Site and Structures Description Puget Sound Power & Light Company, White River Hydroelectric Project, Dieringer Washington
Timber Crib Diversion Dam at Buckley
The timber dam across the White River at the Buckley headworks was completed in 1910 and diverted water through the headworks and into the hydraulic canal, which delivered water to Lake Tapps, the reservoir for the powerhouse. Stone & Webster engineers designed the dam in accordance with the wildly fluctuating flow of the White River. Measuring 352' in length, the low dam—the crib structure is 4' high and supports the 7' high flashboards—permitted the passage of flood waters and drift without damage to the permanent crib structure. The dam was intended not to store water but to control its flow through the headworks. The flashboard system was constructed to allow the water level to be raised 1' to an elevation 671' mean-sea-level and was designed to collapse automatically in flood waters. The dam contains a mat of mass concrete, resting on timber piles driven into impervious hardpan, and gravel-filled timber cribbing. The sill beams of the timber cribbing are embedded in the concrete. Timber planking, spiked on top of the cribbing, was installed to carry the water over the mat without washing out the gravel. Reinforced concrete wing-walls confined the river to its course and protected the banks from erosion.
Prior to the construction of the crib dam, the Pacific Coast Power Company built a coffer dam upstream which diverted water around the site of the crib dam on the side of the river opposite the headworks intake. A wooden trestle was then erected across the river along the length of the proposed crib dam. Railway tracks were laid upon the trestles for moving equipment and materials during construction. Pile drivers were later used to drive a row of piles along either side of the trestles prior to pouring the concrete mat.
Three years after the Pacific Coast Power Company completed the dam, construction workers returned to the site to upgrade the fish ladder. Excavation at the dam, which began in August 1913, was marred by the death of a worker, Robert Jay, who was killed during the blasting for the new ladder. Work continued through September and the end of October when White River superintendent George Sears observed, "the Fish Ladder at Buckley will be completed early in the week." This fish ladder remained substantially unaltered until 1940 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a fish trap to capture spawning salmon and truck them above the newly completed Mud Mountain Dam.
In 1918 an aerial tram was erected for servicing the dam. As the White River superintendent noted in his January report, "Work has commenced on the installation of a cableway over the dam at Buckley. This is to be used for placing and removing flashboards from the dam and also for removing drift lodged against the dam." Originally wood towers supported the cable which was anchored with a concrete deadman on the south side of the dam and was attached to a tree on the north side. In May 1926 the superintendent reported that workers were constructing a concrete deadman in place of the tree because the wood had deteriorated. Three years later a new creosoted wood A-frame was built on the north shore to support the cable. Further changes to the aerial tram occurred in 1930 when the wood A-frame on the south side was replaced with a steel tower. (Subsequently, Puget Power erected a steel tower on the north side of the dam; these towers remain standing.)
The flashboard system functions today much as it did when the dam was completed in 1910. The flashboards of the dam are supported by steel posts which are hinged to an indented flat steel plate drift-bolted into the wood beams of the crib dam. Tie rods support the posts on the upstream side and are permanently secured to the dam structure at their lower end. They are connected to the top of the posts by resting in a double U-type slot. These are designed to break free at flows in excess of 3,000 cubic-feet-per-second or they can be removed manually. With the exception of the steel posts, the dam retains much of its original appearance.
Buckley Headworks Intake and Vertical Lift (Stoney) Gates
In 1909, Samuel L. Snuffleton, the chief engineer of Stone & Webster's western operations, ordered a small crew of men to commence clearing and grubbing the intake site of the future White River hydroelectric project. Located on the White River near the town of Buckley, the headworks intake was initially excavated by hand. Early the following year, the Pacific Coast Power Company, a subsidiary of Stone & Webster and contractor for the White River project, began construction of the entire headworks and flowline. Workers laid a rail line called the "Webstone spur" from the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks at Buckley to the headworks site, a distance of about one-half mile. Steam shovels and railway dump cars were then brought in to handle the heavy excavation work. Excavation for the intake and flow line continued over the next year. By June 1911, the concrete retaining walls around the intake were complete and by late August the contractor finished the headgate house and the vertical lift gates.
The two Stoney gates, separated by a concrete pier, each measure 15'-6" in width and 13'-0" in height. Each gate was designed to accommodate about a dozen stop logs (12" x 12" timbers measuring 15'-6" in length), inserted across the steel frames of the gates. The Stoney gates are raised and lowered by a series of worm wheels and steel shafts connected to cast steel pinions. Inside the headgate house, a nine-horsepower Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine was originally used to power the gates.
Upstream from the Stoney gates, a steel frame was erected across the intake to hold another set of stop logs and to serve as a walkway from the operator's cottage to the headgate house. At the mouth of the intake, parallel to the river's flow, a log boom was employed to keep drift away from the intake. In July 1911, Samuel Shuffleton ordered the removal of the stop logs from the steel frame below the walkway; thus, for the first time White River water flowed into the headworks. In November 1911, the White River Powerhouse came online and thereafter the Buckley headworks has been in continuous operation.
The intake and Stoney gates have undergone little alteration over the years. In 1918, the Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine in the headgate house was replaced with an electric motor. During the 1930s, Puget Power removed the old "Webstone spur," which ran along the south side of the headworks. By then, materials were simply trucked to the headworks. Although periodic flooding of the White River, prior to the Army Corps of Engineer's Mud Mountain Dam in 1940, posed a threat to the intake it was never seriously damaged. The entire Buckley headworks continues to function much as it did in 1911.
Constructed at the Buckley headworks in 1910-11, the concrete-frame headgate house is similar in appearance to two other gatehouses of the White River hydroelectric system. The Pacific Coast Power Company, under the auspices of Stone & Webster, designed the one-story, square-shaped buildings in a uniform fashion with some fine detailing in the concrete work. Pilasters at the four corners of each of the gatehouses included concrete entablatures. Parapet walls were designed at slightly varying heights to give each building a uniformly square appearance (the roofs actually slope slightly to facilitate the drainage of rainwater). All buildings originally contained wire glass panes for the double-hung sashes and the transoms. The headgate house at the Buckley headworks, measuring 14' x 14', was built to control the vertical intake gates. Water was allowed to first enter through the intake on July 1, 1911. Orion Osgood, the first headgate operator, supervised the control of the headgates for nearly forty years. Complaining that the wire glass permitted too little light into the building, Osgood had clear glass panes installed their place. The building is presently in good condition and retains much of its original appearance.
Headgate Tool House
As early as 1918, a timber-frame tool shed was erected near the headgate house at the Buckley headworks. During the early 1930s, this tool house consisted of a one-story building with a shed roof and clapboard siding. Fixed sashes (the same ones that exist along the south facade of the present tool house) provided the interior with natural light. In March 1937, the tool house was remodeled and enlarged. The building, raised to one-and-one-half stories, contained a gable roof covered with corrugated metal. Orion Osgood, the headworks attendant, supervised the erection of the tool house and he likely oversaw the construction of an improved fish trap and hauling mechanism. A concrete foundation wall supported the building in its new location. At an unknown date, a brick chimney was installed along the east facade to serve as a flue for a wood stove. With the exception of the brick chimney, the building retains its 1940s appearance.
Headworks Machine and Blacksmith Shop and Tram-Control House
Although the machine and blacksmith shop probably dates from c. 1912, the wing containing the tram-control house was built in 1918. Its construction accompanied that of the overhead tram which was installed to service the flashboards of the timber crib diversion dam. The building housed an electrically powered windlass consisting of wire rope cable wound around steel drums attached to the overhead tram. Narrow slits cut along the north wall permitted the cable to pass through the building. A glass double door overlooking the White River provided the hoist operator with an unobstructed view of the tram. Initial operation of the tram and hoist occurred in late summer of 1918 when repair of the dam, severely damaged from the high water of the previous winter, was carried out. Orion Osgood, the headworks attendant, supervised the work. The tramway saw frequent use thereafter in the replacement of flashboards and the removal of debris around the dam. A new electric motor was installed in the hoist house in 1923. In 1940, the tram was operated to transport the newly installed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fish trap from the headworks fish ladder to a tank truck. The Corps then deposited the fish in streams above the Mud Mountain Dam after its completion in the 1940s.
