Eatonville Lumber Company

Eatonville Lumber Company (ca. 1930s)

Kids in Car Outside Eatonville Lumber Company
Kids in Car Outside Eatonville Lumber Company

These kids are showing off go-cart No. 2 in front of the Eatonville Lumber Company. I’m not sure how the cart was powered, but they were ready to ride.

The Eatonville Lumber Company sold more than wood. Back then it was a general store — you could buy everything from food to clothes. (Click on the link and you can take a look inside the store.)

Photos courtesy of Rich and Ruthie Williams.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville Lumber Company facts

Eatonvlle Lbr Co yarder
Eatonvlle Lbr Co yarder

Here are a few things you might know about the Eatonville Lumber Company, which operated in Eatonville from 1907 until 1954.

• Tacoma Eastern/Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad arrived in 1904 — followed by the opening of the mill in 1907.
T. S. Galbraith (Tom) took over ELCO in the fall of 1909.
John Galbraith (Tom’s son) took over from his dad in 1930. He was also mayor of Eatonville for 22 years and chairman of the school board for numerous terms.
• The mill employed 200 employees at its height.
• Wages in 1912 – $.17/hr., and an employee worked six, eight-hour days a week.
• Wages in 1952 – $1.85/hr., and employees worked five, eight-hour days a week.
ELCO store was built in 1908
• ELCO office was built in 1910
• ELCO station and auto repair shop was built in 1907
T. S. Galbraith built his home in 1925 and it’s still used today.

Overview of ELCO 1942
Overview of ELCO 1942

• T. S. Galbraith built 22 company-owned homes. Most were built in 1910 and were located next to the company store, and some are still family homes.
• The houses on Prospect Street were built in 1913 and the houses on Washington street were built in 1923.
• The mill burned in 1932 and was rebuilt over a number of years. It finally reopened September 22, 1936.
• Galbraith sold the mill to G. E. Karlen in 1941.

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, the Parnel family and the University of Washington. Facts courtesy of The Eatonville History Project.

Click on images to enlarge.

World War II and the Woman got to Work at that Eatonville Lumber Mill

Women working at the Eatonville Lumber Co — WWII
Women working at the Eatonville Lumber Co — WWII

Rosie the Riveter has nothing on the Eatonville women. During WWII they went to work at the Eatonville Lumber Mill. This picture shows just how many filled the vacant spots left by the men fighting overseas. And judging by the stacks of lumber behind them ready for sale, they did a pretty good job.

If you can help fill in the missing names, please let us know.

Row 1: (Front) Homer Cox, May Ball, Sylvia Beurman, Bertha Moorehead, Alice Nowek, Dolly Roberts, Florence Smith, Ruth Logston

Second Row: Laura Paulis, Mary Ellen, Mary Guidi, Wilma Apple, Olga Olson, Evelyn Nowek, Rudy Graber, Ruth Meier, Florence De Witt, Ben Lorenzen

Third Row: Edith Hyde, John Lorenzen, Ellen Hutton, John Besch, Frank DeAndrea, Frank Hoffman, Yolanda Mariani, Dan Ceccarini, Millie Nelson, Bertha Krones, Lil Neistadt

Thank you Dick Logston for this photo and Rich and Ruthie Williams for running down the names.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville Lumber Company in Action (ca. 1942)

Eatonville Lumber Co. (ca. 1942)
Eatonville Lumber Co. (ca. 1942)

This areal shot, taken by C. K. Kinsey, of the Eatonville Lumber Company, shows a company in full operation.

WWII was in full force. “Eatonville’s Japanese, both native and foreign born, prepared to move to concentration camps. The Eatonville Lumber Company found it difficult to fill their places, due to the pull of men into war industries.” (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

The image is one of the University of Washington’s special collection. If you’d like to get a print, just click HERE.


Eatonville Logging Timeline — Created by the Eatonville History Project

Timber Timeline
Timber Timeline

Here is a timeline of Eatonville’s lumber past.  It was created by the Eatonville History Project, a group of local individuals working to connect Eatonville students with their local history.

