1927

100 Years of People Power (Article from 1989 Ruralite)

Ruralite, Sept 1989, 100 years, pg 1
Ruralite, Sept 1989, 100 years, pg 1

This article comes from the September 1989 edition of the Ohop Mutual Light Company Ruralite by Don B. Goddard.  The article talks about the history of the grange. For those that can’t read the article from the images, here it is in its entirety.

100 Years of People Power

Yes, our state will be a century old this year. But important, too, is the fact that the Washington Grange will be the same age. Actually, the Grange was here before we were a state, and was administered by Grange members from the state of Oregon.

In the Ohop area there are two active Granges, Ohop and Benston. Like the Grange of a century ago, their people are concerned and hard-working members of the rural community.

The forces the early Grange opposed were awesome, even by today’s standards. They consisted of land-grabbing railroads, unbelievably greed transportation monopolies and land barons.

Oregon and Washington farmers found themselves at the mercy of one of these greedy transportation monopolies in 1870, which prompted the Oregonian to write, ” . . . with every bushel of wheat the farmer sends away, he must send a bushel and a half more to pay its way . . . ”

When we left our territorial days and entered statehood, Grange members were active and vocal in bringing to the isolated rural people many blessings we now take for granted. Every day amenities, like good roads, better law enforcement, rural mail delivery and better schools have all become a reality due largely to the Grange. Books have already been written on Grange power for rural electric power. Grangers surely saw the future, and they knew what it would take to grab hold of it.

Grangers were called Patrons of Husbandry, and where they gathered became known as the Grange. The ideas and ideals they proclaimed were clear and uncluttered. What was best for the earth they walked upon, for the beasts in their fields and barns and what was best for their neighbors was their goal. Today, with programs like CARE, their concern has gone international. Grangers have always been eager to help others who would help themselves.

Ruralite, Sept. 1989, 100 years, pg 2
Ruralite, Sept. 1989, 100 years, pg 2

Fred and Velma Boyles, both 60-year-members of the Ohop Grange, recall that October evening in the quiet Ohop Valley in 1924. State Grange Deputy Master Frank Waters took charge of the meeting in the Edgerton schoolhouse. Outside, Model Tx and buckboards filled the schoolyard. Inside, important matters had to be dealt with. Decisions had to be made. Was there to be an Ohop Grange, or not?

On that October night, the lights in the schoolhouse never went out. As the morning came, some had to leave to start the milking, some to start breakfast. But when the mist left the meadow, the sun shone down on the new day for people of the Ohop. They had a Grange, and they had their officers. They had clout!

In the fall of 1927 the Ohop Grange Hall was completed, and since its beginning it has been a community center — a gathering place. Wedding receptions, 4-H activities and anniversary celebrations of crowd the hall. The year 1958 saw the first annual Saint Patrick’s Day Smorgasbord at the hall. Every year, 400 to 600 guests attend this gathering. This October, the Ohop Grange will celebrate its 65th anniversary.

North of Ohop, just a few miles is the sister Grange of Benston. To anyone accustomed to country ways this stout white building is unmistakable. However, it was 10 years before its 35 charter member, plus those who later joined, were able to leave the old Benston school and gather in the sturdy white Grange hall we see today.

All through the war years, and even before, anyone in the south end of Pierce County who enjoyed dancing and a fun time would find their way to the Benston Grange. Maybe all the good times weren’t on the dance floor, but this hall was a community focal point. Certainly those Saturday night dances helped to separate the days of hard work and long hours into a more livable week. Besides, what better way was there to bring in the much-needed dollars?

It was the Benston Grangers who planted the first seeds of the Pierce County Fair. Mrs. Fred Kronquist can still boast about her mother’s bread taking a first prize. “Before the hall was built our community fair was held in the old Benston school,” she said. And it was there that Anna Bjerge’s gold loaves, made with economy-grade Grange flour, won their first blue ribbon.

So these were the years when country people learned to organize and to use their clout. Some of these times were in the 1930s when members were active in much of the legislation to promote public power. In 1933 and 1934 the Grange was in the forefront of the “fishwheel battle,” an act to abolish the fishtraps that all but kept the salmon from leaving the saltwater to spawn.

