Tacoma Illustrated

Tacoma Illustrated
Her History, Growth & Resources
A Comprehensive Review of the 
City of Destiny
Chapter 12


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!


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This company is situated in the Tacoma National Bank Building, Tacoma, and is organized with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The officers are as follows: Charles M. Johnson, President; J. W. Kleeb, Vice-President; and O. W. Barlow, Secretary and Treasurer.

The company does a general real estate and mortgage loan business, invests money for non-residents and looks closely after the interests of its customers after the investments have been made by them.

Mr. Johnson, the president, came from Aberdeen, Dakota, in November, 1887; Mr. Kleeb, the vice-president, from Council Bluffs, Iowa, in February, 1888, and Mr. Barlow, the secretary and treasurer, from Doland, Dakota, in December, 1888. In December, 1888, the company was organized, and considering the short time which has elapsed since then, the growth of the business shows a remarkable display of energy on the part of the incorporators.

This business, which is of immense magnitude, may be said to have been confined principally to two places, Tacoma and Des Moines, and as we have devoted some space to the latter investment made by them, we will have here finish up this subject in as short a space as possible.

The gentlemen forming the Realty Loan and Investment Company came into communication with Mr. F. A. Blasher, a resident of that now thriving young place; recognizing the great important of the location of Des Moines for not only a supplying station for the surrounding country, but a manufacturing and commercial town as well, they organized the Des Moines City Improvement Company with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, and elected the following officers: J. W. Kleeb, President; F. A. Blasher, Vice-President; and O. W. Barlow, Secretary. A history of their movements from that time forth, and he unprecedented way in which the town is growing are given in our short review of the fair city of Des Moines, but I must be acknowledged that the gentlemen interested in this object certainly showed more than the average amount of foresightedness and pluck to assume such an undertaking. That they have been eminently successful is evinced by the growth and prosperity of this pioneer city, built up as it is by hewing the timbers which were its only adornment; this, however, was necessary in the case of Tacoma. But to their business investments in this city. The Realty Loan and Investment Co celebrated its advent in Tacoma by a purchase of two of the best known subdivisions adjoining the city limits of Tacoma; these two additions are the Woodlawn, which lies due west on eleventh Street and the Elmwood addition, which lies due southwest. The purchases were singularly successful ones, and this fact has been proved by the demand for lots in both subdivisions. They are of nearly the same size, and the Woodlawn contain six hundred and seventy-two, while the Elmwood contains six hundred and thirty-four lots; both additions have been divided off with streets eighty, and alleys forty feet in width; the fact that they nearly adjoin one another, and that they are similarly situated, will suffice us to describe their location as one. In the first place it may be said that there are only two or three such peculiar locations adjoining Tacoma; the drive to them is by way of the road to that Divine gift of nature, "American Lake," and it may be said that there is no more artistic and beautiful drive in the country; it is the favorite one of the residents of Tacoma and where it passes through these additions presents a most picturesque vista on each side; the eye notes that the land is singularly level, and that the hills and dales of many of Tacoma's subdivisions are not here; and over the tree tops in the distance it lights upon the majestic, snow-capped peak of Mount Tacoma.

Turning a little to the right one views the grade of the Lake City Railway and Navigation Company, where the tracks are now being laid, and where by February 1st trains will be running to and from the lake, stopping each time at the Elmwood station, and thus making the trip to the business part of Tacoma in less than ten minutes, and to American Lake about the same time. Here, in this lovely as well as convenient spot, are situated the three residences of Messrs. Johnson, Barlow, and Kleeb; the very fact that these gentlemen have located their homes and families here ought to be a sufficient guarantee to anybody that they have confidence in the sites which they possess; all three residences will be viewed in our pages of the fine residence of Tacoma, and it will readily be seen that in point of beauty they would adorn any Eastern city.

Their position is nearer the business portion of Tacoma than American Lake, to which latter it is, however, only a short drive; this convenience of location must be seen to realize what a haven it is, and there are probably no visitors to Tacoma who have not in their drives to American Lake looked with lingering eyes on these charming residences and that of Mr. George W. Traver, which is only a few rods from them, comparing them with some fine Eastern homes and wondering who the happy possessors were.

In addition to these investments, the company owns a very considerable amount of inside property, and have shown a conservative spirit in their investments.

The headquarters of the Des Moines City Improvement Company are naturally in the offices of the Realty Loan and Investment Co., and all matters relating either to Des Moines or to the Tacoma properties of the company will be attended to at the offices as above; those residing in the far East can rely implicitly on the integrity of these gentlemen and the truth of their statements relating to the properties in question, as also all information which they furnish regarding realty.

