The Early 1900s

First Eatonville School House (ca. 1905)

Eatonville's First School
Eatonville’s First School

The Eatonville School District has come a long way in the last 100+ years. This was Eatonville’s first schoolhouse. You can find it today at Glacier View Park. 

Here is some information about the little school house from Dixie Walter’s blog, written in 2006:

The following historical excerpt is from the History of Tacoma Eastern Area by Jeannette Hlavin and Pearl Engle written in 1954. “The first school was the log house built from logs and nails and on ground donated by T. C. Van Eaton. It stood across the Mashell Avenue from the present grade school building. Some of the Scandinavian settlers were “Broad axe men,” experts at hewing logs or lumber, and they hewed the material for the school house.

First School House (photo taken 2006)
First School House (photo taken 2006)

“The first teacher was Miss Alice Dodge. School was conducted only three months a year. Two other teachers taught in the log school house, Miss Hortense Oliver and Miss. P. Messinger.

“Some towns neglect their historic buildings but this cannot be said of Eatonville. The old log school house has been tenderly cared for and is often referred to sentimentally in writings and speeches of local people.

Clyde Williams says that when it was to be removed from its original location, he said to T. C. Van Eaton, who with a team of horses, was his partner on the job: “Let’s save it” and Van Eaton replied: “All right, we have plenty of room.” Accordingly, they hitched it to the horses with chains and pulled it to the spot where it now stands.

Mensik family school photo
Mensik family school photo

“Before 1912 church services were held in it.

B. W. Lyon told the Community Day audience in 1923 that when he was school superintendent here, an orphan boy was permitted to live in the old school house. He was placed in charge of the agricultural class’s poultry, and was allowed to keep what money he made from it. In this way he was enabled to complete the high school course here. His name was John Kruger and in 1923 he was head of the Agriculture Department of the Sumas public schools.

“The Fortnightly Club used the building as a club house for some years, and it is now used for the same purpose by the Girl Scouts.”

For decades the old school house stood in the area behind the present day tennis court at the high school. Eventually, through the efforts of the Dogwood Garden Club it was moved to it’s present site. The log building has been used as the Eatonville Cooperative Nursery School for thirty-one years.

Photo courtesy of the Baublits family and Bob Walter.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

Eatonville School Kids (ca. 1905)

Mensik family school photo
Mensik family school photo

The Eatonville school room class size was a little smaller in 1905. This photo was provided by Terry Larson and he hopes some of you can help identify some of the children.

“The little girl in the white dress in the middle of the picture is my grandmother, Mary Mensik (later Mary Biggs).  The boy in the very back on the right hand side is her older brother, Frank Mensik Jr., who came to America with his grandfather and second family, Joseph Mensik.  The little girl on the lower right side in the (flowered?) darker dress is Louise Mensik, daughter of Joseph Mensik and Anna Shramak Mensik.  The little boy on the left hand side in the dark suit and the little boy on the right hand side of my grandmother (as you look at her) are both Mensik boys, I believe.  Annie Mensik (later Annie Mensik Turner) is next to the little Mensik boy on the left hand side of the picture.

“These are the ones I can identify.  Would love to know if anyone knows who the others are.  I am especially wondering if the girl next to Frank Mensik is Josie Rotter who he later married. The Joseph Mensik family came to America in June 1902.”

If you’d like to read a transcript of the journey from Czechoslovakia, and then the early year in Alder, told by Anna, just click HERE.

Photo courtesy of Terry Larson.

Click no image to enlarge.

National Map (1908)

Map of National
Map of National

This is 1908 plat map of National, filed with Pierce County.

Pat Walgamott says, “An “unofficial” plat of the National townsite;  as far as I know the town never fulfilled its expectations!  This was sent in response to my request for a map of that area.”

Photo courtesy of Pat Walgamott.

Click on image to enlarge.

1914 Eatonville Fire Department Map

1914 Fire Department Map
1914 Fire Department Map

This is an incredible 1914 Eatonville Fire Department map.

Of course, for years, the Eatonville Fire Department didn’t have the best reputation. Some might say at times they were more liability than asset.

For a great, humorous article about the early days of the Eatonville Fire Department, just click HERE.

Photo courtesy of Erik Snyder. 

Click on image to enlarge.

