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As Enumclaw celebrates its 100th Anniversary, it’s fascinating to look back at the history of one of most beautiful and welcoming towns in America. The founding fathers boasted: “The settlement of Enumclaw and the surrounding countryside is the result of gradual growth by progressive people, who investigated and found Enumclaw’s superior advantages via their own efforts.” It was their belief, and remains true to this day, that there is no town in Washington State so ideally-located that its natural surroundings actually continue to sustain and drive the growth of the City and its residents.
Whether you’re a newcomer to Enumclaw, whether you’ve lived here all your life or whether you’re just visiting - it’s likely you’ll appreciate the small town feeling that remains, and the traditions and welcoming community that makes this…our home.
Over the past 100 years, Enumclaw has nurtured and protected the environment that provides plentiful supplies of rich soil, timber and minerals. In the valleys surrounding the plateau, there are huge forests of fir, cedar, spruce, vine maple, cottonwood and other timber that, in the past saw a huge logging industry that supplied the logs to numerous mills and factories in the area. This also resulted in Enumclaw becoming one of the most profitable areas for the woodworking industry.
Located on the western slope of the Cascades, approximately 1 hour southeast of Seattle and one hour east of Tacoma, Enumclaw’s location and natural environment has always been critical to its growth and prosperity. In addition to the plentiful timber mills, the town was in the vicinity of large and growing mining camps, where “everything a farmer raises finds quick sale.”
Even today, a hundred years since it was founded, with a population that’s grown from 1,200 to 12,000 residents, you are still able to walk around town and gaze upon horses, llama and sheep in the fields, lush expanses of green grass, summer-blooming roses & rhododendron, orchards of apples, pears, plums, and local farms with bountiful crops of strawberries, red raspberries, and blackberries. In the early 1900’s, Enumclaw Markets were considered “The best in the country!” It’s doubtful that any other new community in the early 1900’s in America found itself with such a high percentage of contented and prosperous farmers!
Having such an ample supply of grass for year-round grazing, Enumclaw also became an ideal home for dairy farmers. It’s important to note that in the early 1900’s, the Enumclaw Creamery produced ½ of the butter produced for cities throughout Puget Sound and Alaska. They also produced a large percentage of the cream used for making the majority of ice cream in Seattle! A considerable percentage of the milk produced by The Enumclaw Creamery was also sent over to Kent, WA, to be used in the making of canned, condensed milk.
Most breathtaking of Enumclaw’s wonders, is the year-round splendor of a snow-covered Mt. Rainier, with its seasonal snowmelt that provides small streams and fresh springs, which provide Enumclaw with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of pure, cold water. These same streams abound with salmon and other varieties of fish. The nearby mountains provide an ideal sanctuary for elk, deer, bear and birds. Known for its beauty and a grandeur-of-scenery, Mt. Rainier National Park surpasses the glaciers found in Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks and attracts visitors from around the world. It’s no wonder the Native American Indians in this area, The Muckleshoot Tribe, were skilled hunters & fishermen, with their arts, crafts, and culturally-advanced lifestyle reflecting the bounty of their surroundings.
Perhaps this verse written in the early 1900’s by Mr. A.E. Benbow, still applies to Enumclaw today, touching on the reasons why people who find their way here, tend to stay!
“Where should I go? I’m no millionaire To prepare a home with modest care, For future blessedness, a home supreme, And live a life that is no dream?”