Scenes At The Salsich Lumber Company’s New Town Of McKenna, 1909

Scenes At The Salsich Lumber Company’s New Town Of McKenna — Mammoth New Industry Tributary To Tacoma.
Tacoma Daily Ledger May 2, 1909 (p. 40)

The Ledger presents herewith the first published picture of the Salsich Lumber company’s big new plan at McKenna on the Tacoma Eastern Railroad, together with a birdseye view of McKenna itself–a thriving little city of 450 people–built and owned by the company.

The plant, which is now operating at less than half its capacity owing to the depressed conditions everywhere prevailing in the lumber business, is another marked indication of the great pine forests which once clothed Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the moving of the center of lumber manufacture to Western Washington.

H. E. Salsich, president and moving spirit in the new company was formerly one of the most prominent manufacturers in Wisconsin and is still engaged in the business there, although output has been very materially reduced in that state by the exhausting of standing timber.

An intimate business associate of the executive officials of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. Mr. Salsich turned his attention to the timber of Pierce county soon after the Milwaukee began its extension in this direction and in the early summer of 1907 construction of the new plant was begun.


Everything connected with the plant and the city of McKenna which is named after E. W. McKenna, second vice-president of the parent Milwaukee system, has been created and established in what three years ago was a virgin wilderness. Mr. Salsich and associates purchased 26,000 acres of prime fir and cedar on the Nisqually river, about 30 miles south of Tacoma and laid out a townsite. The Tacoma Eastern railroad built an extension from its main line at Salsich junction to McKenna to server the mill and the best millwrights in the business were employed in the construction work.

Completed, the Salsich mill ranks as the largest on the Tacoma Eastern and among the largest and finest in all Western Washington.

The mill is of the double band saw type with a double band on one side and single band on the other. Its 10-hour capacity is 250,000 feet of lumber, 100,000 shingles and 100,000 lath. The machinery was built and installed by the Allis-Chalmers company of Milwaukee, and the total cost was $250,000. The mill stands about 20 feet from the bank of the Nisqually river, which feeds water to a huge log pond and having a capacity for 5,000,000 feet. At the present time the mill is operating only on the single band side, the present 10-hour output being less than 100,000 feet. When running at full capacity over 500 men will be employed on the mill and logging camps.

In keeping with the model lines along which the mill has been constructed, the company has built a town, claimed by many to be the most perfect specimen of sawmill city in the United States. Built on land which a few months ago was covered with heavy timber, McKenna boasts row after row of pretty little cottages, with many substantial homes. Streets have been opened, but there has not been time yet for grading and the building of sidewalks.

For unmarried employees the company has erected a big boarding house about a half a mile distant from the mill, and accommodating 150 men. The operating and accounting area of the concern are located in McKenna.

The officers of the Salsich Lumber Company are: President H. E., Salsich; vice-president and treasurer, A. G. Cook; secretary, Charles Law. The directors are the aforementioned officers; J. T. Gregory of Tacoma and H. H. Field, general counsel for the Chicago & Puget Sound railroad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *