It’s cold out today and I feel for everyone who is working out there today in bitter temperatures. In keeping with the frosty weather, here are two shots from an early 1900’s logging operation around Eationville.
The steam donkey is in operation here. It was high tech for its time. Simply put, it was a steam-powered winch.
In 1926 — the same year that Winnie the Pooh was published and the first Pontiacwas built — Eatonville made the Cruiser their official mascot. A timber cruiser goes out an examines a stand of timber to determine it’s potential value. This might be kind of an obscure mascot, but a perfect choice for the little logging town.
I’m not entirely sure what sport these newly-named Cruisers played, but they were Puget Sound champions in 1928-29.
Charley Williams Takes Over In 1907 Charley (C.H.) Williams took over as postmaster. Charley already had a reputation for avoiding red tape. “Before becoming postmaster, he drove a stagecoach and carried mail form Eatonville to Longmire. One day he got in an argument with a bear, which delayed his arrival at Longmire by nearly three hours. When Washington, D.C. heard of this delay, they were agitated and sent a long form in quadruplicate to Charley to explain his tardiness.” Instead of filling out the lengthy form, Charley scrawled across it, Stopped to skin a bear. He heard no more on the matter.
While Charley was postmaster, Washington D.C. decided Eatonville would be a postal savings office and sent Charley $37,000 in postal savings certificates and forms to be filled out. Since it was more responsibility and no extra pay, Charley promptly dumped the certificates and forms in a corner. Letters began to arrive from D.C., each more urgent, wanting to know where the forms were. Charley added them to the pile. Finally a postal inspector came to find out where the forms were. Charley pointed to the now substantial pile, saying, “There they are.” That was the end of the savings certificates.
Fred Matheny Postal Carrier On April 1, 1909, the first rural route was established and Fred Matheny was appointed carrier. He would hold the position until 1935 when he retired.
The Dispatch states, “Fred Matheny started out with his old black horse, Old Bill. The route was 29 miles long with about 80 patrons. Old Bill would tire out around Clear Lake and [Fred] would sometimes borrow a horse. The second year Old Bill had help by a pair of wild ponies.” (It’s too bad the stories about mail delivery by wild ponies aren’t still around.)
After a few years, Fred used a bicycle and “pumped the long weary miles on cycle to give his horse a resting period.” Fred also used a motorcycle, before buying a Metz automobile in 1914. Next was a two-cylinder Brush. (People said the rattling chains announced their mail delivery.) Later, the Brush was replaced by “a reliable Model T. Ford.”
During Fred’s 26 years, he saw the roads go from mud and planks to pavement. He also saw the weight and number of packages increase. When he began there were about 4,000 pieces of mail a month and parcel post packages were limited to four pounds. By 1919 he had 15,000 piece of mail monthly and in 1924 the weight of parcel post was raised to 50 pounds and 70 in some instances.
Thank goodness the job qualifications for today’s carriers don’t require a strong back, a good horse, and the skills to fend off bears.
The move from horses to cars didn’t happen overnight. You can see from this picture of Mashell Avenue during the winter of 1914.
Per Pat Van Eaton, this pictures shows a big time of change for Eatonville. T.C. Van Eaton had just sold his store to Christensen. Electric power had reached Mashell Ave.. The two men at the far right are standing where the top rail of the hitching post used to be, and you can still make out the uprights. On the utility pole hangs a sign that reads “Gas for Sale” and there is a hand pump and hose at the base of the pole.
And there is change soon to come. In May 1915 the hardware store will burn down, soon a modern high school will be built at the end of the street and within four years the horse and buggy ear will be gone.
• the cost of an average house was $25,250
• the average income was $10,600 a year
• you could get a gallon of gas for .40
• you could pick up a new Datsun 1200 Sports coupe for $1,866
• postage stamps were 8 cents
• the big toys were Barbie and Close and Play record players
• the Nasdaq, Greenpeace and FedEx debuted that year, and
• the voting age was lowered to 18.
This picture is available on ebay if you’d like to buy the original.
Here we see the stage coaches that took people from Eatonville to Tacoma.
“The two wagons in the center are T. C. Van Eaton’s stage coaches and one of the men standing by it is T.C.,” says T.C.’s grandson, Pat Van Eaton. “The location was a stopping point — what is now Elk Plain. T.C. would only use two horse teams from Tacoma to Eatonville because of the relatively easy grades.
From Eatonville to Mt. Rainier he had six horse teams due the steep grade out of Eatonville and the one from Longmire to Paradise. They left the Groe Hotel at day break and only from June through September. A diary kept by Bob Potter has entries form the passengers he carried most of whom complained about the rough ride.”
Nellie Appleby, born in Chautaugua County, Kansas, had no idea when this picture was taken that she would eventually marry a man named T. C. Van Eaton. She would be his third wife and they would have three kids, John, Robert and Nell.
I’m curious what this little girl would have said if you had told her she would live in a beautiful house on top of a hill. . . in a tiny logging town of Eatonville, Wash.