Big Lake, a beautiful lake surrounded by virgin timber was enough for Dr. Hyacinthe P. Montborne to homestead here in 1884. He set up a shingle mill at Montborne in 1887, at the same time Hugh Walker was setting up a shingle mill in Walker Valley. With the establishment of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad along the shoreline of Big Lake, the valley began to boom. The Day Lumber Company at Big Lake and the Nelson Neal Lumber Company at Montborne each established lumber mills. Their operations were far-reaching into the vast timberlands. With families homesteading near and far, the Finn Settlement, Ehrlich, Big Lake, Big Rock, and Baker Heights joined Walker Valley and the town of Montborne as communities. The mills are now gone, but the communities in the Big Lake Valley have survived, and generations of families, both old and new, continue to call it home. Arcadia Publishing Co.
In 1898, a railroad station Theiler's Spur
became known as Ehrlich -
74 miles from Seattle wa - a whistle stop.
Early Saturday evening, three loggers,
Antone Olson, Tony Greb, and John Freeman,
were walking along the Northern Pacific
Railroad tracks near the Ehrlich Station,
two miles north of McMurray when they were
waylaid by a lone bandit. The loggers were
forced at gunpoint to cross a logjam over
Ehrlich Creek and taken into the trees.
After clubbing them unconscious with the butt
of his gun, the bandit searched the loggers for
money but found only 45 cents; then, he shot
them several times and dragged their inert
bodies into a nearby marsh.
Early Sunday morning, March 29, 1914, Freeman
regained consciousness, crawled across the
logjam and a quarter-mile up the railroad tracks
to a shack near Ehrlich Station. There, he
awakened Joseph Kelly, Thomas Dunning, and
Fred Carson, and told them what had happened.
Kelly went to McMurray and spread the alarm.
City Marshal Walter Hinman took a railroad
speeder (handcar) to Ehrlich, collected Freeman
and took him to Doctor H. L. Miller's
hospital at McMurray.
On the way back, Marshal Hinman found
Olson's body hidden behind a log,
but there was no sign of Tony Greb.