Marking milestones Lake Crescent Lodge marks centennial Stunning Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge celebrates 100 years Rhody Fest: 80 years and still blooming
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Contents CELEBRATING 10 YEARS This edition of Living on the Peninsula is its 41st issue of profiling people and places on the North Olympic Peninsula. The decade of bringing to you, our loyal readers, far-ranging articles from the arts and agriculture to water resources and wellness has gone by very rapidly for me. When the Sequim Gazette and the Port Townsend-Jefferson County Leader partnered in March 2005 to launch a lifestyle magazine, it was an untried form of media for me and the newspapers, but we all learned and grew through the process. After each issue published, it was like Christmas for me, receiving all the positive comments from our readers. Others took notice, too — Living on the Peninsula has won 11 awards in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest since 2005. This could not have been done without all of the wonderfully talented freelancers in Clallam and Jefferson counties over the years, especially Elizabeth Kelly, Jerry Kraft, Viviann Kuehl, Kelly McKillip, Fred Obee, Mary Powell and Joan Worley. Beginning our second decade, we know we have many more stories to tell. Thank you for reading us. Patricia Morrison Coate —
Departments Outdoor Recreation 13 | Klahhane Hiking Club promotes hiking and brings people together
Food & Spirits 36 | Meet at Silverwater Cafe for lunch, for drinks or a movie
Arts & Entertainment 16 | Paul and Shirley Bragg share their life and history in broadcasting
Now & Then 36 | A look at Port Townsend’s James & Hastings Building
The Living End 42 | Celebrate Life
ti b u $ a 20 o
Living on the Peninsula Editor
5 | Grand old dame still going strong Lake Crescent Lodge marks centennial Vol. 11, Number 1 • Living on the Peninsula is a quarterly publication.
9 | Genuine Pearl: The Second Hundred Years 20 | Rhody Fest still blooming Rhododendron Festival celebrates 80 years of homage to state flower
147 W. Washington St., Sequim WA 98382 © 2015 Sequim Gazette John Brewer, Publisher
22 | Travelers’ dreams come true Chimacum Co-op RV Park celebrates its 25th anniversary
Steve Perry, Advertising Director Editorial: Patricia Morrison Coate, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
24 | Clallam County Courthouse Classic Revival courthouse a point of Port Angeles pride 28 | A (wildlife) refuge for all seasons Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge celebrates 100 years 32 | A bridge with a past The crown jewel at Railroad Bridge Park turns 100 this year 4 LOP Spring 2015
O T at c ad
Production: Mary Field, Graphic Designer Trish Tisdale, Page Designer Advertising: (360) 683-3311 • (360) 452-2345 On our cover: Historic Lake Crescent Lodge, built in 1915, is nestled among giant fir and hemlock trees on the shores of Lake Crescent. Photo courtesy of Olympic National Park
226 Adams St. Port Townsend, WA 360-385-2900 Fred Obee: email@example.com © 2015 Port Townsend Leader
Grand old dame still going strong Lake Crescent Lodge marks centennial Story and photos by Patricia Morrison Coate
ttending its grand opening in May 1915, a reporter for the Olympic Leader in Port Angeles gushed about Singer’s Lake Crescent Tavern, “No expense or work is being spared in making the place both attractive and comfortable for guests. Mrs. Singer is a most affable and charming hostess and Mr. Singer is constantly on the alert to provide added comforts for his guests.” Unlike 20 other inns built between 1895 and 1920 on the shores of tealtinged Lake Crescent, the wood-shingled resort with cedar roof shakes built by Avery and Julia Singer is the only one that’s been in continuous use with its original purpose and design for 100 years. The couple spent $50,000 for the 2 1/2 story bungalow-style lodge, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, outfitted with sleek Roycroft furnishings, and 20 cottages nestled among old-growth cedars and firs at Barnes Point on the less developed southern side of the lake. The median household
The lodge retains its grey shingle siding and many mullioned windows a century after it was built in 1915.
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income then was about $690 a year for men, half that for women.
The Singers: 1915 – 1927
rainbow trout abundant in the lake, the resort drew gentlemen fishermen, including W.F. Coleman, the Northwest manager for Sunset Magazine. The Singers made sure their guests were entertained with tennis, horseshoes, croquet, golf, trap shooting and boating. Even music was on the agenda with a player piano in the grand living room.
The lodge itself, constructed with locally milled lumber, opened with seven spacious guest rooms upstairs, each with its own sink and sitting area, steam heat, electric lights and running water — quite a feat for the isolated property — and a commodious wooden beamed The Bovees: 1939 – 1951 and paneled living room with an Despite their success — or imposing stone fireplace. The plain perhaps because of it — the but modern Singer Tavern cottages Singers sold the resort in 1927. faced a green cathedral of conifers Through the 1930s the property in front of the lodge. bounced back and forth in A report at the time said, “Large litigation among several owners French windows will open out on and the Seattle Trust Company. all sides of the building to the wide It eventually was the receiver verandas, which surround the of the 29-acre property which building.” Although the furniture and fixtures are modern, the decor harkens included the main lodge, For the next four years, the back to the Arts and Crafts era in the lobby. cottages, heating plant, laundry, Singers continued expanding the lighting plant, bath house, store resort. In August 1916, the Port magnificence of its alpine setting. house and golf course. Angeles Evening News reported, The excellent cuisine in the dining room Hotelier Walter Bovee and his wife, Bessie, “… the summer dining room, all enclosed in overlooking the lake and the site’s classic purchased the property in 1939. The couple glass, is most attractive. It is finished in green elegance drew the genteel from as far away as put their own touch on the amenities, offering and white and presents a most refreshing and the East Coast and Victoria, British Columbia. fishing from tavern-owned boats, tennis, inviting appearance. Many new cottages have In the early days, although Clallam County had horseback riding, billiards, evening dancing been put up this summer also.” build a “modern highway” out to the west end and programs by naturalists. Although Julia Singer saw to it that the natural beauty of Lake Crescent, most guests arrived by a pair it continued to operate during the Great was embellished by dozens of plantings. Wrote of ferries in chauffeur-driven cars. Decorum Depression and World War II and business the Olympic Leader, “The many cultivated was expected by the Singers for their staff — dropped dramatically, the Bovees held on, plants, flowers, vines and shrubs have an ideal busboys wore white jackets and black trousers upgrading the property and prospering from background in the grand old forest which — and guests dressed up in their finery for a resurgence in tourism from the mid- to latesurrounds the place on both sides and through dinner. Think American “Downton Abbey.” 1940s. They hosted one special guest and his which are cut pretty winding paths and trails.” Known in sporting and tourist magazines of entourage on Sept. 30, 1937, when President From its beginning, the resort earned a the day for the coveted Beardslee “blueback” reputation for splendor that matched the Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed overnight in
Left: The Singer Taven Cottages were and still are popular accommodations for couples and families. Right: The eight original bedrooms upstairs in the lodge have been restored, returning small porcelain sinks found in the attic to their rightful places.
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Left: This framed poster, compliments of the Port Angeles Evening News, honors President Franklin D. Roosevelt after his overnight stay at the resort on Sept. 30, 1937. Above: Lake Crescent can be deceivingly calm in the mornings but wind-whipped in the afternoons. Bottom left: Pam Dahl, office manager and environmental steward of Lake Crescent Lodge, says it’s “the most beautiful place on earth — what more could you want?”
