Window on the Clearwater
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Glenna & Phil Johnston nailed the answer and Harriet Reece, Ray Norton and John Werner were getting close.

The tramway across the Clearwater River at Peck is the answer for Week 178 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Farm commodities

Tuesday: A large gasoline engine

Wednesday: A safety issue

Thursday: Bathtub-sized buckets

Friday: Though usually used for grain, when the other means of transport was out of order passengers were taken across to meet a hack that took them to the depot.

After problems with a cable breaking on the ferry at Peck one late November and the loss of a horse and nearly some human lives, Magill and Gurnsey installed an aerial tramway. It extended from a new warehouse on the Peck side of the Clearwater River to the rail line that would take the grain to Portland. The tramway, according to information in Early Days in Big Canyon by Marion J. Kayler, was made of two bathtub-sized buckets with pulleys attached. Those were pulled across the river by the pulleys on a 500 foot cable that was 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Power was supplied by a large, single-cylinder gas engine. The buckets were on parallel cables and would pass each other in the center one going one direction and the other going the opposite. Each bucket could hold five 135 pound sacks of grain. The buckets went to the third floor of a grain elevator and dumped automatically before returning to the opposite side of the river.

When the ferry was out of service, the tramway was loaded with passengers, mail or whatever else needed to go across the river. Each of the buckets could hold about three people, according to Kayler. It could be quite a ride for passengers who part way across felt as if they would end up in the Clearwater before the bucket made a gradual climb to drop them off in the cupola of the receiving dock.

Watch for further info next week.

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Fax: 208-476-3407