It isn’t the soft glow of polished maple floors or the mysterious symbols that gather the people to these halls of husbandry. It isn’t even the copious refreshments of delicious coffee and cookies. Folks still gather in these halls because they care about the important things in this world — and they know it doesn’t hurt to have a little clout.

 

 

 

Robert and Catherine Dean Fiander

Our guest blogger today, Bob Walter, gives us some background of pioneers Robert and Catherine Dean Fiander.

Robert Fiander and his horses
Robert Fiander and his draft horses

The area’s first pioneer homesteader survived a long, hand-to-hand fight with a cougar, and lived to tell about it.

Robert Fiander was born in Dorset County, England, Sept. 30, 1847, one of 12 children.

Fiander filed his claim near Swan Lake in 1874, several miles west of what later became Eatonville, the very first white settler in this area. He built a small log cabin and survived by hunting and fishing, while clearing and draining his land for farming. His encounter with the cougar was presumably during those early years. He raised cattle, and draft horses, and then became a dairy farmer. He lived there for the better part of 48 years.

Robert married twice. His first wife Jennie, an Indian girl, had a son. Jennie died nine years later. Robert later married Catherine Dean. They had eight daughters.

Fiander is said to have introduced T.C. Van Eaton to Indian Henry.

After Van Eaton arrived in the area in 1889, he persuaded a group of men from neighboring homesteads to help build a road from Fiander’s place to the Van Eaton claim. Certainly Fiander’s involvement, being established and having draft horses, was critical.

Catherine Fiander is on the far right holding the baby
Catherine Fiander is on the far right holding the baby in front of Swan Lake School

Fiander was a county road supervisor for a number of years, a perfect role for a man with draft horses. He helped another settler, Herman Anderson, lower his wagon straight down the side of Ohop Valley to his homestead claim by use of a rope, a stump for a hitch, and his oxen team.

His daughter Susie (Scoggins) was five when she rode in the wagon with her father to Eatonville. On Ohop Hill his horse, Daisy, was so startled Robert almost lost control of her. The source of her fright? A boy careening by on his bicycle.

He served on the Swan Lake School Board for many years.

The Fianders opened their home on many occasions to travelers, and Catherine Fiander was known for her skill at treating and mending the sick, especially with the use of poultices. She comforted the dying as well. She had a huge, plentiful garden and shared her bounty with anyone in need.

At age 71, five years after Catherine’s death, Robert Fiander got a passport and traveled to England to visit his sisters, whom he presumably hadn’t seen in 48 years.

He died in Eatonville in 1927, age 79.

Boy’s Life Magazine – 1927

Boy's Life magazine cover, 1927
Boy's Life magazine cover, 1927

John Van Eaton was a Boy Scout back in 1927 and received Boys’ Life, the Boy Scout’s magazine. You could get one for 20 cents or a annual subscription for $2.00.

The magazine has legs. It’s still published today, although it looks a little different. And it includes a interactive website, that would have been unimaginable in 1927 — the year the first talking pictures came out.

If you’d like to see some of the past covers, click HERE.

Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

Boy's Life cover - 1927 (back side)
Boy's Life cover - 1927 (back side)

John Van Eaton – Boy Scout in 1927

John Van Eaton's Boy Scout Certificate - 1927
John Van Eaton's Boy Scout Certificate - 1927

When John Van Eaton (son of T. C. Van Eaton) was 14, in 1927, he was a Boy Scout

His Boy Scout membership certificate is great — especially the illustration of the Boy Scout helping an elderly woman across the street. On the back side you can read the Boy Scout oath and law, which is much the same as it it today.

There are over 4.5 million members today and over 110 million since it was started.

Per Wikipedia, “The progressive movement in the United States was at its height during the early 20th century. With the migration of families from farms to cities, there were concerns among some people that young men were no longer learning patriotism and individualism. The YMCA was an early promoter of reforms for young men with a focus on social welfare and programs of mental, physical, social and religious development.”

Boy Scout Certificate - 1927 (side 2)
Boy Scout Certificate - 1927 (side 2)

I’m not sure what badges John earned. It looks like you could earn them in:
• first aid
• physical development
• personal health
• public health
• life saving
• pioneering

Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

First Settler, Robert Fiander

Robert Fiander's Passport
Robert Fiander’s Passport

The following was taken from the History of Pierce County, Volume 3, published in 1927 by William Bonny.

Among the sterling old pioneers who contributed their full quota of clearing and developing this section of the state was one named Robert Fiander, a resident of this country since 1874.

