Introduction: Enumclaw--the First 6020 Years

As Enumclaw prepares to celebrate its centennial, I would like to expand the 100-year story into a narrative that starts with the first people who lived here through about 20 years into the future.

History of Enumclaw Index


As Enumclaw prepares to celebrate its centennial, I would like to expand the 100-year story into a narrative that starts with the first people who lived here through about 20 years into the future.  As I indicated in my previous history post, this series will be richer with comments and stories from community members like you.

It is impossible to understand Enumclaw's local history without a picture of its connection to a larger world.  How was the history of Enumclaw affected by native tribes, the frontier, and homesteading; the Gilded Age and Roaring 20s; economic crises of the 1880s and 1890s, 1930s, and 2008-13; eight wars; the rise of the middle class; globalization?

What was the economic impact on local residents of the neighboring coal towns, the hop boom and bust of the 1890s, the early concentration of cooperatives around Enumclaw, the changing role of logging, the age of suburbia and commuting?

It is also impossible to forecast Enumclaw's future without understanding the past, and unreliable even if you do.  Predicting the future is colored by wishful thinking and other biases.  It can be rendered more accurate by understanding trends, and confounded by unforeseeable events.  One way to improve the forecast is to pose alternative futures.  If such and such occurs, then this is likely to happen, but if another thing occurs, this is the more likely future.

My father and mother were born before Enumclaw's incorporation as a town and I came along thirty years after that, but we didn't move here until 1961.  Then I relocated to a neighboring community and didn't return until the 1990s.  So I am not a native.  Natives are people who were born here.  Or people whose families were pioneers here.  Or people whose ancestors were here before that.  So I will look at Enumclaw's history as a relative newcomer.  These blogs will take a look back at our history and prehistory, and forward twenty years. 

Native peoples have been living in the area for many thousands of years, and some of their artifacts found near town are 6,000 years old; pioneers first came in 1853 (for two years), and permanent settlers arrived soon after.  The town was platted in 1885 and incorporated in 1913, and has since grown in population to 10,669.  Between 2013 and 2033, Enumclaw will . . .  Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.




The Histories of Enumclaw

Introduction:  Enumclaw--the First 6020 Years

Early Enumclaw:  6000 Years Ago to the Mid-1800s

Early Enumclaw:  The First Europeans Arrive

          The Adventures of Allen Porter's Wagon

Enumclaw's Early Plateau Neighbors

           Schools and Districts


Enumclaw Becomes a Town:  1879-1913

          Enumclaw Cooperatives

Incorporation through World War II:  Enumclaw from 1913-1945

          Logging and Lumber

Growth and Prosperity:  Enumclaw from 1945-2008

          Searching for a Town's Identity

          Enumclaw's Safes and Banks

Recent Past to the Present:  Enumclaw from 2008-2013

           Enumclaw's News

          The Limits of Growth

Enumclaw's Next Two Decades:  2013-2033

          Alternative Futures



For those of you who would like to explore Enumclaw's history further, here are a few resources you might find helpful:


--The Enumclaw Plateau Historical Museum.  This 1909 building houses the best collection from and about our area's past, including numerous artifacts, books, family histories, and an extensive collection of early photographs.  The volunteer staff are very helpful in answering your questions and directing you to the resources most relevant to your search.   The museum is located at 1837 Marion Street and is open Sundays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 pm.

--The Foothills Historical Society Museum.  Buckley's museum has indoor and outdoor displays of early activities in Buckley, Boise, Osceola, and nearby communities. The old heavy logging and mill equipment you can see along highway 410 is just a small sample of what this collection holds.  Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 12-4 pm and Sunday from 1-4 pm.

--The Black Diamond Historical Society Depot Museum.  Housed in the restored turn of the century railroad depot, this museum tells the story of early life, especially mining, near Black Diamond.  The museum features displays and information about Franklin, the abandoned mining town out past Krain, Birch, and Veazie where many from the Enumclaw Plateau worked.  The museum is located at the end of Railroad Street in old Black Diamond.  It is open from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursdays and from from 12 to 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays in summer, 12 to3 pm in winter.  Volunteers lead walking tours of Franklin on February 2 and March 2 of this year.

