Yelm: 1930

Yelm:  1930

 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.


W.P.A. Workers Get Pay Raise Starting March 6 (Nisqually Valley News March 12, 1936)

W.P.A. Workers Get Pay Raise Starting March 6

(Nisqually Valley News   March 12, 1936)

Employees of the W.P.A. in Yelm and Thurston County received an increase in their pay, starting March 6, which places the minimum pay at   $55, $65 for intermediate work;   skilled workers will receive $85 and the technical and professional workers will receive $94.

Beautification of Homes Urged by Club

(Nisqually Valley News  March 19, 1936)

Various plans and suggestions have been offered the residents of the community along the lines of planting, beautification of home site, etc., and this is something that we should all give considerable thought to.  The Commercial Club will be pleased to have suggestions from anyone in the community and have them meet with the club and assist in bringing about any constructive plans which they may have in mind.

President Cruikshank made a report at the meeting of the club on Tuesday evening, sowing  that the various work projects throughout the community are bringing considerable  cash into the locality.   Much of this he declared this was due to the present heads of the Works Progress Administration, and declared that the community should make every effort to bring about a showing favorable their own efforts.  The community is greatly indebted for the federal assistance, which has been rendered us and which Mr. Cruikshank believes has placed the community at 3 to 5 years ahead on what could be expected to accomplish had it been necessary to rely on our own funds to complete the many projects which have been carried on so successfully with the assistance of the W.P.A.  Apparently this assistance is not to stop at this point as Mr. Cruikshank reported that the request   had been made to file applications for other suitable projects which would be of benefit to the community.

It is a very noticeable fact that the community has apparently improved at least 30 percent in the last 3 year due to the fact that the Resettlement administration has come to the assistance of many off the land owners.  Mortgages have been taken up and in some instances reduced as much a fifty percent.  Small land owners have been assisted  with new buildings, poultry, tock, and other necessary equipment has been purchased through these funds and the land owners on the project have a much brighter outlook than at any time in the past few years.

A  great deal of assistance has been rendered to the community by the men   from the McKenna transient camp   and their work has been beneficial to the Irrigation District and to the flood control work on Thompson and Yelm creeks.

Many of the men from the various projects are being gradually absorbed by private industries.  A number also have received what is believed to be steady employment in the city of Olympia. Several small tie mills have been in operation in this part of the county for several months and with the Johnson and Sons plant now operating and the Gruber-Docherty Lumber Co. expecting to operate in the very near future, considerable employment in being furnished and many dollars are being brought into the community.

Farm Program to Aid Needy Farmers (Nisqually Valley New January 9, 1936)

Farm Program to Aid Needy Farmers

Nisqually Valley New   January 9, 1936

Every effort is being made to assist all Thurston County farm families who have been forced on relief or whose credit facilities have been exhausted, George Lightle of Yelm and R. E. Munson, of Olympia, local rehabilitation supervisors announced.  Many families on potentially productive farms will be given immediate attention.

Rehabilitation is not relief but a plan to place farmers who have been unduly affected by low farm prices of the past few years and unexpected reverses to regain a self-supporting   basis through adjustment of their debts, setting up a profitable farm plan and supplying a loan for capital goods necessary to make a farm aa “going” concern.

Where no debt adjustment or farm plan is necessary loans for the necessary capital goods, such as livestock, seed, feed and equipment can be made in a sort time.  If more extensive adjustments are necessary, the family can be temporarily placed on subsistence grants until debt realignment and the farm plan can be put into effect.

Clients can establish eligibility by being referred to the rehabilitation supervisor through the local relief office or with a statement from the local credit production association stating that credit facilities have been completely exhausted.

Families applying for rehabilitation may do so either directly to the office of the local supervisor or through county relief agencies.

WORK RELIEF PROJECTS DOING GOOD JOB (Nisqually Valley News December 5, 1935)


Nisqually Valley News  December 5, 1935

Under the supervision of Engineer Henry Peoples, work on the lower end of Yelm Creek is progressing very satisfactorily, with thirty men being employed at the present time and the number to be increased to 40 or more as soon as tools are available.

This work will be of ever-lasting benefit to the community as well as being of great benefit to the farmers in the upper country.


A force of forty men from the transient camp at McKenna are at the present time working on the upper end of Yelm Creek through the old Hammerschmith mill site and are doing very valuable work from a drainage standpoint. E. F. Banker, state director of the department of conservation and development, his assistant W. Ulier and Ray Cruikshank made a trip over the Yelm creek project the fore part of the week to see how the work was progressing.

The Yelm Irrigation project is being carried on under the supervision of Chester Thompson, employing about thirty men, most of the work being done on the Main Line Canal, which of course will be of lasting benefit to the community.

The city street project is under the supervision of Mayor J. M. Curry, and is employing twelve men. A very valuable piece of work is being done by these men.

Several road projects are under way in this end of the county and there appears to be very few men in this community who are unemployed.

Plans at .the present time are under way for the construction of a town hall, public library, fire station, city jail and Yelm Irrigation office under one roof and it is hoped this project can be worked out and construction gotten under way. If the present plans

are carried out, this will be a very much needed building tor the community.


YELM CREEK PROJECT IS APPROVED (Nisqually Valley News November 21, 1935)

Nisqually Valley News November 21, 1935

Yelm creek flood control project, which was turned down early in the year came to life with a bang this week when word came from Washington that the project had been approved and on Thursday, army engineers were in Yelm and announced that work would start on the project next Monday. with about twenty men employed. This will be increased to about forty men later.

The man in charge of the work for the army will move to this neighborhood and bring his children here for school.

The ma project is estimated to cost $16,500 and will take some ix or more months to complete.

Work Relief Started on Streets
(Nisqually Valley News November 21, 1935)

Coming as a complete surprise to local authorities, the Works Progress Administration started work on the Yelm streets Tuesday morning with a row of ten men and Ed Kelly for foreman and Godfrey Anderson as the time keeper, making a crew of twelve men.

Mayor Curry reported that no word had been heard since the request tor the project was submitted and they were not prepared for the work.

The city program contemplates the finishing of the sidewalks, of concrete on Yelm avenue, gravel sidewalks and side streets.

The cost of the town project was originally estimated at $19,350.



Nisqually Valley News   August 26, 1935

The Yelm High School is to have aid from the United States government under the National Youth Administration. The High School will receive one hundred dollars a month which is to be given to worthy student who they will be able to remain in school.  A student receiving this aid must be sixteen years of age. The student will be given a job to earn the money, and will not receive more than six dollars a month.

This will help some students who otherwise would have to get out and work rather than being able to complete their education.


Yelm People Benefit by Work Project (Nisqually Valley News August 8, 1935)

Yelm People Benefit by Work Project

Nisqually Valley News   August 8, 1935

A work project has been filed with the Works Progress Administration for men to be used on the Yelm Irrigation District. If acted upon favorably, it will employ 26 men for a period of ten months. Work proposed is increasing the capacity of the Main Line Canal; replacing two of the main line flumes with earthen, ditches, and work on the distribution system.

Also Yelm Creek has been, or it is trusted that it will be set up into a flood control project which will correct the condition which exists during every period of high water and has caused considerable damage to some of the best land in the district and has completely shut off many of the main roads during the winter months.

M.A.P. Mainly About People – Lessons hardest to learn are s (Morning Olympian November 2, 1932)


Mainly About People – Lessons hardest to learn are s

(Morning Olympian    November 2, 1932)

Mrs. Elmer Fristoe of Yelm who called at Red Cross headquarters in Olympia Monday, said the ladies of the Yelm district ad completed the making of women’s and children’s garments from the 488 yards of material given them by the Red Cross and were so well pleased that the ladies wanted enough more cloth for one hundred garments which they would makeup and bring to Olympia for distribution here.  Other issuances of clothing material on Monday by the Red Cross were 200 yards to Mrs. H. W. Gehrke and Mrs. E. Burnham, in charge of sewing at Rainier, 238 years to Mrs. Jack Martin  for the sewing societies in the Bald Hills and Eureka districts.

News of Thurston County – Yelm

E. K. Fristoe, Cor.

(Morning Olympian  November 5, 1932)

Approximately 400 yards of cloth materials have been distributed among te needy around Yelm during the past week to be made into dresses, shirts, and underwear and sheets.  The shipment delivered to Yelm through the Olympia chapter of the Red Cross and is being handled locally through the various churches, with Mrs. E. K. Fristoe as general chairman.  A corps of women are busy sewing the gingham into garments for small children and will be placed in homes where no one is able to sew.


Yelm E. K. Fristoe, Cor. (Morning Olympian August 30, 1932)


E. K. Fristoe, Cor.

(Morning Olympian   August 30, 1932)

The vote on the school bond issue for $9,000 was carried a small majority.  The election was held Wednesday for the purpose of voting bonds with which to build a new modern  gymnasium.  The total number of ballots cast was 265 with 140 favoring the bonds and 125 opposing the issue.

Yelm’s new grade school is nearing completion and will be ready for the fall school opening.  This replaces the unit built two years ago, also the old upper grade building and the gymnasium; both destroyed by fire.  Erection of the new gymnasium  will begin immediately after the bonds ave been sold.  J. Beckett of Seattle is architect for the  building.

Red Cross Helps Many Families (Morning Olympian August 11, 1932)

Red Cross Helps Many Families

(Morning Olympian  August 11, 1932)

Thurston county chapter of American Red Cross kept 22 families supplied with groceries and distributed federal flour to 1,400 families during the past month, Mrs. Fay Miller, home service secretary, reported to chapter executive board Wednesday.

A service used extensively during the month was the Red Cross’ free  bus service to the Yelm berry fields.  A total of 581 persons were hauled during the month.

The chapter furnished clothing to 26 families, bedding to three, medical supplies to nine and fresh milk to five.

The chapter furnished the water department a list of 30 needy men deserving of employment, most of whom have been given work by the city, and in addition obtained work of miscellaneous nature for 14 more.

The clinic conducted a full program also during July.