Tacoma Illustrated

Tacoma Illustrated
Her History, Growth & Resources
A Comprehensive Review of the 
City of Destiny
Chapter 1

 

By Holice, Pam, and Deb

Extra special thanks to Holice B. Young for transcribing this book.  The excellent work she does continues to help many researchers!  Thanks also, to Pam Rietsch, for sharing her books with genealogists!

 

Page 4

STATE OF WASHINGTON

A GENERAL REVIEW OF HER SITUATION, CLIMATE, AND UNBOUNDED RESOURCES.

 

Naturally he publication of this work is in the interests of Tacoma, but as the resources of the surrounding country are always the great factor in building up cities, so it is our object to show the immense resources of the State of Washington, and tributary to the "City of Destiny."

Washington Territory has at last been admitted an acceptable sister in statehood, and she heralds her advent with such wonderful display of vigor, prosperity and wealth, that it will be safe to predict for her a grand future. For years Washington has been so far removed from the great centers of trade and population, debarred from the privileges obtainable from direct railroad communication, that her progress was very much retarded. The situation is now all changed, and its railway and water transportation facilities are complete in every sense of the word. The development of the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Colorado, Dakota and other Territories, naturally preceded Washington, but now on a footing with these predecessors, the natural resources of the wonderland will soon place it in the front rank of prosperous States.

Washington is destined to be, like the Empire State of the Union, a State with many cities, and in this respect has numerous advantages over other Territories recently admitted into statehood. It is only a very few years when at least a dozen cities in this State will each have a population of over 50,000.

Washington is naturally divided by the Cascade Mountains into two great parts, commonly known as Eastern and Western Washington. These in turn are subdivided into lesser parts known as "Countries." These include the Puget sound, the Chehalis, the Lower Columbia, the Walla Walla, the Palouse, the Big Bend, the Yakima, the Okanogan, the Spokane, and Colville Countries.

The State is 360 miles from east to west, and 249 north to south, and contains 69,994 square miles, or about 20,000 square miles more than England.

Eastern Washington--that portion of territory lying east of the mountains--is a vast farm and stock range with but little timber. It is well watered, and very productive of fruits, vegetables and cereals natural to the temperate zone. Western Washington is a country of hills and valleys, covered nearly in its entirety with heavy timber and hiding in its womb immense deposits of precious ores.

The Cascade Mountains give birth to many streams which empty into Puget Sound, several of which are navigable nearly to the foothills of the mountains, and flow to the sound through narrow valleys of exceeding fertility.

THE PROMISED LAND. Capital, always watchful of the chance to increase itself, quickly saw the advantages offered by Washington to the immigrant, speculator and manufacturer, and at once set about building railroads and steamship lines to facilitate the project of making Washington a State so attractive in its resources that its hills and valleys would rapidly be covered with thriving and numerous settlements, and settled on

THE PUGET SOUND COUNTRY, as that part of the State which presented the most natural advantages. Puget Sound has been fitly styled the "Mediterranean of America," and its shores "Wonderland." From its bosom one views in wonderment the cloud piercing peaks of Mounts Baker and Tacoma clothed in eternal robes of white, tokens of grand sublimity.

While the area of land at the present used for agriculture around Puget Sound is not large, its productive capacity is so great that with propriety it may be called a fine agricultural country.

Puget Sound is the great central feature of Western Washington, extending south from its northern line and reaching into every valley in the hills for 150 miles, and presenting a shore line of 1594 miles. It divides Western Washington again fairly in the middle, from commencement Bay south to the Columbia River. For thirty miles before reaching Kalama, the point of crossing into Oregon, the Pacific Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad follows the Cowlitz River, which empties into the Columbia. All west of Puget Sound is an immense timber section, broken in like manner by the rich valleys of streams flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Gray's Harbor. Of these the Chehalis River is chief, and of this whole coast region Gray's Harbor is the notable feature. The whole of the Chehalis Valley forms one of the richest agricultural districts in the State. From

Page 5

all these districts, Gray's Harbor on the southwest, the rich valley of the Nisqually on the southeast, and skirting the east shore of the Sound to the Canadian line on the north, railroads are being projected, to concentrate at Tacoma. The climate of Western Washington and the soil of its valleys, is especially adapted to the growing of hops, grasses and hay, and therefore for stock raising and dairy products, it is destined to become famous. The uplands yield wonderfully of fruits, and well repay the labor and expense of clearing them; these lands are now regarded more valuable, as a rule, for agriculture than for timber. Then there are, besides, about 200,000 acres of tide lands, susceptible of cultivation, on which enormous crops of oats and hay are raised. About 30,000 acres of these lands have been reclaimed, and 100 bushels of oats, or from three to four tons of hay to the acre, are the average yield. Apples, pears, cherries, plums, prunes, berries and vegetables of various kinds, are grown in unrivaled excellence and quantity.

