Search Results for: John Swanson

Swanson Airport Dedication – 1953

Swanson dedication airmail
Swanson dedication airmail

This piece of history is courtesy of a ebay seller. It’s airmail from the Swanson Airport dedication, May 2, 1953.

In 1952, John Swanson, Eatonville councilman and logger, told the council that there was a need for an Eatonville airport. His expense statement was hard to argue with — it would cost the town nothing.

If you want to read the rest of the story about the local crew that built the airport, just click HERE.

Image courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on image to enlarge.

King’s Axe Game – 1954

The King’s Axe game was played between Eatonville and Bethel High Schools. This 1954 article by Don Kitchel reads:

King’s Axe, the trophy donated three years ago by John Swanson of Eatonville and played annually by the Cruiser and Bethel football teams, will be at stake at the game between the two teams tomorrow evening at Bethel. Eatonville won the prized trophy the first year but the two successive year Bethel has been the winner. The Cruisers will be out to try to get the Axe back tomorrow night.

Anyone know who won?

Click on image to enlarge.

First Aid Class (ca. 1954)

Eatonville First Aid class - early 50s
Eatonville First Aid class – early 50s

First aid class being held in the early 1950s at the fire station. Lots of local folks here. If you can name more, please share:
First Photo:
• Middle row, fourth from right — Louie Mettler
• Clair Chase top second from left
Elmer Norberg back right
John Swanson, bottom right
• Next to John is Harold Parnel
• Next to Harold is Sid Dow
• Second row on the right: second in was Virgil Butler, Mr. Williams, next guy, then Mrs. Osterdahl, XX, M. Smallwood
• Mr. Wesley Grade School Principal performing on gentleman
• Margaret Hicker, 8th on row three.

First Aid class - ca. 1954
First Aid class – ca. 1954

Second Photo:
• Second on the left, Louie Mettler

Photo courtesy of Jeff Morrison.

Click on image to enlarge. 

Mashell Telephone Switchboard – The S’s (1950s)

Mashell Switchboard - More of the Ss
Mashell Switchboard – More of the Ss

Before it was Rainier Connect, it was Mashell Telephone Company, and they used a switchboard up until the early 1950s.

Here is a look at the Ss. Take a look and see if you spot anyone you know.

• Scotty’s Place – 71811
• Paula Snyder – 2-34433
• George Simons – 2-3688
Silver Lake Resort – 2-3590
• Mrs. Myrtle Skewis – 2-3143
• Cliff Schrag, 2-4453
• Charles Bartlett, 2-4453
Ivan (Casey) Swanson, 2-3876
Eric Swanson, 1-8J4
John Swanson, 601
• S. A. Swenson (Bros.), 2-4701

Photo courtesy of Roni Johnson.

Click on image to enlarge. 

Eatonville Prepares for Robin Hood Day (News Tribune, July 18, 1954)

Eatonville Prepares for Robin Hood Day (page 1)
Eatonville Prepares for Robin Hood Day (page 1)

This article appeared in the Sunday News Tribune on July 18, 1954. — This is worth a read. Not only is there information on the Robin Hood Day, but you can see that papers were easily the Facebook of today. Check out the information they pack in.

Robin Hood Raid
This daring band of outlaws will appear in Tacoma soon to spread news of Robin Hood Day in Eatonville, scheduled for Aug. 8. The group invades Chamber of  Commerce meetings in Western Washington cities, entertains with old English ballads, then exchanges Robin Hood Day buttons for money. Pictured left to right, are Bill Tone, Florence Parrish, Dick Logston, Linda Treadwell, and Dick Taylor.

Eatonville Prepared for Robin Hood Day
The people of the Operation Bootstrap area are becoming as familiar with the affairs of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir guy of Gisbourne, Rob old, Little John and Will Scarlett, as folks elsewhere are with Stevens and McCarthy, Dulles and Molotov. The bullwhackers and the fallers are becoming as hand in whirling the quarter stave as in handling their peavies and double hitter axes. Rehearsals for the Robin Hood Day Pageant, “The Story of Robin Hood” to be shown at fall of darkness on August 8, are in full swing.

The prettiest girls of the Bootstrap area are viewing for roles of Maid Marian and ladies of the court. The Maid Marian will be chosen form Eatonville and candidates are Marilyn Predmore, Jean Monson, Florence Parrish, Mary Lee, Darlene Hightower, Ruth Swanson and Linda Treadwell. Sliver Lake as named Evelyn Enwall and Naida Asplund; Weyerhaeuser Marjory Kropf and June Krones; Clear Lake, Ruth Klasey. Pretty candidates from other communities comprising the Bootstrap area are still to be selected by their respective communities.

