is our collection of historical photos and information as we work to piece together the history of our home and property.
We are grateful to Marvin and Kay Brons for generously sharing with us their old family photos and information.
The history of Boise Creek Farm begins almost thirty years before our house was built. In the late 1800's Niels and Ida Brons made their home on a 50-acre parcel of land near the corner of Warner Avenue and Blake Street in southeast Enumclaw. Niels worked as a Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company treasurer in town. He and his wife Ida built the house shown below in 1898. Below left is a 1909 photo of the original Brons house; below right is a photo taken in the early 1920's after the house was significantly enlarged to accommodate Niels, Ida, and their thirteen children. Click here to learn more about Niels Brons.
In its early days, Enumclaw was a small pioneer community with unpaved streets as shown below.
The 1930's photo below is of an eight-sided barn erected by Niels Brons and his neighbors around 1909. A small portion of the original Brons barn (now our barn) is just visible at far right. We are looking east from Blake Street with the Brons house in the background to the left and Mt. Baldy in the background to the right. Niel's grandson, Enumclaw resident Marvin Brons, shares the following:
The eight-sided barn no longer exists, but another barn stands in this spot today. It was constructed in 1948 using material from the original barn. Some of the old windows were reused and are identifiable in the photo below. Click to enlarge for a closer look.
Notice the bracken and trees between the two barns above. Early records indicate that Boise Creek once flowed between these barns. Check out the 1937 aerial survey image at the bottom of this page; the old creek bed can be seen as a wide indentation in the land. The creek was diverted in the early 1900's when a drainage ditch was created to control persistent flooding in the district. Today, our house and land (Boise Creek Farm) is located between the site of the original creek and the creek's current location, just two hundred feet to the right of this photo.
In the 1909 photo below, we see several members of the Brons family standing in front of a berry field that surrounded the Brons home. We are looking south-east from Warner Avenue near Blake Street with Mt. Baldy visible in the background at left. Notice the thickly wooded area behind the house with Mt. Peak just visible at far right. Today this forested area is open pasture. Click to enlarge.
The photo above was featured in the Enumclaw Courier Herald in 2007; the original text is quoted here:
"Marvin Brons brought by this photograph of the Brons' berry field from 1909. The photograph features, from left, his father Herb Brons; grandfather Niels Brons (one of the founders of Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Company); who is holding Esther Brons; and grandmother Ida Brons, holding Rosamond Brons. The identity of the next person is unknown. From there, pictured are Amanda Brons, Alma Brons, Ella Marie Brons (wife of Marvin's great-uncle Hans Brons), an unknown man, and Paul Boysen (Marvin's great-grandfather). The farm was located at the corner of 456th Street and Blake Street. In the background is the home Niels Brons built in 1900".
This photo was originally published in a 1909 pamphlet by the Enumclaw Commercial Club, promoting local business. The pamphlet states that the berry culture is just being taken up and is proving a success. Niels Brons is mentioned as Secretary of the Enumclaw Fruit Growers’ Association. Note: 456th Street is also Warner Avenue, because it divides city from county land. Also, some records note that the original Brons house was constructed in 1898, rather than 1900.
Here is a close-up of Herb Brons; Niels Brons holding Esther Brons; Ida Brons holding Rosamond Brons; an unknown woman; Amanda Brons; Alma Brons; Ella Marie Brons; Hans Brons (Neil's brother), and Paul Boysen (Ida's father).
From the book The Only Enumclaw is in the State of Washington, published by the Enumclaw Commercial Club in 1909...
The Brons Family
Niels Brons was born in Denmark in 1859. He came to America with his family at the age of twelve. Niels married Ida Boysen and they had thirteen children; ten girls and three boys. We can see that Niels had a wry sense of humor, because he would tell people that he had three sons and each one of them had ten sisters! In order of birth, the children were (1) Marie, (2) Lily, (3) Agnes, (4) Amanda, (5) Paul, (6) Alma, (7) Otto, (8) Ida, (9) Elenora, (10) Hilda, (11) Herbert, (12) Esther, and (13) Rosamond.
Niels documented much of his experiences in a personal memoir that he continued to write in until his death in 1945. His wife Ida died of influenza in 1918. Niel's grandson Marvin Brons, has generously allowed us to share some of his grandfather's memories here.
Click here to see a before and after map that shows the course of Boise Creek today and its original course.
The following excerpt was written after Niels recovered from a lengthy illness
during the 1918 influenza epidemic; his wife Ida did not recover. The 1918-1919
Influenza Epidemic killed at least 40 million people worldwide;
some 675,000 people here in the United States.
When Niels divided up his 50 acres, his fourth daughter, Amanda, became owner of the land that is now Boise Creek Farm. Here is what we know of Amanda's story.
Just one year after their third child was born, tragedy struck the Nelson family when Victor died of Bright's disease in 1920. At the age of thirty-one, Amanda became a widow with two small children and a baby to care for. But happier days were coming for Amanda. Six years after the loss of her first husband, Amanda married Jens Andersen in January 1926. With the help of Amanda's father, Jens built his wife a beautiful farm house (now our house) closer to Boise Creek and just south of her first little house.
Jens, Amanda, and the children moved into their new house in 1927. The Andersen family was the first to call the house home. But tragedy struck once again when just a year later, Bright's disease claimed another victim when Jens died of this painful kidney disease. Twice widowed, Amanda remained in the house and raised her children until 1941 when she sold the house and moved into town.
Below is a photo of an
eighth-grade graduation class that includes Amanda and her sister Alma.
Above from left: Elenore's daughter, Claire McIntosh Lambertus (almost aged 5); Amanda, Bernice's daughter, Barbara Smith Britton (age 3); Torque (the McIntosh family dog); and Elenore's son, Robert McIntosh (age 6).
During her life, Amanda worked in Seattle at Northwest Mutual. She passed away in 1965 in Montecito California.
Our Home - Now Boise Creek Farm
Amanda's farmhouse was close to her parent's house as we can see from the late 1920's photo below. It was taken from Niel's and Ida's backyard looking west. We see the back of Amanda's house, a small garage, and the original Brons family barn. Amanda acquired the old barn when she received her two acres. The house, garage, and barn are still in good condition today. The farmhouse, built in 1927, was solidly and soundly built. The top story at the back of the house now spans the full width, because the upstairs was expanded on either side of the two-windowed dormer. A mudroom was added where the back porch once stood and the back door moved to the north side of the building. You can see the old back door beneath the dormer. The original back door is now an interior doorway between the mudroom and the kitchen. An original exterior window maintains its place between these two rooms. The old barn is well over a century old now, but we no longer have lightening rods attached. Mouse over for a closer look.
is a photo of our house long ago, date unknown.
from a 1937 aerial photography survey. Mouse over to see the same view
from Google Earth in 2007.
Here is what we know of the families that have lived in our
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