Edmond S. Meany – Historian, Professor, Writer, Conservationist & Mountaineers President

Famous for: Writing “Mount Rainer, A Record of Exploration.” Published in 1916, one of the most authoritative volumes ever written on the mountain’s human and natural history.

Also notable for: His role as a University of Washington professor, Washington state legislator, and President of the Mountaineers.

Lived: 1862 – 1935


Edmond Meany

Edmond Meany

If ever Washington had a true Renaissance man, it would be Edmond S. Meany. His name is well recognized around Puget Sound associated with the University of Washington, a hotel, and a mountain in the Olympic National Park. Meany was born in Michigan in 1862 and came west to Seattle with his family in 1877. Despite some early hardships, he enrolled at the University of Washington and graduated Valedictorian of his class in 1885. He later received his master’s degree.

Approaching the age of 50 Meany took up climbing.

After college, Meany worked in the newspaper industry and served two terms in the Washington state legislature in which he introduced legislation to set aside 355 acres for a new (current) University of Washington campus. In 1897 he became a professor teaching history and forestry at the UW. He eventually headed the UW history department.

In 1899 Meany met John Muir in Seattle as the Sierra Club founder was getting ready to depart for Alaska. Meany was inspired by Muir and eventually helped steer the Mountaineers in joining with the Sierra Club to fight to protect the Hetch-Hetchy Canyon in California.

Approaching the age of 50 Meany took up climbing. In 1908 he joined and became president of the fledgling Mountaineers and served in that position until his death in 1935. Meany climbed Rainier as well as the state’s other four volcanoes and Mount Olympus. He was a dedicated historian with a strong interest in Washington State. He amassed a collection of historic documents and photographs and tirelessly lectured and wrote many books and articles on Northwest history. In 1916 his book, Mount Rainier, A Record of Exploration, was published which featured interviews and accounts of early explorers of the mountain, as well as a comprehensive section on place names. It is still considered among the best authoritative sources on Rainier.

Aside from his interest in Mount Rainier, Meany became active in many conservation campaigns throughout the state. He worked with former Seattle mayor and ship building magnate Robert Moran (who was also influenced by John Muir) to establish Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Meany stayed active teaching, writing and enjoying the outdoors until his death in 1935 at the age of 72.

A year after his passing, a Mountaineers group organized an outing at Mount Rainier in which they erected the Meany Memorial Seat on Burroughs Mountain. Meany Creek north of the Fryingpan Glacier and 7,200-foot Meany Crest above Summerland were also named for Edmond S. Meany.

About The Author

Craig Romano

Since relocating from New Hampshire to Washington State in 1989, award winning guidebook author Craig Romano has thoroughly hiked the Evergreen State. He has logged over 17,000 miles on the trail from the San Juan Islands to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness. And he has hiked nearly every trail within Mount Rainier National Park, one of his absolute favorite places. An avid hiker, Craig counts running, paddling, cycling, and protecting natural areas also among his passions. Content provider for Hikeoftheweek.com, Craig has also written for over two dozen publications. Author of nine guidebooks and co-author of four other books, Craig is one of the most prolific trails writers in the Northwest. He is currently working on 100 Classic Hikes in Washington (Mountaineers Books) which includes many Mount Rainier area hikes. His Columbia Highlands, Exploring Washington’s Last Frontier, was recognized in 2010 as a Washington Reads book for its contribution to Washington’s cultural heritage. Visit him at http://CraigRomano.com and on Facebook at “Craig Romano Guidebook Author.”