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!
REALTY AND BUILDING.
GENERAL REVIEW OF ITS HISTORY TO PRESENT DATE.
The following able article on Tacoma and its rapid growth and advancement is contributed to TACOMA ILLUSTRATED by Col. C. W. Hobart, the editor of the Tacoma Real Estate Journal.
Real estate has been a leading factor in the phenomenal growth and wealth of Tacoma. Prior to the time, June, 1873, that it was determined by the Northern Pacific Railroad management, that its Western terminus was to be at this point, the land within and around the limits of the proposed new town could command but little more, if any, than the government rates per acre. But this event stimulated values thereof at once, and speculation therein began its career to a moderate extent. Then the town site was laid out and the purchase of lots began, with the more far-seeing and venturesome people. Not only in lots within limits of the new terminal town did real estate deals extend; but by some who were inspired with greater confidence in the future of the location and had faith in the ability of the Northern Pacific R. R. to carry out its design, they extended to purchases of acre property outside.
Matter thus went forward until the cessation o work on the Northern Pacific, through the failure of Jay Cooke, when all transactions ceased. Those who still had faith in the revival of the enterprise held on to their property, while others who were discouraged, disposed of their holdings with but slight advance. Thus everyone who had pinned their faith upon Tacoma were suspend upon the ragged edge from 1873, until C. B. Wright came to the front and organized a syndicate, and thus secured the capital to push the railroad project forward. Later, Henry Villard came into the management as president, and under his administration the road was completed to the Columbia River, there connecting at Wallula with Portland by river and rail. Here the Northern Pacific had another setback by the failure of Mr. Villard in 1883. During the period of Villard's administration the anxious investors of Tacoma were ina condition of suspense through the supposed intention of Mr. Villard to not extent the road across the Cascade Range, or if he did to make Seattle the terminus instead of Tacoma, but rather make Portland its terminal point. But after Mr. Villard retired, other gentlemen connected with the company, faithful to the original purpose to make Tacoma the western terminus, inaugurated plans to build the line from the Columbia River near the junction of the Snake, across the Cascade Range to Tacoma, which was accomplished July 4, 1887.
From this time the building of the Northern pacific to Tacoma was definitely assured, real estate began to advance from primitive values, and tom the consummation of the enterprise in 1887, its advance was marked.
Not until just before or at the beginning of 1880, was anything accomplished toward clearing the forest and laying out the first streets of the new town. Settlers then began to appear, and arrangements were begun for building, and wharves constructed for the landing of steamers. Within four years from the time the first forest trees were felled, a $200,000 hotel was commenced in June, 1883; a female seminary, a public school edifice, and gas and water works were erected by the railroad company, mainly through the efforts of Mr. Wright.
The establishment of these enterprises began to stimulate the value of real estate. After the completion of "The Tacoma" Hotel in 1884, lots in the center of business would bring from $1,000 to $1,500 per lot of 25X120 feet, and fine residence lots in the most desirable localities, would bring form $100 to $1,500, according to eligibility of location. The Northern Pacific railroad located the original town site, and purchased other lands about it from the government, and afterward sold them to the Tacoma Land Company, an auxiliary of the former company. During the last months of 1884, the Land company sold to private individuals for residence purpose, several hundred lots, the sales amounting to about $25,00 per month. The entire real estate sales in Pierce County, in 1882, which included but few outside Tacoma, were $573,466. The next year, 1883, the first improvements began. The sales were $1,3392,296, double those of the prior year. for the year 1884, the sales were $1,027,911. For 1885, the sales were only $667,356, and for 1886, they were $747,371. It will be observed that there is a sudden falling off in sales during the two years last named about one-half over the two years of 1883-4. This was during the construction of the Cascade division from Pasco to Tacoma; the result of a change in the policy of the road after the retirement of Henry Villard from the presidency thereof. It was opened to Tacoma July 1, 1887, and it will be observed that the real estate sales for that year, which were $2,078,531, were a large advance over all former years, largely due to this event. From this year, 1887, began the growth of Tacoma, and transactions in real estate begin in earnest, and have continued thus to the present time with no reaction in values, as is shown by subsequent sales and prices. The sales for the year 1888 were $8,853,598, an increase of sales over those of the previous year of over 400 per cent. The rapid additions to population, and the steady and firm growth of building and business enterprises caused an increase in the demand for real estate, and a consequent increase of values. For the first ten months of the present year, 1889, the sales reached $11,13,245. Estimating the sales for the two last months of 1889, as equal to those of the two months prior, they will reach for the year $13,500,000 in round numbers, which is an increase of nearly five million dollars over the year 1888.
Tacoma has never had any "boom" in real estate or business. The rapid increase in population since 1887, from about 9,000 to about 30,000, in October 1889, as indicated b y the vote at the general election on the first of that month--an increase of over 300 per cent, has produced the demand for real estate, and the consequent increase of values therein. Values in real property have never de-
Creased a day since the founding of the town, and since the completion of the Cascade division of the Northern Pacific Railroad to Tacoma the increase has been steady, firm and upward, and thus they continue to-day.
