|Building in Cle Elum, Washington|
|The Cle Elum train station now houses a restaurant and historical displays|
We were overjoyed to find that its magic was as powerful now as it had been, and it quickly wrapped us up all over again in its spell. . .
The Coal Mine Beginnings
|Tribute to Fallen Miners in front of the old "Company Store"|
The first coal was shipped from Roslyn/Cle Elum area mines in 1886. In fact, the worst coal mine disaster in the state occurred in May 1892 at the Northern Pacific Coal Mine No.1 when an explosion and fire in the Roslyn mine (burrowed some 2,700 feet below ground) caused the death of 45 miners. Mining continued here until the last mine closed in 1962.
The Northwest Improvement Company Store (‘the company store’), pictured above, was the hub of the Roslyn community back in the town’s mining heyday and today, just like the town’s historic district, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Roslyn, Washington cemetery|
The Roslyn Cemetery, founded in 1886, is an amalgamation of some 25 separate cemeteries and the 5,000 graves on this 15-acre wooded site represent some 24 nationalities. The cemeteries reflect the far reach of the mines more than a century ago. Miners hailed from as far away as Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Lithuania, Germany, Slovenia, Italy and England. Many of those miners rest in these cemeteries and their descendants still live in the small town.
|The Runner Stumbles featured this church|
|Northern Exposure was filmed here|
I’ve long said that once a ‘place becomes people’ it becomes even more special than its history or fame has made it. Mary and I met two such individuals in Roslyn, both deserving a mention:
|Joyce Welker of Dingo Wild Dogs of Roslyn|
|Mary and Joyce posed for the shutterbug|
Joyce Welker, is the owner/operator of a hot dog stand - Dingo Wild Dogs of Roslyn - on the town’s main drag. She was setting up for lunch as we walked past . . .the fact that we’d brought a picnic lunch didn’t deter Joyce. She was introducing a new pulled pork sandwich that day and told us that we had to sample it. We visited with her for nearly half an hour. Next time we’ll skip the picnic!
We had, pardon the pun, one blooming good time – just around the corner from Joyce’s on the other, of the town’s two, main streets:
As we’d driven into town, I’d announced (as the shutterbug in the car), “We’ve got to walk back here so I can take a photo of that yard!” By the time we got back, the owner of the house and creator of this masterpiece, was out working in the garden. She gave me permission to take a photo or two. . .then she invited us up onto the porch for a closer look at those baskets:
She offered to show us her back yard,where we continued visiting, and then - because she decorates the yard for each season – she invited us in to her basement store room (think the elves workshop at the North Pole).
By then it didn’t seem unusual at all when she invited us into her home to see a few photos of her seasonally decorated yard (framed photos, newspaper clippings and awards).
Once inside we got around to introducing ourselves by name.
When it came time to leave we each hugged this lady who only an hour before we’d not known, vowing we’d come back again when we could stay longer, have a libation and do some real visiting!
Not every visitor to these small Central Washington towns will meet our two new friends, but I know where ever you go and who ever you meet will likely greet you with that same small town warmth of welcome. We are certainly planning a return!
If You Go:
For area information: Visit the Cle Elum/Roslyn Chamber of Commerce site by clicking this link.
Suncadia Resort, a large planned unincorporated community and resort complete with houses, condos, lodge and golf courses and covering an area of 6,300 acres is nearby.
Roslyn’s Swiftwater Cellars winery is located on the Suncadia property near the historic Roslyn No. 9 Coal Mine.