1905

The Malms of Ohop Valley

Lena & John Malm, 1930
Lena & John Malm, 1930

I never met Lena and John Malm, but I feel like I’ve known them all my life. My grandparents, Louie and Anna Mettler,  purchased their dairy in Ohop Valley the 40s. My folks, Louie and Kathy Mettler, built on the land in the early 1960s and the dairy continued into the 70s. Today my folks raise organic beef there.

I grew up on the same fields the Malms farmed and today I live there too. In fact, today I was down in the valley checking on a new born calf.  Although today the Pruitt family lives in the original Malm home, I looked up from the valley, next to the cow and calf, knowing that the Malms, my grandparents, my parents and myself have all shared this same experience in this same spot.

Marriage
Another thing that makes me feel close to Lena and John is that were were both married in Ohop Valley — although almost 100 years apart. They were married in 1905, and Chris and I were married in 2002.

I wish I’d met them, but in a way I feel like I have.

Below is the article that ran in the Dispatch in 1955 when they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. (I especially like they had the phonograph there that played music at their wedding.)

Malm 50th Wedding Anniversary from the Dispatch
Malm 50th Wedding Anniversary from the Dispatch

“More than 160 friends and relatives gathered at the social hall of the Community Methodist Church to offer congratulations and to join in celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Malm on Wednesday afternoon, December 28 [1955].

Gold was the predominant theme in the decorations. A ceterpiece of gold chrysanthemums graced the serving table. Baskets of foliage highlighted by gold flowers and a mantel arrangement of forest greens accented by large gold candles added to the holiday air.

The same phonograph that furnished music for the wedding in 1905 provided several of the same tunes to the delight of the younger set. When they were not receiving, the honor couple occupied the same love seat that helped furnish their first home in Ohop Valley. 

Wedding Crown
Mrs. Malm wore a hand wrought gold filigree wedding crown provided by a friend for this special occassion. Mr. Malm wore a matching boutonneie of the same design. The crown was a copy of the original Geramn wedding gown.

Lena Malm as a young girl
Lena Malm as a young girl

Pouring for the occasion were Mrs. Andrew Anderson of Tacoma and Mrs. Guerney Van Eaton of Sliver Lake, assisted by Mr. Ethel Jacobson. The wedding cake was served by Mrs. Harry Hicks of Everette, cousin of the bride, and Miss Charlotte Kjelstad had charge of the guest book.

A program of songs and music furnished entertainment for the afternoon. Dick Taylor sang “”He” and “Take My Hand” accompanied by Mrs. Jonas (Helen) Asplund. Carolyn Burwash played the flute, including selections of Scandinavian music, also accompanied by Mrs. Asplund. Maxine Games sang “Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet,” accompanied by Mrs. Cyrus Jensen. Harriet Ittner of Seattle sang “Silver Threads Among the Gold”. The Rev. J. W. Reynolds offered a few appropriate remarks.

Messages Received
Guests from out-of-state were Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Lake from Eugene, Ore., who had been friends of the Malms during the years they lived in Eatoville. Among the message of congratulations received was a telegram from Mrs. Norman J. Bruen of Wading River, N.Y., who lived here many years ago when her husband was the first cashier of the Eatonville State Bank, and Mrs. George Ingersoll, widow of the early day Eatonville merchant, now living in Tacoma, tlepehoned them she was unable to be present at the party.

Lena's first boat ride at Seal Rock in 1939
Lena's first boat ride at Seal Rock in 1939

Arrangements for the festivities were made by Mrs. James Carlson, sister of Mrs. Malm, and her two daughters, Mrs. Steve Packer of Eatonville and Mrs. Don Journey of Spokane. 

Photos courtesy of Steve Burwash.

Click on images to enlarge.

Snap Shot of Old Alder

Several Alder ladies
Several Alder ladies

These photos give you a glimpse of what the town of Alder looked like during the early 1900s. The logs were being milled, roads were being built and the ladies were looking fine.

Note: In the last photo of the road gang you might notice, besides the dog, the roots of the enormous tree that fell to their left.

