Don Hanser, Ben Neumayer, Sharlene Anderson-Bonham, Todd Weller and Terray Harmon contributed to this report.
Last week’s History Mystery, above, was scanned from a print from the archives of the Reminder. It was published Sept. 9, 1982, and taken by Steve Johnson.
The caption reads: “Area residents attending the Sunday community picnic at The Dalles Dam enjoy the view from The Dalles Dam Tour Train, as they pass over a sluiceway where water rushes from the dam at speeds of approximately 80 miles an hour. The train transported picnickers to Seuford Park, with stops at the duck ponds and powerhouse along the way.”
Don Hansen identified the sluiceway outfall as the “ice trash sluiceway.”
A number of readers remembered the train fondly. In summer, it ran a route from the visitor center, across the face of the powerhouse to Seuford Park, a picnic area at the corner of the dam. The picnic area was open to visitors, with access by car and the tour train, until all access was restricted beyond the visitor center following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, due to increased security.
“In the 1970’s and 80’s it was a frequent family treat to ride the train with out-of-town guests way out to the end of the point with a picnic lunch,” wrote Ben Neumayer. “We often saw our friends, Frank Sparks the engineer and Mike Telfer the tour guide. The children always wanted to ride up in the cupola on the caboose which is still on display. Our kids delighted in inviting their grandparents to “Come up and ride our ‘dam’ train. The present motorized tram is still fun for our grandkids but just not the same.”
“Wow, brought back great memories of my days in high school as a Dalles Dam tour guide, wrote Sharlene Anderson-Bonham. “Back in 1978 and 79, I was on that train giving tours of the dam, showing the turbines and explaining what they did and how they operated; the fish ladder, how a person sat there and counted the many different types of fish going over the ladder; the sturgeon pond with 6-foot long sturgeon in it. It was wonderful, as I got to meet people from all over the world, so many we had to keep count and some would have to wait for the next tour. It was free and it was a great tourist attraction for The Dalles. Not many people have been under the dam. I have. It was cool, a little scary and awesome.”
“We used ride that train when we were kids, after fishing up on 15 mile creek, and bring our fish onto the train with us. The visitors did not seem to like to much. Oh the good old days!”
Recreational opportunities for young people in The Dalles area are said to be limited at best...