The University of Washingtonsays this photo is of the “Pacific National Lumber Company mill pond. Mill jack and Asian crew, at National”
The picture, although not the clearest, gives you a lot of detail about logging in the early part of the 20th century.
“The history of National is closely connected with that of Ashford,” says the authors of History of South Eastern Pierce County. “The coming of the railroad in 1905 was the beginning of National Logging Co. #17 and The National Sawmill started that year.
“Camp #17 was operated by the Mineral Lake Logging Company. Pacific National Lumber Company, of which Mr. Demorest was superintendent, built the sawmill. The sawmill and most of the town burned on May 13, 1912 and had to be rebuilt.
The mill had a large payroll, which made National a thriving town for many years. The sawmill was dismantled beteween 1944-1945, and Harbor Plywood Company took over the operation on April 1, 1944 on a much smaller scale.”
This picture has a little wear and tear, but it’s one of my favorites of Center Street, taken around 1926. You can clearly see Christensen’s Clothing (now the Sears building), and kitty corner from it is the Eatonville Bank.
Some of the hot topics in Eatonville that year were:
• The paving of Mountain Road (known now as Highway 7). It was paved except through the Nisqually Canyonand Ashford celebrated with a dance in September.
• Clay company reopens. The Far West Clay Co. of Clay City got started up under new management after having been out of operation for a four years.
• Friendly Inn. The inn was remodeled and reopened. Little did they know it would become the scene of an unsolved two years later.
• Bootleggers Sermons. Rev. C. L. Walker of the Community Methodist Churchpreached a series of sermons on about liquor, including: “Pure Moonshine, Or How Will you Have Your Poison?” and “The Failure of Prohibition — can a man be Patriotic and still break the laws he does not like?”
The only saving grace was that Eatonville did have medical facilities. This picture was taken in 1920 outside the hospital (now a residence on the corner across from the Eatonville High School). Dr. A. W. Bridge, I believe is the man on the far left.
Photo courtesy of Hendrickson Family and Abbi Wonacott.
It was 1943 and the world was at war. Even in the tiny town on Eatonville, far from the front lines, the impact the war was having on the country was obvious.
Articles of the Time
In a September ’43 issue of the Dispatch, articles about the new women’s athletic club and an episode at the pool hall ran alongside articles like this:
• Dim-Out. Eatonville’s “Dim-Out” regulations were easing up. Dim-out regulations were in effect along many coastal area roads to reduce light, and make it hard for enemy aircraft to identify target locations. The regulations required homes to pull shades and businesses to turn off signs and marquees.
• Ration Board Needs Volunteers. The Eatonville War Price and Rationing Board was scheduled to open in August and would service LaGrand, Silver Lake, Alder, Elbe, and Ashford, among others. The call was out for volunteers.
Rationing scarce resources and goods, such as gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, and nylon, was commonplace in 1943 and the Dispatch was anticipating a run on canning sugar.
• The 2nd War Loan Drive. The Eatonville Lumber Company ran an ad to promote the sale of war bonds.
According to Duke University, the War Finance Committees, in charge of the loan drives, sold a total of $185.7 billion in securities. “This incredible mass selling achievement (for helping to finance the war) has not been matched, before or since. By the end of World War II, over 85 million Americans had invested in War Bonds, a number unmatched by any other country.”
• War Stats. The Dispatch also ran information on Eatonville men involved in the war, from where they were stationed to who had been lost.
The paper also reported interesting facts, such as “Two dollars a day from the pockets of every man, every woman, every child in the United States! That’s what it is costing the U.S. to win this war — $260,000,000 a day.”
On a brighter note, the Roxy Theater was doing great business and playing 5 movies a week, including Wings and the Woman, the story of one of the first women in uniform.
In 1909 a young doctor, Albert Wellington (A.W.) Bridge, schooled at the Vermont Medical School, arrived in Eatonville carrying his bicycle and all his earthy possessions. He’d lost his father to a logging accident and his late mother had worked in a sawmill. Now he was focused on providing services to logging camps and lumber mills.
The town was in need of a doctor and T.C. Van Eaton offered to build him a clinic if he’d set up shop in Eatonville.
Taking Care of Loggers A.W. settled in and got right to work. He set up clinics in Kapowsin, Mineral, Ashford and Morton. He also established one of the first medical plans for loggers and lumber company employees — $1 a month for medical care
The doctor didn’t just provide care to loggers. You could find him traveling out to farms — first by horse and buggy and then by car — to deliver babies and care for the sick and injured. Despite this incredibly busy schedule, he still found time to serve as Eatonville’s mayor in 1919.
Estate Goes to Children
When Dr. Bridge passed away in 1949 he surprised many by leaving a half million dollar estate ($4.5 million in today’s dollars). He said all his money was to go to a group or hospital for children, but there was one stipulation. It must be named after his mother and inspiration, Mary Bridge.
The years between 1909 and 1949 were filled with lots of colorful stories, which will be the subject of future columns. Until then, take a look around Eatonville. Dr. Bridge’s footprint is still here.
History of Southeastern Pierce County
Besides a history of Eatonville, Ohop Valley, Longmire, Ashford, National, Elbe, Alder and LaGrande, this 235-page book also includes 154 photographs, an every-name index to text and photographs and the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Eatonville Dispatch. 252 pp. Velobound. 1989.