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Spanaway Historical Society
Newsletter Quiz

Do you know...
  1. The name of the train that ran between Tacoma and Spanaway?

    • An old steam engine, affectionately known as "Old Betsy," made the round trip between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway twice a day for a fare of 20 cents. P. 42, Early Spanaway by Dorothy E. Thompson Winston, ©1976

  2. How Spanaway got its name?

    • The lake and the area it around it was called "Spa'du-we" meaning "dug plants" -or a place where roots can be gathered for food - in the native Lushootseed dialect. The first known map of this area by the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) uses the spelling Spanueh, later anglicized by settlers to Spanaway.
      Click here for the HBC map and more about Spanueh.
      [Linguist] Nile Thompson Papers
      , Manuscript Collection No: 2552, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries

  3. How the first plats of land were surveyed in Spanaway?

    • Before the turn of the century, Adolph Funk, a licensed land surveyor, platted and surveyed the land with his large black dog, using a chain of 100 links (equal to 66 ft) with a leather thong on its end. The dog would run ahead with the thong in its teeth and wait for Adolph to mark the distance, then advance once more on command. Adolph and rover's survey lines are still accepted as true and authentic. P. 102, Early Spanaway

  4. What started the fire that destroyed most of Spanaway's business district in 1922?

    • The fire started in a chick incubator in a feed store on Pacific Street (now Park Avenue). Fanned by a fresh northeast wind, the flames spread rapidly. Engine companies No. 2 and 11 from Tacoma responded, laying 1,800 feet of hose from the lake. However it was too late. The burned block (between what is now 162nd and 163rd St & Park) included four stores, two apartments, and a large barn with its horses. P. 106. Early Spanaway.
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