Saturday, July 7, 2012

In Search Of The Lost Water Pipe

Alpine , WA. Saturday July 7 Tim and I made a trip to Alpine to look for the water intake for the Great Northern Railway 50,000 gallon water tank east of town. The tank was supplied with water from Carroll Creek using a 6" wooden pipe, we used this map as a guide:

We walked up the hill on the east side of the creek, after some heavy brushwacking we came across this artifact, the remains of a wooden pipe.
The pipe has been on the ground since probably 1920, the wood is all rotted. We did not find any surviving examples of wire wound wood pipe but our pipe probably looked like this, a six inch (inside diameter) wood pipe outside the Pickett Museum in Index.

There were quite a few sections of pipe laying on the ground downhill from the intake at the creek, apparently it was above ground near the creek and then was buried underground downhill toward the water tank. I estimate about 1000 feet of pipe was underground. Here is a picture of a trench being dug for a water pipe sometime around 1900, the trench line for our pipe looks very similar to this.

The blue map shows the location of the water tank and water pipe completed in 1920. On the right is a 1930 photo, the area cleared for the water pipe is very distinct.

In May 2011  Donna and I found where the wood pipe entered the water tank.

We found two of these pipe clamp things.

We followed the pipe to the creek and it ended up here, we expected to see a dam on the creek but if there was ever anything there it is gone now.

On the way back to civilization we stopped at the Pickett Historical Museum in Index. Lee Pickett lived in this house, he was a photographer for the Great Northern Railway and also took quite a few pictures of Alpine. The University of Washington has a large collection of his photos here.