Other Resources and Industries of Washington

Of manufactures from native resources, flour is one of the most important. The first flouring mill in the territory was erected at Vancouver in 1830 by the H. B. Co., and was a set of ordinary millstones run by ox power. In 1832 a mill was erected seven miles above Vancouver, on Mill Creek, to run by waterpower. Whitman built a small flouring mill at Waiilatpu, which was in use about 1840. The first American colony on Puget Sound erected a rude gristmill at the falls of the Des Chutes, in the village of Tumwater, in 1846. This sufficed to pulverize the wheat, but not to bolt the flour. In 1851-2 a good gristmill was erected by Drew at Cowlitz landing, and later in the same year a larger one on the Chehalis by Armstrong. In 1854 Ward & Hays of Tumwater built a complete flouring mill at that place, which superseded the pioneer mill of Simmons and his neighbors. The next flouring mill was put up by Chambers at the mouth of Steilacoom Creek, in 1858. In 1860 there were, according to the U. S. census, no more than six mills in the territory. Langley’s Pacific Coast Directory for 1871-3 gave a table of 23, all run by water-power except Yesler’s, at Seattle, and erected at an aggregate cost of over $300,000, two thirds of that amount being invested in Walla Walla County, at that time recently settled. Several were erected in that county between 1864 and 1807, among them a mill by S. M. Wait on the Touchet, in 1865, this being the initial point in the settling of Waitsburg. Wait’s mill had a capacity of 100 barrels a day, being exceeded only by one other mill in the territory at that time, that of the Lincoln mill at Tumwater, which could grind 150 barrels daily. The average capacity of all the mills was about 40 barrels, or a little over 900 barrels daily. S. M. Wait was the first man to export flour from the Walla Walla Valley. Having a surplus, he sent a cargo to Liverpool, realizing a profit of $1 a barrel, which, considering the then high rates of transportation to Portland to be shipped aboard a vessel, was a noteworthy success. H. P. Isaacs of Walla Walla was one of the first millers in the valley, and became proprietor of the North Pacific Mills at that place. In 1880 there were 16 gristmills east of the Cascades, against 11 in 1873.

Lime was first made in 1860 on the west side of San Juan Island, by Augustus Hibbard. He was killed by N. C. Bailey, his partner, in a quarrel about an Indian woman, June 17, 1868. The works remained closed and in possession of the military authorities from that time to 1871, when Hibbard’s heir came from the east and reopened them. Two years afterward he died. Before his death Bailey returned and took possession of his interest. James McCurdy held a mortgage on the works, taken in 1866, and when Bailey died in 1874 he came into possession of the whole. The San Juan Island lime works are the largest north of California, and of great value to the country. The average sales for several years prior to 1879 were from 1,200 to 1,500 barrels per annum. The capacity of the kilns was 26,400 barrels. There were ten acres of limestone at the McCurdy works. It was of a light gray color, very compact, and suitable for building stone if not too costly to work.

New lime-works wore opened on the north end of the island in 1879 by Messrs Ross & Scurr, who had as much limestone as McCurdy. The same year McLaughlin & Lee opened a third kiln on the cast side of the island, with a capacity of 275 barrels, and burned about one kiln a week. This ledge was first worked by Roberts, who was drowned about 1863. La Name of Victoria then claimed it, but failed to perfect his title subsequent to the settlement of the boundary question, and it was taken by the present owners.

On Orcas Island was the Port Langdon lime kiln, situated on the east side of Buck’s Bay, first worked about 1869 by Shottler & Co. It was sold to Daniel McLaughlin, of the last named firm, and R. Caines in 1874, Caines subsequently buying out McLaughlin. Between 1874 and 1879 more than 20,000 barrels of lime were sold from this quarry, which covered but two acres. The kiln had a capacity of 175 barrels, and burned forty per clay.

In 1878 a quarry was opened on land leased from the Northern Pacific R. Co., situated in the Puyallup Valley near Adlerton station. Two furnaces were running in Nov., owned by Cronk & Griffith, having an aggregate capacity of 275 barrels. An extensive quarry was discovered in 1889 on the Skagit River; and limestone was reported as found near Walla Walla in 1872. The production of lime in 1880 was 65,000 barrels, worth $84,500.

A kindred industry was the manufacture of cement from nodules of a yellowish limestone found on the banks of the Columbia about the mouth of the river. This manufacture was commenced in 1868 by Knapp & Burrell of Portland, at Knappton opposite Astoria. The works yielded in the beginning 35 barrels daily.

Taking into consideration that both Oregon and Washington are stock raising countries, little attention is paid to the manufacture of leather. Three small tanneries, at Tumwater, Olympia, and Steilacoom, complete the list. The first was erected by James B. Biles and Young, in 1857, and was still in operation in 1885.