Cabin 34, a two-room cottage that no longer exists. The following year, Roosevelt signed a bill designating Olympic National Park, including Lake Crescent, as part of the national park system. Another guest, whose family began a 30-year annual sojourn in 1947, said even in the early post-war years, dining was still a formal affair at the lodge.
The NPS: 1951 – present
Owned since 1951 by the National Park Service and currently managed by Aramark Parks and Destinations, in the mid-1960s Lake Crescent Lodge, as it came to be known, nearly faced the wrecking ball — at least on paper — in the name of modernity and progress. Fortunately, the proposal got bogged down in bureaucracy and over the years the property began to be appreciated as an Olympic Peninsula treasure. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 13, 2007, under the name “Singer’s
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Lake Crescent Tavern.” Pam Dahl, office manager and environmental steward, has been with Lake Crescent Lodge for five years and finds it “the most beautiful place on earth — what more could you want?” she said as she strolled the manicured front yard under a canopy of colossal cedars and firs with Lake Crescent glistening in the background, framed by the verdant peaks of Mount Stone King and Pyramid Mountain. A century later, the grey shingled lodge, with its towering stone chimney, full-width front porch and massive mullion-paned windows on all sides of the building, retains its 1915 character. In the lobby/bar, the original stone fireplace is the centerpiece, flanked by Arts and Crafts-style leather sofas and chairs, tables, sconces and stained glass lamps. The lodge’s fir hardwood floors evoke a sense of warmth, as do the 15-foot high ceiling and walls paneled with wide planks in a rich nut-brown. This style carries up the well-worn staircase to an octet of bedrooms, each with its own small sink rescued from the attic. Mullioned casement windows allow for pristine views of the lake and/or forest and clear alpine air. In total, the resort has 55 available rooms, including the Singer Tavern and Roosevelt cabins and 30 motel-type rooms. Many have queen-size beds — none have telephones, TVs or Wi-Fi. The cabins also are pet-friendly. The entire resort is open from mid-May through Jan. 31 but the Roosevelt cabins are available year-round. “We have close to 100 staff members during peak season, from mid-June to the end of September,” Dahl said. “I enjoy seeing all the families come back year after year and watching all their kids grow up. A lot of guests have come for 30 or 40 years and book the same week every year.”
During season, the lodge’s restaurant, still known for its cuisine, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, accompanied by serene views of Lake Crescent from the dining room and the enclosed summer porch, with its walls of windows. The resort also has a gift shop and canoes and kayaks for rent. In addition to the throngs of guests seeking pure peace and quiet, many visitors come for the special dining events such as a Mother’s Day brunch, Murder Mystery weekend and Witches Tea in October and Teddy Bear Tea in November. The lodge also offers sumptuous dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and brunch on New Year’s Day. It’s also a popular venue for weddings in the nearby wildflower meadow. Charlea Johnson is the wedding planner. To ensure that Lake Crescent Lodge continues intact for the next century, it strictly adheres to an environmental platform, Dahl said. “We have to divert 90 percent of our waste and reduce our water and electric usage and we’re contracted with the National Park Service to participate in a lot of different programs. We also compost onsite with commercial bins for the kitchen waste and participate in Clean the World by recycling used shampoos and soaps. It collects the used ones, cleans and sanitizes them and sends them to Third World countries,” Dahl said. “We’re also part of the ReCork program — our corks go to ReCork which turns them into shoes, wallpaper and flooring.” For its centennial year, the lodge will mark its milestone but plans aren’t firmed up yet. For more information about Lake Crescent Lodge and to make reservations, see www. nationalparkreservations.com, call 855-3793583 or 855-584-5293. n
Editor's note: In recognition of the Living on the Peninsula's 10 years of of highlighting the people and places of the North Olympic Peninsula, we revisit West End pioneer Pearl Lucken, who was profiled in the Fall 2006 issue when she was 93. — PMC
Left: Pearl is crowned queen of Forks’ Relay for Life in 2014. Above: Pearl clam digging on her 100th birthday.
The Second Hundred Years
Story and photos by Christi Baron
When I grow up I want to be Pearl Lucken. That means since I am now 59 years old I have another 43 years to meet that lofty goal, and with Pearl fast approaching her 103rd birthday, I may never catch her! The hardest part of interviewing this aged dynamo was getting her to sit still long enough to answer some questions. Pearl was born on March 4, 1913, in Aberdeen. Her parents were Italian immigrants, Edward Eramo and Mary Taglieri Eramo, who were both born in Ortona on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Although they lived in the same town, they lived on opposite sides and didn’t meet until both had arrived in the United States. Edward came to the U.S. around 1900 when he was 17 years old. He had some family already living in Aberdeen. In the meantime Pearl’s mother was sent for to help her family living in America. Before she left Ortona, she happened to cross paths with a woman she had never met
before and the woman said to her, “If you see my son when you get to America, give him these three cigars.” Mary took the cigars and left for America. Edward had left Aberdeen and traveled around a bit and one day he was in Portland and ran into someone he knew and they said, “Hey, there are some new people from your town living in Aberdeen.” Edward headed for Aberdeen and there he met Mary. She gave him the three cigars — it was him that they had been for — and soon they were married. By the time Pearl joined the Eramo family she had two older sisters, Ida and Elizabeth. Edward found work in a cigar shop and a saloon and eventually the family moved to Satsop where the family farmed 10 acres. Most of the produce they grew was sold to wholesalers and Pearl remembers weeding along with her sisters and about 10 people her father hired. She recalls each year in January a wooden
plank was placed in the field and Pearl would sit on the plank and stick onions in the ground. Pearl said, “When I was in seventh grade I would place a gunny sack on my knees and peel onions, then I would take the onions along with some radishes and place them in a big basket and go around the neighborhood selling them for 5 cents a bunch.” She said she usually came home with about $1.50. While Pearl’s parents had a very limited amount of formal schooling, the Eramo girls excelled in school. Pearl’s sister Ida was valedictorian of her class and was offered a scholarship to Pullman. But, Mr. Eramo did not want his daughter to go although she did later attend business school. Pearl was involved in music, winning awards in a singing trio in high school at Montesano. Her teacher thought she was so good she arranged for her to go to an audition for the opera and then receive lessons. But Mrs. Eramo
Spring 2015 LOP 9
Above: The Luckens in the 1970s — Pearl remembers Maynard bought her the necklace at Willie-Lou’s in Port Angeles. Below: The Luckens’ wedding photo.