THE TIMBER BELT of Washington includes the whole extent of land from the Cascade Mountains to the ocean, and from Columbia River on the south to the British line on the north, an area equal to that of the State of Iowa. It is estimated to contain one hundred and seventy-five billion feet. Most of this timber will cut from twenty-five thousand to as high as sixty thousand feet to the acre. It is composed chiefly of fir and cedar, the former growing to a height of two hundred and fifty feet, with a body in proportion. Cedar grows to a height of one hundred and fifty feet, with an average diameter of four feet. these magnificent timbers are shipped to all parts of the world, while sawed lumber from this region is sent to California, South America, Europe and Asia, and its famous cedar shingles are encroaching upon the markets of the East. The cut of Washington's mills now covers about two million feet per day, yet it will be over one hundred years before this vast timber country will perceptibly feel this immense consumption of its supplies.

ITS IMMENSE COAL FIELDS. Thirty miles east of Tacoma, in the foothills of the Cascades, and one the line of the Cascade division of the Northern Pacific, are vast beds of coal. The principal mines are now being worked at South pacific, Wilkeson and Carbonado. From all accounts of mining engineers and experts in coal measures, Western Washington, the Cascade Mountains and their foothills, form a vast coal field, the deposits of which are as varied in character as those of any coal bearing region in the world. Nearly all of the coal mines proper have been found in and neat Puget Sound basin. There are lignite mines at Renton and Newcastle, and the bituminous and semi-bituminous adjacent to the Puyallup river. Two other important coal fields are those of Cedar and Green rivers and the Nisqually, which re believed to be a continuation of the Puyallup veins; they are of bituminous character.

The lignites mined at several points on the Sound country are of a fair quality for domestic purposes, and are used to some extent for steam making, but the bituminous products of the Puyallup fields tributary to Tacoma take the lead of all coals mined on the Pacific Coast for coking, blacksmith work, gas, steam making and domestic use. All of these mines are tributary to Tacoma by the Cascade

Page 6

division alone, and are, therefore, not to be reached by any other than that most beautiful and popular route.

COKE AND IRON. The Tacoma coal company have erected furnaces for the manufacture of coke on an extensive scale at Wilkeson, and are at present shipping largely to San Francisco, Victoria, Montana, and other points, which have heretofore been supplied with coke from Pennsylvania. From the Wilkeson mine is also taken in large quantities a blacksmith coal of superior quality. The cheap production of coking coal means the establishment of gigantic iron works, of smelting and reduction works and various manufacturing industries and all the concomitant results, which inevitably accompany the production of cheap iron. The value of these products will be in the near future a source of great wealth to the "City of Destiny."

There are also vast deposits of iron on the line of the Cascade division and the Pacific Investment company of this city are taking steps to develop and manufacture on a large scale.

HOPS. A seaport already possessing every facility for rail and water transportation, and scattered in the heart of a country where its resources are in their infancy of development, and yet of such magnitude that they attract the attention of the world, may well be called the "City of Destiny."

The rise, progress, [present status and future prospects of the hop industry of Washington Territory, have been a fruitful theme for study among statisticians and communities elsewhere, as well as among out own people, whom it would, at first thought, seem were almost the only interested parties. The establishing of this business here upon a firm basis has wrought far reaching results and changes not dreamed of as probable, or even possible. From a struggling industry upon an uncertain basis this industry has constantly forged ahead to a solid position upon the fixed principles that insure success; from the humble beginning of the little plantation that yielded a first crop of one bale in the crop year of 1864, to that of a 40,000 bales in that of 1888; from a crop of 184 pounds the first year to that of from 10 to 12 million pounds the present year; from the value of a first crop of less than $100 to that of over $1,500.000; from the position in the early years of its history of humbly begging for a market rated as seconds to its competitors to that of moving straight up to the front, as in the recent sale in one day of over a quarter of a million pounds upon the London market indirect competition with not only the boasted new York State hop, but also with the products of the world, attaining a price yielding a profit, while it competitors were selling at a loss, thus another industry opens its possibilities. No wonder, with such results, that we hear of the destruction of thousands of acres of hops in the older districts of the Untied States, England and Germany, and yet see the acreage gaining in our midst and the interest expanding year by year to the utmost possible limits of their ability of procuring the necessary labor to secure the crop in harvest time.