Left to right: Clair Daly, Dan Christensen, Joseph C. Larin, Arne Haynes, Chief Hugo LaPlante, Norman Vaughn and George Hlavin
Left to right: Clair Daly, Dan Christensen, Joseph C. Larin, Arne Haynes, Chief Hugo LaPlante, Norman Vaughn and George Hlavin

 

Elbe Post Office – 1956

Elbe post office, 1956
Elbe post office, 1956

The Elbe post office, shown here in 1956, had a long history. The following is taken from Postmarked Washington: Pierce County.

Established: June 4, 1892, Cyrus H. Thompson; Adam Sachs, December 17, 1892; Mrs. Serena B. Sachs (nee Marshall, Mrs. Adam Sachs), July 8, 1898; Adam Sachs, February 2, 1903; Mrs. Serena B. Sachs, March 30, 1921; Mrs. Olma M. Douglas-Aleshire, August 11, 1921; Mrs. Serena B. Sachs, October 1, 1923; Mrs. Bertha M. Whitney (nee Montague, Mrs. Dayton Whitney), March 4, 1924; Mrs. Pearl E. Engel (nee Edwards, Mrs. Levi E. Engel), May 16, 1937; Mrs. M. June Kast (nee Mills, Mrs. Floyd J. Kast(, June 1, 1952; Katherine Wittner, October 12, 1974; Darlene M. Hape, April 26, 1975.

Location: On Milwaukee Railroad 5 miles southeast of Alder, 4 miles north of Mineral, 16 miles north of Morton, 7 miles west of Ashford on Nisqually River (SW Section 21, T15N, R5E).

Adam Sachs' General Store in Elbe
Adam Sachs’ General Store in Elbe

The first mail to Elbe was brought by horseback from the now discontinued Meta post office. There was no road so the carrier just picked his way over the crude trail in what was then a deep forest. When the Meta post office was closed (December 29, 1897) a carrier brought Elbe’s mail from Lakepark. Later a puncheon road was built. Settlers put boxes in places where the carrier could handily reach them from horseback.

The Milwaukee Railroad was built in 1940, as was the road which followed approximately the route of State Highway 5. (The railroad was originally the Tacoma Eastern Railroad). Consequently, until passenger trains ceased to run southward on June 30, 1928, Elbe enjoyed railway mail service. During the railroad construction days in 1898 Elbe had dispatched mail through Mineral on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday after mail had come from Lakepark, unless the Lakepark carrier was later than 9 PM in arriving. It took 1.5 hours to cover the distance of four miles to Mineral. The return trip was made on the same days staring about 5:30 PM. This schedule was modified during the period September 1 to April 30 to service from 11 AM to 12:30 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Starting on May 1, 1928, a Tacoma-Morton Star Route supplied mail service to Elbe.

Moving First Boiler to Sawmill, early 1900s
Moving First Boiler to Sawmill, early 1900s

Adam Saches had a small log store building in the rear of which the family lived, but as his business increased he built a larger store. That burned in 1914 and was rebuilt. Following that the post office was quartered in still another store before being transferred in April 1949 to a small structure which faced the highway.

Elbe post office advanced to Third Class on July 1, 1949.

Adam Sachs caught “gold fever” and went to Alaska leaving the post office and store to his wife’s care. She had previously taught in the Seattle schools. Mrs. Pearl E. Engle had also taught school in Elbe. Her husband was a blacksmith who built buggiest and stages. Some of his stages operated on mail routes between Spanaway and Longmire. Mrs. Engle had much to do with assembling historical information in a two-volume mimeographed book entitled History of Tacoma Eastern Area (1954). To that publication we are indebted for the biography of Mrs. and Mrs. Sachs.

Tacoma Eastern Locomotive #10
Tacoma Eastern Locomotive #10

Adam Sachs came to Washington in the 1880s form South Dakota and bought a grocery store in Latona, King County. In 1891 he met Serena Marshall, the local schoolteacher, and they were wed and moved to Elbe shortly thereafter. Adam freighted in most of the merchandise needed for their store. He even brought machinery for a sawmill over the Mashell Mountain road and started the first sawmill and logging operation. He had an interest in a Tacoma-Morton bus line. It was while attending a meeting of the bus company’s officials in Tacoma that he dropped ear in March 1920.