During the year 1887, the price of real property on Pacific Avenue--the leading business street of the city, was from $200 to $400 per front foot, while the ranging price of property on other business streets was $50 to $150 per front foot. Fine residence property in the most desirable location ranged from $25 to $40 per front foot, while residence lots in other localities within a mile of the business center ranged from $5 to $15 per front foot. During the same period acre property with a mile and a half of the business center sold from $400 to $500 per acre, while within two and a half miles of the same point, similar property brought from $150 to $200 per acre, all according to locality and improvements.
During the year 1888, the population continued to increase to a rapid extent, thus enlarging the demand for real estate in the interest of the growing trade, commerce and manufacturing. Business property during this year brought from $500 to $1,000 per front foot, on Pacific Avenue, and similar property is largely in advance of these prices to-day, because of the steady increased demand. This demand for business extends to more than six streets, which are parallel with Pacific Avenue, besides occupying various cross streets. In fact, business has extended to J Street, eight blocks west of Pacific Avenue, which has a tendency to increase values in both residence and business property.
While inside business property has thus advanced in value from government price in 1873, to $1,000 per front foot in 1888, outside timber and farming lands have also increased in value, more than quadrupled since 1887. This is largely due to the extension of additions to the city in almost all directions for three and four miles out and the existence of motor railroad lines through them. So widely is the pulse of Tacoma's growth in population and permanent business felt that it affects real estate prices for ten miles around--in fact, throughout Pierce County. Today $200 to $500 per acre for outlying acre property is moderate.
The building enterprises of Tacoma have been enormous during the past three years, as a result of the steady and large advance in real estate. It has been utterly impossible to supply lumber and other material fast enough for the demand in building. During the year 1888, over 1,000 houses were put up, yet the demand was not supplied. This with a population of about 20,000 at the end of the year. At this rate with a population of over 30,000 at the end of 1889, there will have been erected over 2,000 buildings, because the supply of material has increased with new lumber mills, and yet the demand for more houses is an extensive at the end of ten months of 1889 as it was at the end of 1888.
Real estate being the basis of all material and industrial interests, they all keep pace one with the other, hence the phenomenal growth and prosperity of Tacoma, the coming metropolis of the Pacific Coast.
SLAUGHTER & COMPANY.
This firm has its offices at 112 Tacoma Street. As good wine needs no bush, so the old and well known firm of Slaughter & co., needs no introduction to the people of Tacoma and those dwelling on the shores of Puget Sound. They have made some of the largest sales of real estate that have ever been made in this vicinity, and in no single instance have they failed to make money for their patrons. They have been in business ever since 1882.
Messrs. Slaughter & Co., will shortly place upon the market one of the most beautiful pieces of property near Tacoma today. It is known as Lake Steilacoom Park, and lies ina southwesterly direction, just seven miles distant from this city. It is readily accessible however, and reached by the Lake City Railroad which runs through the tract. The scenery of Lake Steilacoom is unsurpassed for beauty, variety and grandeur; Mount Tacoma looms majestic in the distance. The Park itself is a lovely stretch of prairie land dotted with groves of trees. Springs of living water abound and the lake itself lying there like a jewel adorning the face of the landscape, is a constant dream of delight to the lover of nature. It is also a paradise for any one who properly appreciates pure air, fine scenery, a genial climate, and outdoor life. In the above described vicinity Slaughter & Co., offer to the people of Tacoma an opportunity of purchasing the most charming residence sites near town. Illustrations, plats, maps, etc., will be cheerfully given on application. They are also selling acre-lots at American Lake at a very low figure. This is another lovely location developed through the energy and far-sightedness of Messrs. Slaughter & Co. Considerable property has already been sold at American Lake Park, and some elegant residences are now being projected there.
Although Messrs. Slaughter & Co. offer for sale sites for beautiful suburban homes in the above mentioned localities, it must not be forgotten that they are agents for some of the choicest and most desirable property in the business and inside residence portion of the city. Any applicant to this firm for information concerning these properties will at once receive full particulars.
W. B. SOMERS.
Of 920 A. Street, is one of the prominent real estate men of the City of Destiny. He only located here in the month of January, 1888, but even in that short period has succeeded in making himself an enviable position among the better class of the business community. Despite his comparative youth Mr. Somers has had extensive experience in the real estate business, having formerly been successfully engaged in it in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He is a man of the rarest business integrity, and the accuracy of his judgment is unquestioned by all who have had dealings with him.
Mr. Somers has lately moved into his new, commodious and elegantly furnished offices, where he will attend to the wants of investors ina thoroughly satisfactory manner. Also all correspondence will receive his prompt and personal attention.
A great deal of Tacoma's magic development is attributable to Mr. Theo. Hosmer, and it is with pleasure we introduce in the pages of "Tacoma Illustrated" his familiar features. Mr. Hosmer was born in Sandusky, Ohio, and when quite young left his native city for Philadelphia. In the year 1873 his health having been somewhat impaired through constant application to business, and deeming a change of air and scene would be beneficial, he accepted the Northern Pacific Railroad's proposition and became secretary of the commission which afterward located that company's Western terminus here.
