This week’s column concludes a three-part series about Captain Dick Craine, who set up shop at the Green River Gorge around 1919. He arrived with a rich heritage of adventure and showmanship then proceeded to build Ye Olde Green River Lodge on a high bank above the river next to the now iconic one-lane bridge. Inside the lodge Captain Craine displayed his collection of curios and artifacts selling trinkets, bear skins, and other relics from his museum. Craine also entertained visitors under his persona of Felix the Yukon Sourdough, telling Alaskan tales and his engagement with Eskimos and Canadian Ojibwas.
In the early 1920s, the widespread use of automobiles created a new industry of resorts and private parks catering to those on daytrips or weekend getaways. South King County was particularly populated with facilities at lakes and other places of natural beauty. Many of these were documented in the 1925 circular, “A Glimpse of a Charmed Land.”
Dick and Bessie Craine sold their lodge in April 1924. Five months later on Sunday, Sept. 13, a fire started in the basement of the lodge and quickly destroyed the structure, leaving only two stone fireplaces remaining. Captain Dick then relocated to Naches Pass where he operated a large tavern within a rustic, log cabin style building featuring 15 guest rooms. At the Naches Tavern, Craine offered guests access to his Indian gallery with its collection of curios from native tribes throughout the North Americas. There, Captain Dick takes unqualified delight in showing his collection to his guest, and explaining the history and legions of each piece. The Craines sold their Naches Tavern business in 1930, but nine years later that building also burned down. A new version was later rebuilt which still serves drinks to thirsty customers. Craine eventually moved back to Bellingham where he’d started his Northwest adventures more than half a century earlier. He died there undergoing back surgery in 1949.
This photo comes courtesy of Art Van Bergeyk, with research assistance from JoAnne Matsumura of Issaquah and Dr. Richard Feldman of Indianapolis