Newhalem & Diablo

The towns of Marblemount and Rockport are situated on the last large river plain in the Upper Skagit River Valley. The present highway follows the route of Indians, pack trains and pioneer wagons as it passes through the valley up the river and eventually over the North Cascades mountain range. Here you will discover some of the most fascinating scenery and history in Washington State


The town received it's name in 1890 from Matilda Clark Buller, a hotel keeper, who named the town for a mountain across the river which resembled marble to her. At that time there were more than 1500 miners and prospectors in the area. A trading post during the last years of the 19th century, Marblemount is rich with the history of the gold rush. Few buildings of the era still stand.



In 1901, the community of Rockport was founded by Albert Von Pressentin. The town was the terminus for the railroad from Anacortes. In its heyday, there were daily three trains to Burlington. The Rockport Hotel, built along the river, had twenty-one rooms with hot and cold running water. This was a popular stopover for those traveling to Newhalem during the construction of the Seattle City Light hydroelectric project, and later when the early tours of the project brought families out of the city on vacation.

Lying between Rockport & Marblemount, the little enclave of Bullerville was once a triving lumber company. There's some reat history about the Clark/Buller family that still calls this spot home after all these years.



Before the water behind the dams inundated the valley, the Davis family homesteaded this area. Remains of their primitive water power machinery can be seen on display in Newhalem. Both of these two towns, located in Whatcom County, were constructed as "company towns" to house the workforce for the dams and powerhouses of Seattle City Light's Skagit Hydroelectric Project. J.D. Ross, who envisaged and spearheaded the project, also promoted the first tours of the site. His remains are in a crypt in the hillside near Gorge powerhouse in Newhalem. In recent years, the number of resident plant operators and maintenance crew have been reduced due to automation and some functions are now remotely controlled from Seattle. Many of the homes that used to be filled with families have been removed, and there is no longer any school here, services are reduced and the population is quite small.