Willie Boettcher Showing off in Alder (ca. 1915)

Willie Boettcher outside the RR depot
Willie Boettcher outside the RR depot

Willie Boettcher showing off a little on the streets of Alder (I previously had posted it was Elbe) in front of the railroad depot. He has at least one fan.

If you look closely, you can see the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) building in the background.

Photo courtesy of Pat and Terry Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.


14 responses to “Willie Boettcher Showing off in Alder (ca. 1915)”

  1. We have a problem here. I don’t think this is Elbe at all! The IOOF building is completely different. The IOOF building pictured here has three windows on the second floor facing forward, Elbe has only two. The Elbe IOOF hall also has a completely different IOOF plaque above the front door structure, which is also different between the two. The roofs between these photos are of different designs. The link that takes you to the Berlin Avenue photo shows all these differences.

    The train depot is pictured above is also not the Elbe one. There is another photo on here that shows the Elbe Train Depot with the Adam Sach house in the background. You can see there is no door structure pictured above on this side of the Elbe TD.

    Both the Berlin Ave photo and the above photo are dated 1915. They show two different buildings. I’ll see what else I can come up with.


      • I’m not trying to pee in anyone’s Cheerios here, just pointing out what I see. The original IOOF building is one of the most significant in the town’s history. After really studying all the available photos of it I am very familiar it.

        When you posted the Berlin Avenue photo, well, lets just say that puzzle piece cleared up a bunch of loose ends. I’ve stood within a ten yard radius of where that photo was taken. I took a bunch of modern photos and compared them to the old photos.

        I am 99.76% sure Berlin Avenue in the early 1900s was exactly where 542nd St E lies today. Everything from the geology of the hillside to the remaining foundation line running along the south side of Berlin Ave. Where the IOOF building started life and where it was moved to are very important to linking most of the old Elbe photos together.

        I have made it kind of a side hobby to know Elbe’s history. This recent photo, or puzzle piece simply does not fit the puzzle.


      • No problem. I just take pictures from folks and link them up to information. I could be completely wrong. But checking. The Boettcher family lived near there, so just assumed. Also don’t know where there was another I.O.O.F. building near by. But I’m checking.


    • I would like to confirm, the photo is of the Alder Depot. It is the entrance to the ticketing waiting room. it was not used during those years, and was a favorite place for many children to roller shake on the wooden floor. My grand father (John Fraser) was section chief there in the late 1930’s until the flooding of the late. He and my grand mother (Grace) then moved to Elbe to a rail road home on the lake, about a mile before Elbe. They lived there until his retirement. I spent a lot of my childhood years there and started the first grade at the Alder school. The upstairs of the depot was the living quarters. I remember falling down the two story stairs with a coal bucket when I was about six years old. My grand father started with the Milwaukee railroad in Wisconsin, when he was 17 as a telegrapher, and retired after 50 years. It was his only employer. He was also an active member of the Odd Fellows. The hall across the road. My aunt Marjorie Sarver was married at the Odd Fellows hall. My cousin James Sarver still lives at Alder, and I’m sure he would have many photos from the family before the dam.


      Del Allison


      • Thank you SO much for this information. And I’ll definitely contact your cousin.

        In the meantime, keep those memories coming! 🙂


  2. Alder!

    Images of America, Upper Nisqually Valley FTW!

    Page 40 in this book has a photo of taken October 26th 1912 of the IOOF building in Alder. The building is identical to the one pictured above. Mystery solved, at least most likely!


    • Even better is the photo on the next page of the same book, page 41. The upper photo on page 41 taken “in the 1920s” from farther away shows the Alder IOOF building along with both the foreground building and the train car pictured above.

      For the benefit of the readers, the buildings pictured above were demolished in 1944 when the Alder dam was completed. The location where the Boettcher family are standing is now underwater in Alder lake, which did not exist at the time this photo was taken. Four buildings in the old town of Alder where saved and relocated before the lake was created. The IOOF building and train depot where not among them.


      • What were the 4 building that were moved? What about the house that use to stand across from Lilliedale rd up a little towards Elbe that the Hammonds lived in for many years and then the top floor was moved over to Lilliedale rd years ago?
        This is the same building in the photo by the People Choice Tacoma Eastern RR you have on this site.


      • Hi, I’m not sure which four buildings were moved. Let me check and see if there is someone up there that knows more of the details.


    • You beat me to it. I found out it was Alder wnd was going to change it this morning. Thanks si much for the book title. I’m going to look it up. 🙂


      • I bought my copy of this book at the Elbe Grocery. The gas station on the right just before you enter Ashford had a few copies the last time I was there as well.


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