10 LOP Spring 2015
said her daughter was not going to the city! About that Pearl said, “I’m glad I didn’t go — I would have never met Maynard.” Pearl’s sister had married and moved to the logging camps near Forks at Beaver and Sappho. Pearl followed. Maynard Lucken was driving a milk delivery truck for his family’s dairy business. One evening while Pearl was babysitting the Goody children — Ma Goody had a tavern — so Pearl was tending the tavern duties, too. Two young men came in for a beer. Pearl said, “I told them I had to go do the dishes; one of them left the other one stayed to help me.” The one that stayed to help was Maynard Lucken and the date was Oct. 10, 1935. On Oct. 26, 1935, they were married. Maynard eventually went to work for the logging railroad repairing the tracks. Pearl recalls a trip the Luckens and a friend took around 1938. They drove across the country and at one particular stop in Georgia they went to a diner to eat. After looking at the menu they all decided to order the liver and onions. They waited and waited and finally the waitress came out and asked them if they wouldn’t mind paying for their dinner first so that the cook could go and buy the liver. “People were so poor back then,” Pearl recalled. Eventually the Luckens started their family, adopting their two children Andrea and Jim. Pearl also worked outside the home as a bartender at the Loop Tavern at Tyee and later at Sackett’s Department store in Forks for 11 years. Pearl also was a longtime member of the Tyee Tillicums a home-ec club that met once a month at different member’s homes from the 1930s until around 1955. Even though Pearl has enjoyed a long life, when she was 72 years old she was diagnosed with cancer. “I have had three big operations and getting my tonsils out was the worst.” Pearl’s cancer never returned and last summer at the Forks Relay for Life she was crowned queen of the event. In 2001, Maynard fell at their home near Forks and broke his hip. He was sent to Port Angeles for surgery and seemed to be doing well, so Pearl went back home to Forks. “The next morning I knew something was wrong,” she remembers, and by the time she got to the hospital, Maynard was not doing well and died. They were married 65 years and Pearl laughs and says, of living alone, “I don’t need a lover, but sometimes I do need a man.” Pearl is proud to say she does bring her own firewood in the house. In 2007, Pearl had a stroke, but shows no signs today of it, and as she describes it, “I took myself off the road,” and quit driving. She did renew her driver’s license though and keeps it framed on a table in her living room. To celebrate her 100th birthday Pearl went clam digging but she is a little put out though that at her age she still has to buy her clam digging license. Also, on her 100th birthday friends and family organized a big surprise party at the Hungry Bear Cafe. Pearl said, “When we arrived there, I said, ‘Wow look at all the cars. Something must be going on here!’” The something was her party! You know if you interview someone that has made it to 102 you have to ask, “What is your secret?” Pearl says her secret is “I love everybody, I forgive, forgiving is the easiest thing to do, it doesn’t cost you anything.” “When I get up in the morning, (she sets an alarm for 6 a.m. and says to herself when she gets out of bed), I say it is always going to be a good day.” She tries to avoid sugar and says she eats well, growing a lot of her vegetables in her own garden which she is starting to plan for this spring. Pearl says she does everything she wants. She knits and crochets, goes to meetings and quilting club. If a car is leaving, Pearl is in it. She also is a lifetime member of the Eastern Star. As I got ready to leave, Pearl said, “You know, I bought a clothes dryer in 1955 and I am still using it, I have to use a little something to get it to close but it still works great,” and so do you Pearl, thanks for sitting still long enough to do this interview. n
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Hikin g for 100 years
The view atop Mount Townsend is hard to beat. It’s a favorite hike for several members of the Klahhane Hiking Club, a group celebrating its 100th year this March.
Klahhane Hiking Club promotes hiking as it brings together people Story and photos by Michael Dashiell I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman, more Daniel Boone than Bret Boone, more Davy Crockett and a little less Davy Jones. But sometimes I feel like a bit of a tourist here. I meet folks on one of the myriad wonderful hikes just a stone’s throw from Sequim and already I’m wondering what I’ve been doing with all my days — certainly not taking the Appleton Pass trail or finding Boulder Lake or sifting through the crashed airplane debris at Tubal Cain, backpacking up into the Seven Lakes Basin or retracing the Seattle Press Expedition’s journey through Olympic National Park. I like my day hikes. It’s what my wife and I have time for. And often we have a fourlegged companion, so it’s off to the national forest property rather than one of those dozens of national park hikes I’ve been meaning to get to. However, it seems like the hikers I’m with on this, a late winter day that feels much more like early spring, don’t seem to mind me playing the role of guest. With the Klahhane Hiking Club folks, you’re part of the group. Not officially of course — that takes some time and some
“qualifying” hikes and some paperwork — but from the start they’re making me feel at home. As we climb the switchbacks that take us up Mount Townsend, I mentally check off one of my always-wanted-to-do list. This is familiar ground, so to speak, for just about each member of our 15-plus hiking party. After all, they’ve been at this for 100 years.
Eyes on the centennial
The Klahhane Hiking Club’s history goes back to its inception in Port Angeles on March 4, 1915. Ben Phillips was the club’s first president and Mamie Pazandak the first vice president. According to its website, the Klahhane club exists “to bring together people who enjoy, appreciate and respect the wilderness; to promote hiking, camping and related outdoor experiences; and to promote the preservation and extension of hiking trails.” The way then club president Thelma Robinson put it in the club’s half-centennial back in 1965, the lure of the hike on the Olympic Peninsula is explained here: “You leave your safe, comfortable home to go and climb a mountain. There, with smokefilled eyes, you bend double cooking over
a campfire — you eat food seasoned with smoke and cinders — you sleep on the bumpy ground — in short, you suffer all sorts of inconveniences and still you go again. Somehow, as the years, pass the hardships fade and you remember little flower-filled meadows … “ Early years saw the Klahhanes hosting lectures on such topics as “Rise of the Love of Mountains” and “Mountains in English Literature,” putting on Halloween and Christmas parties and Thanksgiving dinners, hosting annual overnighters and beach shindigs and the like. They also got busy preserving the trails and forests they loved so much with numerous conservation efforts, such as preventing unnecessary logging and constructing a shelter building at Heather Park. They also ultimately failed in some efforts — introducing the wild turkey and Hungarian partridge to the peninsula and building a bobsled and toboggan run above Heart O’ the Hills. The Klahhanes have had four different clubhouses over the years. The first was Louis Williams’ cabin at the foot of Mount Angeles that burned down in the early 1920s. The second was one in Port Angeles,
Spring 2015 LOP 13
built by private “They get so donations in 1922, excited — this is where a club their passion,” museum featuring Wallace says. items found along She’s got about the hikes and 20 interviews antique hiking recorded and is gear was started. researching more, (The museum’s helping fill in 40 artifacts, club years worth of club members say, have history. since been sent Erzen, a to the Clallam Klahhane County Historical Club member Society.) since 1981, says A third was they’re working started in a on a slideshow home near Lake to present at Crescent the meetings and club used in 1924 getting ready for until it became a club memberstoo expensive to only centennial maintain. celebration in Its most recent March. one is a rustic Klahhane Hiking Club members have three ways up Mount Townsend: the traditional clubhouse at Lake Becoming a approach from the upper or lower trailhead; from the west via the Silver Lake’s Trail; and Dawn near the via Dirty Face Ridge from the northwest. member entrance to the While the group Olympic National is open to anyone Club member Miggles Wallace has Park built in the early 1930s, one current 18 and older, member ages range up to the become somewhat of a club historian as members speak of with endearment. 80s and 90s but most Klahhane hikers are current members are piecing together Over the years the number of club in their 50s and 60s, she says. what’s missing since the last club history members has grown and shrunk. Hikes are everything from easy twowas completed back in 1975. Wallace Current member Sue Erzen ballparks the milers to 16-mile steep climbs up into the notes that often after a hike she will post a membership at 140 members, with but only park’s foothills. A typical hike attracts six to number of pictures and soon get a call or about 30 as “active” members. 20 hikers. note from formerly active members raving The others receive the monthly newsletter The group also hosts monthly potlucks of that particular hike or a memory. but are living a bit vicariously, Erzen says. and business meetings with speakers and presentations. Sounds fun, right? This isn’t a simple drop-in kind of a group. Gaining membership in the Klahhanes is a multistep process. One, you’ve got some getacquainted hikes (after signing a liability form, of course). Then, you do six regular hikes with the club within six months, one of which you co-lead. Then, you fork over a one-time $13 initiation fee, then $12 in annual dues which gets you the newsletter ($9 if you want the online-only version). The cramps from doing 16 miles worth of switchbacks? Those are free. And it’s an organized club to the hilt, with an executive board, officer elections, committees, etc. Their online resources are copious, too, featuring not only a threemonth schedule of hikes but a “Guide for effective leaders,” hiking tips, photo gallery and more. For late winter/early spring hikes in the Olympics, consider gear providing extra traction.