On the night of September 13, 1950, Elbe post office was broken into and burglarized. The guilty parties were never apprehended.

Elbe is the German name given by German settlers to honor the Elbe River of their homeland.

Photo courtesy of the Baublits family and taken by Joe Larin.

Click on images to enlarge. 

Pacific National Mill Fire – May 13, 1912

 

Pacific National Fire - May 13, 1912
Pacific National Fire – May 13, 1912

The Pacific National was one of the more well-known sawmills on the Tacoma Eastern, as well as being on the the largest of its time. (Rails to Paradise.)

The mighty mill was brought down by a devastating fire on May 13, 1912. (It was rebuilt by December 2.) These shots give a glimpse into the destruction.

The first shot is the mill on fire. In the second shot Japanese-American mill workers turned scrapper stand on  some of the wreckage. And the third shot, Pat Walmagott believes, is of her grandparent’s home after the fire. Her grandfather was Smith H. Miller, the sec/bookkeeper at Pacific National Lumber Company (PNLC).

Japanese-American Millworkers standing on wreckage after the PNLC fire.
Japanese-American Millworkers standing on wreckage after the PNLC fire.

Photos are courtesy of Pat Walmagott. 

Click in images to enlarge.

Japanese-American Millworkers standing on wreckage after the PNLC fire, May 13, 1912
Remnants of the Smith H. Miller home after the PNLC fire. 

A Drive Down an early Canyon Road

1909 Drive Down Canyon Road
1909 Drive Down Canyon Road

Pat Walgamott says, “I found this picture of the road along the Nisqually River about 1909….at least what can be seen of it. This is my grandfather driving, Smith H. Miller, from National driving three ladies (probably,  Mrs. John Dobson Scollard, my grandmother Maude Looney Miller, and Cora Looney) down from Pacific National Mill back to Chehalis or Tacoma.”

Pat wasn’t sure exactly where the photo was taken, but it turned out we could place the car on Canyon Road. They were driving past the construction camp that didn’t come down until the 1950s.
Photo courtesy of Pat Walgamott.
Click on images to enlarge.
Canyon Road Camp (ca. 1920s)
Canyon Road Camp (ca. 1920s)

Eatonville Theater (ca. 1957)

Old Eatonville Theater, ca. 1957
Old Eatonville Theater, ca. 1957

This shot of the old Eatonville Theater taken in the late 50s, taken by Joe Larin, makes the town look like a ghost town. A new theater had been built but this time, just down on Mashell Ave.

Today the building is home to the Eatonville Dance Center.

For those that are interested in a brief history of the building, this comes courtesy of Rich and Ruthie Williams:

Early history
This building was Eatonville’s first movie theater. It was built in 1915 by Frank Van Eaton. When the foundation and floors were completed around the end of June, the Town decided to celebrate by having their fourth of July dance on this surface.

Later, the addition of walls allowed it to be used briefly as a skating rink. When the building was completed, there was no electricity. A two cylinder kerosene generator supplied power for the first silent films. During the “silent” days, a piano was played during the show; first by A.U. Fairburn and later, Miss Ethel Stinnette.

Eatonville Dance Center, 2015
Eatonville Dance Center, 2015

In addition to film accompaniment, the pianist sold pop corn before the movie and during intermission from a stand set up on a vacant lot next to the theater. In 1922, Angelo Pecchia bought the theater from Frank Van Eaton. Eight years later, in 1930, the “talkies” were first introduced and shown at this theater. In 1931, Angelo married Regina. Mr. and Mrs. Pecchia operated the theater at this location for 20 years. In 1942, they moved into their new theater building next to Hotes Hall on Mashell Avenue.

Past Lives
Since then, the building has housed a Pentecostal Church, the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Eatonville Furniture, operated by Pat and Judy Bertram.

Dance Center & Upholstery Shop
In 2006, Rich and Ruthie Williams purchased the building from Pat Bertram and used it as a warehouse for two years.

In 2009, they renovated the building and converted the furniture store into a dance studio. Justine Reed currently leases the front of the building and manages the Eatonville Dance Center. Pat Bertram still leases the back portion of the building and operates his upholstery shop.

Photo courtesy of the Baublits family.

Click on image to enlarge.