--The White River Valley Museum.  This partnership between the White River Historical Society and the City of Auburn includes objects and materials relating to the Plateau, most notably the original wagon of Alan Porter, the Enumclaw area's first pioneer settler.  The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 pm, and is located at 918 H Street, behind the Auburn Library.


--In the Shadow of the Mountain.  This meticulously researched book chronicles the pioneer history of Enumclaw from before the first white settlers through 1919.  Besides numerous pictures and detailed information about life of the early families, the book includes census reports, official land records, property maps, and an extensive index.  Nancy Hall's 361 page book was published in 1983 by the Courier-Herald, and in 2004 by Heritage Quest Press in Orting.  This book is available at the Plateau Historical Museum in Enumclaw.

--Pioneer History of Enumclaw.  Compiled by the Women's Progressive Club of Enumclaw.  1938.  This women's group interviewed many of the still living town pioneers or asked them to write down their recollections from the early days.  In this book, you can hear these settlers in their own words.  Only two copies were printed (hand typed), with one for the library and one for a bank vault.  However, you can read the entire book online here.

--There Is Only One Enumclaw.  Longtime resident Louise Ross Poppleton interviewed many early residents and conducted extensive research for writing this history of Enumclaw.  First published in 1980 and revised in 1995, it is one of the best single sources of stories and facts about our town's past.  The book is available at the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Museum, the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce, and The Sequel bookstore on Railroad Street.

--"The Only Enumclaw is in the State of Washington".  In 1909, the Enumclaw Commercial Club produced this booklet to attract new families and businesses to locate here.  In 1995, the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Society reproduced the original booklet and has copies of it available at the museum.

--"Special Edition:  Enumclaw's Centennial Issue"  Supplement to the Enumclaw Courier-Herald/Buckley News Banner, 1985.  This publication celebrates the centennial of the platting of Enumclaw by Frank Stevenson in 1885, while we are now marking the centennial of its incorporation. 

--Black Diamond: Mining the Memories. 1988.  Diane and Cory Olson compiled and edited this collection of interviews and stories about the early days of mining in the area.  The concluding chapter is devoted to Franklin, a ghost town that was one of Enumclaw's early neighbors.

--Seven Stars and Orion is a collection of family stories by seven black women and one black man in the early days of our area.  Two of the individuals described life in Franklin.  Esther Mumford is the editor of this 1986 book.

--Puyallup Perspectives.  Although Larry Kolano's 1976 book is primarily about Puyallup, it contains important information about the Naches Road, the Donation Land Act of 1850, and the Puget Sound War of 1856 on Connell's Prairie across from Osceola.


City of Enumclaw Historical Information

Enumclaw Heritage (Washington Rural Heritage Collections)

