Trains used to roll through Eatonville daily. In fact, ” . . . in 1913, the railroad had three passenger trains a day going through Eatonville, with observation cars. The tourist special was taken off in September, 1924, competition from busses and automobiles having interfered. The railroad also carried the mail until July 1, 1928.” (History of South Eastern Pierce County.) If you were catching the train, the depot was on Madison, off Center street.
One of the great things about this shot are the roaming chickens. Between 1911 and 1913 Eatonville passed, repealed and passed an ordinance curtailing chickens from “running at large”. Chickens at the time of this shot were still on the loose.
These 128-foot timber were milled at the Pacific National Lumber Company. It’s hard to get an idea of how really large 128-foot timbers are until you see these 40 people lined up on one.
The University of Washington Librarysays . . .”The Pacific National Lumber Company was established ca. 1905. By 1922, it had its headquarters in Tacoma and sawmill and logging operations in National. The company apparently went out of business ca. 1942.
The town of National is on the Mount Rainier Highway 7 miles west of the Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park in southeast Pierce County. It was a company town established by Pacific National Lumber Company. It once housed 300 people who worked for or were dependent on the sawmill and logging operation. A post office was established December 3, 1910. The sawmill and a large part of the town burned May 13, 1912, but was rebuilt. In 1940, a writer for the WPA described National as a town of small, red, boxlike cottages crowded onto crooked, planked streets and dominated by the large red sawmill.
Around 1912 La Grande became known in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as the “town without a chimney.” They were heated and lit by Tacoma Power and Light. (To read and see more pictures of these homes, click HERE.)
Neal Purdy provided a list of who was living in those homes in 1957, as well as a map.
• Ed Morgan
• Harold Lanning Sr.
• Don Olsen
• Darrell Tunks
• Elmer Cochran
• Roy Kreibel
• Don Hilkemier
• Joe Kearney
• John Nordstrom Sr. (in duplex)
• Ray Etherington
• Lee Cole
• Glenn Melvin
Today the homes no longer stand, but these folks got to be a piece of history.
Guest blogger Bob Walter gives us some background on Eatonville’s early settlers, Pete and Maren Christensen.
N.P. (Nels “Pete”) Christensen and Maren Pedersen, both born in Denmark, met in the United States and were married in Neenah, Wisconsin in 1889. Awhile after reaching Tacoma in 1890, they walked all the way to Ohop Lake, N.P. carrying their baby, Katie,in his arms. They settled there but found they were on railroad land, so had to relocate; they moved several times before buying property in the town of Eatonville, where they remained. They raised five children, Katie, Anne (Haynes), Henry, Edward and Dan.
In 1912 Mr. Christensen bought the fledgling Mashell Telephone Company from Dye and Biggs; the Christensen family and descendents have been primary owners of the communications company ever since. It is now called Rainier Connect. There were about 30 telephones in Eatonville when he purchased the two-year-old company.
Pete Christensen was a key figure in the early days of Eatonville Schools, building the first school building with a furnace in it, then building another of the exact same design when the first one burned down barely a year after it was built. Pete was also a member of the school board that hired B.W. Lyon.
They were determined to have a school system second to none. Pete was on the school board from 1911 to 1917, and was re-elected to the board in 1936. He was a volunteer fireman and was part of the team pulling the hose cart to fires in 1920, at around 50 years of age.
Pete liked to drink one shot of whiskey each evening and smoke on his cigar. Maren sent him outside for that ritual.
If you were wondering what your child would be learning when they started school in 1912 — this outline would help you out. This was taken straight from the 1912-1913 EHSSchool Catalog.
I think that it’s interesting that science included “hygiene” one day of week through 7th grade and bumped up to 2 days when you reached 8th grade. Also, that one of the core classes in 9th grade was agriculture.
This 1911 receipt for $3.00 to T. C. Van Eaton from the town Treasurer, G. B. Ingersoll, was for money towards the Eatonville fire alarm bell. The bell cost $31.50 and was used to warn townspeople for decades.
“In 1912, the auto stage replaced the horse drawn state lines, although the Eatovnille fire fighters continued to use a horse cart propelled by man-power for almost 20 more years.” (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)