To The Present

Van Cleve Motors — The Rest of the Story

This piece was written by Rich Williams on March 6, 2011, shortly after the Ford building was torn down on Mashell Ave.

Van Cleve Motor (Pappy filling the car)
Van Cleve Motor ca. 1940s (Pappy filling the car)

Eatonville saw a piece of their history demolished this week. The old Van Cleve Motors building had been part of Eatonville’s landscape for over eighty years. Like many other commercial enterprises in this area Van Cleve Motors is now just a memory. If only this building could have talked, what a story it would have told.

George and Madge Van Cleve purchased this building from George’s brother-in-law Clint in 1934. At the time, it was one of two car dealerships in this area. The other was owned by J. H. Galbraith, the owner of Eatonville Lumber Company.

For years, Van Cleve Motors sold their Ford cars through Titus Ford in Tacoma, Wash. In 1952 that would change. That year, the Ford Dealership in Morton, Washington burned down and was for sale. The Van Cleves bought the dealership and rebuilt it.

Van Cleve Motor (ca. 1970s)
Van Cleve Motor (ca. 1970s)

When the dealership reopened in 1953, the plan was to sell Fords at both Eatonville and Morton under the same franchise. Ford’s policy, however, at that time would not allow a dealer to sell their cars at two different locations under one franchise agreement. Ford Motor Company and Van Cleve quickly solved the problem by establishing a second direct serve franchise for Eatonville.

Now things were on the move. George’s youngest son Jim and his wife Joan were managing the Morton dealership and George and Madge and their oldest son George Jr. “Lad” were managing Eatonville. Over the years, both dealerships were very successful. Customers from miles around would venture to Eatonville and Morton to buy their Fords from the Van Cleve family.

During a customer’s visit to Eatonville, George “Pappy” would quote the best deal in the area and George Jr. “Lad” would answer any and all questions about the vehicle they were about to purchase. While the Van Cleve men were closing the deal, Madge, who reminded everyone of Aunty Bea, would be genuinely interested in getting to know each customer. It wasn’t unusual for her to remember your name and all your kids’ names, every time you visited the dealership.

More Van Cleve Motor (1970s)
More Van Cleve Motor (1970s)

This combination of genuine customer interest, low overhead pricing and an exceptional knowledge of the product was the primary reason for the customer loyalty they enjoyed.

In 1965, the first full year production of the Ford Mustang, Van Cleve Motors won another sales contest. The prize that year was an all expense paid trip to Ford’s Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Two highlights of the trip were meeting Ford Motor Company President Lee Iacocca and receiving a brand new Ford Mustang.

In 1972 and 73, the Ford F-100 and F-150 pickups were red hot. Sales were so brisk that Ford Motor Company production could not keep up with demand. At one time during that period, Van Cleve Motors had over 100 pickups on back order. Seeing two fully loaded transports unloading vehicles on Washington Avenue each week was not unusual.

Although the Van Cleve Ford Dealership in Eatonville is gone, the Van Cleve and Ford Motor Company partnership lives on. Jim Van Cleve Jr., his son James and his mother Joan are running a very successful third generation dealership in Morton, Washington. Winner of 20 Ford Motor Company Presidential Awards their philosophy of selling a quality product coupled with putting the customer first continues to be a winning combination.

Photo taken by Bob Walter of building being demolished in 2011
Photo taken by Bob Walter of building being demolished in 2011

As the family looked at the rubble lying on the ground this week, they were saddened by the finality of this undertaking. They and Eatonville were saying good- bye to a tired, dilapidated old building that once stood tall. Along with our good-bye’s we also thank Pappy, Madge, Lad, Rosemarie, Jim and Joan for all the good memories and for being a meaningful part of this community.

Photos courtesy of Van Cleve family and Bob Walter (www.eatonvillenews.net)

Click on images to enlarge.

Galbraith home 1925-today

Kids  being picked up at the Galbraith home
Kids being picked up at the Galbraith home

Recognize this home? It’s known by some as the Galbraith home and is still there today — near the Millpond Park. The home was built for John H. Galbraith in 1925 and was added to the National Register in 1982.

Mill President & Mayor
The Galbraith name was well known in Eatonville, especially in the early part of the 1900s.  T. S. Galbraith was one of the owners of the Eatonville mill. And in 1922 you would have referred to J. H. Galbraith as Mayor.

