In 1899, Mount Rainier was the fifth area in the United States to be designated a National Park.
In 1911 the first car reached the area. As roads and railways began pushing into the wilderness, and the population grew, so did the number of visitors to the National Park. Annual visitation was already exceeding one million in the 1950s, and continues to exceed two million today. ( Per Go Northwest)
This early photograph shows Martin Carlson at his Mount Vernon farm a couple years before he moved to Alder.
Carl Linden says, “Left to right — Martin’s wife, Elsa, holding Margaret, Helen, Ruth, Einar, David and the man is unknown to me, probably a hired hand for the haying. Three more girls were born after that…in Eatonville: Elsie (1911), Esther (1914) and Alice (1917).
This postcard was mailed out of Ashford, Wash., on February 4, 1911, at 6 a.m. The postmaster was Cara J. Ashford, and she held that position from the time the post office opened, Nov. 16, 1894. until Dec., 19, 1938.
The front of the card shows the Mesler place. “The Meslers’ was another stopping place for rouists. Mr. Mesler had one of the early sawmills on his place. A water wheel was used for power. Mr. and Mrs. Mesler were the parents of one son, Alexander and three daughters, Clara, Belle and Bess.” (Per History of Southeastern Pierce County)
People are probably more familiar tpdau with the Alexander Country Inn, in Ashford. It was built by Alexander Mesler in 1912, a year after this postcard was mailed.
He built the 10,000 square foot building and opened it as a roadhouse, catering to tourists coming up to see the newly-establisehd Mount Rainier National Park. Alexander’s siblings helped run the inn.
For an interesting time timeline of the Inn’s history, just click here.
Eatonville residents often complain that the deer are eating their flowers. It could be worse. A hundred years ago it was cows and horses in your yard. Here are just some of Eatonville’s animal ordinances
Horse & Cow March 1911 — Eatonville’s Horse and Cow Ordinance is amended “to allow cows to roam at large during the day”.
August, 1911 — Mr. Riversasks the City Council to restrict cows from running at large at night. The cowbells are keeping citizen from getting a good night’s sleep. The Council declares the cows a public nuisance and the Marshall must notify the cow owners.
March 1912 — Citizens petition the Council that ranging livestock be prohibited, but the Council votes down their request. Undeterred, Councilman Overmire submits a second ordinance to prohibit “the ranging of horses, cattle and chickens.” This ordinance is also voted down. Finally, Councilman Jackson comes up with an ordinance that applies to only horses and cows and only for those running at night. This ordinance passes, but it’s unclear whether the residents are happy with the compromise.
Chickens March 1911 — A Chicken Ordinance is passed and repealed, but in February 1913, chickens are officially curtailed. The Clerk instructs a notice to appear in an official paper publicizing the date chickens are no longer allowed to run at large.
Horses January 1910 — Ordinance passes limiting the speed of horses “and vehicles of any description” to six miles per hour.
Cow Stench June 1916 — Mr. Smith goes before the Council and demands steps are taken to improve the sanitary conditions on Groe Street (now Center St.). He is unable to keep tenants because of the stench coming from a local dairy barn.
Rabbits March 1912 — The Marshal and City Clerk are authorized to shoot any rabbits running at large within the city limits.
Pheasants October 1911 — Chinese Pheasants are destroying vegetable gardens and the Mayor authorizes the Marshal to appoint deputies to kill them. Shooting is allowed from Washington Avenue west to the town limits, and from Railroad Ave. north to the town limits. The deputies receive no pay, but they do get to keep the dead pheasants.
Rats March 1911 — T.C. Van Eatontells the Council something has to be done about the rats. The Council puts a bounty of ten cents (about $2.50 today) on each rat. “When captured they should be presented o the Town Clerk who will draw an order on the Town Treasurer for the amount due.” (Grim news for the Town Clerk.)
