The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, July 19, 1890, Page 908, Image 12

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What a marvelous growth this town has had in the last
twelve months an increase of about four hundred per cent. I
During the spring of 1889 it possessed a population of about
300, nearly all employes in the mill, and their families. It is
claimed that within the area of a mile square, the incorporated
limits of the town, there reside at present about 1,500 people.
At the beginning of this wondrous transformation the town
possessed only the large mill and stores of the Northwestern
Lumber Co., and the few dwellings provided by the company
for its help. There are now to be seen here mile after mile of
graded streets, many of which have planked sidewalks, and
many handsome residences and business blocks two or three
stories in height and of pretty architectural design. There is a
$75,000 hotel, which, for appearance and finish, can not be ex
celled, and a $15,000 theater, the interior arrangement of which
is a perfect model.
To nearly everyone who visits Hoquiam, it seems ttrange,
when the deep-water facilities and the untold natural resources
lying within her reach are considered, that such a town did
not spring into existence many years ago. It was only in 1882
when the mill, now the property of the Northwestern Lumber
Co., was erected, which was the first saw mill located on Gray's
harbor. The gentlemen who comprise this company, knowing
the advantage of the site for a town, in 1884 platted the eighty
acres surrounding their mill. During the five years following
little effort was made to dispose of lots; but in the spring of
188!) a new era began to dawn upon Hoquiam. A contract was
entered into between George W. Hunt, the great railroad mag
nate, and the people of Hoquiam, whereby the former agreed
to build a first-class, standard-gauge railroad from the North
ern Pacific, at Chehalis, to Gray's Harbor, passing through
Hoquiam, and which was to be finished and fully eqniped and
in good running order within eighteen months from the time
of the signing of the contract. As an inducement to Mr. Hunt
to build this line, the citizens of Hoquiam raised $175,000 as a
bonus, and the owners of the land in and about Gray's Har
bor (which place is distant about three miles from Hoquiam),
contributed property valued at $000,000. Mr. Hunt is at pres
ent hastening with all possible speed the execution of his part
of the contract, and it is stated that the road, which does not
exceed sixty miles in length, is to be finished in October of this
year. It was the coming of this railroad which induced so many
people, in such a short time, to seek homes in Hoquiam.
Hoquiam is advantageously situated, at the mouth of Ho
quiam river, about fourteen miles from the ocean. Its position
is such as to give it a long extent of water front. The ground
upon which tle town 1b built being tide land, nearly the whole
of the area embraced within the incorporated limits is dyked.
The Hoquiam river is about three hundred feet wide, and is
not lesa than twenty feet deep at low tide. It is navigable for
deep-draft vessels a distance of eight miles, and consiberably
farther for lighter craft. The portion of the town bordering on
the harbor also affords excellent deep-water facilities. The
tide land within the town will soon be reclaimed, and wharves
will have to be built but a short distance into the harbor in or
der to reach deep water. This beautiful arm of the sea, on the
north side of which Hoquiam is situated, extends inland about
fifteen miles, and is about twelve miles in width from north to
south. The entrance to this harbor is one of the easiest of ac
cess on the Pacific coast. The opening from one point of land
to the other is not over a mile in width, while the distance
across the bar is about a quarter of a mile. The " mesn of the
lowest low water " on this bar, as shown by the last chart pre
pared by the United States coast and geodetic survey, in 1883
is twenty-two feet. A copy of this chart can now be seen in
Hoquiam. It was prepared for Mr. George H. Emerson by
the coast survey department, and was issued to him over'the
signature of an officer of that department, on the third day of
May, 1884. The harbor entrance is misrepresented in some
of the prints that have been issued by the government. One
of them, issued in November, 1886. has a series of dotted lines
drawn across the outer edge of the bar, which indicate that the
lowest depth of water found is twelve feet. The sailing charts
seem to have been compiled from this source, as they, for the
sake of safety, doubtless, give only nine feet of water at low
tide. The captains of the many vessels accustomed to cross
ing this bar at all seasons of the year claim to have never
found less than twenty-two feet of water in the 1,500 feet of
channel. This injustice to one of the easiest entrances to one
of the safest harbors in the United States, is about to be re
moved, since the pending river and harbor bill appropriates a
sufficient sum to defray the expense of a correct survey. The
channel from the bar up to within two miles of Hoquiam is not
less than thirty feet at low tide, and varies from that to a much
greater depth. Six large streams flow into Gray's harbor
four from the north and two from the south. It is claimed that
these streams aggregate two thousand miles in length, and
drain a basin which is at least 100 miles in width from north to
south, by about sixty miles in length. Nearly the whole of
this yaBt area is densely covered with timber, consisting of the
best quality of fir, spruce, cedar and hemlock, and so thick
does it grow that it will average from 5,000,000 to 10,000,000
feet to the quarter section. The soil in this basin, along the
river bottoms and within the range of the tide, is an alluvial
deposit, while the low land above the tide influences is a black
loam underlaid in many instances with clay; the rolling coun
try, where the best timber abounds, is either gravel largely
mixed with broken and pulverized soapBtone, or a deposit com
posed chiefly of clay.
The speedy completion of the railroad mentioned, and the
large number of industries that are to be located there, must,
naturally, greatly increase the population and volume of busi
ness done in Hcquiam. The town already possesses, in the
Northwestern Lumber Company, one of the largest industries
located on the harbor. The mill of this company is capable of
cutting 100,000 feet of lumber in a day. In connection with it
is a planing mill and a dryer, capable of drying 10,000 feet per
day. On the stocks of the ship yard, which is also a part of
the mill property, is now laid the keel for a four-masted
schooner that will carry 900,000 feet of lumber when she is
completed. The four-masted schooner Volunteer, which carries
850,000 feet of lumber, was built here, as were also the schooner
Pioneer and eteam tug Printer. Last January a sash and door
factory that cost $10,000 was put in operation ; the proprietors
of this plant intend expending $10,000 additional in improving
it this season. The Hoquiam Lumber and Improvement Com
pany's mill has just been completed. It cost about $40,000 and
has a capacity of 100,000 feet per day. It is claimed at least
200 Btores and dwellings have been erected in Hoquiam withto
the last twelve months, and that there was expended in their
construction the sum of $300,000. This estimate does not in
clude the hotel and theater. The former is an exceedingly
ornamental building, and will cost, when finished, about $75,
000. This amount includes the cost of construction and furnish
ing this elegant hostelry. Its style of architecture is that of the
castellated Queen Ann, and the building covers an area U0x75
feet, and is Bix stories high, including the basement. The
stairs and moat of the wood work throughout the building i
highly ornamental. The beautiful carvings and artistic finish