For centuries, Nisqually people roamed the rivers and streams of the Eatonville area. Leschi, one of the main leaders of Nisqually was born in this area in 1808. In 1889, one of the Nisqually called Henry, guided the town's Euro-American founder, Thomas C. Van Eaton, from Mashell Prairie to the present site of Eatonville. Legend has it that upon arrival Henry declared, "This is a good place. Not much snow."
For years Eatonville was a waypoint for visitors to Mount Rainier. In 1902, the Tacoma Eastern Railroad arrived, providing freight and passenger service and a vital link to Tacoma. Soon after the railroad's arrival, several small mills sprang up in the vicinity. In the 1970s, the Wildlife park of Northwest Trek was opened and it remains to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, other than Mount Rainier itself.
Eatonville was officially incorporated in 1909, after the Eatonville Lumber Company brought in more people to work in its mill. The mill closed in 1954.
Meet your neighbors
Eatonville located Pierce County, 32 mi south of Tacoma. The population was 2,845 at the 2020 census. At the time of the 2010 census, majority of Eatonville were married couples living together with over 41% of households having children under the age of 18. The town motto is "Better Together".
Pictured above: Sign that reads 'Welcome to the Town of Eatonville'
Things you’ll love
Eatonville's most popular tourist attraction is the 723-acre Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The park allows guests to drive their own vehicles past bison, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, deer, caribou, swans and more on a Wild Drive tour. During the winter season, visit Stringtown Cellars for a glass of wine and pick out a Christmas tree from their farm!
The city and its surrounding area also hosts many beautiful parks, forests, and lakes. Be sure to take a camera when you visit these sites such as Alder Lake Park, Nisqually State Park, Pack Forest, Rapjohn Lake, and Tanwax Lake. Visit the Alder Dam along the Nisqually River and learn about how the town of Alder disappeared.
Pictured above: A bird's-eye view of the Alder Dam and Alder Lake
The Eatonville School District spans 460 square miles and has a fleet of 38 buses. Other than getting your kids to school, public transportation is limited. A car will go a long way in this small but charming town!
Pictured above: Mt. Rainer seen from Eatonville, WA
Eatonville School District is comprised of two preschool through elementary schools, Eatonville Middle School, Eatonville High School as well as Columbia Crest A-STEM Academy (Preschool-8th grade). The schools in this district rate from below average to average according to GreatSchools.org. The town also supports three alternative schooling options including homeschool support through Mount Rainier Parent Partnership (K-5th), Eatonville Online Academy (6th-12th), and New Beginnings (9th-12th).
Pictured above: Eatonville students partner up to complete their worksheets