The dense timber of a thousand acres had to be cut down and cleared away; roads laid out and graded, and the perspective of a future great city clearly defined. Mr. Hosmer, with the exception of three years spent in the East on account of sickness in his family, has lived in Tacoma ever since, watching with pride the development of the many enterprises with which he is connected, and the growth of a metropolitan city of the little hamlet which he saw when he first arrived. He has been constantly identified with the Tacoma Land company, and is at the present time Comptroller of that company. He is also president of the Light and Water company, having been its general manger since its beginning up to 1882, president of the Tacoma Opera House Company, president of the Wilkeson Coal and Coke Company, vice-president of the Union club, trustee of Annie Wright Seminary, and director in several other leading institutions of the city, many of which owe a large measure of success to his untiring and aggressive energy and enterprise, always mindful of the public welfare.
WILLIAM H. FIFE.
Some men are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, while others achieve it. To the latter class belongs William H. Fife, one of Tacoma's best and trust pioneers. The subject of this sketch was born in Peterborough County, Ontario, in the year 1833. His early boyhood was spent upon a farm, and it was not until he had reached the age of seventeen that he left the parental roof and started out to seek his fortune. In the town of Kent he obtained employment in a general merchandise store, receiving five dollars per month the first year, and seven dollars per month the second year, for wages. At the age of twenty-one he engaged ina similar occupation in the neighboring town of Norwood and married Miss Harriet A. Johnson, to whom he attributes to a great extent the wonderful prosperity he has experienced. When the Caribou gold excitement was at its height, Mr. Fife moved to British Columbia, remaining there three years. On his return to Canada, he moved with his family to Vassar, Michigan, where he engaged in the merchandise and sawmill business. In 1870 he again moved to Cherokee, Iowa, where he built the first store and laid the foundation of a prosperous and growing city.
When Mr. fife left Canada he had his eye on the Pacific Coast, and in 1873 started for the Puget Sound terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and located among the stumps that then covered the town site of Tacoma. He established the first general merchandise store, laid out the first water main in the streets of Tacoma, and was the first postmaster, acting in that capacity for eight years. Since his arrival in the City of Destiny his financial success had been phenomenal. To-day he pays as much taxes, if not more, than any other man in the new State of Washington. The Hotel Fife, one of the handsomest and costliest buildings in Tacoma, was erected in 1888, by Mr. Fife, at a cost of $125,000. The structure is of brick, five stories high, and has a frontage of 330 feet. He owns a great many other buildings besides this, as well as some valuable property in the very best portions of the city. His fortune is variously estimated at between one and two millions.
CAPTAIN W. J. FIFE.
Capt. Fife, whose picture is given in this work among the representative citizens of Tacoma, may well be termed a man of energy and zeal. His residence in Tacoma dates back to the time, when, a mere lad, he accompanied his father, W. H. Fife, from Iowa to take up his permanent residence in the City of Destiny. At that time he had received little or no scholastic training, and Tacoma, unlike what it is today, possessed extremely limited facilities in this respect. Young Fife managed, however, to devote all his leisure hours to his studies, at the same time acting as assistant postmaster.
In 1876 he entered the California Military Academy at Oakland, Ca., and only left it when he had attained the highest possible honors in a competitive drill between three companies of the academy. The institution presented him with a massive gold meal, and promoted him from a cadet to the captaincy of Company A. He is also a graduate of the Columbia Law University of Washington, D. C., taking the junior and senior courses. In 1883 he was admitted to the Pierce County bar, but on account of the large interests of his father and his own private affairs, he does not follow his profession, although before a jury, or on the rostrum, he has proved himself an eloquent pleader, and a logical and clever speaker. As commander of the Tacoma Guards, Company C, First Infantry Regiment, of the National Guard of Washington, Capt. Fife is looked upon by the entire company with the highest esteem, and their trust in him has been fully demonstrated on more than one occasion. In May, 1882, Capt. Fife married Miss Flora J. Thompson, the eldest daughter of Senator I. J. Thompson.
Mr. fife is deeply absorbed in the public interests of Tacoma, and the zeal displayed by him in these interest has made him a very popular citizen.
CLINTON P. FERRY.
The subject of this brief sketch, Mr. Clinton P. Ferry, in whom the writer, as well as many other visitors to Tacoma, is indebted for many acts of kindness and courtesy, is a character within himself. Mr. Ferry is a self-made man; born at Fort Wayne, in 1836, after the age of 12 years he took upon himself his own education, meanwhile being his own support. He left school when 19 years old, having been passed through a commercial college, and become cashier for the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad, leaving his position two years later to go to the Pacific Coast, where he spent about twenty years between Portland and San Francisco. In 1868 Mr. Ferry came to Tacoma, then nothing but a forest, and invested in real estate. Many persons looked upon his investments then as a pure act of folly, and thus it was that they dubbed him the "Duke of Tacoma," a sobriquet which has followed him to the present day, and is so identified with Mr. Ferry that he is known everywhere as "the Duke." Mr. Ferry is of French descent, his grandfather having been chef de battalion under Napoleon the First. The present Governor of Washington is his uncle. Much of Mr. Ferry's tenacity, one of his greatest characteristics, can be judged of by his strength of conviction in the natural resources and location of Tacoma. Much of the real estate bought by him twenty-one years ago is to-day the finest property in Tacoma, and still held by him. He has in fact for that period of time subordinated everything to the maintenance of his interests in Tacoma, and has naturally reaped a handsome reward.
Mr. Ferry, however, has been always active in the public interest of Tacoma, and although not a politician uses his money and influence in all good acts of charity and public good. His zeal, vitality, perseverance, honor, polished manners and good fellowship have secured for him the best legacy any man can wish--firm and devoted friends.
