T. C. Van Eatonmay be known as Eatonville’s founder. But what about his wife? Because everyone knows that behind every man there’s a great woman.
Meet that great women, Nellie Van Eaton. She’s pictured here in her garden, where she obviously had a green thumb. Her grandson, Terry Van Eaton says that among other things, she ran the family restaurant during her younger years, in addition to raising a family.
She’s also pictured here in 1912 when T.C. ran for congress.
Here is information (that was posted below) by Margaret Nell Van Eaton. Thank you so much for sharing!
“Nellie Van Eaton was my grandmother. She grew up on a farm in Kansas. She graduated from Cedar Vale High School in 1903. I have her graduation diploma. She was married to T.C. Van Eaton in 1910, she was his third wife. His first wife died in an epidemic and his second wife died of breast cancer.
Nellie came to work for T.C. as a housekeeper after the death of his wife Mary Jane. Nellie had a young daughter who came with her from Kansas, Jennie Miller. Nellie had been married to a Mr. Miller, who went off to find work in the Oklahoma Territory and was never heard from again. She was was a very hard worker all her life. She ran a restaurant, sold insurance, always had a huge garden, had two boarders and cared for her sister until she passed in (1961?).
In the 1950s after T.C. died, she managed a herd of approximately 20 Hereford cattle, a milk cow, a large flock of chickens, ducks, an occasional pig and she helped take care of me while my parents were at work. I went to her house every day after school through the 4th grade.
She was also a very accomplished in the needle arts. She did beautiful tatting, crochet, knitting, sewing and quilt top making. I have a tablecloth she made that won a blue ribbon at the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup.”
Here’s an advertisement postcard for the Canyada Lodge, which was located in La Grande, Wash.
Canyada Lodge is Calling You An ideal place to spend the week ends or stop over night to and from America’s most beautiful Mountain. Our rooms are comfortable and modern in every respect. Table service family style. You will not be disappointed with our Fried Chicken Dinner with hot biscuits and country gravy. Our breakfasts and luncheons are unexcelled.
It was an amazing retreat in its day.Unfortunately, it burned in 1927. For more information on the lodge, just click here.
How well do you know your Eatonville history? Here are a few questions to test your knowledge.
1. What was the company that helped build the town in the early 1900s?
2. What was the town’s population in 1930: (a) 1,101 (b) 912 (c) 1,440
3. What was the town’s population in 1974: (a) 2,104 (b) 1,048 (c) 902
4. What Native American was known as a friend to T.C. Van Eaton and other Eatonville pioneers?
5. In 1970 Eatonville was in the news because of what event?
6. In 1952 a group of loggers built the Swanson airport. What else did they build at the same time?
7. In 1972 a television camera crew came out to interview Eatonville youth about what event?
8. In 1929 Rainier Connect went by what name?
9. What doctor began his practice in Eatonville and is still making a big difference in children’s lives today.
10. Who was the Court Commissioner in 1968?
11. What was Ohop Bob?
12. Who was Adam Sachs?
13. Who were the first two graduates of Eatonville in 1914?
14. What was the Eatonville town budget in 1938? (a) $10,305 (b) $5,410 (c) $2,607
15. Who built the Roxy Theater?
16. Who were T. S. Galbraith and John Galbraith?
17. What did they produce at Clay City?
18. Why is 1912 an important year for Eatonville basketball?
19. What was operation Bootstrap?
20. Why does Eatonville have that weird intersection at Mashell and Center?
1. The Eatonville Lumber Company
4. Indiana Henry
5. The Rock festival
6. The Kid’s Pond
7. A Bigfoot sighting
8. Mashell Telephone and Telegraph Company
9. Dr. A. W. Bridge. He left his money to a children’s hospital in his mother’s name — Mary Bridge. Today Mary Bridge Children’s’ Hospital is still providing care to thousands of kids.
10. Rosemarie Van Cleve.
11. Ohop Bob was a restaurant that overlooked Ohop Valley. Besides a great view, it was known for its fabulous chicken dinners.
12. Adam built and operated the first mill and logging camp in Elbe.
13. Ed Christensen and Susan Van Eaton.
14. The town’s expenses were $2,607. However, the light and water departments ($7,920 and $2,800 respectively) were considered separate and generated their own revenue.
15. A. G. Pecchia
16. T.S. Galbraith was the owner of the Eatonville Lumber Co. In 1930, John Galbraith, T.S. Galbraith’s son, purchased the mill from his dad.
17. Bricks, which are found in many of the town’s buildings.
18. 1912 was the first year Eatonville had a basketball team.
