The Nisqually Glacier was something to behold in the early 1900s when you traveled up to Mount Rainier. Unfortunately, it’s doesn’t quite look like that today.
The National Park Servicessays, “The Nisqually is one the 25 major glaciers at Mount Rainier. [It] has shown dramatic changes in dimension within the last century.”
To give you an idea of the dramatic change they are talking about, here is a image taken form the University of Washington website. It charts the glacier’s evolution over the last century. To read more, just click here.
Images provided by Diane Mettler and courtesy of the University of Washington.
Imagine it’s 1913. The Titanic disaster is now a year past and you’re looking forward to the fabulous year ahead. You and spouse decide to take a trip to Mount Rainier. You’ll need a place to stay, because it’s a long drive in your new Roadster and a friend told you about a place in La Grande that just opened called Canyada Lodge.
It’s quite elegant — designed by Heath and Goveand built by Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney, John L. McMurray for a staggering $92,500 [over $2 million in 2013 currency).
Arrival You arrive and Canyada is more spectacular that you imagined, perched above the Nisqually Canyon with ten stone columns, and curved, Asian-inspired roofline. The lodge even provides car services — free air, a supply of gasoline, oil tires, tubes, and a repair shop.
Mrs. Zella R. Turner greets you. She manages the lodge and is a graduate of Pratt’s Institute in New Yorkand an authority on dietetics. She also has “extensive” experience catering at high-class hotels on the east coast. Under her are college girls from Oregon State University, who all specialized in domestic science. You’re in good hands.
Rooms & Meals The rates are quite affordable — $2.50 a night, or $12.00 for the week — and the rooms are ultra-modern with hot and cold water and electric heat. Although, what else would you expect with the new hydroelectric dam just a few minutes walk away.
Dinner is a bit pricey. For .75 you can get a full dinner, but you have your heart set on the Canyada’s special Chicken dinner for $1.00 ($23.00 today). You read in their brochure “Our fried ‘Chicken Dinners,’ with hot biscuits and country gravy, too well known to speak of, are a thing of pride with us.” Heck, you’ve come this far, why not splurge?
Before you dine, you walk out onto one of the two verandas overlooking the scenic Nisqually valley and get glimpse of Mount Rainier. You make your way back in to an immense living room filled with comfortable chairs and warm up in front of a crackling fireplace. You relax, listening to a guest playing piano, and look up. The Asian architecture has even made its way into the ceiling beams of Washington fir, which are trimmed with Japanese bamboo.
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When you get back home, you tell your friends they must stay at the Canayda. You hope they heeded your advice because in 1927 you read the lodge burned down. Owner E. J. Leak rebuilt in1931, but it wasn’t nearly as extravagant, and it too eventually burned down in 1966.
You, however, are glad you got the chance to be a guest at the original Canyada Lodge.
Madora Dawkins worked up at Paradise Inn up at Mount Rainier, as a waitress in the 1940s. She says back then, “They always gave us real nice employee parties”. It was a way to keep spirits up, especially when some of the employees were kids far away from home for the first time.
These parties were put on by the employees, full of skits and homemade props. In the first picture Madora is on the right in the front. The larger man in a white dress is Mr. Poppajohn.
The second picture was also taken at one of the parties.
Mardora says they made sets from things they found around the place — from sheets to it appears wheelbarrows and baby buggies.
The Van Cleve Ford building stood on Mashell Ave. It was taken down a couple years back, but if had been standing on it in August of 1964, this is what you would have seen. This shot was taken looking out toward the Eatonville Middle School.
Picked up another post card on Ebay of Ohop Valley. This one is from 1948.
As you can see from the note, S. J. was excited about seeing Mount Rainier.
We are going to be able to see Mt. Rainier from the tower— I’m thrilled!
It’s a perfect day – we’re leaving Shelton in a few minutes to go to Hoodsportwhere we stay in a cabin, then go to lookout next Sat. (Unsure about this sentence.) Train trip rough – 7 hours. Late to Tacoma due to freight derailment ahead of us. Took bus to Olympia another to Shelton – arrived here 9:30 pm simply dead. All well now. Scenery grand. Will write letter. Love S. J.”
That’s not a mountain of rock behind those individuals. It’s a mountain of ice — the Nisqually Glacier in 1912.
“Paradise Glacier (little Nisqually Glacier) is one of the lower glaciers, starting at an elevation of only 9,000 feet. It is an interglacier, located between the Nisqually to the west and the Cowlitz to the northwest.
An 1896 map shows the Paradise Glacier about one-half mile from the Sluiskin Falls and an essy walk from Paradise. As the century progressed, the glacier retreated up the mountain, and separted into upper and lower sections. The once vast ice caves shrunk into unstable crawl spaces, and finally in 1991, the ceiling of the last cave collapsed.” (The Big Fact Book About Mount Rainier)
You’re looking at the corner of Carter St.and Pennsylvania Ave., and, of course, Mountain Rainier on a winter day. Things haven’t changed too much since then, except that maybe the roads are in a little better condition.