T. S. Galbraith operated a saw mill and shingle mill in Tacoma, before it burned down. Around 1913, after operating the Eatonville mill for two years, he and E. J. McNeeley bought a controlling interest in the company and reorganized with E.  J. McNeeley as president, T. S. Galbraith as VP and mangaer, S. L. Barnes as secretary and J. H. Glabraith, treasure.

Galbraith House
Galbraith House

In 1925 E. J. McNeeley sold his stock to T. S. Glabraith and in 1930 T.S. sold his stock to John H. Glabraith who then became president. It wasn’t until 1941 when J. H. Galbraith sold his interest in the mill. He moved to Gig Harbor. (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library archives.

Click on image to enlarge.

Conrad Home — Then and Now (1882 & 2011)

Conrad home ca. 1882
Conrad home ca. 1882

Alfred (A.B.) Conrad was an very early settler. He moved his family out to the Eatonville and built his home around 1882. The home stood ñthe East Road, but you’d know it now has Highway 161.

Mrs. Conrad is on the left, and Alfred is by the third post from the left. And Mary Coccioli (daughter) is on the very right.

Shooting Deer & the Real Depression
A. B. Conrad, spoke at the Pioneer’s Picnic in 1932, when the Depression was on. He said, “We have seen worse times than these. There were no trails, no roads, no work, and no money; and a load of potatoes brought 45 cents in trade. We wore our clothing until there was no room for more patches and our children wore wood shoes.”

He told of killing two deer where the high school now stands. The deer meant a great deal to him because of meat it would put on the table for his family. While he was was wondering how he could get the meat home, a city hunter came rushing out of the brush and offered $10 for one of the animals. Ten dollars looked like a fortune  to Mr. Conrad, who hadn’t seen money for months. (Men made .50 a day then.) It turns out the city man wanted his hunting buddies to think he shot the deer. (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Conrad home in 2011
Conrad home in 2011

Today the house still stands. You can see it on the right hand side of the road on your way out of town — just before you get to Northwest Trek. Feel free to give the hardworking Conrads a nod.

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

Class of 1926 — And their 1976 50th reunion

EHS Class of 1926
EHS Class of 1926

Time marches on all all of us. Here is the EHS graduating class of 1926, followed by their 50th reunion in 1976.

Graduating in ’26 were:

Front row (left to right): Harold Westby, class president, Fay Williams, class secretary, Nell Nightengale, Hazel Wallace, Veora Rathbone, William Smith, athletic manager, Fred Boyles.

Second Row (left to right): Arthur Semple, ASB president, Agnes Duffy, Mary Leeper, Aleda Jacobson, class treasurer, Edith Berg, Ivan Swanson, Nels Yefeldt.

Third Row (left to right): Morgan Williams, Kenneth Burgess, Doris Hecht, Miss Lillian Larson, advisor, Worthy Hecht.

Class Motto: Quality no Quantity.  Colors: purple and gold

1976 Reunion

Class of 1926's 50th reunion
Class of 1926's 50th reunion

At the 50th reunion held in 1976 a number of the classmates were present:

Back Row (left to right): Aleda Jacobson (Jordon), Bill Smith, Fred Boyles, Kenneth Burgess, ??, Ester Neilsen (Larson), Casey Swanson.

Front Row (left to right): Veora Rathbone (Rotter), Fay Williams (Duke), Worthy Hecht, Doris Hecht (Trent) and Edith Berg (Loden).

Photos courtesy of Arlene Duke. 

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

Class roster 1926
Class roster 1926

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1976 50th reunion roster
1976 50th reunion roster

Support Eatonville History at 2011 Art Festival

Mr. C.A. Stahlberg, Manual Training Tacher in front of the a 1920 GMC School Bus, 1923
Mr. C.A. Stahlberg, Manual Training Tacher in front of a 1920 GMC School Bus, 1923

Just wanted to let everyone know that this weekend at the Eatonville Art Festival there are two history booths.

Eatonville Historical Society
At the Eatonville Historical Society booth you will find:
• lots of artifacts
• books to buy written by local authors Abbi Wonacott and Donald Johnstone
• membership applications, and
• someone to answer any questions — like me if you’re there Saturday morning.

The Eatonville Project
At the far end of the Art festival will be the Eatonville Project booth, that is raising money to produce “You are Here” historical materials for Eatonville School District students. They have calendars and postcards for sale, like this one. (Which, by the way, were created by Chris Bivins.)

Come on down and look around, and if you’re in the mood, support your local history groups!

