Cannery set to open in Montesano, 100 years ago this week

  • Thu Jul 25th, 2019 8:15am
  • Life

125 years ago

July 27, 1894

Yesterday morning, County Attorney Schofield placed the following communication in the hands of the county commissioners, who were then in session:

Gentlemen — I desire to call your attention to the case now pending in supreme court relative to the attorney fees in the delinquent tax cases with reference to my connection therewith:

The board ordered these fees turned over to the county treasurer. I refused to obey the order because there were three different parties demanding of me that I surrender to each of them these identical fees, to-wit: Chehalis county, my predecessor in office who had commenced all of the cases, and a number of taxpayers who had paid the fees to me under protest.

The counties of Spokane, Lewis and Whatcom had similar cases pending in the courts. The intention of the legislature with reference to the ownership of these fees was doubtful, and the best lawyers of the state differed widely upon the subject. Chehalis county was indebted in an amount exceeding the limit allowed by the constitution. If I paid the money to the county and the supreme court should decide that it belonged to any of the other persons claiming it, the county was in no position to reimburse me for the fees. I refused to surrender it to the other climants because I considered it my duty to hold myself in a position that when the appellate court should decide to whom the fees belonged, I would be able to pay it over as the court might indicate.

100 years ago

July 25, 1919

Montesano is to have a real cannery. George Halferty of the Sea Beach Packing Company of Aberdeen and J.C. Edney, who has been running the Sea Beach Company’s plant at Copalis this spring and who has made his home in Aberdeen for the past 15 years, are managing the new cannery here. They will be ready for business about Aug. 15.

All the heavy work is finished in the installation of the new plant. The boiler is in and the retort, which is used to cook the berries in, is in place. They have purchased a new sanitary sealing machine which will handle 20 gallon cans a minute. The company has a steam engine and an electric motor and has not decided as yet which they will install, although Mr. Edney, who is overseeing the work of installation, says that in all probability it will be the steam engine, as the boiler is plenty large enough for both the engine and the retort. …

When the cannery starts, they will employ about 15 people, mostly women. After they get to the labeling and shipping, they will need more help.

They have very few berries spoken for as yet and want more offers. If you have Evergreens, it would pay you to talk to Mr. Edney.


“I am quite convinced oil will be found in paying quantities in the district.”

Superintendent Palmer of the Standard Oil Company’s drilling plant, located about a mile and a half northeast of Moclips, is not a talkative man, but he is confident of finding oil, as are all the old time oil drillers connected with the Standard’s works. The Vidette editor visited the Standard Oil Company works Tuesday.

It was a fortunate time for the visit. In starting to drill oil wells, it is customary to make the start without pipe. This was done at Moclips and the well was sunk about 175 feet before the hole began to cave in. That caused a stop to put down the casing, which was finished Tuesday noon and in the afternoon, drilling was resumed. From now on, casing will be put in as fast as the drilling is done.

The big drills — which, by the way, while only about four feet long, weigh about 1,500 pounds — were biting into the clay 175 feet below the well site at about 20 feet an hour when the writer left the place.

75 years ago

July 27, 1944

Word was received this last Tuesday by Mr. and Mrs. Silas H. Wilder from the War Department of the death in action July 8 of their son, Pvt. Floyd E. Wilder.

Wilder, 24, entered the Army May 8, 1942, and served with Company F, 19th Engineers in Africa and Italy. Prior to entering the service, he was employed by the Saginaw Timber company. He was one of the first World War II veterans to join the local post of the V.F.W.

His brother, Leo Wilder, is the full-time fireman on the Montesano Fire Department.

50 years ago

July 24, 1969

Another Montesano landmark, the Northern Pacific Railroad Terminal, began falling to the wrecker’s crowbar this last week as workmen started the tedious job of dismantling the long-idle structure. Gone are the days when a friendly steam whistle would awaken Montesanans to the fact that relatives and friends from the “outside world” were about to arrive. Gone are the days when the snort of the steam engine and the rocking of the passenger cars would lull you to sleep as the train gathered speed on its way to the big cities of Seattle and Tacoma.

Yes, those days are long gone. Now, the last link of the bygone railroad days, the depot, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Built in the late eighties or early nineties by the Puget Sound and Grays Harbor Railroad, the Northern Pacific depot was located just south and west of the Monte Villa Apartments on East Pioneer street and served the people of Montesano until 1911, when it was moved, lock, stock and barrel, by railroad flatcar to its present location at the foot of First Street. …

Yes, there is considerable history to the Northern Pacific Railroad depot at Montesano, and one can almost hear the ghosts of yesteryear speaking as the wrecking bar pulls the nails, one by one, from the wooden structure. Reminders of men leaving for war, those returning after a trip to the east and south and last but not least, the long wailing steam whistle as old “Number 9” sped down the track on its way to oblivion.

Another interesting footnote to the story is that the day the wreckers crowbar bit into the depot, Saturday, preceded man’s landing on another planet by one day. Perhaps it is fitting that the last vestige of the steam age is now departing Montesano with the advent of what is truly the space age.