Biography on page 148 of "The History of Pierce County", copyright 1927.
Edward E. Bair, of Steilacoom, is widely known as a man of advanced ideas and progressive methods, and his life record has gained for him respect and admiration because of his achievements along original lines. He was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1856, and is a son of A.J. and Mary (Hamm) Bair, both of whom also were native of the Buckeye state, and the former of whom died in Illinois in 1863, of smallpox,. The mother was a daughter of Rev. Hamm, who was an old-time circuit rider in early days in the middle west. Mrs. Bair came to Washington in 1888 and remained her until her death, which occurred in 1900.
Edward E. Bair attended the public schools of his native state and remained at home until seventeen years of age. he then went to Kansas and was engaged in farming until he had attained his majority, when he took up a homestead, which, however, he failed to prove up. In 1877 he went to Colorado and engaged in mining, and while there took a course in mining engineering, assaying and chemistry. In the spring of 1880 he planned to go to Sitka, Alaska, and went to San Francisco to take passage for that territory. However, he was "shanghaied" onto a whaler, which was presumably to land at Sitka, but instead of touching there spent six months on a whaling voyage.
In November of that year Mr. Bair was landed at San Francisco, and then went to the Puget Sound district, where he spent the winter in working at various occupations. Here he made good use of the technical knowledge he had acquired and did considerable assaying until 1887, making his headquarters at Portland, Oregon. In the meantime he had turned his attention to the insurance field, and in 1887 he came to Tacoma and in partnership with E.M. Oimett engaged in the real estate, loan and insurance business. In 1889 he organized the Bair-Loomis Banking & Investment Company, which handled the same lines, and he remained so connected until 1902.
In 1899 he went to Alaska during the Yukon excitement and during the two following years was in practically every part of that country, mining, prospecting and assaying. On his return to the States he developed the Iron Springs Hotel, which had previously been known as the Iron Springs Sanatorium. He was eminently successful in that enterprise, which he conducted until 1919, when he sold out, and has since made his home at Steilacoom.
During these years, having some spare time, he had become deeply interested in sea life, especially of the deep waters, and began the collection of specimens. He was systematic and methodical in this work and pursued it with enthusiasm, and the result of his labors is now in one large collection at Steilacoom, forming what is known as the "Deep Sea Aquarium and Museum," the only collection of its kind in this country, if not the world. A visit to this exhibit is both interesting and instructive, and Mr. Bair frequently gives lectures before school classes at the museum. He opened the museum at Salter Point in 1920, and it was appropriately located in view of the fact that in the immediate neighborhood of the point the water is seven hundred and eighty feet deep.
In 1911, at Steilacoom, Mr. Bair was united in marriage to Miss L. Louise Lewis, who was born in Georgia, and whose death occurred in 1918. Mr. Bair was formerly a member of Steilacoom Lodge, No. 2, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Rainier Lodge, No. 11, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he passed through all the chairs, and Tacoma Lodge, No. 7, Knights of Pythias, of which he was the first chancellor commander-but he is not now an active member of any order. He is a close student of Christian Science. A man of alert mentality, broad views and well defined opinions, he keeps in close touch with the great problems of the day. He is an agreeable companion and and entertaining conversationalist and is well liked by all who come in contact with him.
Louise Lewis Bair (____ - 1918)
Steilacoom Masonic Cemetery
Plot: NW 86
Maintained by: Cheryl Webber
Originally Created by: Washington State Cemeter...
Record added: Jul 03, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39044543
Added: Sep. 22, 2012