Guide to the Bruce Cheever railroad photographs

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Cheever, Bruce
Title: Bruce Cheever railroad photographs
Dates: 1890-1977 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 3 Linear Ft. ( )
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0028cheever
Summary: The Bruce Cheever railroad photographs depict railway systems in Washington state, Oregon, other states of the region, and also British Columbia from the late 19th century to the late 20th Century. The photographs depict railway cars, engines, and other rolling stock of railroads and railways throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as railway conductors, passengers, train stations, wharves and city scenes.
Repository: Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Contact Information: Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Languages: Collection materials are inEnglish.  
Sponsor: Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Bruce Bissell Cheever, an avid scholar of railroad history and lore, amassed an impressive collection of photographs relating to railroads and interurban railway systems in the Pacific Northwest in a lifetime of research on the subject. After earning his Master's Degree in Social Studies from the University of Washington, Mr. Cheever became an instructor in the Economics Department at Western Washington State College of Education in 1948.

In 1951, Bruce Cheever took a leave of absence from Western to pursue his personal academic interests. Instead of returning to teaching after his leave of absence, he began a career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This career change did not dilute his interest or research pursuits in railroads and interurban railway systems.

Cheever published works from the 1940s through the 1970s. His works include "Electric Railroads in Whatcom County" published in Trolley Sparks, three articles written for Traction and Models: "The Fairhaven and New Whatcom Street Railway Company," "The Bellingham-Skagit Interurban," and "The Bellingham Streetcar System" and a monograph titled "The Development of Railroads in the State of Washington: 1860 to 1948," published in 1949 by the Western Washington College of Education.

Content Description

The collection comprises approximately three linear feet of material, consisting of photographs and a small amount of textual material, including correspondence, notes, maps, train schedules, and manuscripts and drafts of Cheever’s many publications pertaining to his railroad research.

The photographs, which comprise the bulk of the collection, depict railway cars, engines and other rolling stock of railroads and railways throughout the Pacific Northwest. Railway systems in the State of Washington are particularly well represented, and within the state, most notably Whatcom County and the Seattle area. There are also photographs of several railways in British Columbia, and others from Oregon and other states in the region, but these are few in number compared to Washington State railways, the emphasis of Cheever’s research interest.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

Bruce Cheever railroad photographs, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Bruce Cheever railroad photographs are organized in accordance with the following series and sub-series arrangement:

  • Series I: Photographs, circa 1890-1950
    • Sub-series 1: Washington State, 1890-1947
    • Sub-series 2: Other States and Provinces, 1898-1954
    • Sub-series 3: Unidentified Prints and Negatives, Undated
  • Series II: Textual Materials, undated; 1912-1977
    • Sub-series 1: Index, Undated
    • Sub-series 2: Research/Reference Materials, 1912-1974
    • Sub-series 3: Articles Written by Bruce Cheever, 1968-1975
Processing Note :  