Eatonville Prepares for Robin Hood Day (Page 2)
Eatonville Prepares for Robin Hood Day (Page 2)

On July 31, a week before Robin Hood Day, there will be held a Robin Hood costume dance, in charge of Frank Van Eaton.

Committees for Celebration
Among Robin Hood Day committees are: pageant ticket committee, Dick Christensen; concession booth committee; Steve Packer and Ed Haarstad; program sale, Boy and Girl Scouts; sound equipment, Floyd Larkin; lighting Cecil Williams; scenery, Wilton Colyer; decoration, Esther Parker; costumes, Kay Tone and Martha Parrish; archery target, Helmar Norberg; special sign committee, Wilton Colyer, John Sartell, Bob Gritman and Helmar Norberg; advertising visitation committee, Bill Tone, Florence Parrish, Linda Treadwell, Dick Logston, and Dick Taylor; advertising, Beverly Nevitt; talent scout, Ethel Jordan; town decoration, Bud Anderson and George Hlavin; and properties Don Christensen.

The president of the State Archery Association, K.C. Robins of Seattle, visited Eatonville recently to make arrangements for the state target tournament, which will be held on the school grounds on Robin Hood Day.

Town Cleanup Planned
Ed Haarstad has accepted the chairmanship of the Operation Bootstrap beautification committee and is busy organizing the town for a cleanup campaign to extend over July 24 and 25. He is arranging for every individual in town to be contacted and signed up to work. From a central labor pool, groups will move out to attack neglected vacant lots, wild blackberry brambles, and recalcitrant Scottish bloom.

At their regular meeting Monday evening the town council voted to buy the part of the town water system owned by Eatonville Lumber Company. The price set is $4,500 and will include a 1,000-gallon-per-minute pump with electric motor and control equipment, pump house, flume and reservoirs and pipes, together with easement of land. Concilman John Swanson is in charge of the deal and Cecil Williams is supervising work on the new part of the town water system. In the past, the town water system has been party owned and partly operated by both the mill and the town.

At the council meeting, Councilman Arne Haynes, in charge of the street department, described plans for repair work on streets and paving of the intersections of Mashell and Larson and of Washington and Groe.

Purchase of sound equipment for civil defense was approved by the council at its meeting. This sound equipment will also be used for community groups.

Request to all departments of town government to prepare budget estimates was made by Mayor Floyd Larkin. The public budget hearing will be made September 14.

Road Project Near Completion
One of the several county road projects of this part of Pierce County is nearing completion. This project is replacing an old WPA wooden bridge over Lynch Creek with a concrete structure. Work has been going on for several months and there was a final hitch when several springs bubbled up at the new bridge approaches.

A reunion of the Eatonville High School class of 1942 is being arranged by Mrs. Hugo La Plante and Mrs. Charles Cox for luncheon July 22 at the Top of the Ocean in Tacoma.

Final match of the Washington State Rifle Association postal matches will be held at the Rimrock recreation areas this Sunday.

Word has been received by Mrs. Fred O. Martin of Eatonville rural route, that her son, Darrell M. Martin is serving with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.

Preschool mothers will enjoy a picnic Sunday afternoon at the Clear Lake home of Mrs. and Mrs. George Smallwood.

Mrs. Engle Honored
Members of the Pentecostal Baptist Church of God gathered from Tacoma, Seattle ad Puyallup at Elbe last Sunday to celebrate the 75th birthday of Mrs. Pearl Engle, who last year retired as Elbe Postmaster. There was a salute to the flag and a sermon on the occasion by Ray Engle entitled: “The Calling Out of Abraham on this 75th Birthday and Promise of His Seed to Become a Multitude of Which the United STates Is a Part.” Mrs. Engle received many birthday gifts.

Mrs. and Mrs. Casey Swanson children Ruth, Rodney and Stanley are home from a tow-week vacation spend in Kennewick with Mr. Swanson’s brother-in-law, Buck Poteete.

An eight-pound daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Sam Snyder Tuesday morning.

Lloyd Stuart, Guy Foster and Kenny Hamilton are back from two weeks training with the National Reserve in San Diego.

