Street Address
801 Milwaukee Road
South Cle Elum, WA 98943
Mailing Address
P.O.Box 795
South Cle Elum, WA 98943
Tuesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday 7:00 am - 3:00 pm

Brian H. Lee, Vice President
phone: 509-674-2006


The Cascade Rail Foundation began as The Friends of the South Cle Elum Depot in 1999. Our mission was to help to preserve this historic site and work with State Parks to develop it into a place were the public could come to see and learn of the history of the Milwaukee Railroad. We are located on the John Wayne Trail, the original rail bed of the Milwaukee Railroad. The trail is just over 110 miles in length and is a Washington State Park. Our site specifically consists of twelve acres.
We have worked with Parks to completely rehabilitate the dilapidated Depot, built in 1909, returning it to the beautiful building it once was. Nearly $1,000,000.00 has been spent in the effort with about twenty-five percent coming from CRF donations and grants.
We have a small interpretive space in the west end of the building that is being developed to tell the story of the railroad. The original restaurant, referred to as "The Beanery" has been reopened as the Depot Café to help support our efforts. The Beanery opened originally in 1909 and ran 24/7 until it's closure in 1974.
We have constructed a 2200' interpretive trail through the railyard with eighteen interpretive signs installed along the way. It has two resting benches at this time and is ADA accessible.
Immediately to the west of the depot is the power substation. It was constructed in 1920 and is quite an imposing structure. CRF's plans are to develop this into a full scale museum. Efforts are underway now to secure funding for the stabilization of the building with the hopes of opening it up to the public for tours by 2013.
CRF also has plans to bring in some select pieces of rolling stock for display purposes. The pieces will be carefully chosen for there significance in telling the story of the Milwaukee Road.


The Cascade Rail Foundation CRF (formerly the Friends of the South Cle Elum Depot) was formed in the summer of 1999 for the rehabilitation and historic preservation of the Milwaukee Road facilities at South Cle Elum. We incororated as the Cascade Rail Foundation in 2001. The CRF is now a Washington State nonprofit corporation, and operates under the 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status of the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society, an IRS registered non-profit organization. It is the vision of the Cascade Rail Foundation, in partnership with Washington State Parks, that the South Cle Elum site, in the Iron Horse State Park, will become a significant resource for the region and the nation. The site is dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the history of the Milwaukee Road's western extension and electrification. The Milwaukee is considered one of the most significant and cherished railroads ever to exist in the United States.

Artifacts Collections

  • At this point there are several tools and other railroad artifacts on display, including photos and written documents. In developement are the re-creation of the telegraphers office, complete with a working telegraph.

Educational Programs

  • We do not have a program in place at this time. It is in developement. We have hosted several groups of school children on tours through the building and the grounds.


The property is owned by Washington State Parks and Recreation and operated under a 20 year operating agreement by the Cascade Rail Foundation, a Washington non-profit group.