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Peak Travels is producing pieces covering the histories of Washington State ski areas. In other threads in this forum are stories on 49 Degrees North and White Pass. The Mt. Spokane story is being produced right now but I thought I would put up these two segments to give a taste of what's coming. The first segment documents what is alleged to be the world's first double chairlift, built and placed by Riblet Aerial Tramway Company of Spokane.


Riblet Aerial Tramway Company of Spokane, long-established as a provider of trams for mining operations, was a pioneer in the field. Riblet Tramway had already installed a chairlift at Mount Hood, and in 1946, converted an ore-bucket mining tram into a chairlift for Mount Spokane, claimed to be the first double chairlift in the world. The company went on to build hundreds more ski lifts, as well as other aerial trams, throughout the world:




This second piece is the history of the first ski lodge built on Mount Spokane near what are now the ruins of Cook's Cabin on the southwest face of the mountain. In 1939, with a federal grant of $58,000, work began on the Mount Spokane Lodge, which opened in October 1940. It was a cozy and functional building of hand-peeled logs and cut granite based on “principles of naturalistic design”. During this period, W. Weigle was parks superintendent and Charles Saunders, parks architect. Materials were purchased through the Civilian Conservation Corps, but the actual construction was done by carpenters and masons from the area. The lodge offered guests a lounge, fireplaces, dining areas, dormitories, and a waxing room for skis. Unfortunately, the original lodge that had grown from its initial beginnings was destroyed by fire on January 24, 1952. Although smaller than the great lodges at Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and Glacier, it would have held its own in that distinguished tradition: