Isabel M. Campbell Box 445 Olympia, Wash.
American Guide – Cities of Washington
Yelm Pop: 384
Name: A post office and town whose site was named by the Nisqually Indians and used by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company as early as 1849 to designate a farm site,and herdsman’s station located there.’
Geography: Situated in the south east part of the county, elevation 550 ft.) lat. 46 57 longitude 122.56} 18 miles southeast of Olympia in the center of the Yelm I i irrigation District in an open fertile valley irrigated by the glacial waters of the Nisqually River.
History: The James Longmire family, pioneers most closely associated with the bringing civilization to this section, set out from their Indiana home in March 1855for the west and arrived some weeks later. Receiving notice from the Hudson’s Bay Company not to Settle on land north of the Nisqually river, they accordingly crossed this river to Yelm Prairie and buying a house from one of their three white neighbors located near as was a large Indian encampment, they settled there “where tall grass grew rank and herds of deer wandered leisurely as cattle in the pastures at home,” acquiring a donation lard claim the following winter.
Government: Yelm is a Corporation with the Yelm Irrigation District a municipality of itself governed by a board of directors elected by the property owners of the district.
Transportation: Yelm is situated on the NP, GN, and O-WR & N railroads and Yelm-Rainier road. Bus transportation is available daily out of Tacoma by private line known as the Yelm-Rainier Stage Company. The Railway Express Agency Inc. is also located here.
Accommodations: The town is well built and adequately, supplied with a smart business section dating back to the time when this was the outfitting center and starting point for those attempting to scale Mt. Rainier, the Yelm Hotel, Puget Sound Power and Light Co., Yelm Realty, post office, Yelm Telephone Co., Olympia Federal Savings and Loan bank, good general stores, drugstore and sanitary meat market are among the business houses in the shopping district.
Clubs: The Grange, Odd Fellows, Masons, and American Legion number among the organizations contributing to the community’s fraternal and social activities together with such service clubs as the Yelm Commercial Club.
Points of Interest: Happy in the distinction of being the blackcap center of Washington’s Pacific Coast, this valley, once the site of Ft. Stevens during the Indian uprising 1854-1856, is irrigated over several thousand acres and is Thurston county’s one irrigation project. Here by a system comprised, of many miles of canal, the silt laden waters of’ the glacial Nisqually are conveyed to the high point of every subdivision in the district where berry growing is the chief enterprise and a rare quality and heavy tonnage results. To the northeast is the Nisqually Indian Reservation.
Industry: While the berry industry is the chief enterprise in the Yelm Irrigation District, it is surrounded by timber affording lumber and logging operations. A pickle factory, dairy products plant and berry receiving stations are also located at Yelm.
Education: The accredited high school numbering 177 students and 8 teachers is one of, the leading schools in the county. In the matter of elementary education, as well, Yelm rates high, with its good grade school and 13 teachers. Large comfortable busses convey students living at a distance.
Churches: Yelm supports three churches and a fourth Catholic, within two miles the town.
Social: The Yelm Garden Club is of active interest, and in the Social Hall located in the M. E. Church, the annual flower show, strawberry festival and many other events including the annual flower show many other events including piano recitals etc. take place. Dances are weekly events, in the Odd Fellows Hall and Grange Hall being popular.
Hunting and Fishing: Abundant small game in. season to delight the hunter, and from the numerous lakes close by, or from the rushing Nisqually river, Deschutes and Skookumchuck rivers within short miles of the town, the fisherman may count on lively sport.