Elbe

Suspension Bridge over Mashell

Swinging Bridge in Elbe
Swinging Bridge in Elbe

I believe this bridge was suspended over the Mashell River.

The next picture is of folks walking across a swinging bridge in Elbe.

I think these may be the same bridge. If anyone has any information on these bridges — or the people on the bridge for that matter — please speak up.

Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

Swinging bridge in Elbe, Wash.
Swinging bridge in Elbe, Wash.

Elbe in the early 1920s

Elbe shop between meat market & hotel. Mr. Hardy owner of stores. Far R. John Bloom leaning on fence, Rev & Mrs. Karl Killian, center
Elbe hotel, shop, meat market

This shows Elbe as a booming little town. You can see the Elbe shop tucked between the grocery and the hardware store, as well Adam Sachs’ home up on the hilltop behind.

Mr. Hardy owned the stores. On the far left is R. John Bloom leaning on fence, Rev. and Mrs. Karl Kilian are standing next to him.

Karl Kilian was an early and beloved Lutheran missionary who designed the little Elbe Church. He served there from 1906 to 1935. Although he has been gone for many years, his church is still in use.

Information and photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton. 

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Shopping at Elbe in 1896

Adam Sachs' General Store in Elbe
Adam Sachs' General Store in Elbe

If you were to stop by the store in Elbe on August 12, 1896, here are prices tags you’d be looking at. Of course, the names of some of these items make you wonder what you’d be buying.

Market Report from the Elbe Union Paper
Creamery – 17 cents
Calf –  17 cents
Eggs –
Strickly fancy – 14 cents, Oregon’s ranch – 10 cents, Cheese 9 cents
Chickens live per doz. $3.50, dressed 12.5 cents

Images provided courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and information taken from History of Tacoma Eastern Area.

Adam Sachs's home located in Elbe, WA
Adam Sachs's home located in Elbe, WA

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Otto Selle talks about coming to Elbe in 1890

Early Hotel at Elbe
Early Hotel at Elbe

Otto Selle’s small autobiography was published in 1954 in The History of Eastern Pierce County. He talks about Elbe before there ever was an official Elbe.

Coming to Elbe
“Our family was one of the very first to settle in Elbe. In fact, there wasn’t any Elbe when we came and my Father named the place after the River Elbe in Germany. My parents, Ferdinand and Emilie Selle came from Bismark, North Dakota to Tacoma in 1889 and stayed there until April 1890, when then moved to what is now Elbe.

The trip to Elbe was quite a feat — emigrant style. Some rode on the wagon with our belongings and a create of chickens. The older boys walked and took turns leading a cow. The trip took three days.

The first night we camped at Clear Lake and it snowed, which made it miserable. The second night we camped by the Mashell River. That was the end of the road, and with nine miles yet to go. Then everything had to be packed by man or horse over a trail that was up and down and over logs that had been chopped down low enough so horses could jump over them. We had no stove, tabe, chairs nor beds at first, which was also true to all who came before the road was built.

First Store and Hotel
My father built and ran the first store, which for years as an old landmark. Meals were served and a bed could also be had. My father also built the first hotel, across the road from the store and he named it The Tourist Hotel. My Mother had charge of the hotel until it was destroyed by a fire.

Photo courtesy of Gary and Debbie Saint.

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Elbe Lumber and Shingle Mill 1904

Elbe Shingle Co.
Elbe Shingle Co.

This picture looks like a mill that was built yesterday, but the Elbe Lumber and Shingle Mill was built back in 1904 when the Tacoma Eastern Railroad made it all the way up to  Elbe. In fact, you can see the tracks coming right up the door.

The mill was owned by Robert Patton Sr., Robert Williamson, Carl Williamson and C. R. Campbell.

Less than 20 years later, in 1922, the property was destroyed by fire at a loss of $150,000 (about $2 million today). Arson was suspected.

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

 

Elbe, 1909

Early Elbe school
Early Elbe school

The Pierce County Auditor wrote this about the town of Elbe in 1909:

Situated in the Nisqually River Valley in the heart of the timber district is the town of Elbe.

On October 20, 1903, Adam Sachs and wife filed a plt of the town, and the following year the Tacoma Eastern Raileway built its line through the town.

Elbe has three general stores, two hotels, five business houses, livery stable and several large logging camps, a fine school and a hustling population of 350. It is near the great coal belt and borders on the finest timber in the state.

Early Elbe, Lutkens hotel on the right
Early Elbe, Lutkens hotel on the right

Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton. Auditor info from Linda Lewis.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

Elbe Bridge
Elbe Bridge

 

Wreck at the Elbe Lumber and Shingle Co.

Wreck at Elbe Lumber & Shingle Co/
Wreck at Elbe Lumber & Shingle Co.

This photo is entitled “Wreck at the Elbe Lumber and Shingle Company”. A title like that deserves more story, but unfortunately I only have the picture.

This wasn’t the first catastrophe for Elbe Lumber and Shingle. In September 1922, a fire started under the planing mill of the big plant (a mile north of Elbe) and completely destroyed the business, putting 100 men out of work.

The loss was $150,000 ($2,010,000 in present day dollars) according to the manager and part owner, John Patton.

There was no hard evidence as to how the fire started, but people believed it was the work of a disgruntled ex-employee.

The mill was originally built soon after 1904, when the Tacoma Eastern Railroad made it out as far as Elbe and  was owned and operated by Robert Patton Sr., Robert Williamson, Carol Williamson and C.R. Campbell. While in operation, it provided a substantial payroll to the growing community. (History of Southeastern Pierce County.)

Photo courtesy of Rich Williams.

Click on image to enlarge.

One Log Bridge – Elbe

One Log bridge in Elbe
One Log bridge in Elbe

They don’t make bridges like this anymore. This primitive bridge in Elbe was built on a single, enormous tree. That particular piece of a bridge — if I’m understanding bridge design correctly — is called a deck.

Picture courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

Hiking at Mountain — in dresses

Marie Lutkins Drussel (in white hat) with friends on a Mt. Rainier glacier
Marie Lutkens Drussel (in white hat) with friends on a Mt. Rainier glacier

Who says you need fancy hiking gear for climbing around on glaciers. These women were doing it wearing dresses and carrying nothing more than walking sticks around 1910.

The woman in the white hat is Marie Lutkens Drussel. Her dad Henry Lutkens, an original settler in Elbe, who helped build the Lutkens Hotel with Chas. Lutkens in 1894.

The hotel was a log building with an enormous porch that ran the length of the building and tourists could relax and watch the Nisqually River flow by.

Henry Lutkens, was quite the fisherman and kept the hotel well stocked in trout from the Nisqually.

Lutkens Hotel, built in 1894
Lutkens Hotel, built in 1894

Photos courtesy of the Eatonville Historical Society.

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Elbe, July 4 1904

Elbe July 4, 1904
Elbe July 4, 1904

This shot if from the 1904 July 4th celebrations in Elbe. Back then the town was a little more built up.

The population list for Elbe in 2000 was only 21 people.

Historical Fact (taken from Wikipedia): Elbe used to be called Brown’s Junction, but the post office wanted a shorter name. The settlers met and decided to honor the pioneer settler Henry C. Lutkens who had come from the valley of the “Elbe” in Germany.

I’ve always wondered what other names were batted around at that meeting. Maybe Lutkenberg?