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John Werner is the winner!

The railroad is the answer to our 47th week of a feature to celebrate Orofino's history and heritage.

According to information from the Clearwater Historical Museum, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company began building a rail line upriver from Lewiston in 1898. It was completed to Orofino Sept. 22, 1899 and the station was opened in November.

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With the coming of the railroad, C.C. Fuller, platted the town of Orofino and a post office and boarding houses were opened to take care of railroad workers. Advent of the railroad opened the area which had previously been accessible only by long and hard travel overland.

The railroad made vast forests of white pine accessible for logging operations. The U.S. Forest Service was also able to better manage the federally owned timber and in 1911, Clearwater National Forest office was located in Orofino. As the timber industry grew a spur line was constructed to Headquarters in 1926 and logging supplanted mining as the resource in the area.

Ownership changed to Camas Prairie in 1926 and daily service continued until Aug. 23, 1955 when the passenger train from Lewiston to Stites made its final run.. In its earlier years, passenger service was very popular because the schedule allowed one day shopping trips to Lewiston or Moscow. This was a great convenience for many years when there was no road between Orofino and Lewiston by the river.

When the mail service was taken off the train in March 1955, passenger service was also discontinued, because it was no longer cost effective for the train to make a daily run.

The railroad was very instrumental in the settling of this area.

Earlier this year, Watco Companies, Inc. and The Bountiful Grain & Craig Mountain Railroad (BG&CM) took over operation of the rail line. They usually have freight runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday: Boarding houses were built.

Tuesday: It shone in the sun.

Wednesday: It rolled.

Trivia Archives

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Fax: 208-476-3407