A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

A history mystery in Phinney attic

August 10th, 2008 · Comments

Evan is hoping a Phinneywood reader may know what these are:

According to Evan, a neighbor remodeling his 1911-era house found 20-30 hand-tied bundles in an attic space that look like some kind of a train ticket. “They were on their way to the trash – he had assumed that they were coin sleeves – but I asked for a few and thought I would send a scan your way to see if you or one of your readers could identify them.” 

Evan says each bundle has about 10 sheets, and each sheet has some kind of route designation and a stamp. The stamps vary, some have names, other just locations and dates. He’s wondering if it has anything to do with the streetcar line that used to be on 8th Avenue NW, or the Interurban that used to go to Everett.

Anyone know what they are? I’ve sent copies of the images to HistoryLink and MOHAI to see if they can help as well.

UPDATE: We’ve got a comment from Lynn and an e-mail from John pointing out that it looks like Railroad Post Office cancellation stamps on some of the papers. Librarian Carolyn Marr at the Museum of History & Industry has this to add: “A few people here at MOHAI guessed that the paper items that you sent us pictures of were tickets for the Interurban. Since they are clearly marked Bellingham and Seattle, I looked up the history of this interurban. The Bellingham and Skagit Interurban Railway was built in 1911-1912 and ran from Bellingham to Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro-Woolley along the route that is now Chuckanut Drive. The interurban opened August 31. 1912.

“I am not certain that the tickets or whatever they are could be from the interurban, however, since you have one that is stamped with the date April 25, 1912. Also, the name does not indicate it is the interurban. Therefore, I am inclined to think the tickets came from one of the railroad lines that ran south from Bellingham. The name of the railroad changed over time, it was called Bellingham & Northern Railway and Chicago, Milwaukee and Puget Sound. For more information on these lines, you could contact the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham or the Skagit County Museum in LaConner.

“For books on local railroads and interurbans, the Seattle Public Library should have several authored by Warren W. Wing, including To Seattle by Trolley (1988) and A Northwest Rail Pictorial (1991). Good luck with your search, and thanks for sharing the pictures.”

John also adds in his e-mail two interesting links on the history and some prices of RPO covers/cancels, as well as some general Railway Post Office history.

Uncategorized