Railroads of Montana
GREAT NORTHERN RY - KETTLE FALLS, WA.
The Kettle Falls, Washington Branch of the Great Northern Railway has an interesting history that goes back to the 1880's in Washington State's "Inland Empire."
This 100-mile rail line that runs north from Spokane was first built to the Columbia River at Marcus tapping into the lucrative mining districts near the Washington/British Columbia borders. Through time and circumstance, the terminus at Marcus was changed to Kettle Falls where two separate rail lines left basically east and west of Kettle Falls to Nelson and Grand Forks, British Columbia. As the northeastern Washington area grew in population, so did the diversity of commodities change.
Mining still played a key role in traffic shipments, but they also started to include many non-precious minerals which to this day are the backbone of freight business. Not to be forgotten, as with anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, timber is a major player - as on the Kettle Falls line in the past and today. Not so well known was the booming tourist business that in the early part of the twentieth Century drew Spokane residents to Loon Lake. All these aspects of the Kettle Falls Branch will be covered in this publication.
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