Then and Now: Riverside Drive at Kulshan Creek

Then 1921

Then 1921

The ‘Then’ photo was taken looking South on Riverside Drive in Mount Vernon, WA. in 1921, during a flood event.  The photographer was standing on that little high area where the railroad tracks crossed the road.  This high place seems to be fill for the rail lines and at one time there were three sets of tracks.  The Great Northern mainline, the Mt. Vernon to Fairhaven Interurban line and the Puget Sound and Cascade Railway, a logging line.  The logging line and the now BNSF mainline still cross here.  If you look a little to the north of the BNSF tracks, you can see where the fill is wide enough for the Interurban line.  Just to the west, the original Interurban line is part of the little rail yard owned by the Mount Vernon Terminal Railway

1919 Sidewalk

1919 Sidewalk

Notice Riverside Drive climbs the hill, away from the low water; this looks newly paved to me, probably with poured concrete about 1919.  Just at the start of the hill is Fir St.  Fir was the northern boundary of the original Plat of Mount Vernon of 1890.  Riverside Drive was part of the Pacific Highway, later to be called Highway 99, Mexico to Canada.  The part South of Fir is 4th St.  The photographer is standing in Skagit County and the Mount Vernon City Limits end at Fir St.  The part of Riverside north of Fir was not annexed to Mount Vernon until 1954!  Thus, a nice paved street in the city limits and mud and gravel for the County part of the Pacific Highway.  This low area carried the original Kulshan Creek.  This Creek is now all in a culvert in this area, but in the ‘Then’ photo, it looks like it is mostly on the surface.

Now 2015

Now 2015

Was not able to capture the exact location as the traffic on Riverside was too much, but I came pretty close.  Could not tell what set of tracks are in the ‘Then’ photo, but it looks a little ragged to be a Great Northern mainline, so probably was the logging crossing.  That is the set of tracks showing in the ‘Now’ photo.  This logging railway ran from Mount Vernon, where it ended at a Skagit River log dump where Lions Park North is now located, to Clear Lake and up the Skagit River, where the South Skagit Highway is now located.  You can see the pilings and some other stuff left over from the log dump right where the river makes it’s big bend at the Park.  Most of this old logging rail line in the Mount Vernon City Limits is now the Kulshan Trail.

The ‘Then’ photo shows the Standard Oil company on the corner of Fir and Riverside.  This is now the location of Skagit Farmers Supply Country Store.  The original spur rail line is still there and is used by Skagit Farmers to get fuel oil and propane delivered in tank cars.

Dennis’til next time,
Dennis George
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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