Edgewood Historical Society

            What is now known, as Edgewood is located in north Pierce County.  From approximately the County Line (North), 124th Ave. (East), 45th St. (South), and 94th Ave. (West).  Down the middle runs highway 161 (Meridian).  It was once called Chicken Hill, it is also known as the North Hill of Puyallup.

            Early Edgewood was actually several communities, Edgewood, Mt. View, and Jovita (Hovee’ta).  The first settlers were here before 1888.  Evidence seems to indicate that there were several schools on the hill. Then the Edgewood School District #307 was built in 1891.  It was located on the Northeast corner of Mickelson Co. Rd. (24th St.), and the Christenson-Gardella Road (Meridian).  In 1908 Mt. View and Jovita left and built one room school buildings of their own.  In 1936 the 3 schools consolidated again to make the Edgemont School Dist. # 307.  In 1967 the school district went into the Puyallup School system.

            The Edgewood Grange was built around 1900.  Oscar Jual, Mr. Reincke, Mr. Carbiner, Mr. Dillion, and Mr. Pedro were active members.  It was an area dotted with raspberry vineyards, strawberry fields, and tree orchards.  Later came chicken farms and rhubarb fields.  Among the first berry growers were Eric Wilson and Alban Lelli.  Among the orchardists was Ben Olev, who would load his fruit into a wagon and haul it into the mining towns of Black Diamond, and Carbonado.  One person who was a great help to the orchardists was Mr. Peterson who was an outstanding beekeeper.

            Those were the days before paved roads appeared and when the rains came, the roads became quagmires, hub deep in mud.  A trip to Tacoma took a full day, sometimes more.  The Interurban Railroad ran from Tacoma to Seattle.  On the hill it ran along the county line between Pierce Co. and King Co.  It seemed when automobiles came, only the Model T could get through.  The Interurban folded in 1929 as it couldn't keep up with the car.  The first man on the hill that had mechanical skills was Peter Nyholm.  The Nyholm family also established a general store on the hill.  It was located where the auto store on Jovita Blvd.Blvd., and Meridian meet. 

            A railway bridge builder from Tacoma by the name of Peter Williams bought land to raise raspberries.  He found that the property had more stumps and rocks then he wanted to plow around.  So he started to blast them out and he didn’t spare the powder.  The entire community rocked and rolled from the charges.  He became known as “Powder Pete”.

            In the early days, good roads and abundant water were urgent needs.  When the motor car came the roads were achieved.  Water was more of a problem.  When their mouths became dry some of the citizens would swallow a jigger or two of raspberry dew.  In March of 1918 there was a raid of moon-shiners in Edgewood.  They would make it in Edgewood and transport it to Tacoma and other cities.

            Mr. Nyholm purchased a Sear’s Windmill and provided water for part of the community.  In 1980, when the property was sold, the windmill was moved to the corner of 24th and Meridian near the Fire Dept.  The house was moved to Jovita Blvd.  Mr. Hendrick located springs and wells of water at the south foot of the hill.  He formed what is now the Mt. View-Edgewood Water Company.

            Jovita had its first store in 1908.  The first school building was in a old store building on the north side of Stewart Canyon, East of Howard Blancher’s home.  Later a one room schoolhouse was built.  The Interurban track ran close to the school, and was a great concern for the teacher.  The school later became a Soap Factory, then apartments.  It then became a private home.  In 1888 the families that lived there were J.A. Stewart, C Holt, E Naubert and J. Murry.

            Mr. Bradford K. Daniels who was a farmer that went from berries, to trees, to raising chickens, wrote a book called “The Outer Edge” about Edgewood.  It was published in the mid 40’s.  It tells about living there from 1912-1943.

Some of the early settlers of the Mt. View area were the M. Melby’s, and Halvor Romnes came in 1900.  Ole Nestegard, and Ed Mork moved here about 1904 after a visit in 1902.  In 1904 the Elling’s Iverson, Knute Lee, E.M. Iverson’s and Bernsten families also arrived.  They helped build the “Mountain View Luthern Church” in 1909.  It was also the schoolhouse until a school building was built before 1913.  The school was located on what is now 122nd Ave. and Caldwell Road.

Written by Joyce Frey 1-2008