I’ve just been told about a great site — minerallake.com – which has lots of local pictures, like this one. This is Mineral Hill Road near the lodge. The sign above the road says “Mineral Lake Inn,” which is now know as Mineral Lake Lodge.
“The three story cedar log lodge was constructed in 1906 by Scandinavian residents of the Mineral area who were experienced old-world craftsmen. The log workmanship is outstanding. Herman and August Ahstrand and Johann Carlson built the Inn for a wealthy young investor from the east by the name of Gilfellin. He was the son of an Englishman who manufactured one of the earliest radios made, Gilfellin radios.” (Per minerallakelodge.com)
There was a tree up near Mineral that was huge — even to those that were used to seeing large, old growth trees. People came from all around to have their picture taken in front of it, like these four women here and their dog.
If you’d like to see another photo of people taken with the tree, just click HERE.
The M. R. Smith Shingle Mill in Mineral, Wash., is no longer. But if you’re ever up there fishing, you can squint and easily imagine the place a bustling timber town and logs floating lake.
“The M.R. Smith Shingle Company mill was established in 1905 and survived into the 1980s. Western cedar grows as single trees or in small grows. The mill paid a small premium for cedar logs, cut them into bolts of generally 16 inches for shakes and 24 inches for shingles.
“The bolts were then debarked and graded. Shakes could be made by hand, and when milled were smooth on one side and had a uniform thickness. Shingles were cut to a taper for three-eighth inches to a point. Shakes and shingles that were to be transported were kiln dried to reduce shipping weight.
“A properly installed cedar roof could last over 60 years. The terminology for shakes and shingles appear to have varied by time and location. (Per Upper Nisqually Valley)
Clark Kinsey captured here the sizable logs being transported by rail to the Mineral Lake Lumber Co. (purchased by West Fork Timber Co. in 1927). In fact, you can see the company sign way in the background. Judging by the stacks going in the back, the air in Mineral is fresher today.
Interesting fact about Mineral: Once it had several producing mines the ore from which was used for production of arsenic. It was named for mineral deposits along Mineral Creek, and producing mines a half dozen miles from the town. (Wash. Library).
Mineral used to be quite a logging town with a mill on the lake. This picture of the Mineral Lake Lumber Companyhas a little of everything — the mill in operation, men standing on stacks of lumber, cabins in the back, and even what may be outhouses down in front.
Willie Madden was one of Mineralschool’s basket ball players in 1930.
“In the 1930s college basketball was the dominant form of organized basketball. The Depression had sunk the professional American Basketball League (ABL), which had been formed in the 1920s, but it actually revived the college game, which was played mostly in gymnasiums and armories.” (enotes.com)
Here are a couple great shots of milling in Mineral, Wash., earlier in the early 1900s. You rarely get action shots, like this one of the log falling into the mill pond.
Mineralgot it’s start as a mining town. Prospectors came searching for gold and found coal and arsenic, which was both unfortunately and unhealthy. The would-be gold town turned to its trees and was the home of a logging camp and sawmill, neither of which you’ll find there today. You will, however, find some great fishing.
To read about the whole history of the Eatonville theater, just click HERE.
In short, Leo built a number of theaters in the area. “By the 40s Leo was also operating additional theaters in Randle, Mineral, Morton, Steilacoom, Old Town and Salkum, as well as the Narrows Theater in Tacoma, which he built in 1949.”
Leo and his Regina were originally from Italy and built their home in Eatonville. It’s the brick house still standing on Carter with figs growing beside the garage — fig trees that Regina brought from Italy.
Leo and his wife sold the Eatonville theater in the late 1970s.
Photo courtesy of the Baublits family and late photographer Joe Larin.
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.
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.
This little piece of history was just for sale on Ebay. It’s a postcard from W. Harding to Elsie Holgate in Longmire Springs (the area seven miles outside Mount Rainier National Park). It’s a shot of the Little Mashel (Mashell) Falls,which is still a popular hiking spot today on Pack Forest property.
This is extra special because Longmire Springs is relatively unheard of today.
“In 1883 James Longmire built a trail from Succotash Valley in Ashford 13 miles (21 km) to the hot springs where he built cabins in the area which now bears his name.John Muir described staying there on the way to his ascent of Mount Rainier in 1888.
The oldest surviving structure in the National Park is a cabin built by Longmire’s son Elcaine Longmire at the springs in 1888. It is located north of the road in the area now called Longmire Meadows.
From 1899 to 1904 approximately 500 people a year visited Longmire Springs in the summer months. They reached the area by train to Ashford and then on Longmire’s wagon trail.
They enjoyed the mineral springs and the view of Mount Rainier. They could also hike to Paradise or Indian Henry’s Hunting Grounds, both about 6 miles from Longmire Springs on trails built by the Longmire family.” (Wikipeida.org)