Robert was born in Dorsetshire England, September 30, 1847, a son of Robert and Emma (Chaffey) Fiander. Both of whom died in their native land. (Robert Sr. was engaged in freighting.)

Robert Fiander received limited education in the public schools of his home neighborhood and then was employed in public work in England and Scotland until 1871 when he came to the United States.

For a short time he lived in New Jersey and Iowa and in 1872 came to Pierce County, Washington. Later he went to Thurston County for about two years lived with a brother Richard Fiander, who had come to Washington in 1851 with the Hudson Bay Company.

In 1874 Mr. Fiander filed a homestead claim on Section 14, township 16, range 3 at Swan Lake, Pierce County, being the first settler in that part of the county.

Robert Fiander 1908
Robert Fiander 1908

The land was covered with timber and brush and during the first years of his residence here, Mr. Fiander was compelled to pack in his provisions and supplies from a distance fourteen miles away. However, his larder was well supplied with meat, the county having an abundance of wild game and birds, as well as salmon.

There wer also dangerous wild animals, which made it necessary to be constantly on guard. Mr. Fiander had a number of thrilling and unpleasant experiences in those days. One of which was a hand to hand flight with a large cougar, which he did not conquer until after a long and severe struggle.

After entering his land, Mr. Fiander built a small log house and then began the task of clearing and draining the land, which entailed a vast amount of the hardest sort of work.

Catherine Dean, Robert Fiander's wife
Catherine Dean, Robert Fiander’s wife

Eventually, he created a good farm and ran stock cattle on it until 1912, also devoing considerable attention to raising draft horses until the advent of the automboile. He then turned his attention to dairy farming, keeping about 18 cows, and met with success, except for about three years when he leased the farm.

Catherine Dean Fiander, wife of Robert Fiander, with daughters Clara & Emma 1883
Catherine Dean Fiander, wife of Robert Fiander, with daughters Clara & Emma 1883

He resided there continually until 1922, when he sold the place and lived in Eastern Washington for a few years. The he made his home with a duaghter in Eatonville Washignton until his death.

Fiander House years later
Fiander House years later

Mr. Fiander was twice married, first in 1871 to Jennie, and Indian girl. She died in 1880 and in 1884 Mr. Fiander was married to Catherine Dean, a native of Pierce County and a daughter of Aubrey and Rosie Dean.

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and Debbie and Gary Saint.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

Nisqually Dam (1927-29)

Nisqually Dam  and Gatehouse 1927
Nisqually Dam and Headworks 1927

Here are a few shots from the Nisqually dam taken in 1927.

This excerpt is taken from the book Upper Nisqually Valley:

“The flow that was to be used for power generation was divereted into a 1,3000 foot settling canal, which removed silt from the water. Then the water flowed into a tunnel that was more than 2 miles long.

The gatehouse allowed the settling cannel to be flushed of the built-up silt. The flow then entered a nearly 2-mile-long tunnel on the south side of the Nisqually River.  The tunnel was from 10 to 12 feet tall and had cement lining on the floor and partially up the sides. 

Welsh coal miners were the contractors for the tunnel portion of the project.”

Photos courtesy of Rich Williams and Haynes family.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

Nisqually Headworks, 1929
Nisqually Headworks, 1929

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gatehouse and settling canal
Gatehouse and settling canal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headworks — Tacoma Power Conduit (1927)
Headworks — Tacoma Power Conduit (1927)

 

Edgerton School

Edgerton School, 1927
Edgerton School, 1927

June Carney wrote the following about the Edgerton School in 1999.

The Edgerton Grade School was built in Ohop Valley in 1910. The teacher lved in a small cottage on the property and was paid a small wage. The families also gaver her fruits and vegetables that they grew.

In 1932, my mother, sister and I and there cousins were living with my granparts. When it was time for four of us to be enrolled in school, my granfather did not want us going to the Eatonville school, so we were enrolled in Edgerton. My mother drove us the five miles to school every day and picked us up after school.

There were 10 or 11 students as I remember, and 5 of them were my sister, my cousins and myself. Six or seven were in primary grades and the rest in 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

Names of Adults and Kids at Edgerton School
Names of Adults and Kids at Edgerton School

The one teacher taughts all eight grades and all subjects. When she was busy with one age group, the others were to study and work on projects. Once when she was giving some long tests, one fo the kids too us smaller ones on a very long walk donw by the Nisqually River. Teachr was very upset with him because of the danger of somone getting hurt or lost.

