From Kansas to Washington…via Wisconsin, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas, 1886-1942

by Victor J. Kucera

7.5 x 9.25, 440 pages, soft cover

ISBN 978-0-9836118-0-6

Price $29.95

Onalaska, Wisconsin • Onalaska, Arkansas
Onalaska, Texas • Onalaska, Washington

An Oregon Country fur trader knighted by Queen Victoria. A timber baron from Wisconsin. A brilliant land trader and financier of Washington Territory timberlands who never left his Philadelphia office desk. A shipboard romance aboard an Alaska steamer in 1888, that led all the way to Tsar Nicholas II’s royal court in Russia. A poor Quebec farm boy who worked for five cents a week in a grocery. An equally poor Cape Cod boy who disliked the thought of a seaman’s life. A son of a wealthy farm and whiskey distillery family in rural upstate New York, who was blessed with family connections. A skilled promoter and entrepreneur in 1890s booming Centralia, Washington—who would have given Donald Trump a run for his money. A Kansas Civil War veteran and amputee, who dug deep down into a Missouri River sandbar to recover a sunken steamer and its lost bonanza of whiskey.

These are only the beginning seasonings in a stew of personalities which shape the story of how all four Onalaska communities in the United States are connected. It is a tale of back-breaking work by early Atchison, Kansas, entrepreneurs who built one of the nation’s largest lumber companies, which then crashed on the shoals of the Great Depression and contentious new labor union laws put into effect in the mid-1930s by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt presidential administration.

Included is early history and photos of Atchison, Kansas, and the area that would become Onalaska, Washington. This book presents over 145 photos and maps, most not previously seen by the public.

Vic Kucera is an historian and heritage enthusiast of the early fur trade and Euro-American settlement of southwest Washington, who has traveled to all of the Onalaskas in the nation and many other Carlisle-Pennell Lumber Company project sites. Several years of research in archives, museums and personal papers and photos were compiled and sorted through, some while aboard a trawler in Alaska, where he, his wife, Linda, and Amadeus the dog, live during summers. The reader will find that Onalaska is based on a large amount of research. Kucera has invested every effort to locate century-old images which chronicle the story.


The book is available from Pacific Star Press, 2417 Tongass Avenue 111-280, Ketchikan, AK 99901 (206) 890-5114and Lewis County Historical Museum, 599 NW Front Way, Chehalis, WA 98532

For more information, or to order copies of the book, please contact the author at pacstar@att.net


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