There wasn't anything left at the Centralia Depot to see, so it was time to go, but while I was in the area, I wanted to make a couple of stops to make the most of the trip. The first stop was to see a steam locomotive that is on static display in Centralia in Fort Borst Park. The following is the text of a sign that explains the history of the park.
FORT BORST PARK
Fort Borst Park, named for a military fort built in 1856, occupies land once part of the homestead of pioneer Joseph Borst. The blockhouse, partially restored and now maintained largely by donated labor and funds, stands 620 feet northeast of this spot.
Soldiers under the command of Captain Francis Goff constructed it for storage of grain needed for troops moving against Indians to the north. It was garrisoned for only a few months, as there was no need for protection against the friendly Chehalis Indians.
After the Indian wars, Joseph Borst bought it from the government for five hundred dollars for use as a grainary. It also served as a storehouse for the grain brought down the Chehalis River by traders on their way to New Market, now Tumwater.
The first Washington settlers followed military traffic from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia north through this area to Fort Steilacoom. Joseph and Adeline Borst among the first half-dozen settlers here, built a fine home and a mighty barn, which still stands southwest of this Park.
Originally, the blockhouse stood near a ferry on the Chehalis River beyond the mouth of the Skookumchuck southwest of here. In 1919, threatened by the Skookumchuck, it was moved to Riverside Park and, in 1922, to its present site. A year later it was presented to the City of Centralia by Joseph's son Allen.
If it hadn't already been so late in the day, I probably would've walked the 620 feet northeast to check out the historic blockhouse, and maybe even gone in search of the house and barn, but the light was starting to fade and the park was swarming with people for a Little League game, so I stuck to the task at hand and went in search of the locomotive, which was easy to find.
Cowlitz, Chehalis & Cascade #25
|Builder||Baldwin Locomotive Works|
|Tractive Effort||35,000 lbs.|
|Steam Pressure||180 psi|
|Cylinder Diameter||21 in.|
|Cylinder Stroke||26 in.|
|Driving Wheel Diameter||50 in.|
|Weight of Engine||159,000 lbs.|
|Weight on Drivers||145,000 lbs.|
The locomotive was built for the Whitney Company for use at Blind Slough, Oregon as #2501 "Big Jack." It was later used at Garibaldi, Oregon. In 1927, it was sold to the Tideport Logging Company of Jewell, Oregon, becoming their #53, and went on to become the Astoria Southern Railway's #53. In March 1944 it was sold to the Cowlitz, Chehalis & Cascade. It was later donated to the City of Centralia and placed here in Fort Borst Park, where it has remained ever since. It is in sad shape, but I was surprised to find that it still had its number plate and builders plate. Those items were often stolen from locomotives that were left nearly forgotten on static display.
Also on display with #25 is a pair of old freight car trucks. These trucks are of the Archbar design, which was last manufactured in the 1920s. Unlike later truck designs, which were made of a few large cast metal components, Archbar trucks are made of many individual pieces of steel, which are bolted together. These bolts can work themselves loose over time, and if the trucks were not regularly inspected and the bolts tightened, the trucks could dismantle themselves as they go down the track. By 1940, this style of truck had been banned from interchange service between railroads, though for a time they continued to be used under maintenance equipment and on small logging railroads.
(Note: In 2009, 2-8-0 #25 was removed from Fort Borst Park and moved to the shops of the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad Association in Chehalis for restoration.)