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Loggers Build Airport in 1952

1952: Loggers who put in Eatonville’s Swanson Airfield

In February, 1952, these logger  got together and built the Swanson Field. Using a “loggers eye” these guys cleared land and completed in the project in a little over 2 weeks.

The project was entirely volunteer. The men donated not just their time, but their machines as well.

Airport Crew
Back Row, L to R:
Preston Parrish, Seg Osterdahl, Ralph Weigard, John Swanson, Earnie Christian, Fritz Guske

Front Row, L to R: Earnie Osterdahl, Norm Olden, Roy Block, Wood Wilson, Chuck Medlock

Others who were involved in the construction: Roy Treadwell and Clarance Gemmel ran cats; Guske, Swanson and Don Murphy owned the cats; John Van Eaton and Cecil Jordon supplied the fuel.

 

Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually: The Mashel Massacre of 1856

Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually
Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually

Author Abbi Wonacott writs about the spring of 1856, when Washington Territorial soldiers hiked down to the Mashel River where it meets the Nisqually River outside of Eatonville, Wash., and attacked a Nisqually Indian band trying to hide from the fighting during the territorial wars.

Why did they do it, and what really happened? This books helps answer those questions.

Place Your Order
To order your copy, send your name, address, phone number and check in the amount of $15, which includes shipping and handling costs, to the following:

Bethel Jr. High
Attn: Bobbi Wilson
22001 38th Ave. E.
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 683-7282
Checks payable to Bethel Jr. High
email: bellus_uccello@yahoo.com

VanCleve Motors

George Van Cleve Jr. (Lad), Jim Van Cleve, and George Van Cleve Sr. (Pappy)

This photo of Ladd, Jim and George Van Cleve was taken around 1940. These three guys were the heart and soul of Van Cleve Motors in Eatonville and Morton for decades.

We’re posting this picture because early March, 2011 the VanCleve motors building in Eatonville was knocked down. Even though the structure had gotten old, we’ll always remember these guys in their prime.

Van Cleve, Ford Building
Van Cleve – Ford Building, courtesy of Pat Van Eaton

For the Rest of the Story, just click here.

Photo courtesy of the Van Cleve family.

Click on images to enlarge.

The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America

Book by Richard Kluger
The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek, by Richard Kluger

This book looks at the  notorious Medicine Creek Treaty with the Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot and other tribes, which claimed 2.4 million acres for the United States — an area that includes much of today’s Pierce, Lewis, Thurston and Mason counties.

The 384-page book by Richard Kluger takes a new look at a local piece of history. For more information, click HERE.

Murder at Friendly Inn

Ohop Bob
Ohop Bob in the 20s

Ready for an “unsolved crime” story? This one, however, is likely to stay unsolved since it took place over 80 years ago.

In October 1928, Julian Tison, his wife, and two teenage sons, took over the management of Friendly Inn — a “roadside resort and eating place” about 2.5 miles outside Eatonville near the Mashell River.

December 2 was a busy day, but by 9 p.m. things had slowed down. The boys had gone out and it was just Julian and his wife at the Inn.

Mrs. Tison was in the living room, and Julian was taking wood to the kitchen when they heard a car drive up. Two men carrying revolvers came in wearing overalls and white handkerchiefs over their faces. One of the men ordered Mrs. Tison to put her hands up.

She offered the outlaw the day’s receipts, but he wasn’t interested in her money. He wanted her.

Julian watched through the glass door between the kitchen and living room as his wife was backed into a small hallway at gunpoint. As Julian crept into another hallway to get his gun from his coat, the second man spotted him, shot him in the back, smacked him over the head with a gun, and left Julian for dead.

Back from the Dead
Julian was very much alive. He quickly revived, and although he was now partially paralyzed from the waist down, went to help his wife. When Julian approached the first man and his wife, the thug turned to put a bullet in his head. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Mrs. Tison jumped for the man’s gun. As they wrestled, the gun discharged six times. At the same time, Julian tried to get off a shot without injuring his wife, but thug two showed up and shot Julian twice more in the stomach.

Despite his mortal wounds, Julian realized the first man was out of bullets and shot him above the heart. The man staggered through the house, onto the porch and dropped dead in the driveway. Julian died at the Eatonville Hospital hours later, but not before he told his story.

On the Run
The murderer took off and walked five miles to Ohop Bob. He told the owner, Mr. Josselyn, how he’d been robbed near the Triangle. Josselyn called it into the Sheriff (busy with a murder), then gave the man a nice room and loaned him stage fare to Tacoma, where he was dropped at the police station to make a report.

The Pierce County Sherriff never apprehended the murderer. The police did determine, however, that the criminals had planned on kidnapping the previous owner for ransom and didn’t realize they had the wrong woman.
NOTE: Another version of this story by Pat Hamilton can be found by Clicking here.

New Zoo Park – Northwest Trek

Original Northwest Trek Map
Original Northwest Trek Map

Forty years ago, in 1971, an article ran in the Dispatch about the development of a “535-acre Zoo-Park”. This facility, tentatively called Northwoods Trek, would “exhibit, propagate and preserve predominately native Northwest and Alaska species of wildlife in their natural habitat,” and potentially bring in 500,000 people a year.

Large Donation
A local couple — Dr. David Hellyer and his wife Connie — had already donated the large tract of land. He was a 58-year-old Tacoma pediatrician and they operated a cattle ranch outside Eatonville. Their gift was substantial in more than just acres. The couple had recently been offered $1 million for the site by a developer — approximately $5.5 million in today’s dollars.

Plans were already in the works for this self-supporting Zoo-Park. It would be stocked with elk, buffalo, antelope, moose, muskoxen and more; and the offspring would stock the Point Defiance Zoo.

