flood since.
Credit Line White River Valley Museum Collection, Gift of Clarence Shoff.
Catalog Number PO-00069
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People Shoff, Clarence