Grassel at the Switchboard

Iola Grassel mans the switchboard
Iola Grassel mans the switchboard

Iola Grassel sits at the Eatonville switchboard. This piece of machinery was high tech for its day.

The first telephones came to Eatonville in 1912. For decades, when you talked about Mashell Telephone Co., you were talking about the Chritstensen family.

The switchboard operator was your lifeline back then. You called and she put you through the party you wanted to reach. Switchboards were used from the late 1800s up through the 1960s.

Photo courtesy of the Haynes family and Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Early Eatonville Grandstand and Gym (ca. 1940)

Eatonville grandstand and gyms (ca. 1920s)
Eatonville grandstand and gyms (ca. 1920s)

Early on Eatonville was more about basketball and baseball than football. The gym is the building on the right. The first basket ball team was 1912.

This picture was probably taken in the early 1940s and Eatonville. Eighty years later and the grand stand looks pretty much the same.

Photo courtesy of the Haynes family and Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville Fire House and City Hall (ca. 1942)

Eatonville Fire House and City Hall (ca. 1940s)
Eatonville Fire House and City Hall (ca. 1942)

In 1912 a 34-inch fire bell was bought from the Schwabacher Hardware Store for $31.50. The Council and Mayor Snow held a special meeting in front 0f the fire hall February 9, 1912 to consider plans for a bell tower. It was erected back of the fire hall and painted to match the other buildings.

C. C. Biggs was the Fire Chief, but resigned in 1912 and the firemen elected C. H. Williams as Chief. (History of Southeastern Pierce County)

This is one of the University of Washington’s photos, and if you’d like to see more, or order a print of it, you can click HERE.

Click in image to enlarge.

Log Slip at National

Log slip & mill at National
Log slip & mill at National

The University of Washington says this photo is of the “Pacific National Lumber Company mill pond. Mill jack and Asian crew, at National”

The picture, although not the clearest, gives you a lot of detail about logging in the early part of the 20th century.

“The history of National is closely connected with that of Ashford,” says the authors of History of South Eastern Pierce County. “The coming of the railroad in 1905 was the beginning of National Logging Co. #17 and The National Sawmill started that year.

“Camp #17 was operated by the Mineral Lake Logging Company. Pacific National Lumber Company, of which Mr. Demorest was superintendent, built the sawmill. The sawmill and most of the town burned on May 13, 1912 and had to be rebuilt.

The mill had a large payroll, which made National a thriving town for many years. The sawmill was dismantled beteween 1944-1945, and Harbor Plywood Company took over the operation on April 1, 1944 on a much smaller scale.”

Photo courtesy of Debbie and Gary Saint.

Click on image to enlarge.


Town Hall . . . and other businesses (1912)

Town hall ca. 1912
Town hall ca. 1912

Eatonville was really starting to take off in 1912. Here is a list (per History of Southeastern Pierce County) of businesses that advertised in the Inter-Mountain Journal in December, 1912:

• Nelson-Benson real estate and insurance
• Hotel Snow
• T.C. Van Eaton, real estate
• Anderson and Wise, Mashell Bar and Cafe
• Sun’s Rays Bakery
• C. A. Nettleton, meat market
• G. B. Ingersoll
• Kipper’s Grocery
• Howard and Benston, private bankers (paying 4 percent on deposits)
• Columbia Cafe, Less Wadell, proprietor
• J. J. Cunns, selling men’s clothing and also proprietor of the Marshall Barber Shop
• Benston Merchantile Co.
• Lumbermans Hospital and Dispensary, Dr. A. W. Bridge, M.D.
• C. H. Williams, dealer in gasoline lighting system
• A. Y. Lindsey Co., groceries and men’s furnishings
• R. Marti, Depot Hotel
• Joseph Hearn, jeweler
• R. Potter, plumber
• A. E. Dye, telephone service
• Dr. W. H. Marsh, dentist
• Fredricksen and Skewis, confectionery, tobaccos and billiard
• E. A. Williams, confectionery

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville’s Animal Ordinances

Hotel Snow with cow
Hotel Snow with cow

Eatonville residents often complain that the deer are eating their flowers. It could be worse. A hundred years ago it was cows and horses in your yard. Here are just some of Eatonville’s animal ordinances

Horse & Cow
March 1911 — Eatonville’s Horse and Cow Ordinance is amended “to allow cows to roam at large during the day”.

August, 1911 Mr. Rivers asks the City Council to restrict cows from running at large at night. The cowbells are keeping citizen from getting a good night’s sleep. The Council declares the cows a public nuisance and the Marshall must notify the cow owners.

March 1912 — Citizens petition the Council that ranging livestock be prohibited, but the Council votes down their request. Undeterred, Councilman Overmire submits a second ordinance to prohibit “the ranging of horses, cattle and chickens.” This ordinance is also voted down. Finally, Councilman Jackson comes up with an ordinance that applies to only horses and cows and only for those running at night. This ordinance passes, but it’s unclear whether the residents are happy with the compromise.

Groe (now Center) Street  1914
Groe (now Center) Street 1914

March 1911 — A Chicken Ordinance is passed and repealed, but in February 1913, chickens are officially curtailed. The Clerk instructs a notice to appear in an official paper publicizing the date chickens are no longer allowed to run at large.

January 1910 — Ordinance passes limiting the speed of horses “and vehicles of any description” to six miles per hour.

Cow Stench
June 1916 — Mr. Smith goes before the Council and demands steps are taken to improve the sanitary conditions on Groe Street (now Center St.). He is unable to keep tenants because of the stench coming from a local dairy barn.

March 1912 — The Marshal and City Clerk are authorized to shoot any rabbits running at large within the city limits.

