Tacoma Illustrated

Tacoma Illustrated
Her History, Growth & Resources
A Comprehensive Review of the 
City of Destiny
Chapter 11

 

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 50

DES MOINES.

TWELVE MILES FROM TACOMA.

A GROWING YOUNG CITY.

The sun looks forth in glad surprise!
What miracle this that greets her eyes--
Where yesterday Nature reigned supreme,
A new-born city lies!

Le Duc.

The thought expressed in Jack Spratt and wife (the fable which is so well known to all children) conveys, like La Fontaine's fable poetry, a metaphor which to older persons appeals in more ways than one.

It is a Godsend to humanity that the human thought is not always in the same channel, that our tastes differ, so like the "pirouette" on the housetop; many persons are so wedded to the rush, dash, and excitement of our large cities, and are so accustomed to them, that they would feel like strangers were they to commence a new life ina small and growing hamlet, even though at the end of the year the fruits of their exertions should be tenfold the amount of their accumulations in the city; there are others who for many reasons (of less means perhaps, or for the love of quietude, or the knowledge of their ability to economize more and accumulate faster ina pioneer town) prefer to place their fortunes ina young city like Des Moines.

Leaving Tacoma and steaming up the beautiful shores of Puget sound, passing Point Brown, Ash Point, and the little village of Adelaide, noting on every hand small clearings made in the timber, and fruit farms dotted here and there, we arrive after a charming sail of an hour at the young city of Des Moines, where a few months ago not even a building marked its present site.

What a change the enterprise and energy of man can make in such a short space of time! AS short a time ago as last July the town was located and platted by several gentlemen of Tacoma, who, recognizing the natural advantages of the location for a harbor and town site, organized a company known as the "Des Moines City Improvement Co.," with a capital of $100,000; no time was lost in erecting a saw mill, and thus furnishing the building material for the requirements of new comers; so rapid, in fact, has been the growth that Des Moines to-day has in addition to the saw-mill (which employs some twenty-five men, and has a capacity of 20,000 feet per day) ten substantial residences, a well-appointed general merchandise store, a schoolhouse, and about 880 feet of wharfage, the surface of which has required 200,000 feet of lumber. In addition to the improvement already made twenty more houses are in course of construction. The firm of Young Bros., is about to open another store for general merchandise, a church is being built at a cost of $2,500; a brick yard employing forty men, and pottery works employing a like number, a shingle-mill employing twenty hands, and with a capacity of 100,000 shingles daily, and a sash and door factory, will all be running within a few months. A post office has been established, and a postmastership in t person of Mr. J. F. Hiatt, a native of Indiana, who has for the past five years resided at Tacoma, but left it to established a general merchandise business at Des Moines. Besides doing an extensive business Mr. Hiatt finds time to extend the courtesies of the town to all new-comers, and being a notary public, attends to what legal matters are required. The Des Moines City Improvement Co. is building at a cost of about $5,000 a steamer which will make the trip to Tacoma (about twelve miles) twice a day in the space of one hour, including stops.

Thus it is that Des Moines has become a city almost ina night, and her location is such that she can hardly help becoming a large place. Situated as she is ina quiet harbor midway between the two cities of Tacoma and Seattle, all vessels plying between these two cities pass Des Moines in the immediate vicinity of it are island where extensive potteries and brickyards are located; these island, as also Chatauqua Beach, obtain their supplies from Des Moines, while back in the clearings are some of the finest fruit orchards, richest bottom lands covered with farms, where hops and all kinds of vegetables are raised; all this produce is marketed through, and supplies obtained from, Des Moines; the timber lands are of immense value, and are almost inexhaustible.

As fast as this magnificent timber is cut, so fast appear beautiful fruit and other farms in its stead, and so the steady march of civilization wend sit way through these giants of the forest, as the tilling of a naturally rich soil must of necessity build up immense cities, whose prestige shall be known from the East to the West.

For a beautiful resort none could be found superior to Des Moines, lying as she does on a gentle rise from the most beautiful sheet of water in the world, and with a fine view of the snow peaks of grand old Mount Tacoma and the Olympic Range.

And above all, the climate, where the summers are never too warm, and the winters never too cold; where the flowers bloom, and the grass remains green in the winter, and where nature thrives the year round; where the finest fishing in the world can be had by a few stroked of the oar; where game of all descriptions is plentiful, and where man's hand and brain are building up a beautiful young city in the midst of nature's sublimity.

 

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