14 LOP Spring 2015
Want some extra stability on your hikes? Don’t forget poles.
A late winter hike up Mount Townsend reveals sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains … and some tricky patches of snow and ice. Wallace has posted a number of photos from favorite hikes and it shows the breadth and scope of the Klahhanes’ hiking steps: Grand Ridge, the Cape Alava Trail, Hurricane Hill, Elwha Overlook, Obstruction Point Road, Blue Mountain, Duncan Flats, Lunch Lake, the Spruce Railroad Trail, Hawk Peak, Gladys Lake, Hole in the Wall, Steeple Rock and Sunrise Ridge are among the featured treks. While most Klahhanes were Port Angeles residents at the club’s inception, Wallace says the group is closer to a 5050 split between Sequim-area and Port Angeles-area residents. I figure most of the folks I’m chasing up Mount Townsend are lifelong peninsula residents, but I’m dead wrong. I meet folks from Montana and Hawaii to Florida and California, some newly arrived and others, like me, settling in after a decade or so.
On the trail
Club hikes are scheduled year-round on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Wednesday and Saturday hikes are typically six to 10 miles long, starting with meeting at a carpool location in Port Angeles or Sequim at 9 a.m. (sometimes earlier) and returning to that location midafternoon. Sunday hikes are a few miles in length, usually starting at 1 p.m. and lasting a couple of hours.
Each hike has a club leader, who’s responsible for maintaining a list of attending hikers, organizing the carpools, answering questions about the hike and — this is the big one — making sure all hikers are accounted for by the hike’s end. On our way up Mount Townsend, several hikers sport walkie-talkies, checking on the progress of the fleet-of-foot and whom I call the flower-gazers. By the time the first Klahhaneite hits the crusty snow at Camp Windy, the group’s caboose knows about it. Each hiker has his or her own responsibility, of course, with each expected to carry the “Ten+ Essentials” (such as a map and compass, matches, first aid supplies, food, water, etc.). Wallace says she carries her 10 essentials but after seeing so many folks hit trails in Olympic National Park and the national forest, she’s usually carrying some extra to help them out. Also popular — particularly on this late winter hike — are hiking poles and crampons — mini-crampons (spikes one attaches to the bottom of hiking boots) for traction. In the club history — a 100-plus page document available to members online — the Klahhanes detail dozens of hikes from the 1910s through the 1960s and 1970s, with titles like “How to start a hike on two feet and end on four.” The history also curiously features a number of lyrics to what one can only assume are hiking songs.
True, my Mount Townsend companions say. Sometimes they’d take the words from something out of the “American Songbook” and tweak them to fit the hiking milieu (“In the Wild Olympic Mountains,” to the tune of “Big Rock Candy Mountain”), or they’d simply strike up some traditional tune to help the miles go by.
It’s not a singing kind of a hike this day, as we near the first of two summits at Mount Townsend, snow and ice crunching under our boots and wind whipping at our collars. We touch the top of Mount Townsend, reflect for a moment, then find a nice patch of broken rock to lay out lunch. The hike leaders assess each hiker’s location and we shoot the breeze a bit. Lunch is typical hiking fare: soup and hot cider, Cliff bars and dried fruit and a few bits of chocolate. We take in an impressive view, with Mount Baker standing tall to the north, Mount Rainier looming to the east and Mount Saint Helens making an appearance to the southwest. The skyscrapers of Seattle are dwarfed, poking out of the rolling fog like seedlings. What did the Klahhanes see 100 years ago from this perch? I wonder. After a few minutes, it’s time to head back down the trail. After all, there’s club history to write: the previous 100 years — and the years to come.
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Say something wonderful!
The Braggs have been collecting vintage radios for years. This particular model is a Stromberg Carlson rescued from a garbage can.
The peninsula’s very own Paul and Shirley Bragg Story and photos by Christina Williams
Paul’s mother was an “excellent piano player” t’s late in the afternoon on a winter’s day at whose attorney father wanted her to follow in Port Angeles’s KONP radio station. Veteran his footsteps. “She wasn’t interested in law,” he broadcasters Paul and Shirley Bragg, 83 and explains, “but another woman trained in her 80, respectively, have given me the grand tour of father’s office was. Her name was Margaret Chase their vintage radio collection currently housed at Smith. She went into politics and became a U.S. the station. senator.” Paul’s mother preferred music and worked “We were going through pictures the other as a piano accompanist for silent films. His father day,” says Paul in his rich unforgettable voice. started his Vaudeville career as a slack-wire walker. He produces a classic black and white photo of the couple on their honeymoon. They’re relaxed and gorgeous, and so is the scenery. “That’s 1957,” he says, “Yellowstone Park and Yellowstone Falls in the background.” In the years since, the Braggs have become known for their radio spots and travel guides to scenic places through their “Bragg about Washington” series. As a nod to Shirley’s home state, they created similar series called “Bragg about Montana.” The couple has worked together throughout the western states in radio, television and print. Their first apartment was part of the Montana radio station where Paul worked. “Thirty-five dollars a month,” he quips, “Utilities included!” The Braggs’ popular KONP program “Memories in Music” last aired in the fall of 2014. While they’re no longer on the schedule, the Braggs maintain ties with the station. Before we explore their lives together, let’s start before they met. Paul’s family roots were in Maine, but as traveling entertainers, he and his siblings were born all over the map! The Wisconsinborn Paul recalls those early times: “I was brought up on the road as one of five children in the ‘Bragg Family Show’ — we started on stage very young.” Shirley and Paul Bragg with the prize of their Shirley describes it this way, “To sing a vintage radio collection housed at KONP — a floor song, they’d stand on an apple box to reach the model 1941 Philco. microphone!”
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Paul’s father was so good he’d climb in a sewn-up bag without peep holes and then walk across the wire. “It would bring down the house!” says Paul. His parents met after his father had played Vaudeville for years and decided to form a “new unit.” He advertised in the Bangor Daily News for a piano player. Paul’s mother got the job and eventually — a wedding ring! Even though her attorney father “was against the marriage,” she married the entertainer. Their five children became part of the “Bragg Family Variety Show.” “We learned on the job,” Paul remembers. The children learned to play musical instruments using instructional manuals and by sheer osmosis. “The family had some great experiences traveling and performing together throughout the years,” he recalls, “but like any family, it gradually started breaking apart. My sister Shirley got married and I joined the army.” Paul occasionally performed after his stint in the army. “We did many appearances on radio, when they had live acts on the air — Studio A’s program coming up while you’re getting Studio B ready and musicians … We did a lot of live radio! It was an exciting time. I was fascinated by the engineers, the announcers and the staff. After the army, I went to radio school in Minneapolis.” Paul recalls that radio school prepared him for “everything” he might come up against in broadcasting, and he remembers these wise words from the school’s president: “We’re doing our best to teach you everything we can, but when you walk out that door you’re going to start learning!” Shirley adds, “You won’t know anything about radio!” Throughout the years, Shirley’s research and writing skills have been
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Newlyweds in Yellowstone: The Braggs begin their life together. Photo courtesy of Paul and Shirley Bragg
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essential to the couple’s projects. While she didn’t attend radio school, she learned from life how to prepare for the “anything can happen” world of live broadcasting. How did she do it? By her varied experience and a lot of hard work! This rancher’s daughter knows how to bale hay and fix farm equipment. She cleans up nicely, and afterwards, she could write a song about it and thrill live audiences or radio fans with her singing voice. Shirley, though barely 5 feet tall, is powerhouse of unflappability, with a heart as big as the great outdoors. “My grandmother was French Swiss and my grandfather was German Swiss,” recalls Shirley. When her grandparents wanted to marry, their parents “had a fit!” But they did marry and boarded a ship to America while the bride was still in her wedding dress. “They never returned to Switzerland,” says Shirley, “but they had family come over and see them. My grandmother missed it terribly.” She recalls her grandmother fondly: “When we’d get together for music, and if you were really careful and didn’t look at her, my grandmother began to yodel. You’ve never heard anything like a Swiss yodel. I had a picture — it’s a mountain called the Citadel. It’s a total spear going straight up, a magnificent thing, and at the base of it are little chalets on the hills building up to this mountain. I had a picture of it in our first apartment. Grandma came over to see me. She just cried when she saw that. I said, ‘Do you really love the mountain that much?’ She said,‘Shirley, I’ve herded goats
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18 LOP Spring 2015
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right there where those cabins are. I’ve walked through that canyon yodeling, to let my brothers know where my herd was — I just love that picture.’ I can tell you it didn’t take me long to give it to her. When she passed away, she gave it back to me. I still have it. She could sing — her voice in music called contralto. It was beautiful. I’d sing soprano, my mom would sing with me and Grandma would sing contralto to it. We had a wonderful time singing together.” Music was important to this family full of capable independent-thinking women. Like her immigrant grandmother, Shirley’s own mother caused quite a stir with wedding plans that didn’t meet her parents’ approval. When Shirley’s grandfather married his bride against her mother’s wishes, he already planed for their life in America, that one day would cause his (yet unborn) daughter to rebel. “He came over first and went to a Swiss colony in Wisconsin to learn how to make cheese in America using Swiss methods,” explains Shirley. “Then he returned to Switzerland and brought his bride to Wisconsin. After a few years, they moved to the Gallatin Valley of Montana. There he started a cheese factory, training his eldest daughter to make cheese. I loved to hear my mother talk about it,” says Shirley. “She knew everything — how to press it, how long to leave it in and how long to mix it.” Shirley’s mother didn’t see a future in cheese. She wanted to marry and settle down. Shirley recalls the friction between her grandfather and her mother: “You can’t leave! You’re going to run the cheese factory!” he insisted.“No — I’m getting married!” she replied. “To that cowboy?” he asked. “Yes,” she said, “but he’s not a cowboy!” Her father threatened to close the factory and he did just that when she married. Shirley’s mother and father then went to live with his parents. It was a difficult time for the young bride whose in-laws discouraged her from using Swiss words. “She dropped anything she knew about Swiss and tried to fit in,” recalls Shirley. “That’s when my parents got into their music. Dad played the accordion and Mom played the guitar. My dad’s family was musical. They weren’t outgoing in public, but they loved performing within the family.” During the Great Depression, the young couple worked hard to survive. Shirley’s dad
had a threshing crew that worked all over that part of Montana, “from sunup to sundown to earn about a dollar a day.” Her parents realized that on Saturday nights, they could earn $5 playing dance music from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. “They grabbed hold of that,” she recalls, even though her father never had a music lesson in his life. They liked playing songs that were popular. “It wasn’t a Western dance band, but it did have a Montana flavor,” said Shirley, who became their lead singer. “Montana is where my dad was from, that’s where we lived and we lived it!” Paul recalls how the band played for the Yellowstone Park Rangers. “That’s quite an honor. They’d have a dance starting the new season and then another to end it.” He observes, “By the end of the season, they were happy to see the end of the season!” Speaking of Yellowstone — how did those newlyweds meet? We know that Paul went to radio school in Minnesota. Here’s the prelude: After the army, he visits relatives in Florida, whose friends are visiting from Minnesota. They ask, “Can you drive our Cadillac Coupe de Ville to Minnesota so we can fly back?” Paul says,“Yes!” as he thinks, “Someday I’m going to have a car like this of my own!” He recalls driving all night and into a bad fog bank in western Florida. After a night in Tupelo, Miss., he headed north. It got colder and there was ice. “I wasn’t quite used to that,” he says, “I thought uh-oh, I better slow down.” He delivered the car safely to its owners. They said their goodbyes, and the snowbanks were high. “It was a pretty lonesome feeling,” he says. He found lodging and a job at a deli. The owner liked him and suggested he quit radio school and work there. Bragg said, “No, I want to do radio.” So he did. “I wanted to go west.” So he did. First stop was Headinger, N.D., to audition at the radio station. The director wanted to hire him, but he declined. “I wanted to go farther west,” he explains. Paul’s next stop was the radio station in Livingston, Mont., where he had once performed with his family. The manager wanted to hire him, but he couldn’t — until the owner returned from vacation. “So, I went over the hill to Bozeman, cut an audition tape and got the job.” Paul says. “Now we’re getting to the ‘radio era’ and this charming young lady right here.” In Bozeman, Paul and another musician played gigs at barn dances and the local college. The musician’s wife managed the commissioner’s office where Shirley was working. Recalls Shirley, “One of the girls in the office — Frances — had a crush on Paul. Frances had a radio in her desk. She’d listen to his ‘country’ show every afternoon, so I listened, too. She’d say, ‘I’ve just got to meet him,’ and I’d think, ‘What’s the big deal?’ One day the office manager asked Frances to take her out to where her husband and Paul were playing. Frances said, ‘Only if Shirley will come out with me and hold me up while I meet Paul!’ ” Shirley recalls what transpired after the women arrived at the hall: “There was Paul on the stage with this gorgeous guitar and a beautiful green marble plate that said ‘Paul Bragg.’ ” Shirley said to her office friend, “Bet you can’t find him.” Paul explains, “If Eddie Arnold or Hank Snow can have a name on a guitar, I can too! I saw her
walk in and thought, ‘Who is that pretty girl, anyway?’ Beautiful red coat and red high heels.” He asked her, “Say, I hear that in the wintertime when things are slow on the ranch, you and your folks play dances and that you’re their vocalist.” Shirley smiles, “Oh, yeah,” Paul continues, “Then I said, ‘Would you sing a song or two with me?’ and then we did — we sang a song or two.” Shirley adds, “We’ve been making music together ever since.” “That’s the way it started,” says Paul. They married a year and a half later. “We were both reserved,” says Shirley. “Paul was skeptical, but he did like the red heels!” He adds, “Threeinch red heels!” In their nearly six decades together, they’ve had many adventures — from their early days of live broadcasting, to working with legendary figures in broadcasting and entertainment. Paul tells of a high point in his career: interviewing the renowned Lowell Thomas: “He started in the newspaper field. Because he was a good lecturer, he became a great newscaster. He rode with Lawrence of Arabia and was with him when he made his raid. Afterward, Thomas built a ‘lantern’ show and returned to England where he spoke to sellout crowds.” During their interview, Thomas complimented Paul’s voice and encouraged him to stay in the field of broadcasting. In California, the Braggs covered a speech by Ronald Reagan as he ran for governor. Paul recalls that after 5 or 10 minutes of listening, he told Shirley, “That man’s got something!” She observes, “He had charisma.” The Braggs were granted a short interview. “He was the nicest man I ever interviewed,” says Paul. “Sometimes I can’t believe the things we’ve done in 59 years of broadcasting! Paul’s entertainment idol was the late Red Foley, star of the Ozark Jubilee and the Grand Ole Opry. With over 30 Top 10 hits to his credit, Foley was a top star whom the Braggs remember as a true gentleman. When Paul emceed live shows for a TV station in Salt Lake, he and Shirley worked with well-known performers like Foley and others. Shirley kept the talent happy and ready to perform. She recalls the time that that another Grand Ole Opry star, Minnie Pearl, was not happy. The comedian was gripped by stage fright, because she’d have to walk down a long aisle to get to the stage. When she turned to leave, Shirley told her, “Paul is introducing you, you really need to go! “ Minnie Pearl confessed that she was afraid that she’d trip and fall. Shirley replied, “If you trip and fall, it’ll be the biggest laugh you ever got!” Minnie Pearl rose to the occasion — in the nick of time. Salt Lake offered little time for family, so the Braggs relocated to the Olympic Peninsula with their sons. Here they created local programs and promotions, such as “Dock Time,” in which Paul interviewed ferry passengers from the world over.
