Caught in the rush of fortune seekers was an 18-year-old Swede named Otto
Sjöström. Like more than 46,000 of his countrymen, Sjöström left behind the failed
crops and perils of his homeland in the mass exodus of 1887. He set sail through
the port of Malmo, landed at New York and shortened his name to Strom.
Strom met his brother John who’d already traveled to America. Their journey west
led them to Grays Harbor City, a short-lived boomtown near Hoquiam on the
“A beautiful picture of a large sawmill was part of the bait. That
mill did not exist. Lots were being sold from maps and pictures
all over the Northwest,” Strom remembered.
Strom pushed on alone and became one of the first Whites to settle the banks of
the Hoh River. “I have had lots of experiences with Indians all through these parts,
but all of them pleasant,” he said. Strom married Mary Fisher, a Hoh River Indian,
and became one of the only Whites ever adopted by the Quinault Nation.
Strom left his mark as a seasoned blacksmith and a builder. “I helped develop what
there is of Hoh River and Taholah communities. I blazed the first trail between Hoh
and Bogachiel. The present bridge over the Hoh River is located on my trail.” More
than 125 years later, you can still find Strom’s legacy in the community of Taholah’s
historic homes and in the generations of his living descendants.