There’s word that the La Grande post office may be closing. If so, it will be an end of an era.
The post office has been in operation since it opened in 1910 — back when Taft was in office and people were singing “Let Me Call you Sweetheart”.
History behind the store It was built as a store and post office when the Tacoma hydro-electric plant was built between 1910 and 1912, costing a $2,354,984 ($58,780,00 in today’s dollars). The new plant could produce 6,000 kilowatts, which was enough to meet the entire city’s needs.
The La Grande store and post office serviced the homes built in La Grande to house the workers. Some of these homes were definitely ahead of their time. They stood out because they had no chimneys—they were powered and heated solely by electricity by Tacoma Power and Light.
Post masters The little post office changed hands frequently. “Fred Hodgins, one of the early settlers, had the store and post office. He died suddenly and his brave little wife, Opal, carried on until she sold out to Floyd Gilbert, who took charge of the store and wife Helen was appointed postmaster in 1939.” History of Tacoma Eastern Area
Around 1909 theCity of Tacoma decided to build a hydro-electric plant in La Grande. They built it between 1910 and 1912 and it cost $58,780,00 ($2,354,984 in today’s dollars). The new plant could produce 6,000 kilowatts, which was enough to meet the entire city’s needs.
Besides the plant, a number of homes built at La Grande for the workers at the plant. There were something to behold in 1912 because they had no chimneys. They were heated and lighted from the Tacoma Power and Light. (Per History of Tacoma Eastern Area).
The Canyada Lodge, in La Grande, was designed by Heath and Gove and opened around 1912. John L. McMurray — a Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney — built the lodge or $92,500.
(This first picture, courtesy of Rich Williams, show it during construction. And I think those are goats on the hillside.)
Visitors on their way to Mount Rainier to could stop, enough the sights, which included the new dam. The lodge, had a short life and burned down in March 1927.
(Second picture, courtesy of Rich Williams, is also during the construction of the Lodge. The next photo, courtesy Pat Van Eaton, is a postcard to promote the elaborate getaway)
A lodge was rebuilt in 1931 by E.J. Leak, although not a elaborate as the first and in a different location closer to the highway. It too had a short live and burned in 1966. The site now houses a private residence.
(The next two photos are postcards of the lodge (Courtesy Rich Williams and Jeff Morrison.)
(Last, is the photo of the newer lodge, built in 1931. Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, was taken in 1937.)