In 1899, four years after the Northern Pacific Railroad reached Hoquiam's sister city of Aberdeen, it was extended into Hoquiam, thus completing the capitalist project begun a decade earlier. Although its earlier access to rail gave Aberdeen an early lead in population, capital, and prestige it would never relinquish, the railway brought a massive dose of new investment to Hoquiam, particularly by lumber capitalists
The rail line spurred the local economy. Lumber and shingle shipments from Hoquiam, previously confined to water-based transport, increased dramatically. Equally dramatic was the rise in population, which more than tripled during the first decade of the twentieth century, reaching 8,000 in 1910.
To cite only one dramatic example, Robert and Joseph Lytle, two Hoquiam brothers who made their money by operating a grocery business and what one logger called "the worst camp I ever got into," transitioned to lumber and shingle manufacturing shortly after the extension of the railway into Hoquiam. With guaranteed access to cedar for shingles from their logging operation and the ability to ship their products by rail and sea, the Lytles transitioned their small firm into the giant Hoquiam Lumber and Shingle Company, capable of turning out 275 million shingles per year by 1906.
The Grays Harbor Post crowed over the mill's success in 1911:
"Establishing a record for rail business in lumber and shingles from Grays Harbor, the Hoquiam Lumber & Shingle Company has shipped an average of 175 cars per month during the past three months ... . This record is considered remarkable and especially so since it has been maintained for three months" (Grays Harbor Post, May 13, 1911).
With the Lytle Mill, the North Western lumber company, and scores of other lumber and shingle mills operating at the dawn of the twentieth century, the city of Hoquiam was emerging as a giant in early twentieth century industrial capitalism.