XXXI.2 March - April 2024
Page: 60
Digital Citation

Realizing the Future

Arnold Lund

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Contributor: Arnold Lund, [email protected]

Curator/Editor: Elizabeth Churchill


The "Edmonds Monorail Concept Sketch" was discovered in the Edmonds Historical Museum archives while creating Edmonds Then and Now: 1876 to 2023, a historical photo essay book. In 1910, an early Elon Musk—like figure named W. H. Boyes came to the little mill town of Edmonds, Washington, in the forests north of Seattle with a big idea. He proposed building a monorail from Edmonds to Seattle that would whisk people back and forth at an incredible 60 miles per hour. This was two years before the first train arrived in town and a year before its first resident owned an automobile. The town leaders, however, were living their dreams and granted the Boyes Monorail Company a 25-year franchise. The first post was planted in the ground in 1911, after which a mile of rail was completed and the first car was constructed and awaiting a trial run. Alas, it is one thing to have a big, cutting-edge technology idea and another to run a business. By late 1912, the company declared bankruptcy and the last traces of the original vision disappeared. However, in 1962, its time had come: The Seattle World's Fair featured a monorail as a vision of the transportation of the future. The monorail is still running as a nostalgic reminder of the 1960s.

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The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2024 ACM, Inc.

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