The interior of the machine and blacksmith shop, as well as the interior of the tram-control house, appears to be little altered from its original condition. At an unknown date an asphaltic covering was placed on the gable roof; however, the entire building retains much of its early twentieth century appearance.
Headworks Aerial Tram
In order to repair the flashboards of the timber crib dam, the Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company installed an aerial tramway and electric hoist in 1918. Construction began in January 1918 with Orion Osgood, the headworks attendant, supervising the work. By late summer the tramway was placed in operation, facilitating repair of the dam which had suffered extensive damage during the previous winter flooding. Originally the tramway consisted of a wire-rope main-cable, 1-3/4" in diameter, spanning nearly 350' across the White River. Timber "A" frames on the north and south river banks served as the towers for the cable. On the south side of the river, the cable was attached to a large U-bolt anchored into a concrete deadman. The cable on the north river bank was merely attached to a large tree. George C. Sears, Superintendent of the White River Power Project, reported in September 1918 that the new tramway was very helpful in removing drift and repairing the dam.
The hoist operator controlled the aerial tram from the electric-powered winch situated in an addition to the timber-frame machine and blacksmith shop. Located on the river's south side on the hill overlooking the headworks, the tram control house contained double glass doors through which the operator had an unobstructed view of the tramway. In 1926, the company installed a concrete deadman on the north side of the river replacing the old tree which had anchored the main cable. Three years later a new creosoted and pressure-treated wood A-frame replaced the original wood tower on the north shore. In 1930 the wood A-frame on the south side of the dam was replaced with a fabricated steel tower. Following a 1933 inspection of the tramway, the company assigned a maximum live load of five tons at center of the cable. In 1936, a 2-1/4" diameter wire rope replaced the original main cable. At an unknown date (probably the 1940s), the wood A-fame tower on the north side of the dam was replaced with a steel structure similar to the tower on the south side. Presently the tramway functions in similar fashion to its original operation.
Headworks Operators's Cottage, Shed and Garage
Along with the construction of the timber crib diversion dam, concrete gatehouse, intake gates and wood flume. Stone Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company erected this one-and-one-half-story bungalow as a residence for the Buckley headworks operator. Orion Osgood, the first attendant, supervised the building of the cottage which he was to occupy for over forty years. (Prior to the completion of this house, Osgood lived in a tent at the headworks.) When completed in early 1912, the cottage contained a steeply-pitched, cedar shingle gable roof, two brick chimneys, shiplap siding painted white, long, narrow double-hung sashes, wood and glass-pane doors, and a wrap-around front (west) porch. The house measured approximately 38' x 28'. A woodshed, located at the rear of the house, contained a shed roof and matching rustic siding painted white.
Several years after the cottage was completed, Osgood built a wood frame garage which he attached to the woodshed. An east wing was also added to the cottage. At an unknown date the wrap-around porch and wood railing along the entire west facade was removed. Only the porch along the north facade was retained. The northernmost chimney was also removed at an unknown date. Other alterations include the replacement of the original wood and glass-panel front door with an all-wood door, the removal of most of the double hung-sash windows in favor of large, fixed glass panes, the elimination of the doorway along the north facade, the installation of a new doorway along the west wall, and finally the replacement of cedar roof shingles with asphaltic shingles. The present concrete walkway around the front of the house may date from the 1920s, originally an elevated wood walkway ran from the front porch to the wooden stairway leading down to the headgate house. The cottage continues to serve as a residence for the headgate operator.
