Memorial for South Hill Pioneers
by Carl Vest
The South Hill Historical Society is starting a new project and is requesting the assistance of the general public. The objective is to recognize and honor, by means of a memorial, early settlers on South Hill. A private citizen has agreed to finance the effort and wishes to remain anonymous.
It is accepted that corporations played a significant role in the opening of South Hill to settlement. Timber companies such as Weyerhaeuser and the Northern Pacific Railroad played prominent roles as did real estate developers such as Scott & Howe and Shea & Nolan’s. However, the intent of this effort is to recognize individuals and/or families, not major corporations. For example, the Kupfer family settled the area around the intersection of present day Meridian Avenue and 112th Street (also known as 39th Avenue). This junction is often called Kupfer’s Corner. At about the same time, the late 1800s, the Mosolf family created a hop farm near where Bradley Lake Park is now located. Further south, during the same period, at about today’s Meridian Avenue and 160th Street, the Muehler family also began a hop farm. It has been speculated that it was the Muehler family that caused the first sections of Meridian Avenue to be built. Meridian Avenue, then called Ball-Wood Road, was constructed to connect their farm to Puyallup.
The creation of a memorial requires the identifying of early settlers. While extensive lists exist, there may be people who have been overlooked. Thus, it is requested that the public nominate people/families who are believed to be early settlers. By early, we mean the late 1800s through the first decade of the 1900s.
The kind of memorial has not been determined. Some have suggested a living commemorative in the form of educational scholarships. These could be awarded annually to selected seniors who graduate from South Hill high schools and wish to study at institutions of higher education. Others feel that some kind of a physical monument would be more appropriate. Public input on this question is requested.
A physical monument could take many forms. It is assumed that such a shrine would be of material that would last indefinitely, as opposed to a temporary structure such as wood. It could take the form of a tombstone, a wall, or some geometric shape such as a pylon. The names of the early settlers could be engraved on its face and the object then placed in an appropriate public place for viewing. South Hill has three public parks suitable for locating a physical monument: Meridian Habitat Park, Bradley Lake Park and the South Hill Community Park. The ground by the South Hill Library is also a possibility. The Society is requesting that the public recommend a type of physical monument should that method be chosen.
Carl Vest, PhD, is a founding member and Research Director for the South Hill Historical Society.