Snoqualmie’s Northwest Railway Museum is making room Thursday morning for a new steam locomotive. The H.K. Porter steam locomotive, located at Bloedel-Donovan Park in Bellingham, will be re-purposed, restored, and eventually placed on public display at the museum’s North Bend Depot.
“This is the first thing we’ve acquired since the (Messenger of Peace) chapel car in 2007,” said Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson, speaking on the phone from Bellingham, where workers were about to load the engine onto a truck.
For the last 57 years, the #9 Porter locomotive had been a fixture near the shoreline of Lake Whatcom, but it had fallen into disrepair over the years as vandals destroyed or stole components. The city of Bellingham sought proposals from three ailroad organizations in Washington and Oregon to relocate the engine and received three. The city selected the Northwest Railway Museum’s proposal earlier this month.
Anderson commented that the museum’s collection is already too big, and he didn’t take the new acquisition lightly, but added, “We want to focus on having a more representative collection.”
The Permanente Cement Company purchased the engine from the U.S. Navy and in 1960 donated it to the city of Bellingham.
“We are thrilled that this piece of Bellingham history has found a permanent home where it will be well cared for,” said Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville.
The Northwest Railway Museum will place the locomotive on exhibit to as another key piece in fulfilling its mission of interpreting and preserving Pacific Northwest railway history. The relocation of the locomotive occurs today, September 21st through a Railway Museum funded effort. The City completed a Surplus Property Agreement with the Northwest Railway Museum, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.