Note to Post Office: it’s Elk Plain, not Bethel Station

HBC Map 2There is a rumor in the community that the U.S. Postal Service has been asked to split Spanaway into two zip codes. The second Post Office is currently called Bethel Station. If it becomes its own zip code, it needs to correctly reflect the historical name of the community, Elk Plain.
In the 1840’s the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) started a farming business in Pierce County called the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. When the area became Washington State, there was a map made that reflected the area HBC claimed for the company. Eventually, Pierce County and Washington Territory paid HBC for the land and it was released for settlement. The map refers to the area around Bethel High School and the corner at 224th and the Mountain Highway as Elk Plain. The Indians historically referred to it as ElkPlain also, due to the large grassy plain and the herds of elk that inhabited it.
For a brief time, due to the railroad, the whistle stop for the area was also called Loveland. A historian in the grange, Chester Thompson, caught the switcheroo.
When the Postal Service created the new postal station in the mid-1990’s, they simply plucked the name from the shopping center and school district. Ruth Bethel may have helped create the school district while she was the state school superintendent, but her previous experience was in Roy, not Elk Plain. The community identifies itself with the name Elk Plain. It is the name form the Grange, the local elementary and the former community café.
We need to contact the U.S. Postal Service, Senators Murray and Cantwell and the local Congressman, Denny Heck and let them know the name needs to be corrected when the new zip code is issued. Get out your pens.