La Grande’s Futuristic Homes of 1912

House in La Grande, 1912 (#1)
House in La Grande, 1912 (#1)

Around 1909 the City of Tacoma decided to build a hydro-electric plant in La Grande. They built it between 1910 and 1912 and it cost $58,780,00 ($2,354,984 in today’s dollars). The new plant could produce 6,000 kilowatts, which was enough to meet the entire city’s needs.

Besides the plant, a number of homes built at La Grande for the workers at the plant. There were something to behold in 1912 because they had no chimneys. They were heated and lighted from the Tacoma Power and Light. (Per History of Tacoma Eastern Area).

In fact, La Grande became known in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the ”town without a chimney.” (Per David Smith).

It’s amazing how modern the homes look by 2011 standards. Unfortunately, none of the homes remain standing today.

Photos courtesy of Rich Williams.

Click to enlarge.

LaGrande, Washington homes 1912 (no chimneys)
LaGrande, Washington homes 1912 (no chimneys)
La Grande, Town without a Chimney
La Grande, Town without a Chimney

10 responses to “La Grande’s Futuristic Homes of 1912”

  1. I drove up to La Grande on my way back home from my Eatonville H.S. 40th class reunion this last weekend. I wanted to show my wife where these houses were at one time. I just pulled this article up again to show her the houses. Diane had mentioned how modern they looked compared to 2011 standards. I think it’s the other way. They are building houses NOW to look like the houses of the older era !! Retro Architecture !!


  2. The homes are stunning! So sad not to see then in all their glory!
    I suppose it would be too much to ask that the wood withstand 100 years of ware to remain.

    What treasures they were, eventhough today that is what many builders are trying to replicate, I doubt the quality would be the same.


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