19. After the Eatonville mill shut in 1953, residents banded together to keep the town alive. The huge effort was called Operation Bootstrap.
20. The town’s well as located on the corner and roads were built around it.
All 20 correct: Fabulous. Ever considered writing a history book.
That’s not a mountain of rock behind those individuals. It’s a mountain of ice — the Nisqually Glacier in 1912.
“Paradise Glacier (little Nisqually Glacier) is one of the lower glaciers, starting at an elevation of only 9,000 feet. It is an interglacier, located between the Nisqually to the west and the Cowlitz to the northwest.
An 1896 map shows the Paradise Glacier about one-half mile from the Sluiskin Falls and an essy walk from Paradise. As the century progressed, the glacier retreated up the mountain, and separted into upper and lower sections. The once vast ice caves shrunk into unstable crawl spaces, and finally in 1991, the ceiling of the last cave collapsed.” (The Big Fact Book About Mount Rainier)
If walls could talk, T.C. Van Eaton’s little log cabin out at the Millpond Park would have a lot to say.
When T.C. Van Eaton purchased the dense woods that would one day become Eatonville, the first home he and his brother-in-law Nate Williams constructed was that little 17’ x 27’ cabin, make of split boards they planed by hand and a split shake roof. The year was 1889.
Store & Home The little cabin’s first life was that of both home and store. The Van Eaton’s lived in the back (I’m not sure how much “back” there is in a 17×27 cabin) and three Van Eatonville children were born there between 1894 and 1998. Up front was a trading post where people coming to make the forested spot their home bought supplies.
Post Office In 1890, the trading post became the town’s first post office, with T. C. listed as postmaster. It remained the post office until 1895, when he moved it to his new, large store on the corner of Mashell and Center.
Bakery After T.C. built his new home on top of the hill and a smaller one for his mom next door — both of which are still standing today — the cabin became the town’s first bakery.
The picture of T.C. Van Eaton was taken outside the Chamberlain Bakery and his new home visible on the hillside.
The cabin didn’t stay a bakery for long. Eatonville was growing and the Chamberlains built another bakery, which is the building we know today as Postnet.
Hotel Snow The little cabin (which sat behind where Key Bank is today) was next incorporated into the Hotel Snow, built in 1912. (In the picture of the hotel you can spot the “log cabin“ section to the right.)
The motel advertised home cooking, clean rooms and a view of Mount Rainier. Their ad also read “Always Pleased to Accommodate Commercial Men and Automobile Parties Entertained.” Rates were $2 a night.
Museum The Hotel Snow, which later became the Eatonville Hotel, was eventually torn down but the cabin had yet another life to live.
The cabin was relocated to the Millpond Park where it’s maintained by the South Pierce County Historical Society and serves as the town’s “Stage Stop Museum.”
If you get a chance, you might want to stop on by. It’s filled with all kinds of items from the community’s past — from spittoons to swimming suits.
Who knows, the walls might still have more say.
Sources: Firm Foundation by Abbi Wonacott, Postmarked Washington: Pierce County, South Pierce County Historical Society, Pat Van Eaton. Photos courtesy of the Van Eaton family and Parnell family.
Couldn’t resist purchasing this photo of Canyada Lodgeoff Ebay. Can almost picture someone excited about their stay at the fancy lodge taking this picture to show her friends. To take a look at some shots inside, just click HERE.
For those of you not familiar with the lodge, it had a short , but glorious, life in La Grande. It was built in 1912 and burned in 1927. There are several posts about this lodge on this site. And, to read the 1919 brochure about the place, you can click HERE.
This is an early shot of Hotel Snow, which was built around 1912. There are a number of pictures of this hotel on this site, as well at the Eatonville Hotel that took its place later down the road.
T. C. Van Eaton Cabin What is great about this shot is that you can easily see how the T. C. Van Eaton’s log house was used as part of the hotel. It’s the right quarter (behind the men) with the smoke coming from the chimney.
The cabin was the first home in Eatonville and is now located at Mill Pond Park.
In October, 1912, kids were attending Edgerton School, a rural schoolhouse in Ohop Valley. Inez Denny was the teacher and as you can see her some of her pupils included: Girls
• Nora Anderson (14)
• Lena King (16)
• Anna Larson (11)
• Dagney Anderson (11)
• Martha Kjelstad (9)
• Ethel Jacobson (8)
• Olga Olden (7)
• Ida Thomas (10)
• Lena Thomas (15)
Boys • Caroll Foster (13)
• Ernest Jacobson (10)
• Pink King (13)
• Matthew Kjelstad(11)
• John Larson (10)
I’m sure these students would never have guessed that their school records would have followed them around 100 years later.