[Construction in Yelm] January 24, 1914

Work was commenced Wednesday of last week on the garage of Morris & Rieschl, and it will be the first building in Yelm to be constructed of corrugated iron. It will be 24×50 feet and will furnish room for from 12 to 15 average-sized cars, besides office and show room. (Washington Standard      January 24, 1914)

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.


‘Wild Man” Captured and Sent to Asylum December 6, 1906

‘Wild Man” Captured and Sent to Asylum

(Olympia Daily Recorder  December 6, 1906)

Captured in the woods near Yelm, where he has been acting the part of a traditional wild man, Harvey Dusenbery was today committed to the Western Washington hospital at Fort Steilacoom by Judge Linn. Dusenbery gave his home as Provo City, Utah.  He has been in the vicinity of Yelm for about a week but defied capture until yesterday when J. F. Rice ran him down and after a struggle succeeded in overpowering him.  The insane man threw Rice completely over his head during the struggle.  He was brought to the city by Rice and Walter Longmire, The demented man was but scantily clothed and had been sleeping out of door without covering.

Campbell Quickly Captured May 23, 1902

Campbell Quickly Captured

 (Morning Olympian  May 23, 1902)

Insane Man Never Came to Olympia But Turned Off at Woodland—Offered No Resistance.

The escaped insane man, R. D. Campbell, who was thought to have made a visit to Olympia, was captured by the wardens of the asylum on the Northern’ Pacific main line between Yelm and Tacoma. Campbell never came to this city at all. After reaching Woodland he left the line of the railway and followed the wagon road to Yelm, He paused tliat place during the evening and turned back towards Tacoma. Supt. Parks, at Steilacoom, was notified of the direction the demented man had taken and the wardens easily found him yesterday morning. The wardens who were here were notified by telephone of the capture and left immediately for Steilacoom.

The Olympian was in error yesterday in giving tae unfortunate man’s name as M. E. Campbell. A gentleman by that name is secretary of-the John D. Campbell & Co. spice mills in Tacoma, with which concern the demented man has been associated. Evening paper please copy again.

[Escaped Asylum Inmate May 22, 1902


  (Washington Daily Record  May 22, 1902)

Chief Savidge this morning received from Yelm stating that a man answering the description of  M. Campbell, the patient who escaped from the asylum at Steilacoom Tuesday night, was seen in that town this morning.  He is said to have had a handkerchief wrapped around his hand and was hastening east, probably to Tacoma.  The three attendants from the asylum who were sent here to search for the man left this morning, two returning to the asylum and the other going to Yelm.”

Serious Accident. John A. McKenzie of Yelm Badly Hurt by a Windlass ( (Morning Olympian November 2, 1895)

Serious Accident. John A. McKenzie of Yelm Badly Hurt by a Windlass

( (Morning Olympian   November 2, 1895)

People that came of age in the 1960s might remember a public service annoucment warning one that if you found a blasting cap “Do not pick it up.”  The danger was real “J. A. Piper has begun suit against this county for $25,000 alleged damages to a son from explosion of dynamite cap found by the boy on the road between this city and Yelm. The loss sustained by Bennie Piper, the son, is a thumb and two fingers. It is alleged that the dynamite was left on the road by the county’s employees, so that the boy had easy access to it.”

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.