Headgate Relief Operator's Cottage
Following Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, thousands of civilians and military personnel mobilized to defend the West Coast against a possible invasion. The U.S. Army assigned numerous officers and enlisted men the task of guarding against sabotage the nation's major industrial plants and power-generating facilities. Puget Power employees of both the White River and Electron hydroelectric stations witnessed the presence of army troops as two small squads were sent to patrol the hydro-projects. Orion Osgood, the Buckley headworks attendant for over forty years, beginning with its initial operation in 1911, claimed that the residence now known as the "relief operator's cottage" and overlooking the intake, was built with his help in c. 1942 to house the soldiers. Mr. Osgood recalled that Puget Power paid for the construction of the cottage. The site of the small, frame cottage, according to Osgood, contained an old homestead cabin that had burned to the ground a few years after operations commenced at the headworks. After completing the new residence, a captain and three enlisted men stayed at the Buckley headworks for several months. When it became apparent that there was little chance of sabotage at the White River project, the army transferred these men elsewhere. Immediately thereafter, Osgood's relief man moved into the cottage. (Previously the relief operator shared the headgate operator's cottage that Osgood, his wife, and three children occupied.)
Although the original appearance of the relief operator's cottage is not known, its exterior has undergone a few alterations. Several of the double-hung sash windows have been replaced with fixed glass panes and a contemporary aluminum screen door was installed at the front (south) entrance. The cedar-shingled roof, asbestos siding, and wood-frame screen door at the side (east) entrance appear to date from c. 1942. The only ornamentation on the exterior is found in the slightly curved roofs and wooden brackets which extend above each entrance of the cottage.
Headwords Crew Quarters
The timber-frame Crew Quarters was probably built in the 1930s when Puget Power transferred its lumber treatment operation from Electron to White River. At this time, the sawmill at the Buckley headworks expanded to handle greater amounts of lumber. In the late-1920s, the company purchased larger vats for treating an even larger volume of lumber. Workers using an overhead crane dipped the wood members into a heated arsenic solution. The lumber was then used in the repair of the timber flume and lined canal at White River, and the flume at Electron. Located near the sawmill, the Crew Quarters served as lunch room and rest area for the sawmill and wood treatment crews, the flume repairmen, and the headworks crew. In addition, a large windowless section of the building was used as a warehouse. With the exception of the recently installed interior finishes in the office, the Crew Quarters remains largely unaltered. Its rustic style, namely the cedar shingle and board-and-batten siding, harmonize well with the other timber frame utility buildings. The Crew Quarters is located on the site where a large, timber-frame warehouse and carpenter shop existed which Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company constructed along with the headworks in 1910-11. Nothing is left of this earlier structure.
Northern Pacific Railroad, Concrete Arch Culvert
With the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad across the Cascades via Stampede Pass in May 1888, Eastern and Western Washington were at last directly linked by a railway. The route of the Northern Pacific west of the Cascades followed the Green River to Palmer junction where it divided with one line veering southwest through the towns of Enumclaw, Orting, and Puyallup. The railroad crossed the White River south of Enumclaw near Buckley. In 1910, Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company began excavating for the timber flume at the Buckley headworks crossing underneath the Northern Pacific line. A temporary steel plate girder bridge was used by the railroad while the centering for the new concrete arch culvert was erected. Stone & Webster engineers designed the culvert to span across the 28' wide flume. When completed the arch contained a clear span of 31' and its width of 100' was designed to accommodate two lines of track. The letters "P.C.P.Co." (for Pacific Coast Power Company) were inscribed in the key of the arch. By the fall of 1911, workers had finished placing the earth fill over the culvert. Double tracking was then laid across the new railroad bed.
Recently, the Burlington Northern Railroad, owner of the old NPRR, eliminated the Stampede Pass route, removing the trackage and many of the bridges. The old trestle crossing the White River was demolished and the tracks crossing the timber flume were taken up. The concrete arch culvert, however, still stands retaining much of its original appearance. The inscription "P.C.P. Co." is the sole identifying marker of the Pacific Coast Power Company throughout the entire White River project.