GEO. P. BALDWIN.
W. J. D. FRASER.
The above named gentleman has a commodious office in Exchange Block, corner of Tenth and A Streets, and is well known in Tacoma as a pushing, energetic, active business man. He does a general real estate, loan brokerage, and commission business, and is one of the firmest believers in the future of this city that can be found. His interest in the city is absorbing, and he has identified himself with it so closely that he is sure to prosper as the city itself does.
Mr. Fraser represents, and is in fact the principal owner of the Ravenswood Addition which is one of the choicest bits of property lying adjacent to Tacoma. It is all on high ground, and faces Commencement Bay, commanding one of the most beautiful views in the vicinity.
Mr. Fraser has a large business connection in Great Britain, and has already been commissioned to act as agent for several influential capitalists.
BUCEY & WILLIAMS.
This firm, composed of Henry Bucey and Herbert J. Williams, is located in the Wright block in Rooms 10 and 11, corner Pacific Avenue and Ninth Street, and is doing a very large general real estate and brokerage business; the greater portion of their real estate transactions are investments for non-residents, and their success in the business is due to their careful and judicial investments made for strangers. Their reputation for honesty and reliability is well known and established. They have handled some of the finest and most valuable property in the city, and their judgment is greatly relied upon in all matters pertaining to investments.
Mr. Henry Bucey, who is the head member of the firm, is an attorney at law of acknowledged ability. He is from Ohio, but has been on the Northwest coast since 1876. His judgment led him after careful study of the country to the conclusion that Tacoma was destined to be the great metropolis of the Northwest, and in the fall of 1884, he left a very lucrative practice at Pendleton, Oregon, and moved with his family to Tacoma. His early life having been spent in horticultural work which he had great love for, and discerning that this Territory was destined to be a great fruit producing country, he originated and effectually organized the Washington horticultural Society in 1885 and has been its president ever since, which society has accomplished a vast amount of good for the whole Territory; and to aid the society he originated and published the Northwest Horticulturist, a monthly journal, which immediately became under his able editing, the leading and most popular paper of the kind in the Northwest. His legal practice and real estate business having become so great, he disposed of the paper to its present managers and editors. His last and greatest undertaking of a public nature is the establishing of a large Exposition building in this city; he has succeeded informing a corporation with a capital stock of $125,000 and has secured two blocks of land in the city. The building will be completed by September 1st, 1890, when the exposition will take place. The building is near the Sound, and he proposes to make one of the leading features of the Exposition, the establishing and maintaining of large aquariums, a venture which will net him a handsome return.
Herbert J. Williams is from Michigan, and has resided in this city about two years, in which time he has b y his honesty and ability to transact business earned in enviable reputation, and he is universally respected.
He is a graduate of the Medical Department of the University of Michigan, class of 1881, but after practicing for five years in Eastern Oregon devoted his attention entirely to the drug business. Upon coming to Tacoma two years since, seeking some business in which to engage, he became associated with Mr. Bucey in the business which they have made such a success. He still stakes all active interest in matters pertaining to the advancement of the medial profession, being a charter member of both the County and State Medical Societies.
LOMBARD INVESTMENT COMPANY
One of the oldest established, best known and strongest of loaning companies in the United States, having a capital fully paid up of $1,250.000, with a surplus of $750.000. The Eastern office of the company for making loans is located at Kansas City, Mo., which is under the direct charge of Mr. James L. Lombard, Vice-President of the company, and the Eastern office for disposing of loans is at No. 13 Sears Building, Boston, Mass., under the direct charge of Mr. B Lombard, Jr., President of the company, who has been identified with the business for over thirty years, having commenced the loaning of money for Eastern capitalists in the State of Illinois when a mere boy, and having devoted his entire time to it to the present date. The company is represented by branch offices in the States of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, Texas and Washington (all of these branches being directly under the management and control of the Kansas City office), in which are competent employees who have been with the company for greater or less periods of time. The company averages from $10,000,000 to 12,000,000 per year of loans, and in all the business they have ever transacted no investor has ever been known to lose a cent. The office at Tacoma is under the charge of Mr. S. S. King, who has been in the employ of the company for the last eight or ten years, and who was sent to this coast in the summer of 1886 for the purpose of looking it over and seeing whether it would be a good field for investments. Upon his report to the company they decided to open an office, which they did at Portland, Oregon, in the summer of 1887, placing him in charge. The business of the office having increased so rapidly that it was deemed advisable to divide the work and make two offices, in April, of 1889, Mr. King moved the headquarters of the company to Tacoma, Washington, placing Mr. J. A. Arment, who had been with him since commencing business here, in charge of the Portland office. Since opening the office here, the company have placed over 2,000 loans, amounting in the aggregate to $2,500,000. In all of his business they have never had a foreclosure, and have not up to the present date ever been obliged to take a single tract of land, and have never carried delinquent interests any month to exceed $300, making a splendid showing for the conservative manner in which loans have been placed and demonstrating that they are worthy of the confidence in which they are held by Eastern investors. The office in this city employees fifteen people, and judging from appearances when it was visited by our reporter, we are satisfied that they have sufficient work to keep them all busy, and could probably employ a larger force to good advantage.
