The Tuesday after Labor Day was customary for the first day of school, but even that tradition has begun to change. When students at Tahoma High School pass through the doors of their new school they will walk beside a wall of historic murals under the slogan, “Honor the Past – Live the Present – Create the Future.” A few yards further down the hall, students enter an open cafeteria area with a blown-up version of this photo from floor to ceiling encompassing an entire wall. Designers of the new Tahoma High School are to be commended for the many ways our area’s heritage has been incorporated into their contemporary layout. The early history of this region can be best summarized by the statement emblazoned on one of the six interpretive signs installed along the shore of Lake Wilderness: “It started with the railroad.” This June 15, 1950 photo shows a Pacific Coast Railroad engine pulling a train of empty coal cars towards Black Diamond, over a bridge crossing the Cedar River near the Maplewood golf course. The rail line, which parallels S.R. 169 (the Maple Valley Highway) crossed the Cedar River four times, twice at Maplewood in Renton, once near Royal Arch Park, and the “fourth crossing” as it was called in historic Maple Valley near the Testy Chef restaurant. The former railroad line now constitutes the 17-mile Cedar River Trail, popular with bikers, joggers, and walkers. This image number P11.14.45 comes courtesy of Tom Kroutz, a retired photographer, now living in Spokane, who shot a series of railroad photos in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Additional images from Mr. Kroutz’ complete collections are held at the Maple Valley Historical Society.