The Early 1900s

Axel Berg of Silver Lake

Alex Berg at Silver Lake
Alex Berg at Silver Lake

Betty Josephson wrote on Facebook, “After reading about the delay in fishing season at Silver Lake, I decided to post this picture of my Grandfather, Axel Berg. He homesteaded at Silver Lake, circa 1910, and rented out boats for many years in addition to farming.

Others chimed in . . .

Sally McKay: I remember him well. He would let you and me have a boat but not during the busy season. 

Karen Loden Leamer: He would be my great grandfather. He was a handsome guy.

Photo courtesy of Betty Josephson.

Taking the Train in 1912

I’ve always loved postcards, especially those that have have a message and were sent off.

I love that you get to see what the person had to say back then. What note or message they wanted to jot down and send off to a friend. Like listening to the echo of a long ago conversation.


Also, the card (in this case over 100 years old) was important enough or that person was dear enough that the recipient kept it around.

This card was mailed in Eatonville, February 12, 1912 (a month before the Titanic went down). There was a train running through the town and as we read — the grass is green, it’s warm and rainy, and Oscar and Margaret are at the train.

Pacific National Lumber Co.

This wonderful shot of a crew at the Pacific National Lumber Co. was taken by Kinsey in the early 1900s. A few things to note:

  1. Not much safety equipment back then. No hard hats to be seen.
  2. Wonder example of an operation on a sled or skid. Look at the size of the timber.
  3. This is, I think, a steam donkey on skids, although I don’t see a stack. A steam donkey would pull the log toward it through the woods. The steam donkey would also move itself around the woods by tying off to a tree and pulling itself to forward.

It was hard work and these men put on long hours.

Click on image to enlarge.

Mt. Rainier Guides 1924

Look at these handsome guides from 1924. Pictured are (left to right) Joe Grigs, Frank Manning, Nuls Widman, Paul Moser, Heinie Fuhrer, Hans Fuhrer, Tony Bell, Tommy Hermans, Waldo Chamberlain, Wes Langlow and Bill Duggan.

This is what The Big Fact Book About Mount Rainier says about guides:

Leonard Longmire set himself up as the first “professional” (paid) guide and changed a fee of $1.00 per person for the trip to the top of Camp Muir. Business wasn’t exactly booming, and by 1898 he left the Mountain to search for gold in the Klondike. That didn’t last long, and he soon was back.

John Reese employed guides at his “Camp of the Clouds” above Paradise as early as 1903. One of them was Joseph Stampfler, a very popular young guide, who from the age of 14, had lived with the Longmires. As a small boy, he had accompanied the Muir party of 1888. “Little Joe” also operated his guide service out of the tent-camp at Indian Henrys Hunting Ground from the late 1800s until 1914. His younger brother Jules also guided at various times between 1941 and 1918.

On August 14, 1909, two climbers perished in a storm. In 1911, as a result of those deaths, Park Superintendent E. S. Hall instituted an “Official Guide System” for Mount Rainier, copied after the Swiss System. Each climbing party was limited to eight persons. Four persons were authorized to act as guides, one of whom was not permitted to guide to the summit, nor across any glacier.”

By 1914, at least four guides were authorized, three to be paid $25 per trip.

Ohop Valley – 1913 and 1960s

Ohop Valley 1913 and 1960s

As you can probably tell from the posts on this blog, I’ve got a thing for Ohop Valley. It’s in no small part because I live there, my parents lived there and my grandparents moved there to farm in the 1940s.

I’m always buying postcard on Ebay. But the ones I like best are the ones that have been mailed. This works out great, because for some reason they are usually the most inexpensive.

For Ohop Valley, I like to see what people where doing back then. In this case, the writer was doing a LOT of canning. And it’s also great to confirm the date on of the photo taken.

Here are two postcards — one mailed September 29, 1913, (the same time Houdini is performing for people in a straightjacket) and one I believe is about 50 years later taken in the 1960s. Fifty years between these post cards and the valley looks amazingly the same. Kind of nice.

Photos courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on images to enlarge.

Article about National – Dispatch 1981

This article on National, Washington (near Ashford) ran, I believe in 1981 in the Dispatch. Unfortunately the date is a bit hard to read. But I’ve written the article below to make reading a bit easier.

The town of National

Ghost towns in the Southwest are not that uncommon. Driving through the desert, there are occasionally abandoned buildings along the side of the road that have been boarded up. Mining towns where the ore eventually gave out, little towns where the railroad stopped coming — not uncommon but usually the former owners lave signs of having been there.

Near Ashford, there is a ghost town that left little behind. In fact, when the town folded, many of the people picked up their houses and took them along.

Up until 1944, National was a company town with a population of about 1,500. And the company in the town was the Pacific National Lumber Co., started in 1905 by E. W. Demerest. The saw mill in the town of National and the logging operation that kept it going were the lifeblood of National, and when that mill went out of business in 1944, so did the town.

Jim Daly, the head sawyer at the mill until it folded, said that in 1912, the original sawmill burned down, and a bigger mill was built to replace it.