Paul and Shirley Bragg did the writing and photography for their Bragg about Washington brochures. Image courtesy of Paul and Shirley Bragg
Shirley loves historical research. Paul adds, “We had the benefit of talking with pioneers.” What do they advise the next generation of broadcasters? Paul: Excel! In their schoolwork — in everything! Go for history, English, diction — any kind of knowledge you can get. GRAB IT! You’re going to need it not just in broadcasting, but in everything. Diction is very important! Shirley: Speak with feeling and emphasis. Get your point across. Can you hold attention while you are speaking? Paul: Condense it down and make it real. Shirley: We really believe that the future is this: It’s your own idea. Come up with something and perfect it — work it down and go for it! Paul: Talk to people. Talk with your friends and your family. That’s what life is about. We discuss the world and how the future is upon us so quickly. Much is undecided and there are problems that we face individually and as a community. Paul makes the astute observation that we already know many grave truths and often we know how to do address them. We must remember that there are uplifting truths as well. He offers this simple but meaningful suggestion: “Given the option, why not say something wonderful?” n
Spring 2015 LOP 19
Y F D E O S H T R 80 YEARS AND STILL BLOOMING Story by Viviann Kuehl This May, Port Townsend’s Rhododendron Festival is celebrating 80 years of homage to the state flower, expressed in joyous community events. It’s Washington’s only Rhododendron Festival and it has grown and changed over its history, just like the rhodies, but Jefferson County’s oldest festival retains an old-fashioned sense of community. When the festival began 80 years ago, there were more wild rhododendrons along the highways, their pink blooms lighting the woods in late spring. Today there are more rhododendrons in yards, gorgeous in many bright colors bursting forth throughout the spring, but enthusiasm for them has remained a constant. Like its namesake, which grows into tree stature as it adds on decades, the festival has grown into a many-branched event, a publicity stunt that grew into a popular community event. What started as a photo shoot in 1935 has turned into a weeklong festival with events for all ages, enlisting people from all parts of the county. “It’s definitely growing. We’re excited about that,” said Jefferson County Rhododendron Festival Association president Christie Hensley. “Over the past several years, we’ve tried to resurrect some of the events of the 1960s and 1970s. We are endeavoring to bring back some of the activities that people have expressed an interest in.” According to the festival’s official history, “In 1935, Clive Buttermere, a local businessman, convinced the Hearst Metrotone News Organization to come to Jefferson County and film the rhododendrons in bloom. Hearst provided ‘short subjects’ to theaters throughout the United States and visited Jefferson County in that year to photograph the wild rhododendrons.” To enhance the beauty of the photographs, as well as local business, Buttermere and the business community organized a competition for queen, to be photographed with the rhododendrons. Young women were nominated and winners were selected by the dollar amount of shopping at participating merchants. Dollars spent translated into votes. Myrtle Olsen emerged victorious as the first Rhododendron Queen and was filmed by Hearst, reported the festival. Based on the community enthusiasm and festival spirit generated, the American Legion decided to make the celebration of the beauty of the rhododendrons in bloom, and young women, an annual event. In 1936, the Rhododendron Festival was a one-day event with a parade. By the 1950s the festival was a weeklong celebration, with the chamber of commerce overseeing it. Festival history notes that each year brought different events: fat man’s race, boat race, golf tournament, baseball tournament, air show, cow chip throwing contest, bed race, trike race, beard-growing contest, car show, kids parade, Queen’s Ball and more. Royalty continued to be chosen by shopping for several years, but that was replaced by Rhododendron button sales. Buttons began to be collected and their designs changed through the years. Visit the Jefferson County Historical Society to examine artifacts of the Rhody Fest through the decades. For many years, the candidate who sold the most buttons was chosen
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Top: The Rhody Festival carnival is always a hit with the kids. It sets up on Memorial Field in downtown Port Townsend. It’s the only time during the year when a carnival comes to town. Photos courtesy of Port Townsend Leader. Bottom: The Cake Picnic, new the last couple of years, draws a big crowd to Port Townsend’s waterfront park.
Left: The pet parade is a favorite Rhody event. Dogs are popular, but even pets as obscure plankton and lizards have made a showing. Middle: Two girls show determination on their faces as they pedal toward the finishing line in the Rhododendron Festival trike race. Right: Superhero themes dominated in the Kiddie Parade during the 2014 Rhododendron Festival. queen. Today, there is an award for the most Rhododendron pins sold, but other criteria weigh more heavily in the selection of royalty from the candidates. In the 1980s, the festival became a nonprofit association, independently run with volunteers, funded by button sales and contributions from community members and businesses. The queen now has a court, grown to three last year, including the second prince in festival history. They still pose for photographs, but now they also represent Jefferson County at parades and events through the year, and around the state, building poise and public speaking skills. Candidates come from all of the county’s high schools and earn scholarships to further their education. “The geographical area has grown since the festival’s inception,” said Hensley. In 1989, Washington’s centennial year, Queen Andrea Rancich was the first queen from Quilcene High School. “I’ll never forget being crowned queen, the trembling in my legs and that natural high of ‘I did it,’” she recalled recently. Encouraged by her friends, Andrea applied, was nominated by a committee, sold buttons and got sponsorships that paid for her dress and travel. She met Sen. Jim Hargrove at the capitol, sang the morning jingle on the Kent & Alan radio show, and had a great time representing Jefferson County in cities across the state. “It was one of the most memorable times in my life,” she said. “It gave me so much, in selfesteem, in public speaking skills, in confidence and encouragement by those ladies who
managed the court. What a great thing!” Current Queen Addi Richert agrees. “It was definitely an awesome experience,” she said. “I gained a lot of skills, not just in public speaking, but with learning how to present myself in a mature way. I absolutely loved every second of it.” Queen Addi deepened her understanding of her community, gained friendships both in her age group and outside of it, and her scholarship will help in pursuing her interest in medicine. She aspired to be a Rhody Queen since her experience as Junior Royalty, open to children in primary school, one of four levels of Rhody Fest Royalty. Queen’s Court is for middle schoolers. Senior Royalty is generally retirees active in the community. They reign from all parts of the county and all appear in the Grand Parade. The festival maintains a float that travels to a dozen other parades each year, promoting Jefferson County along with the Rhody Fest. The 2015 Coronation Ceremony is March 14 at the Chimacum High School Auditorium. True to its theme, “80 years and still blooming,” this year’s festival is blooming with multiple events. On March 28, the first annual Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser Dinner will be served at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, and for the first time this year’s float will be presented locally, prior to its first parade appearance the first weekend in May at Wenatchee’s Apple Blossom. “As a child, I always wondered why we let the inaugural float appearance be so far away,” said Hensley. “This year that changes.” During April, the Hilltop Tavern provides Barstool Bingo.
