Dan Brown contributed the map below. He writes, "My father, Joe Brown, born 7 June 1918 in Whitetop Gap, Grayson Co VA, moved to Montesano in 1920, moved to Mossyrock about 1980, died 8 Jan 1998 in Mossyrock and is buried in Wynoochee Cem. in Montesano with his with his 2nd wife, parents, grandparents, many uncles and aunts and cousins." Joe Brown was a past president of the Eastern Lewis County Historical Society (now the Cowlitz River Valley Historical Society).
The following newspaper article was published in "The Daily Chronicle". Each page of the article will open in its own window.
Transcription of article:
"Morton deport restoration steams into road blocks"
by Cap Pattison
MORTON - Efforts to restore the old railroad depot here have reaced a "Catch 22," according to members of the Eastern Lewis County Historical Society.
A restoration grant can't be awarded without an estimate of what repairs are going to cost, but contractors are reluctant to name a price without knowing what they'll find when they begin work.
"It's hard to get a contractor to take the project," said Joe Brown, the society's current president.
"This is our one big stumbling block," agreed Edna Beckwith, a society member with a special interest in the train depot."
"The building needs to be strengthened," Brown explained, noting that the floor sags in a number of places.
But one contractor advised Brown that the building "may not be able to stand the stress of being pulled together."
The same could be said for a lot of things that are 84 years old. The depot was built in 1900, according to Alice Boutain, past president of the society.
It was Morton's main transportation hub until the 1950s, when trucking companies supplanted railroads throughout the nation.
Boutain was president when the society assumed ownership of the long-abandoned depot in March of 1964.
"I went through a lot trying to get that depot," Boutain remembered.
After much negotiating, the historical society paid $10 to the Milwaukee Railroad Co. for the building, Boutain said.
Shortly afterwards, the society rented it to the Assured Home Health Visiting Nurses for use as a thrift shop."
The Visiting Nurses moved to a larger location in July of 1992. At that time, the society hoped that restoration efforts would soon take place.
But according to Beckwith, the society's attempts to get a grant have been unsuccessful because a firm dollar figure has not been pinned down in writing.
Matters were not helped last October when the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe was forced to cancel its dinner train to Morton.
The weekend tourist excursion using a vintage steam locomotive exposed many people to the old depot, but the train trips had to be canceled after six railroad bridges north of Morton were found to be unsafe.
Beckwith still has hope that the society will secure a grant. She said she is working on one now from the state Department of Transportation.
The group is also striving to have the depot listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
"It's coming up for a vote this summer," Beckwith said.
Society members can't tell you when, but they are convinced that some day the old depot will become a museum, and it will be restored to its former glory and serving as a reminder of early Morton history.
[Editor's note: For an update on the Morton Depot restoration, see the Cowlitz River Valley Historical Society's website.]