PEND OREILLE COUNTY TRIVIA
By Faith McClenny
Pend Oreille County Historical Society
Calling all train buffs! Kids of all ages or those eager for a unique train ride through beautiful scenery and wild life while enjoying lively entertainment and stories of early Pend Oreille County will soon be able to do so through another mode of transportation. In August, Newport/Priest River Rotary Club will offer round trips from Historic Newport to Dalkena in three classic passenger cars and three open cars.
A hundred years ago, pioneer Fredrick Blackwell, dreamed that one day in the future a historic train would be running over his railroad tracks. His dream, at the time, was to run a “state of the art” passenger and freight train. It would carry tons of ore from the northern part of the county, cement from the Lehigh Portland Cement plant in Metaline Falls, haul hundreds of boxcars of timber products from the Panhandle Lumber Co., and carry thousands of passengers to Spokane.
The “Blackwell” line lasted until 1916 when it was purchased by the Milwaukee rail line. Over the last hundred years, the tracks have served the Pend Oreille County well, but times have brought change to the mining and lumber businesses and the need for a busy rail system has waned. For the last 35 years the Lion’s Club in Ione, WA offered train rides from Ione to Metaline Falls to thousands of tourists. However, the north tracks are in need of extensive rebuilding and repairs and can no longer be used.
Additional Train Ride information: Scenic Pend Oreille River Trains or 1-877-525-5226