The prolific way in which hops are grown in the Puyallup valley is something phenomenal. Two tons to the acre is not an uncommon yield, and several cases have been cited where growers have harvested as much as ninety tons off sixty acres. Nor is the question of yield all that can be said of the Washington hops. Grown, as they are, principally upon the deep, rich, fertile soil of the valleys adjacent to Puget Sound, the roots strike deep into the alluvial deposits of which the soil is composed, so that the plant never suffers from want of moisture, hence it is always matured and never lacking in strength and fragrance when properly managed after picking. The cool, long seasons for growth, coupled with the sufficient rainfall and stimulating dews, brings a perfection to the hop for flavor and keeping quality, which is essential to the enhancement of its market value.

A regular traffic for this crop has been established between Tacoma and London, England, and special train loads of hops have been dispatch direct to New York, to be thence transferred to ocean steamers sailing direct

Page 7

to London, which is an extremely profitable market, being capable of receiving all the product of this kind we send.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Western Washington and the Puget Sound basin has advantages over Middle and Eastern Washington in the matter of growing fruit and vegetables, owing to its moisture and equable climate, produced by the proximity of the ocean and the tempering breezes that bring with them the warm breath of the Japan current. This mild and even climate, together with a soil adapted to fruit culture, make Washington as fine a fruit country as can be found in the United States. This remark only applies to such fruits as apples, pears, plums, peaches, cherries, and all kinds of berries and small fruit. Peaches are grown to advantage in Eastern Washington where the summers are hotter than in the Puget Sound basin. They are also grown successfully in favored spots east of the mountains. No element or constituent is wanting in either the soil or climate of Washington to produce any vegetable that can be raised in the temperate zone. This new State is destined to play no small part in supplying this country and a great many others with vegetable as well as various other products.

FISHERIES. The fisheries is another source of great wealth to this fortunate state. To give an idea of the value of this industry, we will here give some figures which pertained to last year's catch. The salmon catch on the Columbia River during the year 1888 was three hundred and sixty thousand cases, giving Washington credit for one-half, or one hundred and eighty thousand cases. Twenty-five thousand cases were put up on Puget Sound, or about double the best previous year's record. About twenty thousand cases were put up at Gray's Harbor and other places. These figures aggregate two hundred and twenty-five thousand cases of salmon. The trade employs for several months each year, three thousand men, the capital invested being one million dollars, and the product is valued at a much greater sum. A few thousand barrels of salmon are usually pout up each year, and during the season of 1888 the business was inaugurated of sending to Eastern markets in refrigeration cars. The fisheries were further extended. Three large schooners came from the coast of Massachusetts, which were employed in catching halibut and preparing them for the market. Their operations extended from the mouth of the Columbia River to Alaska, and they included many cargoes of fine fish. These were partially disposed of in the local markets, but the great bulk was sent to the East by rail. Much more in this line has been done this year, and the fish are not only sent fresh to the market, but are thus preserved by local drying establishments. The fur seal fisheries also made advances last season. Something will, it is more than likely, be done in the way of fishing for cod, and possibly also in whaling. There can be no question that Puget Sound that the Gulf of Georgia are most admirably adapted for the general fisheries. This fact is being seen and acknowledged more and more each succeeding year, and it is a matter of a short time only until our fisheries rival in extent those of the New England coast, Newfoundland and Norway.

WASHINGTON'S RAILROAD LINES. In 1885 the railroads of Washington aggregated an extreme length of 566 miles; in 1886, 954 miles; in 1887, 1,061 miles; in 1888, 1,410 miles; and by the end of the present year it is estimated not less and 2,000 miles of road will be in operation, and as a result of this impulse given the population and business of Washington by the extended rail-

Page 8

road facilities, most of the towns have increased their numbers of inhabitants at lest twenty-five per cent, while the "City of Destiny" proudly claim not less than three hundred per cent, of this increase.

MINERALS. The mineral resources are too large and of too much importance to be touched upon to any considerable length in an article that is written simply to give the reader, unfamiliar with this young but prosperous State, a general idea of what lies within the borders of Washington, so that in order to do then justice, the compilers of this work have decided to product articles on these industries separately.