With the growing field and a thrifty population before them, it is hardly necessary to bespeak for the Lombard Investment Company, a further brilliant success in their undertaking in the City of Destiny.
SNELL & BEDFORD.
The pleasant offices of this firm are at 1405 Pacific Avenue. These gentlemen are both well known in Tacoma, and possess a large and flourishing business. Mr. W. H. Snell is city attorney of Tacoma. He fairly represents the best type of Western men. He is rather small in physique, but evidently possesses one of those alert, vigorous organizations that is capable of any amount of exertion. His brain is of the same sinewy quality as his body, and equally fitted to sustain hard work. Mr. Snell was born in Mechanicsburg, in July, 1852, but while he was still a boy his parents moved to Nebraska, and settled in Lincoln, the capital city. Here Mr. Snell entered the Nebraska University, and graduated there from in 1873. He then went into the office of Philpot & Curren, and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1874, and went to Georgetown, Col., where he was assistant prosecuting attorney. While here he made the acquaintance of Miss Mary Alice Bates, and to her was united in the bonds of matrimony in 1876. Shortly after this event Mr. Snell found his health breaking down, and moved back to Nebraska, where he located in Fairbury, and began to practice. In 1883 he was elected as representative from the 22nd Senatorial district. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1887, and served his term. Then he came to Tacoma, and his interests have ever since been identified with the city of Destiny.
Charles Bedford, the other member of the firm, is of English birth, but he came with his parents to this country before he was six years of age. His father settled at first in Illinois, but afterward removed to Nebraska. Mr. Bedford, who is of a scholarly turn of mind, was during his younger days a teacher in some of the best schools in Jefferson County, Neb. Then he took up the study of law, and shortly after he was admitted to the bar, met Mr. Snell, and they formed a partnership which bids fair to last for a lifetime.
Of 1342 Pacific Avenue, has a large general practice, and is regarded as one of the rising legal luminaries of Washington.
He was born in Belleville, Ohio, in 1863. He was university bred, and one of the most promising graduates of the class of 1880. He left Belleville when still a lad in years and commenced the study of law at Osgoode Hall, the famous Toronto law school. He obtained his degree and was admitted to the bar in June, 1885. He then took up the practice of his profession in his native town. As his powers developed themselves he found the field too contracted for his growing energies, and migrated to the Pacific Coast. He settled in Tacoma in the summer of 1888, and has since become identified with some of the largest business enterprises in this city. he is attorney of the Tacoma Electric Soap Company, and Milwaukee Furniture Company, and in fact is already in possession of a lucrative general practice.
PINKHAM & Walker.
This firm has from the very first day that their sign appeared, a year ago, enjoyed an enviable position among the prominent and substantial real estate agents in Tacoma. Previous to deciding that the City of Destiny should be his future home, Mr. L. Hampden Pinkham held positions with high-class financial firms in the East. At a comparatively early age he filled the responsible position of general representative for several noted paint houses throughout New England, but subsequently drifting West, became secretary and treasurer of the Kansas City Investment Company of Kansas, and afterward cashier for the Minnesota Loan and Trust Company of Minneapolis, Minn. For the past nine years Mr. Pinkham has been so closely identified with the real estate and loan business that he may now be considered an important authority on all matters appertaining thereto.
Mr. Richard E. Walker has been a resident of the Pacific Coast for a number of years. About two years ago he decided that Tacoma was the metropolis of the entire pacific Northwest, and since that time he has made himself extremely popular by his sound business qualifications, and general geniality, qualifications without which no business man can hope to be successful, so quickly is human nature attracted toward the man who is always pleasant and good humored.
Both these gentlemen have become heavy property holders. The past summer with them has been exceptionally good, and their prospects for a brisk business during the coming winter and spring, are most promising. At present they are handling inside and acreage property, and are making a specialty of investing money in Tacoma realty for Eastern capitalists. Mr. Pinkham, through his numerous Eastern acquaintances, commands an almost unlimited amount of capital from savings banks, trustee and guardian funds, and the firm will in the near future organize a real estate mortgage and loan company in Tacoma, on a large scale, and commensurate with the deserts of both the gentlemen composing it. Thus our city draws to itself clear-sighted men, who work for its future greatness with a right good will.
E. N. OUIMETTE
Among the representative citizens of Tacoma few are more widely known or generally respected then E. N. Ouimette. Although at present an enthusiastic American citizen, Mr. Ouimette first saw the light of day in St. Eustache, Canada, where he passed his earlier years. He was a graduate of the well-known university of his native town, and on finishing his collegiate course betook himself to commercial pursuits at the early age of eighteen years. As time passed on, and the ambitious youth developed into a man of alert and vigorous intellect, he found the field about him all too restricted to afford exercise to his growing energies, and in the year 1865, he emigrated to Portland, where he engaged ion the dry goods business. He remained there about four years, gaining business experience, and acquainting himself with the possibilities of the Pacific Coast, and the new people among whom his lot was cast. At the end of that time the star of Olympus rose above the horizon, and among other wise men Mr. Ouimette "went for it there and then." He engaged in the same business, and remained in the new town ten years, himself a reputation for business integrity and enterprise that rendered him a marked man in commercial circles in the rapidly growing Territory of Washington.