Personally on could not ask to meet with more courteous treatment than is received at the hands of the gentlemen composing the company; all three are men of energy, discretion, and withal imbued with true Western hospitality; they are men who, while realizing that wealth bring might, are not willing to make themselves slaves to the mighty dollar, and so in retaining their own respect they are able to gain that of others with whom they come in contact.

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The new state of Washington comprises an area as large as the combined area of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is an empire with itself with its immense wealth of coal, iron, lime and gold, its immense timber lands, beautiful and fertile valleys, grand mountain ranges, every flowing rivers, splendid fisheries, and above and beyond all, its great inland sea, known as Puget Sound, rippling on nearly two thousand miles of shore, where all the ships of the world could find free sailing and good anchorage three hundred and sixty-five days of the year.

All of these resources are tributary to the giant young city of Tacoma, known as the "City of Destiny." Tacoma was, in 1880, the smallest city in the Puget Sound country. Her population at that time was seven hundred and twenty inhabitants. She has grown up step by step, passed in point of population all the other cities in the State, and is now fairly entitled to the sobriquet, "Queen City of Washington," in view of the fact that her population is variously estimated at from 30,00 to 35,000.

The completion of the tunnel through the Cascade Mountains, in 1887, made Tacoma the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and placed her indirect communication with St. Paul and the East. The value of this was at once felt, and the growth of the city became very rapid, not only in all lines of import, export, mercantile business and manufacturing. So great has been the advance of all lines of business, and so rapidly has the city been built up, that the facts must be seen to be believed. Tacoma shipped during the year 1888 twenty-nine cargoes of wheat, and eighty-three million feet of lumber. During the past year it can be roughly estimated that three times that amount of both commodities have been shipped from Tacoma. The great tracts of iron in the immediate vicinity, as well as coal, both hard and soft, has given a great impetus to the establishment of large ironworks, while the best coke in the world is made in the city. The largest smelter for the reduction of ores on the Pacific Coast has just been erected.

The Northern pacific Railroad Company is spending six million dollars in Tacoma in terminal facilities, depots, and new shops; one and one-half million will be spent this year.

The Tacoma Light and Water company is enlarging its water and electric plants at an expenditure of three hundred thousand dollars, and the Tacoma Street Railway Company, of which Henry Villard is a prominent figure, is spending five hundred thousand dollars in cable and electric lines, and the construction of the finest motor house west of St. Paul.

There are to-day eleven banks in Tacoma, six of them national. There are in addition six building and loan associations. The schools and churches of Tacoma have a special interest. There are to-day eleven hundred buildings in course of construction, at an estimated cost of two million dollars, and the building record for the year reached nine millions dollars. The transfers for 1888 were nine million, and for the past year about sixteen million dollars.

Meanwhile, the values of real estate have necessarily advanced with the growth and prosperity of the city. Lots on Pacific Avenue, which could be bought in 1882 for one thousand dollars (and were by many considered extremely high) would to-day bring twenty-five thousand dollars. Thus it is no exaggeration to say that there have been fortunes made in buying realty in Tacoma for those who had the foresight and courage to buy and afterward the strength of conviction to retain their holdings. Natural resources, labor and capital are developing the city, and room has to be made for the increasing population and industries. Every residence and place of business has a tenant before it is ready for occupancy.

With the foregoing facts before you, do you think that you can find a better field for investment than in the State of Washington and in Tacoma, its chief city?

The undersigned has resided in Washington since 1881, has spent the last seven years in Tacoma, has seen Tacoma grow from a hamlet of less than one thousand inhabitants to its present population, is thoroughly conversant with the growth and advantages of the city and State, and is familiar with the values of realty in Tacoma and Pierce County. His business is real estate, loans and investments, and he pays particular attention to investments for non-residents, keeps constantly on hand a large list of business, residence and farm property; also acreage suitable for platting and several additions close to the city, on the installment plan. It is therefore safe to say that all investors, for both large and small amounts, can find what they wish, and be sure of good returns for what they place here, in this magnificent region. Those who haven't large amounts to invest can invest what they have, if only one or two hundred dollars; while they are saving more, the amount invested will in all probability grow faster then they can save up more to invest.

The motto of my business is, "A e deal to all, and first come, first served."


Real Estate and Investment,
Tacoma, Washington
1346 Pacific Avenue.