CLIMATE OF WESTERN WASHINGTON. Those who have gone no further in studying the character of Washington than its situation on the map, will be surprised at nothing in its long list of surprises, more then its climate. When the reader is here informed, therefore, that the weather experienced throughout Washington west of the Cascade Mountains, is as mild, uniform and equable as anywhere in the Untied States, he may accept it as stated with the utmost conscientiousness, and as being true. The words "mild" and "equable" must be accepted for what they mean. Here an excessive heat or cold is unknown. The thermometer rarely registers 90 degrees, and it has not been known to reach zero but one day in six years. Our location on the map is wholly misleading in this regard, for we are on a line with Montreal, where the ice palace is the one great boast. Bur the relative positions with regard to north and south do not by any means wholly govern temperatures. For if the same line is carried on past Montreal it will be found running through the vineyards of France. Why Washington is so favored in its climate, is easily explained. The warm Japan current, of which every schoolboy knows, strikes the coast below the mouth of the Columbia River, and follows the line north into the very home of winter. It meets and tempers its cold winds, and changes its snows to rain. Then the high sentinel range of Cascade Mountains, 125 miles inland, stands forward, beckoning the clouds, and draining the fountains of rain and snow. These conditions make winter. A curtain of low clouds is drawn over the country from the sea to the mountain tops, much of the time during the winter months, and frequent light rains form the distinguishing feature of the season. The mountains attract the clouds themselves, and the sky of Eastern Washington is thus kept clear nearly the year round. The winds blow from the south during the winter months, but from the north during the summer. For when the Southern summer grows hot the north winds are hurried to its relief by a law of nature. The great glaciers of Alaska standing as the outposts of winter's stronghold, are but a day's good blow from the north, and while its cold winds (just off the ice, so to speak) hurry on their kindly mission toward the equator, (where they will probably form a tornado), the summers of Washington territory are found delicious. This is not mere fancy. Probably nowhere in the world is the weather so even the year round. Great and sudden changes so trying and so common in the East are unknown. Twilight in midsummer extends to ten o'clock, and on summer nights the snowy summit of Mount Tacoma, sixty miles distant, can be plainly seen from the streets of Tacoma.

Of the season only the word "perfect" is necessary in description. In winter many people do not consider an overcoat necessary, while in summer most people find a blanket for a bed covering quite comfortable.

With these conditions it will be readily seen the seasons of the year are not as strongly marked as elsewhere. They merge into each other almost imperceptibly. September is characterized by an occasional shower. These become more frequent as the season advances--light, sift rains from low clouds most resembling a Scotch mist, and that do not interrupt the regular current of life. Men, and women as well, go about in them undisturbed, stop and exchange works of talk business, as they meet on the street without shelter. During November and December this weather is the rule. It is wholly unattended by that searching cold that enters the marrow of men and make them wholly wretched, and such as characterizes the winter rains of the eastern middle States. It is quiet and even tempered, with no high winds. In January the thermometer usually drops another peg or two, and the rain turns to snow for a season of from three days to three weeks. Then comes the warm "Chinook" wind, and winter disappears before it. The rains continue frequent through the early spring months, growing rarer as summer approaches, until it settles down again to a period of perfect days and nights of summer. In other words, every year casts up a fair average of fair days. But the reader should note this: Heavy storms, high winds and cyclones are absolutely unknown. Thunder and lightning are the most novel of nature's phenomena. On the other hand there are many who believe that Washington Territory is deluged with rain from six to eight months in the year. This too is as untrue as the common belief as to the cold. The gradual merging of winter into summer and summer into winter again, as indicated in the greater or less frequency of rain, characterizes the spring and fall, and winter means that rain is the order of things, while summer mean the contrary. It may be remarked that we have devoted considerable space to a description of the climate; we have done so with the purpose in view of undeceiving the many people who have an idea that there is nothing in the winter months but rain.

In concluding this brief review of Washington's resources it would be well to say that we have merely touched on some of them; it has been necessary for the time being to do this, but as we proceed with the work, we will endeavor to give a detailed description of these resources in their proper places and show the bearing they have on Tacoma, and how, by her natural location at the head of Puget South and as the terminus of the Northern Pacific, together with her smelters, warehouses, coal bunkers, manufacturing and shipping industries, she is better adapted to handle these resources than any other city in Washington, or in fact, any city on the Pacific Coast.

 

Next

You are the 2277th Visitor to this USGenNet Website Since September 6, 2004

Html by Debbie Axtman

[Index][WA AHGP][Mardos Memorial Library]