Many community groups put on fundraising events in conjunction with the Rhody Fest, such as a pancake breakfast, a golf event, auction, and more. Check the Port TownsendJefferson County Leader or the festival’s Facebook page for details and scheduling. Highlight events start with The Dude Looks Like a Lady fashion show at the American Legion on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11, tour the Rhody Garden at Fort Worden. The Trike Race, for contestants ages 1-6, takes place on Water Street, between Monroe and Quincy streets, on Wednesday, May 13. The Pet Parade is Thursday, May 14, in uptown. Thursday also is the first day of the Funtastic Carnival on Memorial Field. A variety of rides will be operating every day of the festival. On Friday, it’s the Kiddies Parade, a delight for the youngsters participating as well as the adoring watchers; the Bed Race, a thrilling event in which teams push a decorated bed containing a person across the finish line; and the Hair and Beard Contest, featuring novel and extremes of hirsute marvels. On Saturday, the Rhody Grand Parade starts uptown at 1 p.m. continuing downtown with an hour of old-fashioned fun on Saturday, May 16. “Who doesn’t enjoy sitting and watching a parade go by?” asked Hensley. A community cake picnic caps the parade with free slices of specially baked cake for all. “It’s reminiscent of the early clam bakes, when people would get together as a community,” said Hensley. “It’s really a lot of fun. People are happy and there’s really a sense of community there.” n
Spring 2015 LOP 21
Travelers’ dreams come true A Chimacum Co-op RV Park celebrates its silver anniversary
Story and photos by Sandra Haven Evergreen Coho SKP Park is home to 175 leaseholders who enjoy the Northwest beauty of this Chimacum co-op RV park.
hen a newly formed chapter of the national Escapees RV Club began looking to buy a piece of private property to call home, little did they know that 25 years later, Evergreen Coho SKP Park in Chimacum would have had such a lasting impact and presence on the Olympic Peninsula.
History of the traveler’s dream
In early 1985, a group of recreational vehicle (RV) owners, all members of the national Escapees RV Club, explored creating a co-op RV park in the Pacific Northwest. They wanted a place where RV owners could enjoy both the beautiful Northwest and the camaraderie of like-minded travelers. As they searched areas of Sequim, Port Townsend, Elma and Discovery Bay for an appropriate piece of property, they discovered the road to creating a co-op park was strewn with potholes. Finding the right piece of land, wrangling through sales contracts and obtaining all the necessary municipal and county approvals proved laborious. Finally, after more than three years, a piece of property on Anderson Lake Road in Chimacum was found, considered and secured. The RV park was established and named Evergreen Coho SKP Park. “SKP” represents the sound of saying “Escapee,” the parent organization. It also stands for “Service, Knowledge and Parking,” describing the members’ belief that sharing as volunteers,
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expanding their knowledge and living on wheels is a grand plan for life and retirement. In the fall of 1988, 11 RVs of brave souls, all retired and looking to create the co-op park, pulled their self-contained trailers and motorhomes onto the 43-acre thickly wooded property. Those first 11 became known as the Lonesome Eleven as they dry camped (without utilities) that first winter to begin clearing the land. One of them, Darlene Cathey, who still lives at the park, says those 11 made it clear to the other original members who had bought into the idea of this co-op that “if you didn’t come to work, you couldn’t park here.” By the end of that year, 300 members — meaning land-clearing helping hands — had signed the guestbook. Among them were a band of women who scoured the property for “Chimacum potatoes” (what they called the rocks that littered the ground after the underbrush was cleared). One of these “potatoes” was buried in the park’s time capsule, to be revealed again during the anniversary celebration this year. By mid-August 1989, with all electrical, water and sewer lines finished, the sites were ready for members’ self-contained RVs. Then, on Oct. 9, 1989, the 8,000-square-foot clubhouse groundbreaking ceremony event took place, attended by members, local politicians, law enforcement and the media. On June 22, 1990, after use of the clubhouse was approved by the county, a luau and festivities were enjoyed by the tired but well satisfied members. Cathey recalls, “We worked hard but we
had plenty of fun, too!” Twenty-five years later that fun continues in the beautiful 400-seat clubhouse that is ready host the park’s silver anniversary year celebration!
Volunteerism from near and far The 175 RV lots in the park are all leased to members, who buy in for the initial lease (called a leasehold) and share in the annual maintenance costs. The park’s governing documents ensure that members are informed and “on the same page” for keeping a safe and beautiful park for all members. They all also are expected to participate in one or several of the numerous committees necessary to run such an extensive community. Committees include lot management, landscaping, lawn, utilities, safety, long-range planning, budget, clubhouse and social, and various other committees. Running a park requires active participation of co-op members, but volunteering isn’t new to these leaseholders. For instance, while staying at the park, they not only volunteer within the park, but many serve within the community, such as volunteering at the local museums, Habitats for Humanity and charitable organizations. Several members are retired from law enforcement and they volunteer in the local police and sheriff’s departments. Plus every year there are in-park fundraisers dedicated to contributing to local groups, like the Chimacum Volunteer Fire Department, Jefferson County Food Bank and the Children’s Christmas Donation, among many others.
Above: Landscape Committee members, (left to right) Marianne Ecker, Merrie Freed and Diana Carter, have fun while keeping the park neat and trim. Top Right: A 1989 view of Evergreen Coho SKP Park from Tamanamus Rock as Phase III of construction began. Photo by Ted Sprague Right: Today the 8,000-square-foot clubhouse is the focal point of the park’s social and business activities.