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It is probable that there are other firms in the city of Tacoma that do more business, but it is certain that none have a better reputation for strict attention to matters confided to their care than the pushing young firm of R. E. Anderson & Co., Investment and Loan Brokers, located at 820 A Street, just opposite the Tacoma Hotel. Trained in the conservative business centers of the East, both Mr. Anderson and Mr. Carman, the other member of the firm, are fully qualified to act intelligently for the best interests of those who seek their advice and counsel; and from the unvarying courtesy and business tact invariably shown by this firm to the callers, it is a matter of very little surprise that it is securing so large a share of the patronage of investors and dealers in Tacoma securities and real estate.

It goes without saying that no better paying investments can be had then those offered who intend locating in this city of progress, and enterprise, and a cursory glance at the many great bargains on the list of improved as well as unimproved properties for sale by R. E. Anderson & Co., demonstrate the fact that they should be consulted by the close and careful buyer desirous of getting all that there is in a sale or purchase. As loan brokers they offer for sale first mortgage real estate loans drawing eight per cent interest payable semi-annually, and running from one to five years. There is nothing better or safer, for the loans are made upon improved inside property in the city of Tacoma, and in no case is more than forty per cent of the cash value of the security loaned.

A scarcely less desirable investment furnished by them is a first mortgage loan on inside unimproved property drawing nine per cent interest payable semi-annually, and running from on to three years. Mr. Anderson's experience in the making of loans in the East has been such as to guarantee to the investor that his business will be carefully looked after from a safe and conservative basis. The best of reference is furnished from Philadelphia, New York, Des Moines and Tacoma.

Strangers are always cordially received at their office, conveniently located directly opposite the Tacoma Hotel, and whether they wish to invest or not, they will be shown about the city, and objects of interest they have never dreamed of as existing in this city, and which they themselves might neglect, will be shown to them with pleasure. No mistake can ever be made in looking up this firm by visitors to the "City of Destiny."

Real Estate Bought and Sold, Investments Made For Non-Residents. Office in Rear of Merchant's National Bank.

The rapid growth of Tacoma has been followed by a great advance in the prices of residence property, and so great has been this advance that it is practically impossible for men of moderate means to purchase homes near the business center. Such persons must secure a building site in some of the many eligibly located additions, among which are found the Hosmer's addition, only fifteen minutes' ride over the Fern Hill Motor line, trains running through this addition every hour to the grand Wapeto Lake Park, following Orchard's first, second and third addition, Ferry's addition, and Opie's Tacoma avenue addition.

These gentlemen are doing a very extensive real estate business, and also invest or make loans for non-residents. Mr. Orchard has been a resident of Tacoma about fifteen years, and is an authority on, as well as dealing largely in real estate; he is interested in a large number of enterprises in this city, and has also been identified with the Mercahnts' National Bank ever since its organization.

Mr. W. H. Opie, of the firm, has resided six years in Tacoma, having been teller of the Mercahnts' National Bank during that period until January 1, 1889, when he resigned his position there to engage in the present business. We bespeak for these gentlemen a successful business as they are reliable men, and have the confidence and best wishes of the entire community. They refer by permission to any bank in the city.

Tacoma, Washington.

Dear sir:--This means you. If you are not a resident of this grand and glorious Northwest, it means you very emphatically. Why? Well, this is as a land yet undiscovered; that is, its resources, rich in timber, coal, iron, gold, silver and agricultural products, that the man "back East" has no conception of. Washington, the youngest and richest State in Uncle Sam's domain, demand and is attracting the attention if the world. Tacoma, the "City of Destiny"--"the Gem of the Pacific Northwest"--whose marvelous growth astonishes all new comers, wants you for an investor and resident, and assures you rich returns. We have city and suburban property we can guarantee will advance from 50 to 200 per cent, the next year. Buy in time, We wish to see you.


Real Estate and Loan Brokers, Cor. 113th And Pacific Avenue.

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Real Estate and Loans.

The subject of this article, Mr. Chester F. Griesemer, although one of the comparatively recent comers to the "City of Destiny" has met with marked success, and occupies a standing in the front ranks of Tacoma's most distinguished citizens.

Mr. Griesemer first saw the light of day in the year 1850, at Philadelphia, and in his early days of manhood settled himself in that city in the jobbing business.

But for a business trip to the fair city of Tacoma, in the year 1888, he would possibly have still been in the Quaker city; Mr. Griesemer, however, had been a great traveler, and having for a great many years traveled through the leading States of the Union from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast, he had by experience acquired a knowledge of the points of advantage held by one city over another in regard to location, surroundings, resources, terminal facilities, and public spirit of its citizens as well as the bona-fide values of real estate; he has therefore characteristically quick to grasp the situation in Tacoma; he foresaw the vast field of success unfolding to a man of pluck and energy on Puget Sound; he noted the many advantages of Tacoma as the center of all the vast resources of this part of the country; he foresaw that from her advantageous site at the head of the Sound, and as the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad it was only a question of time when she must become not only a great manufacturing city, but a great foreign shipping point, a point of distribution for the surrounding country, and a great financial center.

