Joe Larin at the Dispatch (ca. 1960)

Joseph C. Larin, ca. 1962 in front of Dispatch
Joseph C. Larin, ca. 1960 in front of Dispatch

We have Joe Larin (Eatonville postmaster from 1935 to 1944) outside the Eatonville Dispatch, showing off a sign Be a Deer, Don’t Litter OUR Forests. I’m going to guess this was the results of a kids’ contest, although I don’t have any information on it. It’s just that the Dispatch had lots of kid contests over the years.

Photo courtesy of the Baublits family and Joe Larin.

Click on image to enlarge.




Eatonville’s Sakura reflects on WWII internment

Rich Williams and David Sakura
Rich Williams and David Sakura

David as an adult David as an adult

David Sakura, a third-generation Japanese-American, was six years old when his family was forced to leave Eatonville and move to Minidoka, Idaho, as part of the internment of Japanese people during World War II.

He returned to Eatonville for an extended visit this week to talk about his family’s experiences. Video: Drew Perine Music: “Light Thought var 1” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 (Tacoma News Tribune)

David as a child
David as a child


From Shanghai to Eatonville

Envelope from Shanghai to EatonvilleThis little blue envelope was mailed in 1937 from Shanghai to a Mr. W. P. Schow in Eatonville.

This may seem like any little letter, but it’s so much more. Five days before this letter was mailed the Battle of Shanghai erupted. It lasted about three months — August 13 to November 26.

It was a bloody battle that ended up involving approximately a million troops and signified the war between Japan and China.  (Click HERE for photo history of the battle.)

I think it someone in the military writing home because of the U.S. stamps and the S.S. Pres. Taft stamp. But were they part of the marines that arrived? What did they see?

Shanghai in Flames
Shanghai in Flames

Lots of questions. If anyone has any answers, please let me know.

Image courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on image to enlarge.

Sweet Postcard from Alma (1909)

postcard1This sweet Eatonville postcard was sent from Eatonville in 1909 by Alma to Miss Bella Campbell in Tacoma.

“I seen your brother Sunday. I had forgotten your address so I can’t write until now. I will be down to see you the last part of the next month. I will write a letter latter.”  Alma

I’m thinking maybe it’s time for a new line of Eatonville cards.

Image courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on images to enlarge.

Eatonville Postcard - 1909 (back)
Eatonville Postcard – 1909 (back)

Logging Accident in Eatonville (ca. 1940s)

Logging truck accident - 1940s
Logging truck accident – 1940s

These pictures come straight from the Eatonville History Facebook group. This accident took place at the intersection of Washington Ave. and Center St., in the 1940s. Hope no one was in the vehicle.

Even though logging is safer than it was in the past, Forbes reported in 2013 that it was still first on American’s 10 Deadliest Jobs list.

Click on images to enlarge.

Logging truck accident, Center St. & Washington (ca. 1940s)
Logging truck accident, Center St. & Washington (ca. 1940s)


Overhead view of Eatonville, 1946

Overhead view of Eatonville 1946
Overhead view of Eatonville 1946

This picture of Eatonville ran in a paper September 1, 1946.

Caption with Picture:  Eatonville, named for T. C. Van Eaton, who platted its townsite in 1888, was in early days surrounded by dense, virgin forest. Its location on the line of the old Tacoma Eastern Railroad made it one of Washington’s most important lumber-producing and log-shipping centers. The largest part of the merchantable timber has been logged, off, however, and Eatonville it today largely dependent upon agriculture for revenue and employment, although some logging and lumbering operations still continue to the present.

You can zoom in and really see the details like the school, the mill, Mashell Ave., Washington Ave. etc.

The year 1946 is an important one to my family. My grandparents bought the dairy in Ohop Valley (not pictured) from the John and Lena Malm that year.

Photo courtesy of Diane Mettler.

Click on image to enlarge. 

Reinventing a Town (1953)

Center Street in the 1950s
Center Street in the 1950s

In 1953 the Eatonville Lumber Company closed. People were scared. Would the town survive without the major business? What could they do to save Eatonville?

The community banded together to find answers in a way they never had before, and called it Operation Bootstrap.

One Operation Bootstrap group looked at what potential industries might be a good fit. Eatonville seemed to be an ideal location because it offered affordable power and water, transportation, and great sites inside Eatonville and all the way up the line.

Straight from the Operation Bootstrap Industrial Report, are some of the ideas considered.

Clay Industry. Clay City was producing and there appeared to be no shortage of clay, it would make sense to build on that. A couple options included the inactive Bean Brick and Tile Company at Clear Lake, and other possibilities up the line.

Mashell Ave. & Red and White Store - ca. 1955
Mashell Ave. & Red and White Store – ca. 1955

Coal Distillation. A plant in Renton was to be built. If that worked, it might work for Eatonville. Coal samples were being gathered from the Ashford and Ladd mines.

Cement-Mixing Plant. The Eatonville area could benefit from a cement plant because it cost so much to ship from Tacoma. (Washed sand and gravel in Eatonville was $4.50 a yard and only $2.75 in Tacoma.)

Charcoal. A charcoal plant made sense because “The basic material in charcoal is wood, of which we have an unlimited supply on our logged-off lands. A mixture of Alder and Fir seems to make the best charcoal.”

Wood Related Plants. Other wood ideas considered were a Wood Briqueting Machine, an Evergreen Processing Plant “to produce Christmas decorations prior to Christmas” and a Pole Treating Plant for utility uses.

Cabinet Shop. The Red Men Hall in town was suggested as the right size building to handle a cabinet operation.

Mashell Ave ca 1946
Mashell Ave ca 1946

Laundry. A laundry was considered, but a modern sewer system was needed.

Paint Rock. Paint rock in the Mashell River contains pigment for paint. Mining and grinding of this rock was an Eatonville industry in the 1920s, but it was determined not to be viable in the 1950s.

Crude Drugs and Condiments.  Copy the “crude drug collection and packaging” done in Southern Washington, where farmers and individuals bring in peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen oils to be packaged. The bootstrap committee looked also at medicinal dandelion, tansy oil, digitalis, Oregon grape and more.

Printing Plant. Printing plants in large metropolitan centers were interested in moving to smaller communities. More study was going to be done.

Sport and Recreation Equipment. The manufacturing of fishing tackle, archery equipment and small boats would tie in well with our current recreations.

Rumors. There was a section called rumors. “The Industry Committee was unable to verify several rumors that continue to circulate . . . a glove factory that was chased out of town, a chemical plant that was refused a building site, and a spool factory that could not buy raw materials.”

Every one of these ideas was researched and Operation Bootstrap was an amazing testament to teamwork. A big industry didn’t come to town, but Eatonville found out when times were tough they could work together.