Alder Dam Powerhouse 1912

La Grande Powerhouse
La Grande Powerhouse

Drive up to La Grande and you can’t miss the Alder Dam, built in the 1940s. But there was another dam before this one — smaller and built in the 1910.

“The water was forced through a pipe bridge that carried the water across the valley and then down four large pipes (5 feet wide) to a powerhouse 410 feet blow.

Inside the powerhouse the four sets of Allis-Chalmers turbines and generators each produced 8,000 horsepower.”  (Per Upper Nisqually Valley)

Photos courtesy Rich Williams

Click on photo to Enlarge.

Tram to La Grande Powerhouse
Tram to La Grande Powerhouse












Transformers inside La Grande Powerhouse

Transformers inside La Grande Powerhouse



Last Letter from La Grande?

La Grande store & post office
La Grande store & post office

There’s word that the La Grande post office may be closing. If so, it will be an end of an era.

The post office has been in operation since it opened in 1910 — back when Taft was in office and people were singing “Let Me Call you Sweetheart”.

History behind the store
It was built as a store and post office when the Tacoma hydro-electric plant was built between 1910 and 1912, costing a $2,354,984 ($58,780,00 in today’s dollars). The new plant could produce 6,000 kilowatts, which was enough to meet the entire city’s needs.

La Grande Post Office
La Grande Post Office

The La Grande store and post office serviced the homes built in La Grande to house the workers. Some of these homes were definitely ahead of their time. They stood out because they had no chimneys—they were powered and heated solely by electricity  by Tacoma Power and Light.

Post masters
The little post office changed hands frequently. “Fred Hodgins, one of the early settlers, had the store and post office. He died suddenly and his brave little wife, Opal, carried on until she sold out to Floyd Gilbert, who took charge of the store and wife Helen was appointed postmaster in 1939.” History of Tacoma Eastern Area

John A. Nordstrom has been postmaster since 1988.


Eatonville Band – 1910 & 2008

Town band around 1910
Town band around 1910 – Photo courtesy Pat Van Eaton

The Eatonville band has  come a long way.

These two shots are of the band in about 1910. Going to the Western Washington Fair (which would have only been 10 years old at the time) was a big event.  It was a six days and parking was 25 cents. The biggest attraction back then was horse racing and the fair was built around a horse track.

Back in 1910, fair  was known as The Valley Fair, and it was renamed in 1913.

Eatonville School band at valley fair
Eatonville School band at Valley Fair ca. 1910 – photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton

In the second picture, two of the smaller band members got to ride the bull — definitely something a school would frown on today.

The last picture is of the Eatonville high school band playing in the town’s July 4th parade in 2008 — 98 years later. The clothes are a little different, but the instruments look the same!

Eatonville high school band, July 4, 2008
Eatonville high school band, July 4, 2008

Click on any image to enlarge.

Mashell Avenue ca. 1910

Eatonville, WA, Mashell Ave, ca 1910
Mashell Ave., Eatonville, WA ca 1910

This great photo of Mashell Ave. taken in about 1910 comes from the Eatonville Facebook page.  (Click on image for larger viewing.)

David Beane says he found this pictures on Ebay. He bid on it but lost.  Someone out there has a incredible picture of the town’s yearly years.

The road was still dirt, and many of the buildings are gone today, but the Methodist Church (the left) still stands, along with a few others.

If you know anything more about this image, please feel free to comment.