Naturally Mr. Griesemer's extensive acquaintance, reaching from the man of millions to the thrifty clerk and mechanic, gives him in his present vocation as real estate broker a great advantage over competitors many years older in the business, particularly from the fact that back of his own shrewd judgment he has the practical experience of one of the notable and well-nigh infallible retired real estate men of Tacoma.

Mr. Griesemer does not confine himself to his office desk, but keeps up with the times in looking around for advantageous locations; in this he shows great judgment by the investment in eligible locations of money entrusted to his care; he is especially cautious in the purchase of realty for absent patrons, and the value of his selections may be readily realized from the fact that very large amounts of money are constantly sent him from the East for investment as he things best. He has been quietly accumulating some valuable tracts of realty which will be put on the market in the near future at figures so reasonable that the man of even small means may find a way of doubling his investments in a very short period. This is aside from the fact of his having the sole agency of some very fine properties about being platted.

Thus it is that his predictions are being fulfilled even faster than his most sanguine expectations could have asked, and by his energy and tact he has accomplished more in the short space of time he has been a resident of Tacoma, and has built up a larger business than could have been expected in an Eastern city, in the space of ten or twenty years; but behind all this there are reasons for his success which are not confined alone to his energy and tact.

Our subject is in the first place a man of education, natural refinement and courtesy, three qualifications which are appreciated everywhere; then, again, he is full of ambition and loves his new home, and it is generally conceded that a man must enjoy his home to be successful in it. Last, but by no means least, he is in love with his work, and when a man combines other good qualifications with a thorough enjoyment of the business which employs his time, he is almost sure of success in the pursuit of his vocation; it never tires him, and he is able to give it the careful attention required to insure success anywhere in these days.

As a public spirited citizen the subject of this sketch is by no means lacking. Appreciating the fact that it is the duty of every citizen to promote the welfare of his city, he does not forget those duties in his zeal for his business; knowing that his interests and Tacoma are identical, he is always willing to assist in all public enterprises, and forward everything that will combine to make his home fulfill all that her proud name, "City of Destiny," implies.

In concluding our sketch of Mr. Griesemer it may not be out of place to refer briefly to this broad public-spirited policy. It seems to be a natural gift to Tacoma that so many of her citizens pursue such a liberal policy. Every stranger visiting the city and properly presenting himself, is shown the greatest courtesy by every one with whom he comes in contact, and nowhere, when the interest of the city are involved, is there any set of men who more untiringly devote their time and money to the cause of progress than do a certain number of men in Tacoma. Of course, this is to be found more or less in every city, but it has been the writer's experience that it is more far-reaching here then elsewhere.

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Charles Fox, the real estate broker, of 915-1/2 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, is well known as one of the most reliable business men in the city. Although he only appeared upon the scene in Tacoma in 1888, over $1,000,000 worth of property has already passed through his hands, and he has successfully put upon the market some of the largest additions to the city.

He is the personification of business integrity, and promoters of wildcat schemes or those who seek to dispose of properties that have not sold, legitimate value, are very careful to avoid displaying their wares to his keen-eyed inspection.

By conducting his business in this perfectly straightforward and aboveboard manner, he has succeeded in gaining the entire confidence of the business community among which he transacts his affairs.

Very few men have had a more extended and diversified experience in the real estate field than the gentleman who is the subject of this article. He was born in the State of Ohio, and to escape being made a political office-holder--a contingency that early confronts all Ohioans--he made his escape from this place of his place of nativity when he was only eighteen, and settled in St. Louis, determining to let his feet grow among the Missourians. He remained in that city for ten years, when he made a new move, and settled in Wichita, Kansas. He went extensively into real estate at that point, and became very widely known as an active and energetic business man. Later on we find him settled in Los Angeles, Cal., in the palmy days of that city. His last move was, as he has already been stated, to come to Tacoma in 1888, his power of organization, grasp of detail and infinite fertility of resource, at once announcing to his wondering competitors that another Richmond was in the field. He deals mainly in the choicest sites for residence and business property, and intending purchasers seldom leave his office without being gratified to their heart's content. His extensive insurance interests also take up a share of his time and attention. He is the agent for several of the most reliable Eastern companies, and is valued by them as one their most energetic deputies. Mr. Fox's social qualities are as varied and universal as his business abilities, and his friends, which term includes most of all of his acquaintances, are as numberless as the sands of the seashore.




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