The Mines & Town Of Goat Lake

The Penn Mining Office & Hotel, photo from Granite Fall Historical Society

When Gold  was discovered in the Cascade Mountains, with it came many big dreams of mineral wealth. One of these stories is the story of Goat Lake. In 1891 Henry Cochran, Del Bishop and Jerome Coffin staked a mining claim near an alpine lake, that the native Americans called, "Sweetleehachu". The two miners sent a report back that the whole valley was streaked with ore, and soon prospectors began to flood the area.

Looking at Goat Lake & Foggy Peak, photo by Martha Rasmussen

All of this activity got the attention of a wealthy mining company in Pennsylvania, the Penn Mining Company. By 1895 a seven mile puncheon road was constructed from the Monte Cristo Pioneer Road up to the lake which was now renamed Goat Lake because of the abundance of mountain goats along the surrounding slopes. The first mining camps were located about half way up the north side of Cadet Peak by the Cadet Mining Company, and another was located on the south side of Elliott Creek about a half mile below the lake's outlet. Penn Mining Company focused their attention on Foggy Peak on the south end of the Lake. 
You can see the old tunnel of the Wild Goat Lode with binoculars today.

The Bedal sister with their pack trains at the hotel & office at Goat Lake, photo from Granite Falls Historical Society

The first Penn Mining office was located on a knoll northeast of the lake, but was swept into the lake by an avalanche and so a second office was built along the northern shore. A portion of this three story building operated as a hotel ran by the McIntosh Family. 
The 300 foot waterfall at Goat Lake's drainage into Elliot Creek is named after this familyPenn Mining built a sawmill, blacksmith shop, a nice home for their foreman, Jim Sloan, and several cabins. They opened nine mining tunnels on Foggy Peak; Lizzy Load, August Lode, Penn 95 Lode, New York Lode, Foggy Lode, Little Joe Lode, Alamo Lode, Benja Lode and Wild Goat Lode. On Ida Pass, which is named after a dance hall girl at Monte Cristo, there were two more mining tunnels, the 92 Lode and Ida Lode. The big idea was to bring the ore down by tram, then barged across the lake, load it into wagons and bring it down the road. The remnants of the tram were still there in the late 1950s.

The office and hotel at Goat Lake now standing vacant, photo from Harold Engles

It is unclear when the buildings were vacated and later just referred to as the Hotel at Goat Lake.  According to Forest Service Ranger Harold Engles, they stood for many years untouched except for the occasional hiker seeking shelter.  At one time the settlement spanned both sides of Elliott Creek with the large log office/hotel and several cabins to the north and  several more cabins, blacksmith shop and sawmill on the south side.  There was a bridge spanning Elliott Creek connecting the settlement.

Bob's friend Henry standing by his new birthday present "Grill's Lodge",
photo from Bob Heirman

Author Bob Heirman Shares his discovery of Goat Lake in his book "Snohomish My Beloved County, An Angler's Anthology" when his fishing partner Henry Grill received a rather unique birthday gift.  It seems that Henry's older brother Leslie gave him the deed for a 5 acre piece of wilderness land adjacent to Goat Lake known as the Lizzie Mill Site.  In 1958 Henry and Bob set out to have a look at this peice of land.  To their surprise there stood several buildings and a massive log lodge.  He explains; "It was as if entering a time machine, Henry and I stood in yesteryear. The blacksmith shop was still intact, the foreman's home, Jim Sloan was beginning to sag but they could still enter and see the beautiful Roman brick fireplace.  Crossing the creek and heading north they came to the old office and hotel. Bob describes it as; "The lodge of log construction was three stories high and had a tin roof".
Cabins once stood southwest of the lake across Elliott Creek, the largest cabin was the home of foreman Jim Sloan,
photo Bob Heirman

So what happen to the town? In spite of the many tunnels developed on Foggy peak, a rich vein of gold was never discovered. According to the mineral survey, Penn Mining produced lead, silver and zinc with a by product of gold. In the 1960s a landslide damaged a good portion of the old town to the north, and the Forest Service, not realizing the remaining old buildings were on private land, burned the old lodge  to the ground some time in the 1960s.

Photo taken September 1958 when Bob & Henry hiked to the town of Goat Lake,
photo from author Bob Heirman

When you hike into Goat Lake you will see the remains of the puncheon road where the bridge used to cross over to the southern part of the settlement.  When  you reach the lake you will come to a flat area in the forest where there are two wilderness toilets and camping is allowed.  This is where the old Penn mining Office and Hotel once stood.  There are still some charred timbers to the north of this area, back from that fateful day when the old hotel was burned.

See Map Of Penn Mining

Written by Martha Rasmussen

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