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Former crane operator recalls working on original entrance arch at Mount Rainier

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Aug. 23, 2011 at 10:32 am |
August 23, 2011 10:32 am

I just got off the phone with Jim Moergeli, who called to comment on today’s story from Mount Rainier National Park.

Turns out that Jim was running the crane that placed the logs for the original entrance arch on state Route 410 at Chinook Pass.

Now 97 years old, Jim said he spent the summer working at the pass before heading to Washington State University to complete his senior year.

“It was beautiful up there,” he said of the work site.

He remembers hot meals being brought to the work crew by pickup truck from the work camp several miles away. Garbage cans at the camp had to be wired shut to keep the bears out.

Jim said he got paid $4-$5 a day.

“Jobs were kind of hard to get in those days. I was fortunate to get that,” he said.

Jim went on to teach vocational agriculture at Kent High School. He then went into the farm machinery business at Evergreen Equipment Co. on Puyallup Avenue. He owned he business for 35 years.

Jim said the article brought back a lot of memories of him.

“I don’t think there’s too many of us around that worked on that project,” he said.

Here is a link to today’s story.

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