Little Connie Lynn La Plante, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo La Plante, celebrated her birthday with a party at her home last week. Guests included Janice Waterer, Mary Wave Van Daren, Bill and Jeannette Vaughn, Judy Marshall, Mille Smallwood, Julie Wood, Stella and Vincent Pecchia, Roberta Butler, Karen Black, Sharon Van Buskirk, Linda Jordan, Janet Collinsworth and Connie’s brother, Byron. Others present were her parents, her grandmother Mrs. Hibbard and Mrs. Mary Wood.

To Attend Utah Conference
Attending the regional conference of Future Homemakers of America on the Utah College campus at Logan, Utah, July 20 to 23, will be Miss Naida Asplund, daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Jonas Asplund. Delegates to the conference will come from 11 Western states and Hawaii. Miss Asplund will travel with the delegation of 30 from Washington.

Member of Mt. Start Chapter, OES and of Terrestrial Lodge No. 228, F&AM, will enjoy their annual picnic at the neighboring homes of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hotes and Mr. and Mrs. George Smallwood at Clear Lake Sunday Aug. 1.

Courtesy of Dick Logston.

Click on image to enlarge.




The Kids’ Pond — Four Days in the Making

Boys fishing at the Kid's pond in the 1970s
Boys fishing at the Kid’s pond in the 1970s

If you spent any part of your childhood in Eatonville, you fished at the Kids’ Pond.

For almost 60 years, kids have stood shoulder to shoulder on the opening day of fishing season, casting their lines — half the time hooking a tree branch or a nearby kid — to get their limit of trout.

The pond got its start back in March, 1952. At a Thursday night Lyons Club meeting George Smallwood — former mayor of Eatonville and Fish and Wildlife Manager — suggested the town could use a fishing pond for children.

Everyone must have thought this was an exceptional idea because by that Sunday, the pond was a reality. All that was missing were the fish.

Work on the airport would transition to the kid's pond
Work on the airport would transition to the kid’s pond

Whirlwind of Activity
Councilman John Swanson got the ball rolling. A spot was chosen on Weyerhaeuser land just outside town and Weyerhaeuser gave the project a “thumbs up” (approval being obviously a less rigorous process back then).

The Eatonville airport was going in nearby and Swanson brought down his bulldozer and asked Ray Treadwell to start digging.

The other men got busy slashing bush and making paths. By sundown all that was left to do was some cleanup.

The Dispatch reported, “Sunday [Swanson] was out enlisting aid . . . and by sundown a pond nine feet deep and about an acre in area was finished. The pond will be stocked by the state game commission this year.”

Land For Sale
In 1986 Weyerhaeuser put the land up for sale. The price tag was $75,00.00. Edith Erickson, in her book Timber Town and Later, said, “After much discussion at three council meetings, it was decided to buy it on a 15-year contract at 11 percent interest.”

The town soon after renamed the Kids’ Pond “George Smallwood Memorial Park”.

Next time you’re at the pond, check out the channels going to and from. Tom Smallwood, (George Smallwood’s son) says the men originally dug a channel from Lynch Creek to feed water to the pond and dug another to take the water back out. The State eventually said it had to be damned up, but now you know the “rest of the story”.

Loggers Build Eatonville an Airport

Loggers and their equipment at Eatonville Airport, 1952
Loggers and their equipment at Eatonville Airport, 1952

In 1952, John Swanson, Eatonville councilman and logger, told the council that there was a need for an Eatonville airport. His expense statement was hard to argue with — it would cost the town nothing.

John’s plan
Roy Swanson, John’s son, who was 15 at the time and a budding pilot, says his dad had scouted a plot of land that would work. John and his brother Eric owned a piece of the land and deeded it to the town. They also paid $250 to Weyerhaeuser for an easement to the rest.

Next came manpower and the logging community and others rallied. “Dad got ahold of all of the local loggers, and they built it in about 15 days,” says Roy. “They donated all their time and their machinery.”

It wasn’t just the loggers who helped out. John Van Eaton and Cecil Jordon supplied thousands of gallons of fuel and Dan Christensen of the Mashell Telephone Company along with Hugo Pravitz and Keith Predmore offered to assist with moving power lines.


arial of Eatonville at the time of building the airport
arial of Eatonville at the time of building the airport

Before the 1,850-foot airstrip was complete, Roy witnessed the first landing from atop of a hanger he was building. “Ernie Lodin from Mineral was the first. He flew in under the telephone line and landed.”

The town officially dedicated the Swanson Airfield at the 1953 Community Day celebration. The festivities included the high school band and a small airshow. Even stamp collectors got into it. The town got airmail from across the nation asking to be cancelled on the date of the event.

