State Treasures - Washington

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 28 of the December, 2012 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2012 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

Treasure in the Bay
WAHTCOM COUNTY - Captain George Vancouver, a British officer, commanded the HMS Discovery and a small fleet of other vessels that mapped the Pacific Northwest between 1791 and 1794.
Vancouver’s expedition was the first to record Mount St. Helens and explore the Puget Sound.
Following the shore along the Oregon and Washington coasts, Vancouver used several smaller boats for his men to explore and document the Columbia River, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the Hood Canal, and Admiralty Inlet.
The HMS Discovery and her armed escort, the Chatham, would anchor in safe harbors during these mapping explorations.
After several weeks of documenting the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the party continued south, arriving at Puget Sound during a strong storm causing severe currents.
Crossing an unknown channel, the Chatham was caught up in a strong tide and helplessly swept downstream.
To slow the vessel, the captain ordered the steam anchor dropped, but the strain on the chain was too much, causing it to break.
The Chatham survived and later the captain attempted to recover the anchor during calm seas; unable to locate it, the Chatham rejoined the HMS Discovery.
Vancouver wrote in his journal on June 9, 1792:
"We found tides here extremely rapid, and on the 9th in endeavoring to get around a point to the Bellingham Bay we were swept leeward of it with great impetuosity.
"We let go the anchor in 20 fathoms but in bringing it up such was the force of the tide that we parted the cable.
"At slack water we swept for the anchor but could not get it. After several fruitless attempts, we were at last obliged to leave it."
If a diver and treasure hunter were able to recover the lost anchor today it would be worth a fortune.

The Legend of Quincy Lake
GRANT COUNTY - An old legend of buried gold dates back to around the time of the end of the Civil War.
According to legend, a Confederate soldier abandoned his unit and fled west with a wagon carrying a large quantity of gold.
In 1871, he arrived in the vicinity of Quincy Lake located around 106 miles north of the Columbia River if by water.
The old soldier built a homestead below a cliff face that sheltered him from the sun during summer months.
The legend picks up sometime during the 1950’s when an old Indian told the story he’d heard about an old man who lived and died at his home near Quincy Lake.
The Indian said before the old man died he took some horses carrying gold laden bags about 1.5 miles north of his cabin to a cliff wall.
He scaled the cliff face, buried his gold, and died. The Indian said his father had buried the old timer.   
The story claims a man bought up all the land around Quincy Lake, some 1800 acres, during the 1980’s and, using a metal detector, has since searched for the old man’s gold.
In 2005, treasure hunter James Spade started researching the legend and visited Quincy Lake on several occasions.
Spade states he found the old homestead belonging to the unknown soldier, as well as locating the cliff where he believes the gold is buried on top of.
Spade eventually found a way to reach the top of the cliff he describes as being 400 foot tall and one mile in width.
He reports locating an old canteen and other items, but no gold.
Spade noted several caves he found on the rock structure.
What success he’s had since 2005 is unknown.
My advice before heading into the Quincy Lake area to search would be to obtain any homestead records, property deeds and maps from the County Recorder that may show the site of the old man’s cabin.

One Ghost Town
& Two Lost Mines
ASOTIN COUNTY - Rogersburg (latitude 46.078 and longitude -116.98) was once a gold boomtown, which is about all the information I could find online for this old town.
The original town site sat on the river bank of the Snake River at the confluence of the Grande Ronde River.
According to what little information is available, a number of gold discoveries were made near here during the 1800’s and the mines here are said to have paid well, being rich in gold.
One tale from Rogersburg involves an unknown prospector who hit a big strike on Shovel Creek, a tributary of the Snake River, but because he failed to accurately document the location of his rich discovery, the location of the mine became lost.
A second story is of the Lost Trio Mine also located near Rogersburg, said to have been extremely rich in natural gold. Location unknown.
Another account states this was not a lost mine, but a cache site where three miners buried a large quantity of gold.
The miners were either killed or came up missing and they were unable to recover their cache.
Local research is needed.

Lost or Forgotten
Sites in Washington
GT: Lester (KING COUNTY) - Lester was once a railroad town after the Northern Pacific Railroad laid track over Stampede Pass in the 1880-90’s.
Several logging camps were nearby and many men opted to live in town, where there was a population of 1,000, with a railroad station, water tank, and section house.
The town prospered through the 1950’s when passenger service on the railroad declined, which began Lester’s decline.
Lester had a hotel, school, stores, a library, taverns, a park and homes along the roadway and scattered throughout the trees.
In 1980, the Tacoma Public Utilities bought up the last of the railroad property in 1980.
By this time only 26 people lived in Lester. Lester’s last resident, Gertrude Murphy, died at 99 years of age on September 29, 2002, and Lester died with her.
Some older railroad company houses remain, the school, many foundations, the collapsed slide marks the old town park, now overgrown with brush, and the foundation remains of the old train depot.  
Take Highway I-90 eastbound through the Snoqualmie Pass, then take exit 62, or the Kachess Lake Road exit.
Go right onto NF-54, a paved road, for a short distance which quickly becomes a dirt road.
Continue on NF-5400 for about 15 miles until you come to the closed Lester gate.
Park here and continue on foot across the bridge and down the road to the former town site.

Fort Discovery (JEFFERSON COUNTY?) Fort Discovery (American - 1838) was the base of operations for the U.S. Navy’s Wilkes Expedition in 1838 when the Navy was charting the waters of Puget Sound.
The site of Fort Discovery is unknown.

Fort Arkansas (LEWIS COUNTY?) Fort Toledo (American - 1855) was a settlers’ blockhouse that stood somewhere along the Cowlitz River.
Location possibly near Toledo.

GT: Greenwood (SPOKANE COUNTY) Little is known of this old abandoned ghost town. It had a Post Office from 1890-91 and is generally thought to have been a rural farming / ranching community.
Located at South Lawson’s Road at West McFarlane Road, one mile south of Highway 2 in Airway Heights.

Fort Tilton (KING COUNTY) Fort Tilton (American - 1856) was one of four military forts erected in the Snoqualmie River Valley area.
“Built under Major J.H.H. Van Bokkelen of the Washington Territorial Volunteers during the Indian wars.
Fort Tilton was the largest of these forts built in February, 1856, one mile below Snoqualmie Falls.
As many as 200 men were stationed there at one time.” (Prater)
According to the location provided by Prater, the fort sat on or near Sandy Point Park at S.E. King Street and Falls Ave. S.E. in Snoqualmie, or 1 mile below the falls.
Another description of the fort makes me believe the fort was actually located at Riverview Park, 3/10th of a mile below Sandy Point Park in the bend of the Snoqualmie River. 
For the record, the Fort Tilton Historical Marker can be found 22.3 miles southeast of the falls in the middle of nowhere.
Access is on NF-5043 and the marker is at the base of Psilocybin Hill. 

Weiser, Kathy, “Washington Legend - An Anchor in Bellingham Bay,” November 2010, Legends of America, http://www.legendsofamer
Spade, James, “The Quincy Lakes Legend (WA State),” September 2005, Treasure Net,
JR, “Treasure Trove Dreams,” September 24, 2010, http://treasuretr
Lester – “Washington Ghost Town,”
Prater, Yvonne, “Snoqualmie Pass: From Indian Trail to Interstate,” 1983, Mountaineers Books, p. 25
North American Forts,