Kanaskat was a small facility on the Northern Pacific Railway, today’s BNSF Railway, created by the opening of a cut-off between Palmer, Washington and Auburn, Washington, built 1899-1900 by the Northern Pacific’s contractors Horace C. Henry and his partner Nelson Bennett. Kanaskat served as a water-stop for steam-powered trains out of Auburn, as well as a small yard and scale for the NP’s Green River Branch northward to Kangley, Washington, Selleck, Washington, and Kerriston, Washington, as well as the large mills located just to the south in Enumclaw, Washington and Buckley, Washington.
In 1900 the NP built a 2,850-foot passing track, a 1,200-foot house track, a wye connection with the Green River Branch to Kangley, Selleck, Barneston and Kerriston, a fourth class combination station, a second class section house, a 24-man bunkhouse, a double tool house, and a box water tank and standpipe. The ornate Victorian station at this site was burned to the ground in 1944 when a wood stove pipe through the roof overheated and caught fire. It was replaced by an innovative temporary station -– a round-roof box car. After World War Two the Northern Pacific replaced the box car with a solid brick station. This lasted until 1959, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were forced to build the Northern Pacific yet another station directly northwest of its postwar structure (due to the line change caused by the Corps of Engineer’s Howard A. Hanson Dam at Eagle Gorge). Thus, Kanaskat had the dubious honor of being home to four stations in 90 years.
The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad also crossed through the area, moving north-south from its main line station at Cedar Falls, Washington, south to the large mill at Enumclaw, Washington. Track connections between the two roads were made to the north and south of town.
Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is just south of the settlement.
- “Kanaskat”. Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- “Northern Pacific Railway’s Kanaskat line during construction, Kanaskat, 1959”. University of Washington. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- “Northern Pacific Railway construction at Kanaskat, 1958”. University of Washington. Retrieved 2009-11-23.