Records show that payments ranged from $1.40 to $13.80. There must have been some success in cleaning up the town. By September 1916, the rat bounty was dropped from the town’s budget.
Roaming animals seem to have been a nuisance for Eatonville residents from the start.
Chickens at Large In March, 1911 Eatonville passed a Chicken Ordinance, keeping folks from letting their chickens roam at large. People must not have taken the ordinance too seriously, because in February, 1913, the Clerk was instructed to publish a notice in the paper telling people when the “ordinance to prevent chcickens running at large would be in force.” In 1947, the issue came up again.
Eatonville also had a “Horse and Cow Ordinance”. In March, 1911 the ordinance was amended to allow cows to roam during the day.
In August 1911, Mr. Rivers was up in arms because many of the cows roaming at night wore bells and were disturbing the sleep of the Eatonville citizens. A resolution was passed making these cows a public nuisance and the town’s Marshall was required to go out and notify the owners of said cows.
In 1911, Dr. A. W. Bridgewas concerned about keeping the logging community in one piece. He needed electricity to run his X-ray machines, and worked with the Eatonville Lumber Company to come up with a solution.
In November, he asked permission to “string wire from the mill to the drug store and hospital for the transmission of electricity for light and to operate X-ray machines.”
In February 1912 his request was granted. “Three lights could be dropped from wires owned by Dr. Bridge at a cost of $5.00 each ($110 today) and the Eatonville Lumber Company would supply electrictiy free of charge.”
Extra lights along Groe Street to Mashell Ave.would cost $45.00 more ($1,025 in today’s dollars). The town must have been anxious to move from kerosene lamps to electricity. Eatonville decided to install the street lights as well as one in front of the drug store. (History of Southeastern Pierce County)
This article appeared in the Eatonville Dispatch’s 1959, 50th Anniversary section:
Little League baseball players in Eatonville these days will be interested to know that “way back when,” approximately 1911 the very young of the community were hitting fast balls with Tom Van Eaton the sponsor. When it came to raising money for the uniforms, Tom trotted out his team of horses and recovered $50 worth of abandoned cable, which bought materials for the mothers to make their sons’ uniforms.
Posing in front of the Van Eaton home are:
Back row, left to right — Clarence Williams, Charles McElveley, Ward Nettleton, Harry Smith, George Smith, and Leon McElveley.
Bottom row, left to right — Cecil Williams, Morgan Williams, Ray Williams, Charles Matheney, Frank Peterson, McKinley Van Eaton, Rudolph Wilson, a Peterson boy and Dave Peterson.
Sitting in front — Stanley “Stacky” Williams, Willie Wilson and an unidentified lad.
in 1959 the Dispatch had a 50th Anniversary section. It was filled with information of years gone past.
This particular piece shows the women behind the town’s men — and a few of the kids a well. I wish they had listed the women’s first names and not just their husbands’ names. But I guess that was just a sign of the times.
The text that goes with this piece reads:
The Early settlers were without churches, but every month or so a traveling minister would stop and conduct services. The first denominational church in Eatonville was the Methodist Church, which, according to church records, dates back to 1903. It did not have a building until 1912 and services were generally held in Van Eaton’s Hall.
Two years after the town’s incorporation the Eatonville Ladies’ Aid was holding meetings. This group later became the Women’s Society of Christian Service. Memebers of the Ladies’ Aid pictured here are: standing (left to right), Mrs. Charles Turner, Mrs. Art Waddell, Miss Hazel Williams, the woman with the baby is not identified, Mrs. T. C. Van Eaton, Miss Louise Nagley, Mrs. Fred Matheny, Mrs. Tom Williams, Miss Gilmore and Mrs. Clyde Williams.
Seated (left to right), Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Ed Williams, Mrs. J. E. Calloway, Mrs. C. A. Nettleton and Mrs. Nate Williams.
The children in the front row are May Sabourin, Jennie Van Eaton, Ray Williams and Fay Williams.