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Mayfield

It is the site of a City of Tacoma hydroelectric dam and the new city of Mayfield. Platted as a large town, it did not develop.

The original town of Mayfield was flooded when the dam was construction. The original town was named for the first postmaster, H. T. Mayfield, who opened a post office in 1890. Prior to construction of the dam this town consisted of a few old stores, an ancient hotel, and a service station. It was built along a narrow shelf above the deep canyon through which flows the Cowlitz River. This area produced considerable honey; beehives were scattered throughout the fields and logged-off areas. The yield was high, running from 50 to 150 pounds a hive, and the honey had a delicious flavor because much of the nectar is gathered from the bloom of fireweed.

This plant springs up, almost as if by magic, in the cutover or burned off lands. For a season the land is an ugly scar; the next it is a purple splash of blossoming fireweed. The long maturing period of the plant is an important factor in its honey yield; for the pod-like buds, extending two or three feet down the tall stalk, first begin to open in May, and as the summer advances, the flowering descends lower and lower on the stalk until in late August the ripened seed pods burst into silken gray tufts. So regular is the progression from the first flower to the final phase of full seeding that the saying is current, “If you don’t know the month, look at the fireweed.”