Monday, July 20, 2009

Rutledge Unit

This is the first of a number of photos I'll be posting that Dad took from Bill Brook's seaplane when I-90 was first completed. This would be about 1959. You can see the wings in a couple photos (which he would crop out where needed).

Dad sold a group of these arial photos, showing the new freeway end to end, to the Spokane Chronicle. The Chronicle was an evening paper, the Spokesman a morning issue. If you're old enough to remember, or have noticed on the newspaper the Old Man reads in A Christmas Story, many newspapers would fill the last page with "photos of the day". Dad's photos took the whole page a few days before the grand opening.

When I got older I got to go along and hold the plane's window open, out and up, for Dad to shoot. That was fun but it about tore my arm off. This is scanned from an 8x10" contact sheet, prints right from the negitives from Dad's 4x5" Press style cameras. I kept the prints, the negatives went to the Museum of North Idaho. Dad had maybe 1,000 - 1,500 of them.

The photos here show not only the new I-90 sweeper into the east end of town, but Potlatch Mill, Rutledge Unit.

The top left one shows the then brand new bridge that everyone now takes to go up to all the houses. Known now as Rutledge, we called it Armstrong Hill in the 70's. Great place to make out up on top. You could drive to the end of the road, turn around and park where you overlooked CdA and had clear vision of anyone coming your way long before they got there. I watched the 4th of July fireworks from there a time of two.

This shot could be held up to an arial promo shot of the CdA Resort Golf Course and new condo for comparison. It's all there. The sawmill has the tall stacks in the upper right. Check out the booms of logs ready to be fed into the mill.

The top right photo looks back at Sanders Beach and Tubbs Hill. Look how small a piece of land the new condos were built on is. In the background you can see the smoke from the sawmills out on Northwest Blvd.

The bottom left photo shows how west bound traffic exited over a bridge and down what is now East Lakeshore Drive and to the Serman intersection. In the background is Big Best, as we kids called it, the Cherry Hill area and the cross-town route of I-90.

The bottom right is all the same from the southwest. It clearly shows how big a mill Potlatch was and how much land it takes for a golf course.

For what must have been decades, a big chunk of boys growing up around here worked at least once in a sawmill, a mine or for a logger, rancher or farmer. I put in a short stint at Rutledge when I was going to NIC. Got a "join the union or else" letter in my paycheck once and figured if I was only going to work until I went to U of I, why should I pay them any of my money. End of job, start of summer.

I did have a couple of the most memorable work days of my life there, though. There were actually 2 of the best days of work ever, and then there were the days I had to work between the head rigs turning slabs. That sucked, hurt my back and bothered me until I finally had surgery 25 years later. But those are stories for another time.

More pics will follow. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Rutlege Mill Produced PRESTO-LOGS which the Bennett family used to heat their home. Dad and I would go down there and load hot logs into the van. It was a loud, hot place, that when I think back would have made a great location in a Terminator movie. BTW, many a runner trained on Rutlege hill, I preferred Castle Rock as my parking spot, oh don't tell Linda that one!