Author: Warren Carlson;Skykomish Historical Society
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Until 1890, human activity in the Upper Skykomish Valley was largely seasonal hunting and berry picking by the small downriver Skykomish tribe. After 1890, people from as far away as Europe and Asia stormed into the upper valley when the Great Northern Railway was routed along the Skykomish River and news of a rich strike of galena (lead ore) reached the outside world. What followed was a frenzy of human activity where boomtowns with names such as Corea, Nippon, Berlin, Alpine, and Wellington came and went, some within a decade. While the longest railroad tunnel in the western hemisphere was being built through one part of the valley, a major prizefight between Jack Humphrey and Kid Kelly was held in the now-vanished town of Scenic. Building the railroad, harvesting forests, and extracting tons of ore required a hardy people working and living in demanding conditions.