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Page 1 of 3 of the Rainier Area of Interest.
Named for its view of Mt. Rainier, Rainier is situated amidst the ‘ten al quelth’ prairies which is the Indian word meaning “the best yet.” The area was first settled by Albert and Maria Gehrke who homesteaded there in 1890. Six years later, Albert and his two brothers, Theodore and Paul, built the community’s first school and church, which today is a state historic landmark. A post office followed in 1890 when residents grew tired of mail being delivered by “toss off and catch” since the trains did not stop in Rainier.

Lumbering brought prosperity to the town and its first lumber company, the Bob White Lumber Company, opened in 1906. Other lumber companies followed, including companies such as Deschutes, Gruber and Docherty, and Fir Tree. A series of fires in the Rainier area in the late 1920s and early 1930s destroyed several of these mill operations (in addition to many of its town buildings), and town residents sought work at Weyerhaeuser Lumber at Vail.
Information courtesy of (1) Thurston County Historic Commission.