At the end of the decade, Mr. Ouimette, with his usual vigor and determination, made another migration, and finally arrived on the scene of his present successes, Tacoma. In 1884 he forecasted with unerring sagacity the future importance of the City of Destiny, and divesting himself of all other interests, threw himself heart and soul into the real estate and insurance business in Tacoma. Since then his shrewdness, his knowledge of, and judgment in real estate, and his public spirit, have placed him in the foremost rank of our citizens. His handsome offices are daily thronged by the best class of investors; he is a director of one of the most important banks in Tacoma, has plotted several of the most important addition to the city; in short, he is among the first to push any undertaking that promises to advance the interests of his adopted city, and add to its stability. He has proved the wisdom of his choice, as also his excellent foresight, and judgment, and though still a comparatively young man, he has already carved out a career such as his fellow citizens may well point to with pride and envy, and endeavor to emulate.
E. F. RUSSELL & CO.
Judge E. F. Russell, and his son, Everett F. Russell, compose this firm. Both gentlemen are well known in Tacoma, and along the Pacific Coast. There is not a man upon the western slope of the dividing mountains who is better known as a mining man, and who opinion on all appertaining thereto is more trusted, then that of Judge Russell. He has, during his thirty years' residence on the coast, devoted most of his time to mines and mining, and the working and reduction of all classes or ores. In this last respect he has gained considerable fame as the investor of the Russell Roasting Furnace for the reduction of rebellious ores. This class of furnace is now very generally used in all sections where ores of difficult reduction are found.
Judge Russell has lived a greater portion of the thirty years of his residence on the Pacific Coast at San Francisco, but he may also be termed an old-timer in Tacoma, for in the early days, long before the advent of the Northern Pacific Railroad into Washington, he invested largely in Tacoma realty, and also in other lands in the State; and he still retains possession of many of them. His faith in Tacoma is unbounded. For this reason, as well as because the mining outlook is much brighter in Washington than in any other State in the West, he came to the City of Destiny, and since his arrival here has carried on a very extensive business in the buying and selling of real estate, mines, coal, and timber lands for numerous customers. Without counting mines and coal lands, the firm of Russell & Co., have to-day for sale over $1,000,000 worth of property. Some of the heaviest realty transactions in Tacoma have been made through them, and all their transactions have had one termination, viz.: An Advantageous transaction for the buyer and the seller. This firm offers only first class property for sale, and by this have made a success in business.
Soon after his arrival on the coast, Judge Russell engaged extensively in the practice of law in the courts of Oregon and Washington Territory, living at the time in Oregon; but since 1870, he has devoted his whole attention of mining and real estate.
THE ALKI REAL ESTATE CO.
This corporation has its office in rooms 4 and 5, Union Block. The company consists of H. F. Garretson, president; Emmett N. Parker, secretariat and W. J. Werner, manager. Its chief business is the buying and selling of real estate for itself and on commission, and negotiating mortgages, loans and other securities. One of the choicest tracts of suburban property ever placed upon the market, is the Alki Addition to Tacoma, located in the southern portion of the city. When the company placed this addition upon the market it was with the idea of offering a delightful location for suburban residents, and they have carried out their idea ina most thorough manner. The tract is situated in the vicinity of the Tacoma and Fern Hill Street Railway, and the motor line is now being constructed through the center. Residents in the Alki addition, who purchased their lots when first offered, have secured cheap homes within a few minutes' ride of the business portion of the city, that are now worth double what they paid for them. The company has only been established since the beginning of last March, but the reputation of the organizers was amply sufficient to assure the public of its reliability. The president and secretary, Col. H. F. Garrettson, and Emmet N. Parker, are partners in law, and as counsellors in all legal matters, rank among the first of their profession in the city. Mr. Werner is comparatively a newcomer to Tacoma, but he is now well known a thorough and reliable business man. His former home was in Wichita, Kan., in which place, as well as elsewhere, he has been engaged extensively in the real estate business.
GLOYD & SPINNING.
These well known gentlemen, whose offices are in the Merchants National Bank Building, constitute the oldest firm in Pierce County, engaged in business as abstracters of land titles. Their books were opened by E. C. Pentland of the firm of Hall & Pentland in 1883. The celebrated thorn Numerical Tract Index is the system on which they are conducted. Mr. Frank H. Gloyd bought the books from Hall & Pentland in the month of February, 1884, and in March of the same year he formed a co-partnership with Wm. N. Spinning.
Messrs. Gloyd & Spinning at first did a general real estate business as well as abstracting of titles, but since 1887 have dropped that, and now handle only their own property. This includes a building now in process of construction on the corner of Fifteenth and C Streets, which will be four stories in height, with a frontage of sixty-five feet. this will be devoted to business purposes and contain three stores and thirty-nine offices. They also possess very considerable water-front property, and a large hop farm. Their main business, however, is as abstracters, and in this they do far more than any other firm in town.
Mr. Gloyd was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, spent his boyhood in Illinois, and as a young man studied law in the office of a brother of Chief-Justice Waite, in Ohio. Then he went to Kansas and remained a year, came across the plain ina prairie schooner and landed in Oregon, where he rested another year, and then came here, where he made the success of his life, and settled down.
