Posted by: wadahp | June 24, 2010



The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is saddened to announce the passage of Ruth Ittner in Seattle on June 3, 2010 at 92 years of age.

In many ways, Ruth was a true Northwest persona…educated, athletic, environmentalist, informal but meticulous, engaging, and focused. She was also one of those rare individuals who held a global perspective but kept a passion for detail. As an environmentalist she also recognized that preserving cultural resources and our heritage is also key to protecting our treasured Northwest environment and enhancing quality of life. With that conviction and at age 70, Ruth envisioned and initiated creation of the Iron Goat Trail in northeast King County to help mark the state’s centennial celebration. In 1987, this now popular recreational hiking trail along U.S. 2 near Skykomish, was an overgrown jungle that buried industrial archaeology and ruins of the transcontinental Great Northern Railroad railroad grade. It is also the site of a fatal avalanche that killed 96 train passengers, a tragedy that took place 100 years ago this past March.

No one could say “no” to Ruth. To implement her vision of creating the Iron Goat Trail, she forged creation of Volunteers for Outdoor Washington (VOW) and knitted together a broad alliance of public agencies, non-profits, corporations, and individuals. Since then, years of planning, fund raising, and hard labor have has resulted in the rehabilitation of the railroad grade, construction of visitor facilities, and education/interpretation of cultural resources. For her efforts in interpreting and making the cultural resources of the Stevens Pass Historic District accessible to the public, Ruth and members of VOW and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest staff, were recognized in 1993 with a State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.

A memorial service for Ruth will be held this Sunday June 27th at 2:00 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, at 1217 Sixth Avenue in downtown Seattle.



  1. Lovely, tribute, DAHP. Thanks for doing this.

  2. I am so sad to hear this news. Ruth was a truly passionate champion of the Iron Horse Trail, and a wonderful person to work with. I was honored to have her as a partner when I worked at King County Office of Cultural Resources. Charming, easy to work with, relentless in her pursuit of the best. She will be sorely missed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: