First Boiler headed to Elbe Sawmill

Moving First Boiler to Sawmill, early 1900s
Moving First Boiler to Sawmill, early 1900s

This boiler, headed to a sawmill around Elbe, was the latest in technology. Men were moving away from horse power and toward steam power. In fact, this boiler may have well been on it’s way be incorporated into a steam donkey.

To the left of the photo is Adam and Lloyd Sachs. Lloyd had the distinction of being the first child born in Elbe. Henry Luikens is the bearded man beside them.

Nate Williams is standing in the middle by the horses.  Sitting on top of the boiler is his son Clyde Williams, and his other son, Charley, is the young man on the boiler with the dog.

Photo courtesy of Rich Williams and Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.

The Tiny Elbe Church – 1906

Elbe Church
Elbe Church

This tiny church in Elbe, Wash, built in 1906, is only 18 feet x 24 feet. That’s not the amazing part — 105 years later it’s still holding services.

The church’s website says the Elbe worshipers began meeting in their homes and town hall in 1893, but then built the church themselves in 1906.

“A founder of the town, Heinrich Lutkens, donated the land and material for the church. Pastor Karl Kilian, who designed this simple yet pleasing building served his Elbe flock from 1906 to 1933.”

Cool Features
The town’s first blacksmith forged the 4-foot iron cross on the steeple. And, if you come visit when church is in session, you can hear the bell that’s been ringing in services for over a century.

The church still has:
• its original altar and elevated pulpit
• a  hand-carved pew, and
• the original Farrand & Votey bellows organ — still used for worship and weddings.

The church was placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Levi Engel, Blacksmith and MUCH more

Levi Engel
Levi Engel

If I had been born about 100 years earlier, I might have had a crush on Elbe’s Mr. Levi Engel. From what I can tell, he was as extremely interesting — blacksmith, editor, justice of the peace and photographer. A real Renascence man!

Levi died in 1934, at only 66. His obituary (below) reads:

Levi Ernest Engel, who would have been been 66 on May 23, died Sunday in a local hospital following a year’s illness during which he had suffered several strokes. His first attach in 1926 forced his retirement.

Mr Engel was a pioneer of Elbe, having been editor of the Union there for many years, justice of the piece and active in all of the civic and social affairs of the town. He was known as an expert in mechanical work.

Mr. Engel was born in Alexandria, Ill., May 23, 1868, the yougest of a family of 11 children. His boyhood was spent with his parents in Pilger, Neb. When was was 19 he came to Elbe. He was married there in December, 1900, to Miss Pearl B. Edwards, who survives him at the home. Three sons, who of whom died in infancy, were born. Ray, the survivor, lives in Elbe. The deceased was a member of the I.O.O.F. [Independent Order of Odd Fellows] in Elbe for 30 years.

Levi Engel Obituary
Levi Engel Obituary

Photo Courtesy of the Eatonville Historical Society.

Click on photo to enlarge.







Upper Nisqually Valley

Upper Nisqually Valley
Upper Nisqually Valley, by Donald Johnstone

This is a fabulous new book, available for purchase mid April, 2011.

Donald Johnstone takes us on a trip through time, looking at those small towns in the upper Nisqually valley. The pictures alone make the book worth checking out.

You can purchase the book for about $22.00  from a variety of outlets:

Kirk’s Pharmacy
• Ashford Creek Pottery and Gifts

* Elbe Depot
* Through the Eatonville Historical Society

Eatonville Supports WWII

Add that ran in the Eatonville Dispatch in 1943

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.

History of Southeastern Pierce County

History of Southeastern Pierce County
History of Southeastern Pierce County

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.

Where to Order Your Copy
You can order yours through the Tacoma Pierce-County Genealogical Society for $30.00, plus postage and handling.