Today in Lewis County History: Fainted After Forlorn Fine; Annual Parade of the Pioneers Draws 50,000; Streetcar Railroad ‘Junked’


Fainted After Forlorn Fine

In 1890, Judge Dysart had a full day in police court.

“Judge Dysart looked bland and smiling this morning as he cheerfully listened to the several tales of woe that were poured into his sympathetic ear,” The Centralia Chronicle wrote. “‘John Gillman, stand up!’” said the court. “John stood up, but fainted when the affable Judge fined him $5 for looking so sad and forlorn.”


Annual Parade of the Pioneers Draws 50,000

On Aug. 3, 1935, the annual Parade of the Pioneers drew 50,000 people to Tower Avenue in Centralia.

“The procession of covered wagons, floats, hundreds of horses, bands and old autos of the sput-sput age moved past the judging stand at Tower and Magnolia from 11:20 to 12:25, concentrating on the vacant field across from the depot for the awarding of prizes,” The “Perfect weather greeted the opening of Pioneer Days. Sidewalks were crowded from Second street to Walnut street, the crowd assembling two hours before the scheduled start of the parade.”

Immediately after the parade, the Pioneer Picnic was held at Borst Park.


Streetcar Railroad ‘Junked’

In 1936, a landmark in the Chehalis area was being dismantled.

“Work was started this morning in the junking of one of Chehalis’ oldest landmarks as workmen began the junking of the Twin City railroad,” The Lewis County Bee reported. “The work is being done by H.G. Hartman, who recently purchased the road. The tracks were being taken up near Coal Creek.

“The railroad company operated the street cars in Chehalis and Centralia until 1929 when they were supplanted by busses.”


Wrong Bear Shot

In 1960, a bear blocked the way of engineers who were surveying a flood line on what would be Mossyrock Lake near Riffe, in the building of Tacoma’s power project.

“Like other opposition to the power development over the past 10 years, it lost — even to the wrong bear being shot,” The Daily Chronicle wrote.

“Shouts and stick throwing only angered the bruin. Finally the word went back to a base crew to bring a rifle. There was a shot and that was the end of another foe of Cowlitz power progress.

“But while it was a large, adult bear that snarled at engineers and halted their work, it was a year-old bruin that paid the penalty. Bob Foster, Centralian, who is a member of the survey crew, said that when the word was given to get a rifle and shoot the big bear, a smaller bear appeared on a trail leading to where the crew was stymied.

“A crew member delivering the rifle to the emergency area saw the smaller bear and mistook it for the troublemaker. He shot it. The sound of the shot then caused the adult bear to turn tail and flee.”


Restoring Antique Trains is 21-Year-Old’s Hobby

In 2001, Scott Wickert, 21, Chehalis, was introduced to his hobby of restoring old steam trains from his grandfather Harold Martin.

Wickert, with the help of his father John and other family members, restored a 91-year-old steam locomotive, which he purchased from the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe.

“Without the help of these people the restoration would have slowed down considerably, if not stopped,” Wickert said about the nine-month project. “The engine required a massive boiler repair, a mostly new cab, much of the water tank is new, and many other problems too many to list.”

Wickert worked eight to 14 hours a day on the project. The only work hired out was the lettering of the train. The cost of the project was estimated at $15,000.

His next project was an 1887 logging locomotive.