Avery in Shoshone County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
World Class Workers
Who’s Been Working On The Railroad?
If you stood here sometime between 1907 and 1911, you would have heard a multitude of languages.
The hundreds of people employed during the construction of the Milwaukee Road included; Italians, Bulgarians, Japanese, Serbs, Croatians, Montenegrins, Austrians, Swedes, Irish, English, French Canadians, Hungarians, Belgians, Norwegians, Russian, Greeks, Germans, Polish, Spanish, Scotch, Dutch, Finnish, and still others.
The railroad’s main contractors dealt with this potential “Tower of Babble" by subcontracting the work to men who spoke the language of the group or groups of laborers they employed.
Things did not always run smoothly. Some men brought long-standing quarrels from their homelands. A simmering feud between the Italian and Montenegrin workers boiled over during 1907, resulting in a St. Paul Pass Tunnel foreman killing a Montenegrin. When the foreman returned to work in June 1908, a Montenegrin murdered him in revenge.
There was at least one time when everyone got along, during the 1910 fire. When the forest fires forced people into the railroad tunnels, the railroad’s superintendent, C. H. Marshall, recalled that:
“We stayed in the tunnel until the next morning and the
Location. 47° 21.023′ N, 115° 40.67′ W. Marker is in Avery, Idaho, in Shoshone County. Marker can be reached from Moon Pass Road (Federal Road 456) 0.4 miles south of Loop Creek Road (Federal Road 326). Touch for map. Located along the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Avery ID 83802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "In the Hole" (here, next to this marker); The Toughest Town (a few steps from this marker); Secluded Falcon (a few steps from this marker); Smooth as Silk (approx. 0.7 miles away); Man’s Mark on the Land (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Changing Landscape (approx. 0.9 miles away); Water Does the Work! (approx. 0.9 miles away); Railroad at WAR! (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avery.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo with the caption, "A Japanese work crew poses for a photo with Milwaukee Railroad foremen and officials during the Western Extension’s last spike ceremony at Gold Creek, Mont., May 19th, 1909."
On the right is a photo with the caption, "Deputy Sheriff Callahan searching Montenegrins at the St. Paul Pass Tunnel East Portal construction camp on July 4th, 1908, after the murder of foreman Holmes Hayes." Both photographs courtesy Montana Historical Society
Also see . . .
1. Route of the Hiawatha Rail Trail. (Submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. U.S. Forest Service History - The 1910 Fires. The Forest History Society (Submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Disasters • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 541 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.