Bert W. Huntoon Photographs, 1925-1946  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Huntoon, Bert W., 1869-1947
Bert W. Huntoon Photographs
1925-1946 (inclusive)
1925-1938 (bulk)
81 photographic prints (1 box)
Collection Number
Photographs taken by Huntoon of the Mount Baker Highway and Mount Baker Lodge construction projects in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, of Chuckanut Drive near Bellingham, and of Horseshoe Highway in the San Juan Islands
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Bert Huntoon was born in Sacramento, California, on February 6, 1869, and at the age of 14 moved with his family to Seattle. After completing a course in civil engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York, he came back to Washington to begin his engineering career. He served as an assistant engineer to J.J. Donovan and in 1896 was elected Whatcom County civil engineer, a position in which he served for two terms in Bellingham, Washington. He then became an engineer for the Pacific American Fisheries in south Bellingham in 1899.

In 1923, Huntoon established the Mount Baker Development Company, an organization formed with nine Whatcom County developers for the purpose of constructing a luxury lodge at Austin Pass Meadows. Huntoon served as general manager of the company. He also played an integral role in the building of Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham, but he is perhaps most recognized for his role in the development of the Mount Baker Highway. In 1926, Huntoon and local legislators successfully lobbied for the Mount Baker Highway to be part of the Pacific Highway which was being built along the west coast. Huntoon was also instrumental in creating Sehome Park, overlooking the Western Washington College of Education (now Western Washington University) in Bellingham. As an amateur photographer, Huntoon took numerous pictures of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Chuckanut Drive, and other areas of western Washington State. He died on January 2, 1947, in Bellingham.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The notion of constructing a road from Bellingham Bay to the Ruby Creek Mines on the southern slope of Mount Baker first emerged in 1879, a time when there was no road beyond the Nooksack River west of the town of Everson. In 1886, surveyor Banning Austin led a delegation up the North Fork of the Nooksack River to map out a northerly route for a proposed road to Mount Baker. Although the mission ended in failure, the idea of a road to the mountain continued to gain momentum. The county wagon road was extended to the town of Maple Falls by 1893 and in the same year Whatcom County politicians lobbied the Washington State Legislature to construct a state road across the Cascades, north of Mount Baker, which would serve to connect western and eastern Washington.

A second survey was proposed in 1893 and Austin was again hired as surveyor. This time he found a possible route but one which would require that a 2,000-foot railroad tunnel be dynamited through the mountains. The pass (formerly Wild Goose Pass) was called Austin Pass in his honor. The road was extended as far as the town of Shuksan, six miles above Nooksack Falls, but lack of funds soon halted the construction. The lack of money, combined with political complications and increasing evidence that Austin's route would be impossible, further impeded progress. Engineer Bert Huntoon and draftsman H.M. Wellman were appointed by the commission to find a more feasible course in July of 1894. Although they found no possible route over the Cascades, miners, settlers, and the county continued to improve the road in order to reach mines and logging camps, paving the way for the 1923 plan to extend the road from Shuksan to the Mount Baker Development Company's proposed luxury lodge.

In 1925, forest rangers completed the trail to Table Mountain, which overlooked Austin Pass Meadow (the proposed hotel site) and in 1926 the site was renamed Heather Meadows. On October 14, 1925, Huntoon's automobile was the first through to the end of the highway. The road to Heather Meadows was completed by autumn of the same year. On July 14, 1927, the Mount Baker Lodge was officially open for business. By 1929, the highway department extended the road three miles beyond Heather Meadows to Artist Point and the 58-mile Mount Baker Highway was finally completed.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of photographs taken by Huntoon during the period in which he oversaw the building of the Mount Baker Highway and the construction of the Mount Baker Lodge. The major portion of the collection is centered around the evolution of the sixty-mile Mount Baker Highway. One particular photo shows Huntoon's automobile with the caption "First auto thru to end of Highway, Oct. 14th, 1925." A few photos show Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham, in whose construction Huntoon played a chief role.

Another part consists of photos that document the development of the Mount Baker Lodge and includes a number of "recreational" scenes in and around the lodge. The fourth component of the collection contains photographs of the San Juan Islands, some showing Mount Baker in the distance; these photos were taken from Horseshoe Highway on Orcas Island from the top of Mount Constitution. All photos are by Bert Huntoon unless otherwise noted in the inventory.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the Special Collections division of the University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Chuckanut Drive Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1 undated
1/1 2
Sunset seen from Chuckanut Drive, Bellingham

Mount Baker Highway and Mount Baker National Park Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/2 3
 First automobile to reach the end of the Mt. Baker Highway
Written on verso: First auto thru to end of Highway
Oct.14, 1925
1/2 4 Oct. 14, 1925
1/3 5 undated
1/3 6
Mount Shuksan and car seen from Mount Baker Highway
1/3 7 undated
1/4 8-9
Mount Shuksan from Sunrise Lake
ca. 1926
1/4 10 ca. 1926
1/5 11
Mount Baker Highway and Mount Shuksan as viewed from Picture Lake, Heather Meadows
1926 or later
1/5 12 1926 or later
1/5 13 1926 or later
1/6 14 1927 or later
1/6 15 1927 or later
1/6 16
Tourist caravan passing over Mount Baker Highway, Mount Shuksan
1/6 17
Looking north toward the Canadian Line from the skyline extension of the Mount Baker Highway
1/6 18
Mount Shuksan as seen from the Mount Baker Highway at alt. 4,800 ft.
1/7 19 undated
1/7 20 undated
1/8 21 undated
1/8 22
Canoers on Sunrise Lake
1927 or later
1/8 23 1927 or later
1/8 24 1927 or later
1/8 25
Mount Baker Lodge cabin and Sunrise Lake, Table Mountain in distance
Aug., 1927
1/8 26 1927 or later
1/8 27 undated
1/9 28
Mount Shuksan and Shuksan Inn at Camp Shuksan
1/10 29a
Mount Shuksan as seen from Artist Point
1/10 29b
Man standing on rock outcropping in snow field with Mount Shuksan in distance
Written on verso: Hiking in the Mt. Baker Region. Mt. Shuksan in distance.
1/10 29c
Man standing in snow field on Mount Baker with Mount Shuksan in distance
Written on verso: Mt. Shuksan as viewed from glacial slopes of Mt. Baker.
October 7, 1931
1/10 30 1931
1/11 31-33 undated
1/11 34-36
People in Kulshan Ridge area near Mount Baker Lodge
1/12 37 Oct. 1931
1/12 38 undated
1/13 39
Last stand of mountain hemlocks in Heather Meadows at foot of Table Mount
1/13 40 undated
1/13 41
South side of Table Mountain seen from Kulshan Ridge
1/13 42 undated
1/14 43
Table Mountain and Chain Lake
1/14 44
Table Mountain seen from the meadows
1/14 45 undated
1/14 46 undated
1/15 47-55 undated
1/15 56
"A rugged old mountain hemlock," Mount Baker
1/15 57
Mount Baker with boulders in foreground
May 25, 1925
1/16 58-63 undated
1/16 64
Mount Baker and Chain Lake
May 14, 1926
1/17 65 undated
1/17 66 undated
1/17 67
Two hikers in Mount Baker region
1/18 68 undated
1/18 69
 Huntoon and camera on Mount Baker
Engberg, H (photographer)
1/19 70a
 Automobiles on Mount Baker Highway
Written on verso: End of Mt.Baker Highway
Mar. 28, 1938
1/19 70b
Woman seated near lake with Mt. Baker in background
circa 1930s
1/19 70c
Melita L. O'Hara standing near Nooksack Falls, Mt. Baker
July 14, 1933

Horseshoe Highway, Orcas Island Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/20 71
View of the San Juan Islands with Mount Baker in the distance from Horseshoe Highway on Mount Constitution, Orcas Island
1/20 72-73 undated
1/21 74
Horseshoe Highway with San Juan Islands, Mount Constitution, Orcas Island
circa 1934
1/21 75-76 circa 1934

Point Roberts, WashingtonReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/21 77
Fishermen on tugboat Vicki gathering nets, Point Roberts, Washington
Stamped on verso: Pacific American Fisheries. Inc. Harris Ave & 4th Street So. Bellingham, Washington.
September 2, 1946

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Hotels--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Mountains--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Roads--Washington (State)--Design and construction--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Personal Names :
  • Huntoon, Bert W., 1869-1947
  • Corporate Names :
  • Mount Baker Lodge--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Baker, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Chuckanut Drive (Bellingham, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Galena Chain Lakes (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Mount Baker Highway (Wash.)--Photographs
  • San Juan Islands (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Shuksan, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Table Mountain (Wash.)--Photographs