Amber Raney re-engineered the Bruce Cheever railroad photographs for the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in June 2004. Changes made to the initial arrangement of the collection included further preservation of the photographs. This involved re-housing them in acid-free folders, and buffering them with acid-free paper. In addition, the textual materials were divided up into three sub-series, including the card index of the photographs.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:   Photographs, circa 1880-1955
Sub-series 1: Washington State circa 1890-1947
Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, and Anacortes Area circa 1890-1947
1/1 General (BMA-A to BMA-C) Undated
1/2 General (BMA-1 to BMA-15) Undated
1/3 Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad (BMA-16 to BMA-31) Undated
1/4 Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad (BMA-32 to BMA-46) Undated
1/5 Bellingham Bay and Eastern Railroad (BMA-47 to BMA-52) Undated
1/6 Bellingham Bay Electric Street Railway (BMA-53) Undated
1/7 Bellingham and Northern Railroad (BMA-54 to BMA-57) Undated
1/8 Fairhaven and New Whatcom Railway (BMA-58 to BMA-70) Undated
1/9 Fairhaven and Southern Railroad Company (BMA-71 to BMA-72) Undated
1/10 Fidalgo City and Anacortes Railway Company (BMA-73) Undated
1/11 Great Northern Railroad (BMA-74 to BMA-81) Undated
1/12 Lake Whatcom Line (BMA-82 to BMA-84) Undated
1/13 Larson Lumber Company (BMA-85 to BMA-90) Undated
1/14 Pacific Northwest Traction Company (BMA-91 to BMA-106) Undated
1/15 Pacific Northwest Traction Company (BMA-107 to BMA-122) Undated
2/1 Puget Sound Traction, Power and Light Company (BMA-123 to BMA-129) Undated
2/2 Skagit River Railroad (BMA-130 to BMA-144; BMA-144A) Undated
2/3 Whatcom County Railway and Light Company (BMA-145 to BMA-167;BMA-167A) Undated
Centralia and Chehalis Area
2/4 Centralia Electric and Traction Company (CC-168) Undated
2/5 Skookum Bay Railroad (CC-169) Undated
2/6 Twin City Railroad Company (CC-170) Undated
2/7 Washington Electric Railway (CC-171 to CC-172) Undated
Everett Area
2/8 Everett Railway and Electric Company (E-173 to E-174) Undated
2/9 Hall and Hall Railroad (E-175 and E-175A) Undated
2/10 Northern Pacific Railroad (E-176) Undated
Grays Harbor Area
2/11 Grays Harbor Electric Company (GH-177 to GH-178) Undated
2/12 Grays Harbor Railway and Light Company (GH-179 to GH-181) Undated
Inland Empire Area
2/13 General (IE-182 to IE-186) Undated
2/14 Coeur d'Alene and Spokane Valley (IE-187 to IE-192) Undated
2/15 Great Northern (IE-193 to IE-208) Undated
2/16 Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and Palouse Railway (IE-209 to IE-214) Undated
2/17 Spokane and Inland Railway (IE-215 to IE-218) Undated
2/18 Spokane United Railway (IE-219 to IE-221) Undated
2/19 Washington Water and Power Company of Spokane (IE-222 to IE-227) Undated
Seattle Area
2/20 General (S-A to S-C; S-228 to S-244) Undated
3/1 General (S-245 to S-260) Undated
3/2 General (S-261 to S-277) Undated
3/3 Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad (S-278 to S-294) Undated
3/4 James Street Cable (S-295 to S-311) Undated
3/5 Lake Washington Cable Railway Company (S-312 to S-317) Undated
3/6 Madison Street Cable Railway Company (S-318 to S-320) Undated
3/7 Pacific Coast Railroad Company (S-321 to S-338) Undated
3/8 Pacific Coast Railroad Company (S-339 to S-355) Undated
3/9 Pacific Coast Railroad Company (S-356 to S-371) Undated
3/10 Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad (S-372) Undated
3/11 Seattle City Railway Company (S-373 to S-374) Undated
3/12 Seattle Electric Railway Company (S-375 to S-378) Undated
3/13 Seattle and Municipal Street Railway Company (S-379 to S-396) Undated
3/14 Seattle Traction Company (S-397 to S-398) Undated
3/15 Seattle Union Trunk Line (S-399) Undated
3/16 Western Street and North End Electric Railway (S-400) Undated
Seattle-Everett Area
4/1 North Coast Transportation Company (SE-401 to SE-417) Undated
4/2 Pacific Northwest Traction Company (SE-418 to SE-435) Undated
4/3 Pacific Northwest Traction Company (SE-436 to SE-453) Undated
4/4 Pacific Northwest Traction Company (SE-454 to SE-471) Undated
4/5 Seattle Electric Railway Company (SE-472) Undated
4/6 Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway (SE-473 to SE-476) Undated
4/7 Seattle-Everett Traction Company (SE-477) Undated
Seattle-Renton Area
4/8 Seattle, Renton, and Southern Railway (SR-478 to SR-480) Undated
4/9 Seattle and Rainier Valley Railway (SR-481 to SR-486) Undated
Seattle-Tacoma Area
4/10 General (ST-487) Undated
4/11 Puget Sound Electric Railway (ST-488 to ST-502) Undated
4/12 Puget Sound Electric Railway (ST-503 to ST-517) Undated
Seattle-Walla Walla Area
4/13 Seattle-Walla Walla Railroad and Transportation Company (SW-518 to SW-519) Undated
Tacoma Area
4/14 General (T-520 to T-523) Undated
4/15 Northern Pacific Railroad (T-524 to T-529) Undated
4/16 Tacoma Municipal Belt Line (T-530 to T-531) Undated
4/17 Tacoma Power and Light Company (T-532 to T-533) Undated
4/18 Tacoma Railway and Power Company (T-534 to T-536) Undated
4/19 Tacoma and Steilacoom Railway Company (T-537 and T-537A) Undated
Vancouver Area
4/20 Clark County Suburban Railway (V-538 to V-540) Undated
4/21 Portland and Vancouver Railway Company (V-541 to V-542) Undated
4/22 Vancouver Traction Company (V-543) Undated
Walla Walla Area
5/1 Walla Walla Valley Railway Company (WW-544 to WW-545) Undated
Yakima Area
5/2 Cascade Lumber Company (Y-546 to Y-549) Undated
5/3 Yakima Valley Transportation Company (Y-550 to Y-563) Undated
5/4 Yakima Valley Transportation Company (Y-564 to Y-576) Undated
Sub-series 2: Other States and Provinces 1898-1954
5/5 Skagway (A-577) 1898 September 10
5/6 General (C-578 to C-579) Undated
5/7 Denver and Rio Grande (C-580) Undated
5/8 Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad (C-581) Undated
5/9 General (CO-582) Undated
5/10 Chicago and Grand Railroad (I-583) Undated
5/11 Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (I-584 to I-585) Undated
5/12 Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad (IN-586) 1954 October 24
5/13 General (M-587) Undated
5/14 St. Louis Water Works Railway (MI-588) Undated
5/15 Forest Grove Transportation Company (O-589) 1909 July 19
5/16 Oregon Electric Company (O-590 to O-596) Undated
5/17 Oregon Lumber Company (O-597 to O-604) Undated
5/18 Pacific Electric Company (O-605 to O-606) Undated
5/19 Portland Electric Power Company (O-607 to O-613) Undated
5/20 Portland Traction Company (O-614) Undated
5/21 Red River Valley Railway (O-615) Undated
5/22 Sumpter Valley Railway (O-616 to O-632) Undated
5/23 Sumpter Valley Railway (O-633 to O-650) Undated
5/24 Willamette Valley Railroad (O-651) Undated
5/25 Lehigh Valley Railroad (P-652) Undated
5/26 Rio Grande Railroad (U-653) Undated
5/27 Salt Lake and Utah Railroad (U-654 to U-655) Undated
British Columbia
5/28 British Columbia Electric Railway (BC-656 to BC-659) Undated
5/29 Cornwall Street Railway (ON-660) Undated
5/30 Hamilton Street Railway (ON-661) Undated
Sub-series 3: Unidentified Prints and Negatives Undated
6/1 General (MISC-662 to MISC-679) Undated
6/2 General (NEG-1 to NEG-22) Undated
6/3 General (NEG-23 to NEG-45) Undated
6/4 General (NEG-46 to NEG-69) Undated

