The town of Wellington ceased to be, at least in name, long before it officially became a ghost town. The town was founded in 1893 at the west portal of the Cascade Tunnel along the Great Northern Railway. The town included a train depot that was unfortunately destined to become the site of the deadliest avalanche in US history.
On March 1, 1910, a passenger train and a mail train were stuck at the Wellington Depot waiting out a blizzard that had been raging for nine days. During the night, while most people were sleeping, an avalanche hit the trains and the station quickly sweeping everything about 150 feet downhill into the Tye River valley. 96 people were killed in the event. Only 23 survived. In October of 1910 Wellington was quietly renamed Tye to ease the fears of travelers who would associate the name Wellington with this tragic event.
In the same month that the town was renamed work began on the snowsheds designed to protect the rails and passing trains from future avalanches. Some of these sheds are still standing today. Tye was abandoned in 1929 when the second Cascade Tunnel, which is still in use today, was completed negating the need for trains to pass through the town.
To reach Wellington you will follow the original path of The Great Northern Railroad along what is now the eastern portion of the Iron Goat trail near Stevens Pass. Head east on the trail from the parking lot to see old foundations and the west entrance to the original Cascade Tunnel. Walk west from the parking lot to enter the snow sheds and reach the site of the 1910 avalanche.
Note: Like other railroads in Washington, this track was laid by 800 workers — many of them Japanese immigrants. The Wing Luke Museum offers hiking tours of this history. Gary Krist's 2008 book 'The White Cascade' chronicles the historic avalanche for anyone interested in more information on the history of this particular area.