Jul 05

The entire population of Lester with the booming town just behind us

My grandfather emigrated from Wittenberg, Germany to Lester, Iowa in the late 1800’s. Several years ago, I learned about a town in the state of Washington named Lester. Thus, my dream to visit the town of Lester. There were several problems with this town. First, it is now a ghost town. Secondly, access to the town is now severely restricted. The only possibility of visiting Lester was going to be via Stampede Pass on a gravel road. All other roads had been closed, since it is close to the water supply to Tacoma. Thus, we decided to go to Lester on mountain bikes.

 

Pete and Russ on the road to Lester, with Mt. Rainier in the background

Russ and me on the road to Lester. Still Mt. Rainier in the hintergrund

Once we were 1.5 miles from Lester, we encountered a gate across the road, absolutely forbidding bicycles from trespassing the gate, and that visits could only occur on foot. Thus, we started walking for the last mile and a half. We were not about to give up on our quest for Lester.

Riff raff on the main street, entering Lester

The town of Lester with the entire temporary population of 3

At one time, Lester used to have a population of over 250. It is now one of the few ghost towns in the state, compliments of the city of Tacoma. At one time, there was a post office, general store, public school, lumber mill, dairy, railway yard, and hotel in the town. Now, there is just us. No buildings remain. One can read about the town on wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester,_Washington ) and the cause of the demise of the town here… ( http://home.netcom.com/~whstlpnk/stampedemp.html) (scroll down a ways).

 

The main road leading into Lester from Stampede Pass on the right.
The city airport is on the left.

Two of the Lester population leaving town, but reminiscing on precious memories had while in Lester.

Unique wildflowers, only found in the Lester vicinity

The ride back up to Stampede Pass was about a 2000 ft elevation gain. The Garmin record can be found here… file://localhost/Users/feucht/Downloads/activity_196151711.kml

I can’t say that I’ll ever return to Lester (Washington), but it was great while it lasted. In a month, I’ll be in Lester, Iowa. Hopefully, Alex will stop the truck in Lester, so that I can get some photos of that town. Hopefully, the other Lester is not yet a ghost town.

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