William N. Spinning has the right to be called a true Washingtonian, as he was born in Chehalis. His father was a well known physician, and was several times appointed as Reservation Doctor by the Government. As a young man he studied law, but later on, desiring a more robust life, he became a farmer. Then he took a turn at school teaching. After this last experience he and his father went into the real estate business together. Four years later he and Mr. Gloyd became partners, although he continued to retain his interest with his father until 1887.
ROSS & NAUBERT.
There is no better evidence of the faith men have in the community in which they do business than is to be found in the liberality they display in making their places of business inviting to their clientage. It is not always, however, that a lavish expenditure of money succeeds in attaining the object desired, namely attractiveness. In addition to luxurious appointments, there much be confidence on the part of the public in the sincerity of the welcome to those who extend the invitation. When the combination of luxurious surroundings and good fellowship is happily insured, the object is obtained.
Messrs. Ross & Naubert, each the prince of good fellows, have the keynote in the decoration of their splendid offices in the Mason block, and situated as they are on the corner of A and South Tenth Streets, they hold the combination referred to. Both gentlemen are thoroughly well known in Tacoma. Mr. Frank c. Ross landed in the City of Destiny from Pittsfield, Ill., on Christmas Day, 1879, and has been engaged in the real estate business since 1882, handling only his own property until the present co-partnership was formed, about eighteen months since. Mr. C. A. E. Naubert, a native of Montreal, Canada, on first coming to the Pacific Coast located in Portland, Oregon, but saw the opportunities that Tacoma offered, and straightway came here. This was in 1881. For five years after his arrival, Mr. Naubert was cashier of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and only left that important position to engage in his present business.
Besides being owners and dealers in property located in the very best parts of the city, Messrs. Ross & Naubert, together with other prominent business men, have platted and are handling in one of the most picturesque suburban districts of Tacoma, Lake City, a location with enchanting surrounds and bordering on American Lake, the finest sheet of fresh water in Western Washington. This town site will be connected with Tacoma by a railroad that is now mostly completed. More particulars of this beautiful place will be found upon another page.
Another very important enterprise in which these gentlemen are interested, especially Mr. Ross, is the construction of a wharf and warehouses on the tide flats at the head of Commencement Bay, that portion of the city where several important industries enumerated in the article on the city at the beginning of this work, have been, and are being constructed. Some months ago, Mr. Ross and his associates purchased forty-eight acres of this valuable land. they have now conceived the idea of building a wharf a mile and a quarter long for the accommodation of ocean going vessels. The necessary piling is now being driven. At the end of the wharf a warehouse 300 feet in length, and proportionally wide is being constructed. These improvements will be approachable from several points. The Northern Pacific Railroad will build a branch line across the flats to the warehouse, and an immense bridge will open the wide arm of the Puyallup River from either Ninth or Tenth Streets to the flats. The Northern Pacific is continually extending its docks for the accommodation of the ever-increasing trade that Tacoma is building up with all parts of the world.
Outside of Tacoma Messrs. Ross & Naubert also have large interests. Mr. Ross' gold, silver, copper, and iron mines in the Cle Elum mining district have already proved rich, and when the more extensive improvements that are soon to be made are completed, there is no reason to doubt that they will be the richest mines in the district.
It is such men as Messrs. Ross & Naubert who have labored so earnestly to bring Tacoma to that destiny that she has attained, namely the metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, and who will be pointed to by future generations as pioneers.
GEO. W. TRAVER.
The reputation of the gentleman whose name forms the caption of this article is as familiar as a household work to residents of Tacoma, and, in fact, to most of the inhabitants of Washington Territory. He is engaged in business as a real estate and investment agent in the Fife Block, and it is a safe statement to venture that few, if any, offices in this city conclude so many important transactions in a given period of time, and of so varied a character.
Mr. Traver, who settled in the City of Destiny, in the year 1882, is one of the citizens that Tacoma may well be proud to board of possessing, for since identifying his interests with those of this city, he has done perhaps as much to forward its fortunes, blazon its advantages to the world, and develop and foster its financial affairs, as any other one man who ever cast his lot among us.
Mr. Traver is a typical Western American, and could his life and career be written, it would be found to abound in exciting incidents and thrilling adventures, sufficient to set up a romance writer in material from which to grind out novels for a lifetime. He is one of the "old timers" in Oregon, and all the earlier residents of that State knew him like a book, and would follow his lead like a flock of sheep after the bell-wether. He was a resident of California in its palmy days of prosperity, having been engaged in business in Alameda on a large scale and with the most successful results. It may be mentioned in this connection that Mr. Traver is Commissioner of Deeds for Oregon, and that during the past year he has been Commissioner and taken most of the depositions in regard to the Indian complications at the Puyallup Reservation. It was, in fact, he who was mainly instrumental in bringing about the favorable consideration of their claims which was given to them by the United States Government through the Indian Department at Washington, D. C.
On becoming a resident of Tacoma in 1882 Mr. Traver at once took rank, by virtue of his reputation and character, as one of the leading citizens of the then rapidly growing little town. His keen judgment and business acumen at once discerned the vast future possibilities of the City of Destiny, and his hand was forthwith put upon the throttle, and he has held the valves open ever since, keeping steam up in the engine and speeding the city of his adoption upon its course at a pace that few other engineers could have equaled. He has spent thousands and thousands of dollars in showing up the advantages of Tacoma to outside capital, and has sounded the fame of the city as far abroad as the Atlantic Coast.
