Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway Memories

Seattle-Everett Interurban Trolleyby Kent L. Haley, Keizer, Oregon, date unknown

The latest publication (Alderwood Clippings) was of interest to me . . . as you know, my father had his first teaching job at Alderwood Manor, I think the years 1920 and 1921.  Maybe until 1922.  I was four and a half when I first boarded that high-flying interurban car, and never got over it!  Sometimes the parlor car (the ones obtained in 1920 from the Spokane & Inland Empire) came along, and I can remember hanging over the brass railing around the observation end at the rear of the car, and remember vividly the bushes alongside the track waving wildly as we passed.  The silvery bell and air-chime whistle, together with the gentle swing and sway of the big car and the clickety-clack on the rails made a rhythmic symphony of sound and motion, never to be duplicated by any other conveyance, before or since!

I have a scale model of the #53 line.  Took my last ride Christmastime of 1938, in a howling rainstorm, with my cousin, Elvin Haley, then just twelve.  This was the episode when there was a washout along the line, somewhere up near Everett, with several ties loose—just hanging.  A farmer flagged us down.  I think the motorman pondered a bit,—should he go up on the roof and switch the trolley pole around and go back to Seattle, or chance it the rail would hold.  The car swayed twice, as each truck passed over the spot . . . the people genuflected in reverse, standing up each time!  But we made it!  Returning the company had rushed out a crew and filled it in.  The summer preceding I was on it, and had my head out the window, relishing every aspect of interurban riding, when the conductor came along and said “Sonny, I think you better close the window, we’re going through a fire.”  Well, I did so, as we went through a smoky spot,—I quickly opened the window and looked back, and, sure enough several crossties were smoldering.

Of course, I was always thrilled as a kid at Woodland Park in Seattle (in those days, even a five year old was safe half a day alone in the park, then full of big timber and brush) when an “Everett Interurban” came by on Phinney.  You could hear them even half a mile away, at the ancestral home on 49th and Woodlawn, as the rumble was just discernable, very different from Streetcar noise.

So many memories flood back with your paper.  What has happened to 55,—did she ever get reassembled, with trucks, bell, and headlight?


*To answer Mr. Haley’s question, #55 has been restored and can be seen at Heritage Park in Lynnwood, Washington—19901 Poplar Way.  It is open to the public on the first Saturday of June, July, August, and September between 11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.  or by special arrangements with the City of Lynnwood’s Park & Rec Department.

Interurban #55 restored