Gatehouse and Main Tunnel Intake
During the spring and summer of 1911, Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company erected the gatehouse and portal of the main tunnel intake. A rail spur running eastward from the incline railroad at Dieringer was built to carry construction materials to the site. By late July, the massive reinforced concrete wing walls capped with concrete pylons were complete. The entrance to the 3,000' long, 12' diameter, concrete-lined tunnel was located at the base of the portal. Workers completed construction of the gatehouse during the month of August. It measured 17'-7" x 17'-7" and contained wood double doors and wire glass transoms at the east and west facades. A pair of large double-hung sashes with wire glass were installed at the north and south facades. In October 1911, engineers permitted water to flow into the main tunnel when the penstock lines and turbines were initially tested. An electric motor raised and lowered the large steel gate. (A smaller bypass gate was manually operated.) Specially designed rakes, running up and down the steel trash racks, were controlled by electrically powered windlasses. The operator used the rakes to remove any debris that accumulated around the intake. Stone & Webster retained the rail spur to the gatehouse in order to service the intake operation. After the White River powerhouse went online in November 1911, the main tunnel gate was rarely closed. Only during the inspection of the concrete-lined tunnel and the steel penstocks was the main gate closed.
Over the years, a number of changes were carried out at the intake and gatehouse. The rail spur serving the gatehouse was abandoned probably in the early 1920s. In 1927, Puget Power removed the rail spur and built a dirt road along the old railroad grade. By 1939, all the wire glass sashes had been replaced with galvanized sheet metal. Only the glass transoms above the wood double doors permitted natural light into the building. At an unknown date, the double door on the west side of the building was replaced with a single wood door. Recently, because of problems with vandalism, the window openings were infilled with concrete block and a tall chain-link fence was installed around the intake. In addition, Puget Power removed the original overhead electric line which ran to the gatehouse replacing it with a buried cable. Despite these alterations (the most drastic being the infilling of the windows), the gatehouse and the main tunnel intake retain much of their original fabric, including their distinctive concrete work. Though designed to appear utilitarian, in accordance with its function, the gatehouse contains some neo-Classical elements, namely symmetrically placed pilasters, and an inscribed cornice, parapet walls, and inscribed entablature.
Circular Forebay and Gatehouse
The circular forebay marks the terminus of the 3,000' long main tunnel and the origin of three concrete pipes that connect with the penstock lines which, in turn, extend down to the powerhouse. At its junction with the circular forebay, the main tunnel is 73' below the floor of the gatehouse and about 70' below ground level. Water is delivered into a circular concrete chamber with a radius of 30'. Part of the concrete chamber extends above grade and is covered with a flat wood roof which, in turn, is covered with asphalt; a steel grate extends across the top of its east wall and opens into an earthen well designed to receive overflow from the concrete chamber.
The forebay gatehouse is also situated above the concrete chamber and contains the control valves for operating the penstock gates. The gatehouse measures 39'-0" x 18'-6" and is 19'-6" tall. It originally featured large paired double-hung sash windows, although these have since been boarded over. The interior contains three electric motor-driven release mechanisms for operating the sluice gates in the forebay. The sluice gates are of iron construction and have the same diameter as the concrete pipes. The concrete pipes that connect with the steel penstocks measure 8' in diameter and 3' in thickness. These heavily reinforced pipes measure about 200' in length. The release mechanisms are now encircled by metal safety railings and the air wells through the floor, originally covered with a steel grate, are now enclosed by welded steel pipes that extend up through the roof of the building. (This was done as a safety measure to prevent water in the chamber from surging through the air well and spilling into the headgate house.) The release mechanisms and sluice gates function as they did when the structure was completed in 1911.
Penstocks, Standpipes and Valve Houses
When completed in 1911, the White River project contained two steel penstocks. Seven years later a third penstock was installed. Each of these penstocks was connected to concrete pipes which extended from the circular forebay. The penstocks measured 8' in diameter at the junction with the concrete pipes and 6'-6" in diameter at the powerhouse. Also, at the junction with the concrete pipes and steel penstocks, a cylindrical riveted steel standpipe was constructed for each penstock. These standpipes were designed to prevent water hammer in the event of a sudden change in pressure within the penstocks.
