Pacific's incorporation as a town of the fourth class is approved on August 2, 1909.

  • By Linda Holden Givens
  • Posted 12/29/2015
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 11169

On August 2, 1909, the King County Board of County Commissioners approves the incorporation of Pacific as a town of the fourth class. Pacific is located in the White River Valley some 28 miles south of Seattle, nestled between Algona to the north and Sumner and Edgewood to the south. The approval follows a July 27 vote by residents in favor of incorporation. Pacific's incorporation will take effect on August 10, 1909, when the incorporation paperwork is filed with the Washington Secretary of State.

Pacific City

The Puget Sound Electric Railway began service in 1902 between Seattle and Tacoma, bringing additional population and development to communities in the White River Valley area. Four years later in 1906 real-estate developer Clarence Dayton (C. D.) Hillman (1870-1935) platted and began promoting a town he called Pacific City.

More than 60 residents signed a petition, which was filed with the Board of County Commissioners on July 6, 1909, requesting that Pacific be incorporated as a town of the fourth class. A special election was held on July 27, 1909, to approve or reject the proposed incorporation and to elect a municipal council and other officials.

The residents voted 55 to 9 in favor of incorporation, and elected the first officials. The county commissioners approved the incorporation on August 2, 1909, and the results of the vote and the boundaries of the town were recorded and filed with the Secretary of State eight days later, making the incorporation official.

First Elected Officials

Pacific's first elected officials included James F. Lemar (1877-1941) as mayor and Charles G. Simmons as treasurer. The first municipal council was composed of Oscar D. Carpenter, Charles N. Henry, Alvin H. Loofborrow, John Roberts, and Joseph F. Lemm.

James Lemar, Pacific's first mayor, was born on July 27, 1877, in England. He immigrated to the United States in 1889 at the age of 12 and grew up in Massachusetts. In 1901 he married Adelaide French and they moved to Seattle in 1907. One year later their only child Walter E. Lemar was born. The Lemars moved to Pacific where James worked in real estate, insurance, and as an undertaker.

In the decades following incorporation, a thriving business community grew up in Pacific, but many businesses eventually succumbed to competition from larger retailers. One of the few that survived into the twenty-first century was Gius' Market, established in 1934 by Richard J. "Dick" Gius (1903-1987) and operated over the years by four generations of the family. Local farmers also struggled to maintain farmland as property taxes increased and most of the city's truck farms no longer exist. Pacific's population remained relatively low, increasing to an estimated 6,840 by 2015.


Sources:

"Order of Incorporation of the Town of Pacific," August 10, 1909, Record of Incorporated Cities and Towns, Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington; Journal of Proceedings of County Commissioners, King County, July 6, 1909 (Incorporation of the town of Pacific), Volume 16, p. 187, King County Archives, Seattle, Washington; Oregon and Washington State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1911-1912 (Seattle: R. L. Polk & Co., 1911); HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Pacific -- Thumbnail History" (by Linda Holden Givens), http://historylink.org (assessed December 29, 2015).


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