The Heyday of Old Wilkeson
SITU Members were invited to come to a picnic held one beautiful sunny July day in 2006, upon the grounds of the historic Washington Hotel in Wilkeson, Washington located in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. On the way into town, those who were interested, were allowed to tour the two historic churches in town, the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox.
Wilkeson was known primarily for coal and timber mining. It was also the location of the limestone quarry which supplied the stone to our Capital Building in Olympia, Washington. Another historic building in the town is its lovely school house!
We were led by the owners on a tour of the hotel's main floor, as well as the private quarters upstairs of the former brothel/hotel. The current owners had done a wonderful job of restoration and decorating! The wife's doll and costume collection is enviable indeed. The husband's tales of old Wilkeson and the yarns of the infamous residents was quite lively.
After lunch, the group strolled down the street to visit the site of the original coke ovens (see photos of them below) which had been used during the years of coal mining. It seems that the trains would come along the tracks, open the shoot at the bottom of the car and dump the coal into an oven where it would then be "cooked". Today, the ovens stand open and are easily viewed to passerbys.