The construction of a fourth penstock in 1924 was accomplished by tapping into penstock no. 1 and no. 2. Two steel pipes, one from penstock no. 1 and the other from no. 2, run perpendicular to the penstocks and connect to a fourth steel penstock, which then extends down to the powerhouse. Above each junction between the steel pipe and penstock nos. 1 and 2, sits a valve house. Called the "four-one" and "four-two" valve houses, each are identically constructed of reinforced concrete. They measure 18' x 18' and contain flat roofs. The interior contains the electrically operated valves which control the flow from the no. 1 and no. 2 penstocks into penstock no. 4. Although the windows have been boarded over, each valve house retains its original appearance.
White River Powerhouse
The White River powerhouse is situated at the base of the broad Enumclaw Plateau, about 20 miles east of Tacoma and 40 miles south of Seattle. It is a reinforced concrete structure measuring 259' x 82'. Its generator room occupies the western section of the building and measures about 230' x 45'-6". Below the generator room, in the basement, is the oil cleaning room, the pump room, the rheostat room, and the central oil room. A subway extends the length of the building and provides access to each of these rooms, as well as access to the relief valves for each of the turbines.
The eastern section of the building measures 32' in width and contains the transformer and low tension bus rooms (located on the first—ground—floor, switchboard room and office, the battery room, and the low tension switch room, (all located on the second floor), and the transformer and high tension bus and switch rooms (located on the third floor). All of the transformers, buses, and switch equipment have been removed. The floors are composed of reinforced concrete slabs resting on concrete beams which, in turn, are supported on concrete columns. The roof over the generator room is composed of riveted steel trusses. A monitor runs the full length of the generator room. The rear section of the powerhouse containing the office and switchboard (and formerly housed the transformers, buses, and switching equipment) rises above the generator room and also has a flat roof. Its roof is composed of concrete beams supporting a composition wood, tar, and asphaltic covering. In 1913 the roof contained a large steel frame that supported an electric light sign, proclaiming "Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company," "Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma," and "White River." The "White River" part of the sign was circumscribed by a keystone through which ran a series of light bulbs arranged to simulate a torrent of rushing water. Superintendent George Sears recorded that on August 29, 1913, at 6:10 pm the sign was illuminated for the first time.
The workforce at the powerhouse during its early years of operation included a superintendent, a chief operator, ten station attendants (three operators, a relief operator, three operator's helpers, and three oilers), a machinist, and a machinist's helper. In addition, the White River project employed a headworks attendant and a patrolman. Originally, the powerhouse contained two turbine-generator units. The turbines were manufactured by the Allis-Chalmers Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When fabricated in 1911, the powerhouse's high-head, double-discharge, single-runner Francis turbines were reportedly the largest of their kind in the world. Operating under a head of 440', each turbine was rated at 18,000 horsepower and was directly connected to a 10,000 kw General Electric generator.
The powerhouse underwent two major expansions, one in 1918 and the other in 1924. The 1918 expansion witnessed the installation of a third turbine-generator unit, along with a third penstock line and accompanying surge tanks and standpipe. The turbine-generator unit was nearly identical to the original units; however, the turbine and generator were rated at 23,000 horsepower and 16,000 kw respectively. Unit no. 4 was installed in 1924 and its generator produced 20,000 kw of power. The capacity of the plant at this time amounted to 72,600 kva.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the company employed as many as forty-two men at the White River project and as few as nineteen. With the rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) during the 1930s industrial unions were organized in such basic industries as steel, glass, rubber, and automobiles, as well as in the electrical industry. Despite the opposition of Puget Power, utility workers including the hourly employees at White River formed a local of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). After the establishment of this IBEW local in 1935, relations between the company and workers remained cordial throughout the Depression. The only strikes at the White River project were conducted by Works Progress Administration laborers who were dissatisfied with hours, pay, and working conditions while constructing fish screens on the hydraulic canal.
