This is the old Alder School— or at least the bottom floor. It is presently the Alder Community Club.
Pat Van Eaton says that the school was moved to its present location when the Alder Dam was built. The Alder School District consolidated with the Eatonville School District around 1948 and it was then that the Alder Community Club took it over and removed the top story.
The second picture show the school in all it’s glory in 1909, when it was a full two stories.
Here’s a peek inside the Suderburg Store, which operated out of Alder, Wash. As you can see, they had a little bit of everything.
Here’s what’s written about the family in the book Old Alder:
Elmer and Minnie Suderburg Family Elmer Suderburg was born on his father’s farm located approximately one mile north of the Alder town site. Elmer worked his father’s farm and later inherited it. The couple lived there all of their lives. He also operated the Suderberg store in Alder for a time.
Ted Suderberg Family
The Suderburgs owned a grocery and general store just below the new school grounds in the middle of the Alder town site. They had a small warehouse across the highway from the store and adjacent to he Alder railroad siding.
Axel Henry and Mathilda (Anderson) Hedborg were early homesteaders in Alder — you could say they blazed the trail. (They were members of the Pioneer Association of 1928. To be on this roster you had come to the area before 1903.)
In 1889, Henry bought 160 acres about 3 miles outside Alder. He had to clear the land to make space to build a log cabin. His farm prospered and in 1923 he purchased another 160 acres and Hedborg’s farm was considered one best around.
They had 4 children — Curtis, Helen, Sadie and Ida. You may see Ida’s name come up again. She taught school in Eatonville for a number of years.
In 1915, when the Eatonville high school was construction, the Eatonville school was one of the best around.
Here is a small write up. I’m not sure where it was published, but it reads . . .
“The above picture gives a panorama view of the Eatonville School Plant. To the left is the grade school, in the center is the gymnasium and on the right the high school.
The later is the newest of the buildings, having been built in 1915. The pay for the $45,000 bond issue was celebrated on Community Day. It is a modern structure and helped greatly to establish the reputation of good schools which Eatonville has. The gymnasium was built in 1913 and is also one of the best in this part of the state.
In the foreground are a number of the busses, which daily transport pupils from outlying districts. By consolidation students attend the Eatonville schools from Alder, La Grande, Clay City, Weyerhaeuser, Silver Lake, Rainier, Edgerton and Benston.”
This story was told to me by Dr. Tom Van Eaton. I’ll try to do it justice.
Willie Boettcher was a woodsman. Like the rest of his family, he was used to big trees and bigger blades.
He lived in Alder and while he was out in his backyard one day, he slipped and fell on an ax. The blade was pointing upward and caught him in the stomach. It cut him wide open and — not to get too graphic — organs were spilling out.
There was no time to get to a hospital, but luckily his sister Minnie Boettcher knew what to do. She brought him inside the house, got boiling water going and spent the next hour and half cleaning the wound, and removing dirt and needles. Throughout it all, the wound kept bleeding, but Willie hung on. Once Minnie was finished, she stitched him up with a handful big stitches. Miraculously, Willie survived.
Doctor Tom says Willie couldn’t have gotten better treatment from a hospital at the time.
Minnie came from Germany, where medicine was fairly advanced — especially when it came to dealing with bacteria. German doctor, Robert Koch in 1882 had proved bacteria was the cause of many diseases. Germans quickly learned that cleaning wounds thoroughly could stave off infection. In Willie’s case, because the wound kept bleeding, it also helped clean the wound and reduced his risk of infection.
Even though Willie survived, he never went back in the woods. It was too dangerous. Instead, he opened a pool hall in Elbe.
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.
The Alder Store (around 1946) serviced folks not only in Alder, but those headed up to to Mount Rainier.
Much of Alder was moved or taken down when the dam was built and the area was flooded. This store, however, was built after the flooding and was owned by Carl Rotter and his wife Veora (Rathbone) Rotter.