Wilkeson, Washington

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Wilkeson is a town in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 395 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Wilkeson was officially incorporated on July 24, 1909 and boasts the oldest operating elementary school building in Washington state.

The town is named for journalist and pioneer settler Frank Wilkeson. (corrected: Wilkeson was actually named for Franks father, Samuel).

The following passage is from an online biography of Frank Wilkeson:

"[In] his 1869 report of the Cascades mountain range, Frank [Wilkeson]'s father, Samuel, wrote: 'these forests of trees — so enchain the senses of the grand and so enchant the sense of the beautiful that I linger on the theme and am loathe [sic] to depart — surpassing the woods of all the rest of the globe...' Like many writers of that time, Samuel indulged in hyperbole, but his love of the Cascades seems very genuine. Sometime in the period of 1876-78, four large coal veins were discovered and mined near a region known as Carbonado in the Cascade foothills. A small village formed and was named for Samuel after NP extended a rail line there from Tacoma in 1877. He was appointed secretary of the NP board in March 1869. The area became well known for its coal coking ovens as well as the natural sandstone formations that were the source of material for facing the new capitol in Olympia. At one time the town of Wilkeson had a population of about 3,000, but today it hovers around 400. Many of the same principals of the Wilkeson operation built the coking ovens at Cokedale, about 80 miles north in Skagit County, which led to the creation of the town of Sedro, now Sedro-Woolley. As far as we can determine, neither Frank nor any member of his family actually ever lived in the namesake town, but his brother, Samuel G. Wilkeson, invested substantially in coal companies that operated there...

"Frank's father died in 1889 but by then another Wilkeson was investing financially in the Puget Sound: Samuel Gansevoort Wilkeson, Frank's older brother. Samuel G. first came to Tacoma in 1873, the year that town was chosen as the terminus for the Northern Pacific. He was a contemporary of Tacoma boomer Leonard Howarth and became wealthy in his activities with the same companies as Howarth — the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. and the Wilkeson Coal & Coke Co. That company mined coking coal in the town of Wilkeson, the town near Enumclaw that was named to honor Frank's and Sam's father."

Geography

Near the towns of Buckley and Carbonado, Wilkeson is located at 47°6′25″N 122°2′54″W / 47.10694°N 122.04833°W / 47.10694; -122.04833 (47.107066, -122.048263).[3]

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