Downtown Yelm in 1910
From: Farm Industry Pervades Yelm
The Daily Ledger July 17, 1910
Yelm, July 16 – Freight cars today hide a part of Yelm from the view of passengers of trains on the Northern Pacific tracks, which run through the place. These cars, forming several trains, were being loaded with telegraph poles, piles, hewed ties and posts. All except the ties were products of the Whitlach mill, Yelm’s main industrial plant, which cuts about 40,000 feet of lumber a day. The poles, piles, ties and posts covered the ground for a block extending from the railroad tracks. They were being shipped to various points in Washington and Oregon, especially in this state, where railroad building is just now causing larger exports from the sawmills.
The railroad ties are exports hewed from timber that is cut down just outside Yelm and are hauled to the railroad station in big wagons, which are coming and going constantly. The ties are being brought in so fast that there was today a great pile of them awaiting shipment. The piles and telegraph poles are also turned out by the mill workers faster than they can be handled by the railroad men, so that the first view of Yelm that the stranger gets is one that reminds him of a big lumber plant itself.
Located 24 miles south of Tacoma, Yelm is purely a village, never having been incorporated. It has about 200 people that it calls all its own, but the mill workers, farmers and others in the immediate surrounding country, who make this their trading and shipping point, would more than double that figure. Though it has never taken to expansion through boom methods, it has gone along contentedly, its business people being successful and its troubles being few. . . . .
On Main Wagon Road
Yelm’s main thoroughfare is the road from Tacoma to Olympia that is used by auto owners, and it is a dull day in the buzz-wagon line when the machines that whiz through the place do not number two score. This road is kept in good condition in this vicinity. Being under country control, Yelm is a “dry” town, and since the change by which its two saloons were closed came about, there has ceased talk of voting on the question of incorporating the settlement as a fourth class city. “now that there are no saloons there is no need to incorporate, for we get along all right and don’t need any special revenues,” said one of the settlers.