Summer trips to tourist destinations are nothing new. The destinations have changed, but the urge to explore remains the same. So it was in 1920 when three unidentified ladies journeyed east of Black Diamond in search of adventure.
High above the log where they sit are waterfalls and the Green River Gorge Bridge, which at the time of this photo was just 5 years old. The iconic bridge was built over a two-year period in 1914-1915.
Repairs were made to the structure beginning in 1988, after which it was converted to a single-lane bridge. It still stands today – 150 feet above the rushing waters of the Green River as it passes through a gorge of remarkable natural beauty.
However, it was in 1885 when coal mines in the town Franklin first brought the railroad to within a quarter mile of the bridge. The company town eventually hosted nearly 1,000 miners and their families. With the building of the high bridge and the increasing mobility provided by cars and improved roads, tourist facilities began developing here primarily on the east side of the river.
In time, hordes of tourists descended upon the area to access steep stairs down to the river’s edge. This image comes courtesy of JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah collector. She purchased a collection of 20 snapshots from a vacation taken by these ladies and two men who traveled to the fashionable resorts of yesteryear.
While the hanging log pictured here is long gone, the beauty of the gorge remains. However, be careful – the cold waters and fast currents of the Green River claim on average one drowning victim per year.