The well known Traver's Addition was projected by Mr. Traver's fertile brain, and has proved in every way one of the most successful and desirable locations ever added to the city. the property consists of about 40 acres of most admirably situated land, and the lots, when put upon the market, sold like hot cakes to the most desirable class of purchasers.
Mr. Traver has also been installed by E. Bennett, of Topeka, Kansas, as his agent and attorney in placing Hunt's Prairie upon the market. This is a beautiful tract of land in the southwestern suburbs of the City of Destiny. It has only been placed upon the market a comparatively short time, but has already attracted a vast deal of attention among speculators as well as that class of investors who play principally for "keeps." In fact, this property be confidently recommended as containing some of the choicest lots now remaining open for purchase in the neighborhood of the fair city of Tacoma. In addition to these, however, Mr. Traver is interested in many other properties in the southern and western portions of the city, and, in fact, his keen eye and alert judgment are constantly on the lookout for the choicest bits, and those in the market for a real fancy gilt-edged article cannot do better than allow themselves to be guided b y his judgment and experience.
The elegant residence of Mr. Traver is one of the show sights of Tacoma, and among the earliest drives that a newcomer or visitor to the city is shown is that leading to "Oak Grove" as the happy possessor, with peculiar aptness, has christened it. it is indeed led up to by one of the loveliest drives of four miles that imagination ever pictured, or eyes gazed upon. The broad panorama embracing every scenic effect--rugged mountain, broad, smiling savannah, forests, rearing their lofty heads to the skies, clothed in living green, make the landscape one that Whittier would yearn to depict. At the end of the lovely drive Oak Grove forms the fitting climax to he picture the feeble pen has vainly endeavored to put before the reader. The house is situated upon a gentle eminence embowered and enshrined in a grove of oak trees whose umbrageous propinquity suggested the name of the fortunate owner of this little paradise. The scene involuntarily suggests to the spectator the words of the grand old hymn:
"Where everything is lovely,"
The house is unobstructive in its order of architecture, but so constructed that while the building completely and beautifully harmonizes with every feature of the surroundings landscape, each convenience also with which modern science has equipped household affairs, is obtained in the complete menage. The picture that will be found of Oak Grove among the residences of Tacoma, will give the reader a more complete idea of the entourage, and convince him that the homes being constructed are of a character which will lend permanence to the outlook.
The commodious offices of Mr. Traver are in the well known fife Block, as advantageous a situation as its probably to be found in the city. any caller there will always find the courteous proprietor invariably ready to welcome him and give him the benefit of his ripe judgment and years of experience in real estate business, an experience which has taught him how to distinguish at a glance between the "paper" and "sand lots" of the town which is merely boomed as a money-making speculation, and the town which has come to stay, to be as it were a lasting monument to energy.
JOHN C. BROCKENBROUGH, JR.
The steady advance in Tacoma realty during the past few years has brought within her gates a number of enterprising, bright business men. Prominent among them is Mr. John C. Brockenbrough, Jr., who came from Lafayette, Indiana, last year, and he then decided on the City of Destiny as his future home.
After carefully reviewing the ground he made some investments and embarked in the real estate, loan and insurance business, opening up the handsome offices where he is at present located, and on account of his ability his business soon assumed large proportions. In fire insurance he probably is doing the largest business in the city to-day, as he represents the most prominent insurance companies in the Union. The sums of real estate transfers which have been transacted through his office, aggregate hundred of thousands of dollars, while through his loan department he has invested over a quarter millions of dollars of Eastern capital. His knowledge, both of the value of real estate and of the credit and solvency of borrowers, has given him a leading position in the city as a lender of money on real estate security. Through this department of his business many large and important trusts are confided to him, and it is a fact, perhaps without precedent in such a business, that of the many thousands of dollars loaned on mortgages by him, every one has proved profitable to the investor, thus adding to his reputation for judgment and foresight.
Experience shows that in addition to their thoroughly tested security, wisely chosen real estate mortgages yield a larger income than any other safe form of investment accessible to the people. The remarkably cool judgment displayed by Mr. Brockenbrough, in his selection of only the best loans, both in respect to the character and standing of the borrower, and the value of the property sought to be mortgaged as security, has procured for him a reputation which many might envy, and will undoubtedly very much increase his business in this department.
Mr. Brockenbrough, although careful, has proven himself both far-sighted and energetic, and when he first settled here, he saw the chance to make some money on a tract of land on the south side of Tacoma and which up to that time had not attracted much attention and he bought it. Portions of this tract were eligible for residence sites, and others admirably adapted for business blocks and for warehouses, by reason of their being adjacent to the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Mr. Brockenbrough's likeness will be found in our columns and he is, as will be seen, a young man; he however is (to use a rather coarse though expressive term), a hustler, and, although but a very short period in Tacoma, is well known to almost every man in the city; he is finely educated, a refined gentlemanly, courteous and polished man, and withal modest; in combining these qualifications with strict business integrity it is hardly to be wondered at that he has been so successful. It will be seen by the cut that he and Mr. Traver are in the same block.
You are the 3261st Visitor to this USGenNet Website Since September 6, 2004
Html by Debbie Axtman
[Index][WA AHGP][Mardos Memorial Library]