Industry: The Early Years

The early years in Riverside was the working man's side of town, sprinkled with a little wealth of mill owners and executives on choice pieces of property. The working man was the backbone of the community and with the regular ritual of six days each week and often ten hours a day, he would wake to the tone of the five o'clock whistle of the mills, telling him it was time to rise and prepare for his day of labor. [1]


Everett is in the midst of an immense timber belt, covered by gigantic forests which are directly tributary to it. The city lies upon the banks of the Snohomish River where it empties into Puget Sound, giving direct access to an extensive forest in the Cascade Mountains.

At Everett, today, logs are brought from all these points in all directions, until the city has become the greatest log market on Puget Sound. Not only by water are the logs here, but they are hauled in upon railway cars from the wooded sides of the Cascade Mountains over the old Monte Cristo railroad, over the Darrington branch of the Northern Pacific and over the Great Northern railways. [2]


Monte Cristo was the first live mining camp on the west slopes of the Cascade Range. There were 13 mines and 40 claims by 1891. By 1893 there were 211 mining claims. The boom required money from the eastern United States to continue to grow. In 1891 John D. Rockefeller became interested in Monte Cristo. His syndicate, Colby and Hoyt, took over the primary mines. Rockefeller's companies acquired a controlling two-thirds interest in the best properties. Frederick Trump (grandfather of Donald Trump) was also active in the town; he operated a boom-town hotel and brothel there.

The year 1896 was prosperous but in November major flooding damaged or destroyed railroad tunnels and track. Mining output reached record levels in 1897 but again intense autumn floods devastated the region's infrastructure and repairs cut deeply into mining profits. Other problems such as metallic impurities at the Monte Cristo concentrator and the Everett smelter led to the boom collapsing. By 1900 most of the Monte Cristo miners had left for the new mining booms of the Klondike. [3]


In 1889 the first mining claim was staked in Monte Cristo starting a gold rush. The only access to Monte Cristo was by pack trails that followed the Sauk River. Movement of supplies to the gold camps by pack team was slow and expensive.

Charles Colby and Colgate Hoyt, founders of the City of Everett, realized the need, and potential profit, of a railroad running from Everett to the mining camp. Hoyt convinced his friend John D. Rockefeller to put up the money and the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway (E&MCR) was incorporated on March 11, 1892. Construction began almost immediately.

For a time, the railroad enjoyed growth in freight revenue by transporting miners, supplies and machinery to the mining camps. In turn they carried the ore concentrates from the mines to smelters in Everett. Logging operations followed the railroad into the valley providing additional business transporting logs to the mills along the railway.

By 1933 construction of the Mountain Loop Highway signaled the end of rail service to the area. By 1936 the rails had been removed and sold for scrap to Japan. [4]

Further Reading