Noah’s Ark
The whole thing sounded a little like Noah’s Ark. Then Parks Director, W.O. Glundberg told folks that for the next year, one pair of each kind of animal would be released in the park to determine the numbers of each species the acreage could support. A $50,000 loan was being secured to pay for a two-year animal acquisition program.

How they were going to move people around this zoo-park was still a mystery. There was talk though of an “aerial tramway” to allow visitors great views.

The article ran in 1971 and Northwest Trek opened to the public in 1975.

A few interesting facts 40 years later
• The park has grown to over 722 acres.
• Attendance never did reach 500,000, but a 210,356 record was set when the grizzly and black bear exhibit opened in 1993.
• Since it opened, over 4 million people have visited.
• In 2006 Dr. Hellyer passed away, leaving an amazing legacy.

Eatonville Supports WWII

Attack!
Add that ran in the Eatonville Dispatch in 1943

It was 1943 and the world was at war. Even in the tiny town on Eatonville, far from the front lines, the impact the war was having on the country was obvious.

Articles of the Time
In a September ’43 issue of the Dispatch, articles about the new women’s athletic club and an episode at the pool hall ran alongside articles like this:

• Dim-Out. Eatonville’s “Dim-Out” regulations were easing up. Dim-out regulations were in effect along many coastal area roads to reduce light, and make it hard for enemy aircraft to identify target locations. The regulations required homes to pull shades and businesses to turn off signs and marquees.

• Ration Board Needs Volunteers. The Eatonville War Price and Rationing Board was scheduled to open in August and would service LaGrand, Silver Lake, Alder, Elbe, and Ashford, among others. The call was out for volunteers.

Rationing scarce resources and goods, such as gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, and nylon, was commonplace in 1943 and the Dispatch was anticipating a run on canning sugar.

The 2nd War Loan Drive. The Eatonville Lumber Company ran an ad to promote the sale of war bonds.

According to Duke University, the War Finance Committees, in charge of the loan drives, sold a total of $185.7 billion in securities. “This incredible mass selling achievement (for helping to finance the war) has not been matched, before or since. By the end of World War II, over 85 million Americans had invested in War Bonds, a number unmatched by any other country.”

• War Stats. The Dispatch also ran information on Eatonville men involved in the war, from where they were stationed to who had been lost.

The paper also reported interesting facts, such as “Two dollars a day from the pockets of every man, every woman, every child in the United States! That’s what it is costing the U.S. to win this war — $260,000,000 a day.”

On a brighter note, the Roxy Theater was doing great business and playing 5 movies a week, including Wings and the Woman, the story of one of the first women in uniform.

Eatonville’s First Doctor – A.W. Bridge

A.W. Bridge's office
A.W. Bridge had his office above what is today Kirk’s Pharmacy

What do Eatonville and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital have in common? Answer: Dr. A. W. Bridge.

In 1909 a young doctor, Albert Wellington (A.W.) Bridge, schooled at the Vermont Medical School, arrived in Eatonville carrying his bicycle and all his earthy possessions. He’d lost his father to a logging accident and his late mother had worked in a sawmill. Now he was focused on providing services to logging camps and lumber mills.

The town was in need of a doctor and T.C. Van Eaton offered to build him a clinic if he’d set up shop in Eatonville.

Taking Care of Loggers
A.W. settled in and got right to work. He set up clinics in Kapowsin, Mineral, Ashford and Morton. He also established one of the first medical plans for loggers and lumber company employees — $1 a month for medical care

The doctor didn’t just provide care to loggers. You could find him traveling out to farms — first by horse and buggy and then by car — to deliver babies and care for the sick and injured. Despite this incredibly busy schedule, he still found time to serve as Eatonville’s mayor in 1919.

Cruiser Cafe
A.W. Bridge’s home — currently (2011) the Cruiser Cafe

Estate Goes to Children
When Dr. Bridge passed away in 1949 he surprised many by leaving a half million dollar estate ($4.5 million in today’s dollars). He said all his money was to go to a group or hospital for children, but there was one stipulation. It must be named after his mother and inspiration, Mary Bridge.

The years between 1909 and 1949 were filled with lots of colorful stories, which will be the subject of future columns. Until then, take a look around Eatonville. Dr. Bridge’s footprint is still here.

• The annual Eatonville Country Christmas bizarre, which raises money for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, is put on by the A. W. Bridge Orthopedic Guild.

• Dr. Bridge’s home still stands. Today it’s more commonly known as the Cruiser Café.

• The doctor had his offices above Kirk’s Pharmacy.

• He also practiced at the old Eatonville hospital, which is now a residence across from the Eatonville High School.

History of Southeastern Pierce County

History of Southeastern Pierce County
History of Southeastern Pierce County

History of Southeastern Pierce County
Besides a history of Eatonville, Ohop Valley, Longmire, Ashford, National, Elbe, Alder and LaGrande, this 235-page book also includes 154 photographs, an every-name index to text and photographs and the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Eatonville Dispatch. 252 pp. Velobound. 1989.

Where to Order Your Copy
You can order yours through the Tacoma Pierce-County Genealogical Society for $30.00, plus postage and handling.

Firm Foundation: formation of Eatonville, Wa.

Firm Foundation
Firm Foundation: The Formation of Eatonville, WA

This 114-page book, written by Abbi Wonacott, covers the early Eatonville settlers, Indiana Henry, Ohop settlers, T.C. Van Eaton, and more. The book contains many facts, stories and pictures of the town and community’s early days.

Where You Can Find Your Copy
• The book can be purchased at Kirk’s Pharmacy, in Eatonville, WA

• You can also find the book at the Eatonville library.