Mashell Ave ca 1914
Mashell Ave ca 1914

October 1911 — Chinese Pheasants are destroying vegetable gardens and the Mayor authorizes the Marshal to appoint deputies to kill them. Shooting is allowed from Washington Avenue west to the town limits, and from Railroad Ave. north to the town limits. The deputies receive no pay, but they do get to keep the dead pheasants.

March 1911 — T.C. Van Eatontells the Council something has to be done about the rats. The Council puts a bounty of ten cents (about $2.50 today) on each rat. “When captured they should be presented o the Town Clerk who will draw an order on the Town Treasurer for the amount due.”  (Grim news for the Town Clerk.)

Records show that payments ranged from $1.40 to $13.80. There must have been some success in cleaning up the town. By September 1916, the rat bounty was dropped from the town’s budget.

(Information taken from the History of the Tacoma Eastern Area.)

Photos Courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.



Longmire Hotel – 1898

Hotel at Longmire, 1898
Hotel at Longmire, 1898

The back of this pictures reads . . . Picture taken of the hotel at Longmire August 1898.

I’m not sure if this if this the Longmire hotel, but that would be a good guess. And it looks like the picture online.  A simple, 5-room hotel was built by Longmires built in 1890 and later expanded.  If it is the original Longmire Springs Hotel it was torn down by the Rainier National Park around 1920.

Below is and excerpt comes from Wikipedia. I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy. But it gives you a bit of background.

Hotel History
“In 1890, Longmire built a 5-room hotel, which was later expanded. By 1906, the Longmire’s hotel with assorted tents and cabins totaled 30 rooms. In that year, the Tacoma and Eastern Railroad built the original National Park Inn at Longmire, a three-story building with accommodation for 60 guests. Having a competitor establish in the Longmire area soured relations between the National Park and the Longmire family. There followed some legal disputes between the Longmires and park officials including the opening of a saloon by Robert Longmire (James’ son) and its subsequent closure by Acting Superintendent Grenville F. Allen who thought it a “public nuisance.

Hotel Longmire Springs postcard to A. Peterson
Hotel Longmire Springs postcard to A. Peterson

Constructed in an early rustic style, a Hiker’s Center was built in 1911 by the Tacoma and Eastern Railroad. It is now the Longmire general store.

The Longmires wearied of park pressures to improve their facilities, and after Elcaine’s death in 1915, they leased their property to the newly formed Longmire Springs Hotel Company in 1916. The new operators promptly built an additional hotel structure along with 16 wood-frame cabins. Although the property was cleaned up and improved, operating as “The New Longmire Springs Hotel,” it still did not meet the quality level of the National Park Inn across the road.

Steven T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service developed a policy which favored regulated monopolies over competing concessioners in the National Parks. Over a number of years the National Park Service worked to make the Rainier National Park Company the only concessionaire in the park.

Hotel Longmire Springs postcard to A. Peterson (ca. 1912)
Hotel Longmire Springs postcard to Anna Peterson (ca. 1912)

This was completed in 1919 when the Rainier National Park Company purchased the Longmire family buildings and a 20 year lease on the Longmire’s private inholding for $12,000 in a three way deal which included J.B. Ternes and E.C. Cornell, owners of the Longmire Springs Hotel Company. They eventually bought the Longmire family property, after the lease expired in 1939.

Rainier National Park Company moved the 1916 Longmire Springs Hotel structure next to the next to the National Park Inn in 1920. Smaller than the existing inn, it became known as the National Park Inn Annex — a 2.5-story building with plain exteriors, it contained seventeen guest rooms.

The Rainier National Park Company eventually demolished the original 1890 Longmire Springs Hotel and utility buildings in the area to “improve the appearance” of the area.”

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

T.C. Van Eaton Runs for Office (1912)

TC Van Eaton & Wife Nellie
TC Van Eaton & Wife Nellie

T.C. Van Eaton ran for Congress on the Republican ticket back in 1912. His wife, Nellie was right behind him. However, she was a mother first.

I’m not sure who this letter was specifically addressed to, but she tells the woman she will be T.C.’s secretary and communicate to the women what’s going on in Congress, but right now she has a child she needs to take care of and won’t “appear in the campaign”.

Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.




Nellie Van Eaton's Letter 1912
Nellie Van Eaton's Letter 1912

Eatonville Hotel – 1967

Eatonville Hotel, July 1967
Eatonville Hotel, July 1967

The Eatonville Hotel (aka the Snow Hotel) went through some transformations over the years. It was built in 1912 and this first shot was July 24, 1967.

Today you know it better as the Eatonville Manor.

Images Courtesy of the Taylor family and Debbie and Gary Saint.

Click on images to enlarge.




Hotel Snow, the early years
Hotel Snow, the early years









Eatonville Hotel, ca. 1950
Eatonville Hotel, ca. 1950

Farmers put in their own lines (ca. 1912)

Oct 21, 1920, Threshing machines of Henry Nelson at Clear Lake Farm
Oct 21, 1920, Threshing machines of George Henry Nelson at Clear Lake Farm

It’s hard to imagine Rainier Connect telling you today, “We don’t have lines out where you live. But,  if you put them in yourself and rent our technology, we’ll make sure to take some off your phone bill.”

But back in the early days of telephone, that’s more or less what happened. Per the History of Southeastern Pierce County, the Silver Lake Telephone Company installed two lines in 1912. They were 10 miles apart and serviced 23 people. The first home to get hooked up was owner N. P. Christensen’s. And early officers in the fledgling company were John Kipper and Frank Krones.

Farmers Want to get Connected
It was too expensive for the private company to build additional lines for farmers and other living miles from the two main lines. So what did the farmers do? They banded together and put in their own lines and rented a switchboard in exchange for a reasonable rate. (I hope they got some discount!)

Photo courtesy of Nelson family.

Click on image to enlarge.