Soap was first made at Steilacoom in March 1862 by the Messrs Meekers. The manufacture was discontinued.

The manufacture of tobacco, from plants grown by himself, was begun at Elhi, Pierce County, by T. B. Patton, in 1877.

Fruit canning and drying was first engaged in by an organized company in 1883, at Walla Walla.

Brooms have for several years been manufactured at Olympia, and broomcorn raised in Yakima County.

Gloves were first made at a factory established in Olympia in 1580 by Weston & Swichart.

A sash, door, and blind factory was established at Tumwater in 1871 by Leonard, Crosby, & Cooper. Cooper soon became sole manager.
A chair factory was erected at Seattle in 1870 by Newell & Cosgriff.

The Seattle lumber mills run machinery for manufacturing sash, doors, and blinds, and scroll and ornamental work for house building.

Water pipe was first manufactured in 1868, at Tumwater, by W. N. Horton. In 1870 C. H. Hale and S. D. Howe were admitted to a partnership, and the company called the Washington Water Pipe Manufacturing and Water Company. It subsequently passed into the hands of D. F. Finch. The capacity of the works was from 2,500 to 3,000 feet per day of finished pipe. The material used was wood, bored, bound with iron hoops, and soaked in asphaltum. In 1877 a new company was organized in S. F., under the title fo American Water Pipe Company, with a capital of $250,000, for the purpose of manufacturing wooden pipe at Tumwater for both gas and water service.

Two stave, box, and excelsior mills are operated on a large scale at Seattle and Puyallup by the S. F. Mattullath Manufacturing Company. The buildings at Seattle cover four acres, 200 persons are employed, and the staves and heads for 5,000 barrels a day turned out. The waste is used to make boxes. This company have patented several machines, and have a process of their own for making barrels. The sides are made of a single sheet, which takes the place of separate staves. These sheets are cut from a large log by revolving it against a large knife. Another patent of this company is a petroleum- barrel, which is a tin cask inside a wooden one, the intervening space being filled with cement. Hittell’s Commerce and Industries, 624-5.

The Puyallup factory employs sixty men, and turns out 1,500 barrels per day, the staves and heads being sent to S. F. to be set up. Excelsior is made at this establishment from the cottonwood trees of the bottomlands.

Wagon-making is carried on to some extent. The first stagecoach, Concord make, ever built north of S. F. was manufactured in Walla Walla in 1867.

The first brick was made in the territory by Samuel Hancock, on the Cowlitz prairie. Good brick were scarce as late as 1867, and brought twenty dollars a thousand.

The largest brewery in Washington is at Seattle, owned by Schaffer & Howard.

Until quite recently no iron works of any extent existed north of the Columbia. The Port Madison Mills had a machine shop attached to their lumber establishment previous to 1870. In 1877 Lister & Burse opened work in an iron foundry at New Tacoma, employing twenty men. In 1878 the North Pacific Foundry and Machine shop, Seattle Coal Company’s machine shop, and the Williamson Machine shop were all running at Seattle. The North Pacific Company put up new works the following year. There was also a foundry at Walla Walla.

In 1880 the Puget Sound Iron Company, Cyrus Walker president, erected a furnace for smelting iron near Port Townsend. The place was called Iron- dale, where work was commenced in January 1881. The first iron was made on the 23d of that month. Ore used was obtained from the iron beds which underlie the dairy farm of William Bishop at Chimacum, and from Texada Island in the gulf of Georgia. Tho Chimacum mine was a stratum of bog- ore twenty-two inches thick, lying two feet beneath the surface, and extensive enough to keep a forty-ton furnace running for twenty years. The Texada mine was found in a fissure vein eighty feet wide, containing 62 per cent of metal, the quantity of which is inexhaustible, and the quality excellent, although the ore has to be desulphurized by roasting. The ores, delivered at the furnace, cost about two dollars a ton, including a royalty to the owners. The Chimacum iron being soft and the Texada hard, they arc mixed to obtain the proper density. Charcoal is made from the timber at hand; lime is brought from San Juan and Orcas islands at a dollar and a half a ton all of which greatly cheapens and facilitates the production of the iron, which is worth in the market thirty dollars per ton. The experiment being successful beyond expectation, the works are being enlarged.

Gold and silver mining is still carried on in Washington, although as an industry it is comparatively small. For the year ending in May 1880, the total value of the deep mine production was reported at $22,036, the principal part of this being from the Peshoston district in the Yakima country, and of placer mines 8120,019. In 1881 the yield was not much if any more, and in I883 the production of the precious metals had fallen off from former figures, not reaching to $100,000. This is not altogether from a poverty of resources, but is partly due to the more sure and rapid returns from other industries which have been enjoyed in eastern Washington for the last decade. The Yakima country was the first to give any returns from quartz-mining. The gold is free milling, and it is believed will give place at a greater depth to silver.


Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890.

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