The powerhouse has undergone a number of changes since the early 1940s. Most pronounced was the removal in the 1950s of the large incandescent sign from the roof of the building. Also, the construction of a new transmission and switching system was followed by the removal of the early high and low tension switches, the bus bars, and the transformers. Cosmetic changes to the building include the replacement of the original multi-light wood sash windows with metal-frame windows. The original turbine-generator units remain intact as do the exciter units.
Carpenter and Machine Shop
Measuring approximately 90' x 20', the carpenter and machine shop stands south of the powerhouse and was one of the first buildings erected at the White River project. It is a wood-frame structure with wood siding, large multi-light wood-frame sash windows, a corrugated metal roof, and a concrete foundation. A railroad spur ran along the west side of the carpenter and machine shop which contained a large wooden loading dock. Workers unloaded construction supplies from rail cars and moved them into the shop. In addition to the carpenter and machine shop, the Pacific Coast Power Company erected a blacksmith shop, warehouse, and cookhouse, in the vicinity of the powerhouse. The shops and warehouse aided the construction of the powerhouse, penstocks, and gatehouses. Only the carpenter and machine shop was retained. In the 1930s, this building was used to fabricate the fish screens at Dingle Basin. The carpenter and machine shops continue to serve their original function.
As part of the company housing development above the powerhouse at Dieringer, Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company designed and constructed their large, two-story frame structure called the clubhouse. Perched above the White River powerhouse on the hillside of a broad plateau and overlooking the entire Stuck River valley, the clubhouse commanded a most impressive view. Three cedar-shingled cottages, also built in 1912, were located just south of the clubhouse, in single file fashion. Each of these cottages contained large frame porches along the western facades. Exterior wood stairways located in the center of each house ran down from the porches to an elevated wooden walkway. The exterior of the clubhouse and the cottages were completed in late 1912. Shortly thereafter. White River employees moved into the new company-owned residences. By December 1913, the housing development at Dieringer was fully occupied.
The clubhouse was indeed the showcase of the White River housing development. Its large hip-roof covered with cedar shingles capped the cedar-shingled, second-story exterior. It also complemented the hip-roof extension located below and covering the wrap-around porch. The first-floor exterior, clad with a whitewashed rustic siding, stood in sharp contrast to the dark brown stained cedar shingles. An ornamented wood lattice-work formed the skirting around the large western porch. Originally, the main entrance to the clubhouse was located along its west facade. A vestibule projecting onto the wrap-around porch and situated in the center of the building served as the entranceway. It led into the living room (17' x 20') which contained a brick fireplace and hearth. Off to the north stood the dining room (11'-9" x 15'-9") with its distinctive finishes including a board-and-batten wainscot and handsome wood window trim. Swinging wood doors led into the pantry room (2'-8" x 6'- 8") which contained custom-designed wood cabinets. The pantry was adjacent to the kitchen. Also located on the first floor was a small cook's bedroom, a storeroom, and a toilet room. The second floor, accessible by way of a central staircase that contained a handsome wood banister, held six bedrooms (each about 10' x 13'), a main hall, a single bathroom and one-half dozen closets. White River powerhouse employees desiring inexpensive housing often boarded in one of the upstairs rooms.
Over the years, a number of changes have occurred to the clubhouse. At an unknown date the main entrance was changed from the west to the east side of the building. The original 6'-wide central stairway, which led up to the wrap-around porch and to the vestibule on the west side of the clubhouse, was removed. A wooden railing matching the existing porch railing was installed across the opening of the stairway. At an unknown date the veranda was altered with a concrete slab that replaced the original wood tongue-and-groove floor. The veranda was also extended the full length of the house and a portion of it was enclosed. Despite several other alterations—asphaltic roof shingles replaced those of cedar, and the interior underwent a number of minor renovations, the clubhouse retains much of its original appearance.
