Laundry, civic leader and philanthropist expands his businesses | In times gone by
Editor’s Note: This is the second of two parts on Eugene Tausick.
Eugene Tausick ran the extensive Walla Walla steam laundry from 1893, an operation that required water and fuel.
The Fourth Avenue location was on Mill Creek, and Tausick had water rights, which met the laundry’s water needs.
But to ensure they had a constant supply of fuel, Tausick got involved in the wood and charcoal businesses.
An advertisement from 1903 claimed that it had the best, cleanest charcoal, and that its wood was well seasoned. That same year, he won the contract to supply 250 tonnes of soft charcoal to the library and ordered 2,500 cords of wood to be delivered from Hood River.
As if he didn’t have enough to do, Tausick established an ice factory in 1902, which led to an interest in Walla Walla Meat and Cold Storage and the Valley Fruit Co.
Jake Kauffman, his partner in the ice cream business, was an early fire chief and a member of city council. The Kauffman Tausick partnership lasted until Kauffman’s death in 1940.
Tausick had horticultural interests and owned many acres of farmland, so it made sense for him to be elected to the County Fair Association board of directors in 1904.
In 1906, Tausick was elected to the Walla Walla city council. He was mayor for three of the five years he served on Council. He was particularly interested in flood control during his tenure. A popular leader, he ran unopposed in his last two Council elections.
Laundry was always at the center of his preoccupations, and in 1906 a large convention of 25 laundries, described as “the shirt men” by the Evening Statesman, was held at Walla Walla.
The convention included tours of the Washington State Penitentiary, Whitman College and the Walla Walla Steam Laundry, where attendees were impressed by the “excellent sanitary conditions and general interior design” of the machines.
In 1908, Mayor Tausick commissioned the City Parks Commission to develop a strategy for improving the area. Commission Chairman John W. Langdon drew up a plan for a municipal park and, thanks to the energy and efforts of the Women’s Park Club, what we now call Pioneer Park became a reality.
As active in his old age as his youngest, Tausick bought the 11-year-old Grand Hotel on the corner of First Avenue and Alder Street in 1922, which offered the best accommodation in town at the time.
When the Dacres Hotel on Main and Fourth Avenue went up for sale in 1924, Tausick bought it and became the owner of two hotels.
On the occasion of his 85th birthday, he was honored with a special luncheon at the Grand Hotel attended by guests aged 80 and over.
Tausick died at the age of 88 in 1956. His obituary stated that he was “possibly the largest landowner in town”.
His will shows how generous he was. Although not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he left $ 30,000 to Walla Walla College, which gave his swimming pool his name.
Tausick served on the local YWCA building committee and laid the cornerstone when the building was opened on May 27, 1951.
The funding he left with the YWCA Walla Walla was used in 1965 to build the Ice Chalet, the only YWCA-run ice rink in the country. It provided nearly 50 years of community entertainment until it closed in 2014.
So why is the road we know as the Tausick Way named after Tausick?
In addition to all his other interests, Tausick was fascinated by aviation early on and believed that an airfield would benefit Walla Walla.
In 1922 he and the Baker Langdon Company made available a no-cost, open-ended lease for a piece of land 1 mile east of town to use as an airfield.
It was the first step in a movement to put Walla Walla on the air. Appropriately marked so that it could be clearly seen from the air, the terrain was intended to “be accessible to any aviator who happened to cross.”
It is therefore fitting that Tausick Way, the name that changes to Airport Road after crossing Isaacs Avenue and leading to the Walla Walla Regional Airport, honors Tausick, a Walla Walla leader with many interests, boundless energy and deep love of his community. .
Susan Monahan volunteers by organizing tours and researching at the Kirkman House Museum and coordinates the Living History Volunteer Program at the Fort Walla Walla Museum. Contact her at [email protected] This column focuses on the rich history of the people, places and events of the Walla Walla Valley.