Keep and eye out for more fun educational materials are on the horizon.

Image courtesy The Eatonville History Project.

Click on image to enlarge.


Eatonville Lumber Camp Rail System

Eatonville Lumber Company rail system
Eatonville Lumber Company rail system

This picture of the Eatonville Lumber Camp shows the rail system used to transport logs.

“Until 1941 the lumber company did its own logging from its own timber land and did not, as a rule, buy logs. The company taintained railroad tracks, owned locomotives and cars, and operated a logging camp.

In 1941 the stumpage prices were:
Fir  — $2 to $2.50 per thousand
Cedar — $1.50 to $2 per thousand
Hemlock — $.50 per thousand.”

In 2011 stumpage prices are:
Fir — $366 to $394 per thousand board feet
Western Red Cedar — $673 to $701 per thousand board feet
Hemlock — $350 to $370 per thousand board feet

(Historic info per History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Eatonville Lumber Camp Food

Cooks at Eatonville Lumber Company dining room
Cooks at Eatonville Lumber Company dining room

I believe these shots, provided by the Kjelstad family, are at the Eatonville Lumber Company camp — in part because there were other photos of the lumber camp with these two.

This is a picture of some of the most popular guys in the camp — the cooks and the cooks assistants.

Logging was hard work and required a LOT of calories — on average 8,000 a day.

Healthy, well-fed loggers were productive loggers and the cooks provided three square meals a day to the entire crew. The University of Washington describes the meals like this:

The call to meals was a blast on a cow’s horn, beating on an iron triangle or a gong made from a circular saw blade. No talking was allowed at meals, other than to ask for food to be passed, and most meals were consumed within 12 minutes. A good logging camp cook could routinely produce meals that compared favorably with those served in the finest hotels.

Cooks at the Lumber camp
Cooks at the Lumber camp

A survey of logging camps in the Northwestin the 1930s found the following items frequently served: corned beef, ham, bacon, pork, roast beef, chops, steaks, hamburger, chicken, oysters, cold cuts, potatoes, barley, macaroni, boiled oats, sauerkraut, fresh and canned fruits, berries, jellies and jams, pickles, carrots, turnips, biscuits, breads, pies, cakes, doughnuts, puddings, custards, condensed or fresh milk, coffee and tea. Breakfast and dinner were served in the cookhouse. 

Waiters, waitresses, or “flunkies,” usually women, fired the wood stoves, did prep work for the cook, waited tables, and handled the cleanup. There were a few women cooks in the camps as well. As the men went off to work in the woods, they picked up a lunch bucket that the cook or flunkies had packed for each of them, usually consisting of items such as meat sandwiches, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and a dessert of pie, cake or doughnuts.

 Photos courtesy of the Kjelstsad family.
Click on images to enlarge.

Inside the Eatonville Lumber Company Store

Inside the Eatonville Lumber Company store
Inside the Eatonville Lumber Company store

Here is a peak inside the Eatonville Lumber Company store around 1942. If you look closely you can see a crack in the glass case, which looks like it’s full of Coke bottles. Pat Van Eaton says as a little kid he was always worried that if he touched that cracked case it would shatter.

As you can see, there was a little bit of everything for sale here, including dry goods.

University of Washington Collection
This picture is part of the University of Washington’s special collection and you can click HERE if you’d like to order a reproduction or one of their other Eatonville images.

Click on image to enlarge.


Eatonville Lumber Company 1908

Eatonville Lumber Company 1908
Eatonville Lumber Company 1908

What’s interesting about this 1908 shot of the Eatonville Lumber Company is the burner. Most times the shots are of a domed burner (aka wigwam burner), which was built  in 1932 after the 1st mill burned down.

The mill is brand new in the picture, built in 1907. No sooner was it up and running, there were financial difficulties and new management was needed. The Bank of California hired T. S. Galbraith to operate the mill. He came to Eatonville in the fall of 1909 and his family moved up the following year.

Galbraith would go on to play a major roll in the town for years to follow.

Photo courtesy of Rich Williams.

Click on image to enlarge.