Bob Reece, who has lived in the Ashford area for most of his life, said that he was there the day the mill burned. He was delivering milk to the bunkhouse kitchen, and he said it started at the mill, and it was gone before anyone knew it.

But the fire didn’t stop Pacific National Lumber. Timber was abundant then, and the company just built a bigger and better saw mill. People still talk about the sawmill and the amount of timber it could handle.

Daly said that the second mill specialized in long timbers, some up to 147 feet long. They cut lumber for boats such as the spars, masts and keels.

One tree that came from Mineral set a world’s record. The log was 225 feet in length, 48 feet around and 800 years old. That log yielded 125,000 board feet of lumber. Daly said he remembers that log well.

“We had to cut it with a stream dragsaw which had an 18-foot blade, and was on a float. We cut it in half and quartered it with that, and then cut the rest of it,” he said.

The wood from the sawmill was taken by railroad to Tacoma, and then later much of it was taken by truck for reloading and distributing, Daly said. Five locomotives would be used to haul it.

“It was a wonderful sawmill. It got the cream of the timber crop,” Reece said.

But National was definitely a company town. About 75 of the houses in the town were owned by Pacific National, and most of the loggers and mill workers lived in town.

Daly said that when he moved into National, he and his family rented a five-room house with electricity and water for $6 a month. His wages when he started in 1920 were $4.96 a day for 10 hours. “It was a nice house too,” Daly said. The single employees lived in bunkhouses.

There was one store in the town which was a general store owned by Butler and Rexroth. Above the store was a room where they showed movies once a week. The rest of the town was houses, bunkhouses and the sawmill. An army barracks was also located at National Reece said. And every two weeks, a dance was held.

Daly said the town gained quite a bit of notoriety in 1935 when the mill employees went on strike for a year over the right to unionize.

Many of the mill workers were Japanese. Daly said about 60 to 75 Japanese were employees. Most were natives of Japan, and some were second generation, he added.

When World War II started, all of the Japanese were taken to concentration caps. Daly said some were taken to the fair grounds at Puyallup and others were taken to Idaho.

“Some disappeared the night of Pearl Harbor,” Daly said. “We later found out that two of them were in the Japanese navy. One was an admiral and the other was a lieutenant.

To his knowledge, Daly said that none of the Japanese ever returned to the National area.

But after World War II, there was no National to return to. In 1944 Pacific National sold their operations to Harbor Plywood Co. because of the dwindling supply of timber and the ill health of Demerest, Daly said. Soon after that, Harbor Plywood sold the property to Weyerhaeuser. The mill shut down in 1944, and little logging has been done in the area since then.

“When they ran out of timber, the mill shut down, and so did the town,” Reece said.

Several of the houses in the town were moved to other areas, mostly in Ashford and some between National and Ashford. Daly said that some were moved to the highway, and many others were torn down. Reece said that he helped move some of the houses.

Most of the workers left the area looking for other jobs. Daly said he moved around after that, going to Oregon and Eastern Washington for awhile. He decided to retire in Eatonville because he had a piece of property in town.

Now there is nothing left in the town but a few remnants — a shell of a building with nothing by wall, part of a roof and a floor; a yellow stop sign, a picket fence and a few foundations.

“Looking back, it was a good place to live and a good place to work,” Daly said.

Eatonville Dispatch June 23, 1916

Eatonville Dispatch Article

I absolutely love reading this issue of the Dispatch — June 23, 1916. It is filled with so much detail about what was going on back then. I invite anyone to click on it, blow it up and read about:
• The high school kids having a party at Ohop Bob.
• Longmire Springs Hotel is getting the OK to be built.
• The basketball game between Eatonville and Kapowsin.
• Train schedules up to Ashford
• A car wreck near Alder
• Dr. Bridge gets an ambulance.
• Milk cows for sale
• Marriages, dances and so much more.

For those of you who are familiar with the names of early Eatonville residents, I think you’ll enjoy reading about the small moments in their lives. For others, I think you’ll enjoy seeing what small town life in 1916 was like.

Click on image to enlage.

Waiving from the Flag Pole (1914)

Henry Christensen helping up the flag pole
Henry Christensen helping up the flag pole

We did a post a while back about the flag pole going up in 1914. Roni Johnson had an even better photo (from her family album) of the event. Here is Henry Christensen waiving from the top of the pole.

“Grandma’s family had the telephone company so all of her brothers were used to running up and down the poles. The girls ran the switchboard,” says Roni.

If this picture looks a little familiar, it’s because the Eatonville Bank is still on the corner of Mashell. Although the Snow Motel to the left is longer standing.

Photo courtesy of Roni Johnson.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville Hospital – 1921

Letter to Eatonville Hospital 1921
Letter to Eatonville Hospital 1921

Here’s an old envelope from 1921 to Julie Dougher c/o of the the Eatonville Hospital. Don’t know anything about Julie — whether she was a nurse or a patient. (If you have any information, please share.)

I do know that the hospital used to be in the building across from the high school on Mashell. You can check it out next time you drive by.

Lumberman's Hospital, April 1912
Lumberman’s Hospital, April 1912

Photo courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on image to enlarge.