 

Art Festival – 40th Anniversary

Photo from the Eatonville Dispatch, 1972
Photo from the Eatonville Dispatch, 1972

There were several premieres in 1972 — The Poseidon Adventure in theaters, The Waltons on televisions, and The Eatonville Art Festival in Eatonville.

Art festivals are common today, but that wasn’t the case 40 years ago. In 1972, Vince Troccoli, probably best known as the past publisher of the Dispatch, and Terry Van Eaton got together to try to create a unique art event in Eatonville.

“We decided to meet with several Lions Club members at Terry’s house,” says Vince in an interview with EatonvilleNews. That initial group included Les and Dixie Butts [now Walter], Ron Gehring, in addition to Terry and Vince.

“The art festival started as a Lions’ Club project to help third world countries,” says Terry. “The artists in those countries would send us their artwork and crafts and we intended to sell them at the art festival. But that didn’t work that well and we made it an arts and crafts fair.”

Lions first Art Festival in '72
Lions first Art Festival in '72

Not everyone around town thought an art festival would make it. But that didn’t deter this group. Their enthusiasm and faith in the project got the event up and running.

Primitive booths
In the early years the Lion’s club members made the booths. Dixie recalls going out to Lion Ray Gribi’s land and cutting poles to build the booths.

“That alone was hard work,” says Dixie. “Then the men worked even harder building booths from the saplings. Most of the artists liked the charm.”

Entertainment
The festival evolved over time. For a few years there was a “festival queen”. And there has been every kind of entertainment — from belly dancers and folk singers to kid acts and bagpipes.

Entertainment at the first festival
Entertainment at the first festival

One year the Washington State Symphony Orchestra preformed under the stars.

In his EatonvilleNews interview Troccoli says, “I will never forget seeing all the people sitting on blankets in the park while this great musical group played their concert. I would give anything to have a video-tape of that evening.”

The artists
Just a few days before the 1972 Festival the Dispatch reported that the Eatonville Lions Club had written hundreds of letters and made numerous calls to put the festival together and were expecting over 50 artists displaying over 500 pieces of art.

Dancing the night away at the first art festival
Dancing the night away at the first art festival

The paper also ran these optimistic, and prophetic, words. “This coming Saturday, August 5, will hopefully be remembered as the first of many successful and growing Art Festivals that will be held in Eatonville.”

 

Class of 1981

David Reichel
David Reichel

It’s my Eatonville class of 1981’s reunion today. Since we’re a small piece of the community’s history, I thought I’d share a few photos.

We were an amazing group of kids full of energy and untapped potential. Today we’re even more amazing adults. I’m proud to say I was part of the class of ’81.

Photos courtesy of the Eatonville yearbooks.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Hoffman, Jake Jacobson, Pat Suver, Luke Poole
Mike Hoffman, Jake Jacobson, Pat Suver, Luke Poole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top: Carol Wells, Diane Mettler, Kelli Mettler  Bottom: Julie Leigh, Jonni Hale, Sally Potts, Janette Bertram
Top: Karel Wells, Diane Mettler, Kelli Mettler Bottom: Julie Leigh, Jonni Hale, Sally Potts, Janette Bertram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Byers, Dennis Modahl, Jack Roy, Jeff Burgess
Brian Byers, Dennis Modahl, Jack Roy, Jeff Burgess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawn Parrish, Shelly Smith
Shawn Parrish, Shelly Smith

Eatonville Cheerleaders — Yesterday and Today

Eatonville cheerleaders in 2007
Eatonville cheerleaders in 2007

Eatonville cheerleaders and drill teams have been cheering on their teams for decades. No matter whether it’s football, basketball or wrestling you’ll find pom poms and a lot of spirit.

Here’s a glimpse of the cheerleaders in 2007, 1980, and the 1940s.

Photos courtesy of Eatonville yearbooks.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheerleaders 1980
Cheerleaders 1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cheerleaders ca. 1940s
cheerleaders ca. 1940s

Stradivarius Violin Found in the Dump (1970)

Caretaker finds violin at the dump, 1970
Caretaker finds violin at the dump, 1970

The dump isn’t usually a place to find treasures, but back in August, 1970, C. E. Julian found a Stradivarius amongst the garbage. The picture is taken from the Eatonville Dispatch.

Caption Reads: Eatonville Dump Caretaker, C.E. Julian, demonstrates a violin he found Sunday afternoon. Close inspection showed a label reading “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonesis Faciebat Anno 1760″. It appears the violin was constructed in 1760 by members of the Stradivarius family in Italy. Shirley Taylor of Eatonville (left) inspect the treasure.

Click on image to enlarge.