Primitive to First Class
The grass airstrip was primitive — the first lights were coffee cans filled with sand and gasoline, upgraded later by the pilots to army surplus lights. But in the 1990s, the airport got a big upgrade. One thousand feet were added, it was blacktopped and new lights were installed. Again everything was done with volunteer time, energy and equipment.

The men who built the Eatonville Airport
The men who built the Eatonville Airport — (back row, from left) Preston Parrish, Seg Osterdahl, Ralph Weigard, John Swanson, Earnie Christian and Fritz Guske, and (front row from left) Earnie Osterdahl, Norm Olden, Roy Block, Woody Wilson and Chuck Medlock. Not pictured — Roy Treadwell and Clarance Gemmel, heavy-equipment operators, Don Murphy who owned equipment and John Van Eaton and Cecil Jordon who supplied fuel. (Photo taken by Bud Blanchar)

To lengthen the runway, waste material from the resurfacing of the Cutoff Road was used as well as dirt from a nearby hill. Townspeople arrived with their dump trucks, scoops, dozers and various skills. This time the volunteer force included names like Severson, Swanson, Urich, McTee, and Van Eaton.

The pilots also got a grant from the Washington State Aeronautics, which they used to pave the runway and add new lights.

Your Airport
Today the airport is a great asset to the town. Not only can pilots play around, but it’s also a check point for the military and used to airlift folks needing immediate medical care.

And to think, it all started with a logger.

Loggers Build Airport in 1952

1952: Loggers who put in Eatonville’s Swanson Airfield

In February, 1952, these logger  got together and built the Swanson Field. Using a “loggers eye” these guys cleared land and completed in the project in a little over 2 weeks.

The project was entirely volunteer. The men donated not just their time, but their machines as well.

Airport Crew
Back Row, L to R:
Preston Parrish, Seg Osterdahl, Ralph Weigard, John Swanson, Earnie Christian, Fritz Guske

Front Row, L to R: Earnie Osterdahl, Norm Olden, Roy Block, Wood Wilson, Chuck Medlock

Others who were involved in the construction: Roy Treadwell and Clarance Gemmel ran cats; Guske, Swanson and Don Murphy owned the cats; John Van Eaton and Cecil Jordon supplied the fuel.


Eatonville’s Entry in the Daffodil Parade (1954)

1954 Eatonville float in Daffodil Parade
1954 Eatonville float in Daffodil Parade

This article ran in the Dispatch, April 22, 1954.

“Eatonville’s entry in the daffodil parade is seen as it made its way through Puyallup. Pictured on the float are Florence Parrish as Maid Marian; Dick Logston as Robin Hood and Delores Jordan, Friar Truck, and Lois Swanson, skier. Seated are Doug Smith, rifle hunter, and Loren Hamilton, bow and arrow.

Not caught by the camera were Sharon Oxwang, Kathy Tone, Taffy Swanson, Ron Morrison, Bob Tone, and Sig Osterdahl, unseen hero in the driver’s seat.” (Eatonville Dispatch)

Photo courtesy of Dick Logston.

Click on image to enlarge.



EHS Class of 1961

EHS Class of 1961
EHS Class of 1961

Another class of Eatonville graduates just left the nest and are headed out for untold adventures.

Here’s the class of 1961. See how many you can name.

Looks like Rich Williams wins. He knew them all:
Front Row: Doug Black, Tom Rhoads, Phil Grove, Class President Bill Garrison, Rick Parnell, John Bailey, Class Vice President John Hall, Student Body President Jon Williams, Al Peters

Row 2: Lorraine Bauerle, Norma Jean Godfrey, Jeanette Hale, Monica Barnett, Class Treasurer Elaine Madden, Suzanne Kramer, Sally Henley, Rhoda Pappajohn, Laverne Hale, Sandra Kitchel, Stella Pecchia, Susan Burgess

Row 3: Joyce Butler, Gayle Puariea, Saundra Bainter, Karen Thomas, Colleen Sikora Row 4: Eva Nordstrom, Lynne Plotner, Maureen Cook, Judy Jacobson, Norine Alloway, Sharon Norberg

Row 5: Clydene Van Deren, Class Secretary Linda Drane, Mary Lou Swanson, Betty Inwards

Back Row: Pete Hammer, Arne Wilson, David Jones, Tom Van Eaton, Jerry Snell and Frank Guenther

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.