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

Alder sawmill around 1905
Alder sawmill around 1905

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Alder Sawmill
Inside the Alder Sawmill

 

 

Alder road gang (with dog)
Alder road gang (with dog)

Old Alder, ca. 1920

Old Alder in around 1920
Old Alder in around 1920

Ever wondered what Old Alder looked like, when it was a working town — before the dam? Here’s a shot of the town taken around 1920.

The sawmill is in operation and the Alder School (the 2nd) is the white building to the right of the house in the background.

Here’s an excerpt from the 1909 “Auditor’s Annual Exhibit of Finance, Pierce County, Wash.” The third paragraph is particularly descriptive.

Forty-one miles southeast of Tacoma, on the Tacoma, on the Tacoma Eastern Railway, in an extensive timber and mineral area, is situated the beautiflu town of Alder. The soil of the country surrounding is varied and very productive. The giants of the forest are a marvel, and to the great lumber indstury the people of Alder look for the future usefulness and wealth. Diversified farming is successfully followed and yeilds splendid returns.

Alder was platted by Martin Holes and wife, from a part of their homesetaed, on December 19th, 1905. The name is taken from the wealth of alder trees on the hills and valleys surrounding.

The town as grown steadily and now has a population of two hundred, two general stores, two hotels, livery stable, fraternal hall, church, rural telephone, one saw-and-shingle mill and two logging camps, and has surrounding it enough undeveloped resources to support a large city. The hills are covered with fine virgin forest and underlying this wealth of timber is a vast deposit of excellent quality of coal and other minerals. 

Photo courtesy of Louise Wackerle.

Click on image to enlarge.

Walter Ashford ca. 1905

Walter Ashford on old road E. of Ashford
Walter Ashford on old road E. of Ashford

Walter Ashford is riding his horse and wagon down on a dirt road east of Ashford.

The town as named after Walter Ashford in 1905.

Photos courtesy of Gary and Debbie Saint.

Click on photo to enlarge.

 

Alder Mill, 1905

Alder sawmill ca 1905
Alder sawmill ca 1905

The first image is of the exterior of the Alder, Wash., mill around 1905.

The next shot is of the interior of the mill.  Note the size of the saw blade — set up for extremely large logs.

The mill was located on the south side of town near Alder Creek. A wooden dam was constructed in the creek to form a mill pond to dump the logs to the be sawed. (Per Old Alder.)

Photos Courtesy Pat Van Eaton.

Click to Enlarge.

Interior of Alder Sawmill
Interior of Alder Sawmill

Alder Schools

Alder School ca. 1905
Alder School ca. 1905 (Courtesy Pat Van Eaton)

Alder was a bigger town in the early 1900s.

The first photo is of the Alder School #2, built in 1905 on a knoll on the north edge of town. It burned down two years later.

The new Alder school was built in 1909.

Rod Scurlock reminisces about his days a school kid there in his book Old Alder.

Discipline in schools was different hen. The south bench kids were walking down the south side of the highway after school on afternoon, and the north side kids on the north side of the highway. Words occurred, and soon became rocks. One of the north side kids threw a rock that hit a south side girl in the forehead.

At just that moment, the principal came by in his Model T and saw the fight. The next afternoon when school was out, several of us were detained and the principal took down a slot made form the back fo a rocker and employed it where it would do the most good. There was no more rock fights after that.”

Alder School built in 1909
Alder School built in 1909 (Photo courtesy Pat Van Eaton)

 

Going to School in Alder
Rod says there were eight grades in the school — grades one through four in one room and five through eight in the other — with one teacher per room. You even though many students got their exercise walking to school (some coming several miles) it didn’t stop them from enjoying recess.

“Everyone participated in the games, boys and girls together. Favorite sports were baseball, basketball, pom pom polaway, hockey (with vine maple clubs and tin cans), and less vigorous sports for the little ones. Torn shirts for pom pom polaway, and bruised heads, arms, and legs from the hockey were the oder of the day,” says Rod.