This photo is entitled “Wreck at the Elbe Lumber and Shingle Company”. A title like that deserves more story, but unfortunately I only have the picture.
This wasn’t the first catastrophe for Elbe Lumber and Shingle. In September 1922, a fire started under the planing mill of the big plant (a mile north of Elbe) and completely destroyed the business, putting 100 men out of work.
The loss was $150,000 ($2,010,000 in present day dollars) according to the manager and part owner, John Patton.
There was no hard evidence as to how the fire started, but people believed it was the work of a disgruntled ex-employee.
The mill was originally built soon after 1904, when the Tacoma Eastern Railroad made it out as far as Elbe and was owned and operated by Robert Patton Sr., Robert Williamson, Carol Williamson and C.R. Campbell. While in operation, it provided a substantial payroll to the growing community. (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)
Photo courtesy of Rich Williams.
Click on image to enlarge.