Enumclaw Thumbnail History--History Link

Enumclaw Historical Society on PATCH

History of Mutual of Enumclaw

History of Boise Creek Farm

Muckleshoot History

Milestones in King County History

Osceola Mudflow

Animation of the Osceola Mudflow

Prehistory of Enumclaw

Archeology in Enumclaw and the Surrounding Area

More Area Archeology

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Doreen Anderson January 05, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Another museum visit: The White River Valley Museum is a must-see on your list of Centennial-related Things-to-Do in 2013. Very impressive, and lots of parallels and connections between Auburn's (Slaughter's) history and Enumclaw's. And some Enumclaw-specific items of interest are there--for example, Allen Porter's old wagon! (Porter will be arriving in 1853 in John's next blog....) Another unanticipated and fun connection was meeting Janet Wells, the museum's Volunteer and Facility Coordinator, who grew up in Enumclaw. She lived from age 6 in the beautiful old Borgaard house, built in 1910, which used to be located on 410 (where the motorcycle/snowmobile shop is now). Of course there was no 410 then. Janet remembers when this location was part of Roosevelt Avenue. Some may recall that about 2000, Kathleen and Brion Michael moved this house to their property on Semanski near the high school. The old water tower there was taken down at that time. And a further connection: We had just picked up the latest LINKS newsletter at our museum here. It happens to include a picture of Janet's sister Carol, the 1957 Naches Trail Days queen, and an announcement of her Coronation Ball as part of the celebration. (WHO KNEW history could be so much fun?)
Doreen Anderson January 11, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Foothills Museum in Buckley is next, with more connections to Enumclaw. Plan a visit there, too! Started by Charles and Maxine Rose in 1981 in a small building with a few artifacts (a row of school desks, a chalkboard, a handful of things brought in from home), the collection now fills many rooms. The Roses are old-time Enumclaw folks--Charles (Jess) moved here in 1912 at age two, attended Firgrove and Osceola schools, and graduated from EHS. The family moved away for a time, but came back in 1944. Charles served old farms as a veterinarian for over 40 years. Three of the Rose's daughters and a niece are very involved in maintaining the museum. We had met daughter Ann Gibson earlier at Enumclaw's museum, and Lyn Rose was on duty when we visited Foothills this week. We still have to meet daughter Martha Olsen, but did talk to niece Nancy Stratton who was also volunteering yesterday. Lyn told us her dad was always interested in history and saving things for their historic value. She recalls that in 1953 her family did a reenactment in a covered wagon of an 1853 crossing of the Naches Pass. Mayor Pat Johnson stopped in while we were there--said it's one of her favorite places to hang out and refresh. Her family is also from Enumclaw--the Van Hoofs. Victor Van Hoof, a Belgian immigrant, bought a homestead on Porter's Prairie around 1900. His family grew and later two lines were known as the Van Hoofs of Osceola (the mayor's branch) and the Van Hoofs of Krain.
Jean Hoiland January 15, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I am looking forward to this series of blogs. I am third generation and the only one of 5 siblings to return and live here. In 2008 my name appeared in the Courier Herald for some article and a friend of my grandfathers called me to tell me stories about him. It was so unexpected and nice to hear what my grandfather was life before I came to know him. Thank you so much for all of the research and time you are investing in sharing Enumclaw's history.
John Anderson January 16, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Thanks for sharing, Jeanne. One tradition we (and many others) will long remember is talking tomatoes with your father in his greenhouses and selecting from among so many different varieties. Another is seeing your family working at the aebleskiver breakfasts at the historic Danish Hall. (When is the next one?) We often wondered how far back your family went in your interesting house. Do you know what year your house was built? (We can put a picture of it in the blog of the appropriate time frame.) Where did your grandparents come from and why did they choose Enumclaw? In our research, we learned that the very early cemetery was located where you live or nearby. Do you know any more about it? Supposedly, everybody was moved from there to where Garrett Park is now, and then moved again when they built the school there.
Doreen Anderson January 23, 2013 at 12:32 AM
A historic depot, with the station-master's office preserved, is the home of the Black Diamond Depot Museum. It also seems to be home to a very active group of supporters, if meeting six volunteers during our brief visit there is any indication. (And what a good time they all seemed to be having!) Judy Watson, Susie Thompson and John Nadeau were at work when we got there. Keith Watson, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, arrived with his brother Dave, the museum's archivist. We came with a special interest in the old coal-mining town of Franklin, so were very happy to also meet "Mayor of Franklin" Don Mason, who leads the Franklin tours (February 2 and March 2 this year--poster in pictures above). This museum is the place to see extensive exhibits on the coal-mining industry, the company town, and the home life of families during this era. A jail from 1910 and a fire station from 1920 stand on the grounds. Train-lovers will enjoy going through a restored antique logging engine and a caboose outfitted with seats, bunks and bathroom. A major project underway is a Coal Miners Honor Garden, which will include a bronze statue of a miner and a wall with the names of the 1100 miners who died in Washington between 1885 and 1960. This memorial is scheduled to be completed in July, but don't wait until then to visit the museum--see this one and the three mentioned above as soon as you can. You'll be as hooked on history as we have become!


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