It was in 1872 when South Hill was first officially surveyed. This action was the result of an effort, started in 1851, that all land in the future states of Oregon and Washington be classified as required by the Federal Donation Land Claim Act of 1850.
In the back hall of the Meeker Mansion is a framed “Better Acquaintance Supplement” of the Puyallup Valley Tribune, dated 1930. It consists of 90 photographs of business leaders of the community, identified by name and business affiliation. Near the bottom left corner is a photo of a man with a sash across his chest that reads: DEMOCRAT.
Given the partisanship and deep divisions that hold many of us at arm’s length from one another, it’s hard to see a time when as a people and nation, we would be willing to sit around a campfire, hold hands and sing “Kum By Yah” in peace and harmony. We just aren’t there yet.
Each March the members of the South Hill Historical Society ask the residents of the area to pause and help commemorate an event that dates from World War II. It was in March 1945 that the war’s violence was experienced locally when the Japanese bombed South Hill.
In photographs of celebrations that include and lionize Ezra Meeker, another distinguished-looking gentleman often appears, lurking in the background. His presence is so ubiquitous that he is sometimes irreverently called “the photo bomber” of his age.
One of the biblical psalms (Psalm 12) composed several millennia ago speaks of a time when lying and boasting had become a way of life for those with power and influence. Funny-strange how something so ancient can feel so relevant and fresh.
Before Pierce County started a grid system for identifying roads, it was customary to name thoroughfares to honor local people or to identify them for their specific usages. These early designations are now known as historic roads. South Hill has a number of them, some dating back to before the region’s settlement.
How do we stand as the “United” States of America when we don’t stand united? I can about imagine countries around the world laughing at us, not about who we have as a president but rather how we are acting. Protests, petitions, speeches and the like are our right as a free nation but there’s something else we ought to be doing: praying.
As we all know, the number of people on South Hill continues to increase. Reportedly we are now about 40,000 in number. And, as we make our way in and out of traffic, we wonder just when it all started.
As a nation, we are about to embark on a journey in a vehicle that is unfamiliar to many of us, with a driver who has shown himself to be a bit erratic, unwilling to follow established rules of the road, and given to a few too many moments of road rage.
Diligent research over the years had only yielded two stories of early Christmases: Ezra Meeker’s description of an 1874 community celebration in the school, and memories of Twinkle Lane in the 1950s. Here are two more.
Puyallup High School senior Haley Keizur was one of six runners-up for the JEA National High School Journalist of the Year award at the JEA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco on April 14, 2018.