Cottage No. 9 (Superintendent's Residence) and Garage
Accompanying the construction of the White River powerhouse, Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company erected several employee cottages and numerous tent frames upon the broad hill overlooking Dieringer and the entire Stuck River valley. The superintendent resided in the largest of these company houses, all of which were located north of the penstock line. In 1912 following the initiation of the powerhouse operation, three new frame cottages and a two-story, employee clubhouse were built south of the penstock lines. R. V. Sprague, first superintendent of the White River station, continued to live in one of the older residences. Late in the year, George C. Sears replaced R. V. Sprague as superintendent and moved into Sprague's old cottage. This residence burned in January 1913 and within one month, workers began clearing land for a new superintendent's cottage. By July 1913, the timber frame residence was completed and Sears moved in. The cottage was occupied by Sears and subsequent superintendents for many years thereafter.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Puget Power erected over a dozen more company cottages at the Dieringer site. The last of the original construction shacks from 1909-10 were replaced in 1922 when four of these cottages were moved in January of that year from the old D & M Lumber Company mill near Lake Kirtley to the headworks. Further additions to the community above the powerhouse occurred over the following decade with the construction of wood-frame garages, including the one adjacent to the superintendent's house.
As fewer employees lived in company houses after 1940, the vacant cottages were gradually removed or razed. By the mid-1970s, only two residences and the clubhouse remained at Puget Power's Dieringer housing development. At about this time the utility company sought to remove the vacated superintendent's cottage. Only the danger of damaging the buried penstocks while transporting the house prevented its removal. The residence was reoccupied in the late-1970s when superintendent Robert G. Vogeler moved in.
Cottage No. 5 (Operator's Cottage)
Following the completion of the powerhouse in the fall of 1911, Stone & Webster's Pacific Coast Power Company began constructing wood-frame cottages for its employees at the hydro-project. Engineers selected a stretch of property on the hillside above the powerhouse as the site for three operator's cottages and an employee clubhouse. The residences were to command a broad panoramic view of the Stuck River valley to the west. Although several cottages already existed north of the penstock line, the company had built three frame houses in 1911 while the powerhouse was under construction, the other residences consisted of temporary wood shacks and tent frames. The Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company, which emerged following a reorganization of Stone & Webster's northwest utilities, proceeded to construct new company housing.
By the fall of 1912, the new cottages, each designed and constructed in a uniform manner, were complete. Each measured approximately 24' x 28' including the full-length porches which ran along the west facades. Measuring 6' in width, the porches were sheltered by cedar-shingle roofs extending off the main gable roof. Handsome wood railing ran between the milled, timber porch columns. The exteriors of all the cottages were covered with cedar shingles as were the roofs. Each of the first floors contained two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a pantry. The second floors contained just two bedrooms under the sloping gable roof. According to the original plans none of the three new cottages had indoor toilets or baths. In June 1915, though, the Superintendent noted the installation of bathrooms in two of the White River residences.
The housing complex underwent the most remarkable development between 1918 and 1933. During this time a number of new cottages were erected, four small frame houses were brought in from the old D & M lumber mill at Lake Tapps, and several garages were installed. In addition, Puget Power continually improved, repaired, and altered the existing structures. Occasionally employees remodeled their own residences bearing all the costs themselves. (Puget employees always rented their cottages from the company.) Porch enclosures and small additions were not uncommon. Gradually the residences which saw the most use became greatly altered. Those which were unoccupied for long periods of time fell into disrepair.
In 1940, several of the abandoned cottages were sold to a local man in Dieringer and removed. Over the next thirty years, the company razed or sold for removal the majority of its residences. By the late 1960s, all but one of the three cottages dating from 1912 were gone. The sole survivor, known as Cottage No. 5, bears little resemblance to its original appearance. The 1912 section is primarily visible along the south facade where the gable roof ridge may be seen running north-south, parallel with the ridge of the hill. This gable is now intersected with a long, narrow, gable roof addition running east-west. The date of this new wing is unknown though it may be as early as the 1930s. Two other smaller additions to the west and to the east were carried out at unknown dates. Only Cottage No. 5, Cottage No. 9, the Superintendent's residence, and the Clubhouse remain in use as company housing at Dieringer. All the other cottages, with the exception of a dilapidated frame structure, have been demolished.