After my granfether died in 1935, my mother rolled us in the Eatonville Grade School, as the bus went right by our farm.

Edgerton School - Date unknown
Edgerton School - Date unknown

The enrollment at Edgerton was then too small to keep the school open and it consolidated with Eatonville. The teacher then went to work for Eatonville School. I feel very fortunate to have the experience of attending a one-room school. Three former students still live in Eatonnville, Betty Mooers, Ruby Dorrah and myself, June Carney.

Names of folks in photo
Back row, LtoR:  Herman Anderson, Andrew Anderson, Olava Kjelstad, Unknown, Unknown, Annie Peterson.
Row 2: Unknown, Unkown, Unknown, Mrs. Herman Anderson, Pearl Peterson, Martha Bruer, Helen Peterson, Hannah Olden.
Row 3: Mrs. Malm, Unknown, Hazel Olden, Hedvig Olden
Row 4: Annie Henricksen, Mrs. Hedborg, Fritz Johnson, Jewel Anderson, Ralma Henricksen, June Anderson, Alice Peterson, Evelyn Olden
Row 5: Ruby Johnson, Marguerite Donahue, Pat Donahue, Bill Donahue, Harley Henricksen, Frances Donahue, Kathleen Donahue, Martha Hjermstad

Photo Courtesy of Linda Lewis.

Click on images to enlarge.

Canyada Lodge Ruins

Canadya Ruins - portion of the chimney 1989
Canadya Ruins - portion of the chimney 1989

In 1912, the Canyada Lodge was the something to behold. It was built in La Grande, by Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney, John L. McMurray, for $92,500 — something like $2.1 million today.

In 1927 the grand lodge burned and only the ruins remain. Here are two shots of the ruins taken in 1989, along with a postcard of the short lived Canyada.

Photos courtesy of Gary & Debbie Saint.

Click to enlarge photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Canyada-post-card
Canyada-post-card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadya Ruins - Stone columns (1989)
Canadya Ruins - Stone columns (1989)

May Day 1929

May Day Court ca 1929
May Day Court ca 1929 - Photo Courtesy Pat Van Eaton

Community Day (aka May Day) is a big deal in Eatonville.

Did you know . . . it started as an annual community clean up day for the school and town.

In 1927 they began having a May Fete on Community Day (already in practice since 1919) along with Community Day. A king was selected by the senior class, to crown a queen also selected by the senior class.

Around 1936, the clean up day was replaced solely with the May Fete celebrations. Children in grades school participated with folk dances before the floral throne of the king and queen. In addition, there were track events, a school baseball game, a senior play in the evening and a display of work by various grades and departmenets of the school.

By the 1950s things looked about the same except that there was also a hobby show, a Pet Parade, and the Commercial Club served free ice cream to kids. (Per History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Today is the 85th May Day in Eatonville. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s still going strong.

 

 

Canyada Lodge in La Grande

Canyada Lodge being built
Canyada Lodge being built

The Canyada Lodge, in La Grande, was designed by Heath and Gove and opened around 1912. John L. McMurray — a Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney — built the lodge or $92,500.

(This first picture, courtesy of Rich Williams, show it during construction. And I think those are goats on the hillside.)

Visitors on their way to Mount Rainier to could stop, enough the sights, which included the new dam. The lodge, had a short life and burned down in March 1927.

Canyada Lodge during construction
Canyada Lodge during construction

(Second picture, courtesy of Rich Williams, is also during the construction of the Lodge. The next photo, courtesy Pat Van Eaton, is a postcard to promote the elaborate getaway)

A lodge was rebuilt in 1931 by E.J. Leak, although not a elaborate as the first and in a different location closer to the highway. It too had a short live and burned in 1966. The site now houses a private residence.

Canyada post card
Canyada post card

(The next two photos are postcards of the lodge (Courtesy Rich Williams and Jeff Morrison.)

(Last, is the photo of the newer lodge, built in 1931. Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, was taken in 1937.)

 

 

 

Post Card of Canyada Lodge
Post Card of Canyada Lodge

 

Canyada Lodge in 1937
Canyada Lodge in 1937