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Series II:   Textual Materials, 1912-1977
Sub-series 1: Index Undated
7 Card Index of Photographs and Negatives Undated
Sub-series 2: Research/Reference Materials 1912-1974
Research Notes and Correspondence
8/1 Correspondence and Notes from Bruce Cheever about Railroad Studies circa 1949-1951
Maps, Drawings, and Train Schedules
8/2 Maps and Schedules of the City of Bellingham and Street Car Lines circa 1940
8/3 Map of the Northwest Division of the Pacific Northwest Traction Company circa 1940
8/4 Diagrams of the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane Railway "Observation and Parlor Trail" Car circa 1940
Reference articles
8/5 B.C. Electric Employees Magazine: Jubilee Issue 1947 May
Electric Railroads
8/6 “Yakima Valley Transportation Company,” 1942 May
8/7 “Vancouver Memories,” 1943 February
8/8 “Seattle and Rainier Valley Railway,” 1943 June
8/9 “Puget Sound Electric,” 1943 July
8/10 “North Coast Lines,” 1943 August
8/11 “The Trolleys of Tacoma,” 1943 October
8/12 “Tacoma’s Other Interurbans,” 1948 January
8/13 “British Columbia Electric Railway,” 1949 April
8/14 Information re. Yakima Valley Transportation Company 1965 September - 1977 November
8/15 Interurban Magazine- "Outstanding Interurban Cars" 1948 August
8/16 Interurban News Letter, Special No.2: Puget Sound Electric Railway 1945 June
8/17 Journal of Electricity- "Puget Sound Traction, Light, and Power Company's System," 1912 June
Pacific News
8/18 “Simpson Timber Co. (Shelton, Washington),” 1974 August
8/19 “The Fort Worden Engine (Port Townsend, Washington),” 1974 September
Sub-series 3: Articles written by Bruce Cheever 1968-1975
Traction and Models
8/20 “The Fairhaven and New Whatcom Street Railway Co., Bellingham, Washington – 1891-1898,” 1968 June
8/21 “Bellingham and Skagit Railway,” 1972 January
8/22 “Bellingham Streetcar System,” 1975 September

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Personal Names :
  • Cheever, Bruce Bissell--Archives.  ( creator)
  • Subject Terms :
  • Railroads--British Columbia--History--Sources--Photographs.
  • Railroads--Colorado--History--Sources--Photographs.
  • Railroads--Northwest, Pacific--History--Sources--Photographs.
  • Railroads--Seattle, Washington--History--Sources--Photographs.
  • Railroads--Utah--History--Sources--Photographs.
  • Railroads--Whatcom County--Washington (State)--History--Sources--Photographs.

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