Attractive to locals and visitors
There is another common thread that brings these people to Evergreen Coho SKP Park: A love of this peninsula’s beauty and temperate climate. Some came to escape hot southern summers, like Joe and Linda Noll who have a home in Georgia but make Chimacum their “summer home.” They took to RVing to escape the Georgia summer heat. Even before their RVing days, they volunteered extensively for their local humane society; Habitat for Humanity; a therapeutic riding center for the disabled; the Boys & Girls Club; as state park camp hosts and tour guides. Others are here to avoid cold northern winters, like Melinda Cornwell who served our country as a Navy nurse. She spent the past 28 years mainly in Alaska and three years ago she began full-timing in her RV with her two cats. She says she “never gets bored” and finds traveling exhilarating and that Evergreen Coho SKP Park is a perfect place to winter away from Alaska’s chill. Some members already knew they wanted to home-base here, like Cecil and Wanda Oppie. Cecil retired from the Navy with a Merchant Marine Masters and Puget Sound pilot’s license and Wanda worked in Olympia. With family nearby, they found Evergreen Coho SKP
There is another common thread that brings these people to Evergreen Coho SKP Park: A love of this peninsula’s beauty and temperate climate. Park the perfect place to retire and live when they aren’t traveling. During summer months, most of the 175 leaseholders arrive to attend the annual gettogethers. Additionally, most of the rental spaces are filled with Escapee visitors. This means several hundred visitors each year, who all shop and eat at the local businesses. Plus a core of about 60 leaseholders live at the park full-time, adding to the community support year round.
Silver Anniversary Celebration
Such a wide diversity of background, interests and travel adventures make for a camaraderie that permeates the park’s social gatherings. But this year will be even more exciting as they celebrate the park’s silver anniversary with a variety of dinners, historical presentations and other events. Members can look with pride at Evergreen
Coho SKP Park’s history and accomplishments. Today their flowering, tree-lined, paved streets showcase the generous-sized leaseholder lots. They can be equally proud of the neatly kept big-rig friendly, short-term rental spaces for visiting Escapee members. A large clubhouse, with library, gameroom, crafts room, billiards room, office, exercise room, laundry, kitchen and restrooms, serves hundreds who come for the members’ annual and special meetings and activities. But how did it come about? Only through the generous sharing of talents and hard work of so many Escapees over the past 25 years. And it is that same spirit of sharing that has created a legacy of community service, which has made this co-op park an important part of the fabric of the Olympic Peninsula. Visitors must check in at the park office for permission to enter this members-only private property. Or they can call 360-385-6538 for information or to schedule a tour with one of their Hospitality Hosts. To learn more about Escapees RV Club, go to www.escapees.com or Evergreen Coho SKP Park, go to www.evergreencohoskprvpark.com. n Sandra Haven is a professional editor and writing coach based in Port Hadlock. Reach her at www.sandrahaven.com.
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CROWNING GLORY Classic Revival courthouse a point of Port Angeles pride Story and photos by Patricia Morrison Coate “This year marks the 100-year anniversary of this grand lady — the Clallam County Courthouse. I believe the early residents of the county would be very proud to know that the bell still rings every hour and half-hour — and that she still stands proudly, serving the people of Clallam County,” said Joel Winborn, director of Parks, Fair and Facilities, gesturing to the classic terrazzo floors, faux marble walls and art glass skylight original to the courthouse in 1915. “It’s certainly a landmark for this area and it’s really great, given the fact that for 100 years the county has done an outstanding job of maintaining the building.” The century-old structure is still a functioning workplace, with offices for the prosecutor, Parks, Fair and Facilities, Environmental Health, Washington State University Extension, the county weed board, District Court and code enforcement. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
A hall to behold
Befitting its rise as a timber/mill port and the largest city in Clallam County, Port Angeles began to prosper in the first decade of the 20th century. Although having had the county seat since 1890, Port Angeles residents however conducted their county business in a succession of rented spaces, a school and a Catholic church. Twenty-five years later, forward-thinking county commissioners envisioned a courthouse that would make an elegant and impressive statement to locals and visitors for the up and coming center of commerce. The contractual cost was $57,688.50, according to records. Construction began on Aug. 1, 1914, on the Classic Revival three-story structure with a dominating 16-square-foot clock tower and above it, a bell cupola, all designed by Seattle architect Francis W. Grant. At approximately 23,000 square feet and its clock tower rising to nearly 90 feet, the courthouse would be the most grand edifice in the county. Sound Construction was the contractor and it must
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The Clallam County Courthouse, built in the Classical Revival style, still stands proudly after a century. Photo by Trish Tisdale have been a marvel for residents in their Model T’s, REOs and buggies to watch teams of bricklayers mortar and set thousands of red pressed bricks and embellishments of cast stone and terra cotta as the exterior walls rose upon a rise on Lincoln Street. O.T. Webber served as superintendent with H.B. Scott in charge of the interior’s scagliola, a handcrafted architectural technique that makes gypsum plaster look and feel like richly veined and polished marble. The distinctive clock has its own story. Some historical sites say it had languished in Seattle since 1885 until Grant “rescued” it in the teens, but the truth is a very enterprising Seattle jeweler/watchmaker named Joseph Mayer offered the county commissioners a “profit” of $200 if they would accept his bid of $5,115 for the tower clock and some secondary interior clocks. Apparently the commissioners didn’t think Mayer’s offer was a bribe — and with his being the only bid — they accepted it. As Mayer put it, “The equipment calls for the best made clock in the world — the E. Howard Tower Clock.” The clock, with milk glass dials 100 inches in diameter, facing all four directions, is an E. Howard Co. Boston Model No. 2 time, hour and half-hour strike clock. The electric winding system was patented by one of Mayer’s employees, Joseph Kuhn, and assigned to Mayer Brothers in 1912. Mayer also cast the bronze numerals, hands and dial frames — each minute hand is 46.5 inches long, each hour hand is 31.5 inches long and the numerals measure 15 inches. The iron bell, by Meneely & Co., weighs 2,000 pounds and is four feet tall. Anyone interested in getting an idea of how the clock operates can view a video Winborn put
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together on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=f36HMu86-XM. On the interior, residents were greeted with an entry vestibule and central hall faced with scagliola fashioned on site, classic cornice moulding and Ionic pilasters. Double curved stairs, also faced with the faux marble, led to the second floor where the courtroom boasted deep mahogany wood. The second level was lighted by a 144-square-inch stained glass skylight in ornamental and floral designs above a circular balcony. The third floor gave access to the clock tower. The cornerstone laying of the much-heralded Clallam County Courthouse on Oct. 16, 1914, after construction had been started in August, was such a momentous event that officials asked businesses to close between 2-4 p.m. so all their employees could attend the ceremony. Less than a year later, on Flag Day, June 14, 1915, it was an even more historic affair when the courthouse was dedicated. Reported the Port Angeles Olympic Leader four days later, “The new Clallam County Courthouse looked particularly attractive in its gala attire, the whole front being decorated with gracefully draped flags, the red, the white and the blue intermingling … It’s elegance and beauty of finish was greatly enhanced by the floral decorations and exhibition of fine roses and other flowers … The unfurling of Old Glory on the courthouse by the G.A.R. while the band played the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and a thousand flags waved from the hands of the vast throng of people assembled, was a grand demonstration of patriotism.” According to the Leader, keynote speaker J.E. Frost of Seattle, told the multitude he hoped “… the scales of justice would always be evenly balanced in favor of the poor and humble as well as the great and the rich.”
Pride in preservation From 1918-1976, this beautiful 12-foot by 12-foot art glass panel above the lobby was boarded up due to leaks in the skylight. It was uncovered and cleaned in 1976 and in 1979 a new skylight was installed above it to restore its natural illumination.
In the 1970s, the courthouse was showing its age in its sixth decade and funds were sought for restoration. In 1979, a grant was received from the State Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation to fund repairs to the parapet, the clock tower and skylight while the $10 million modern addition was being built behind it.
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“Special funding sources give counties like ours the ability to save the maintenance dollars by match funding, while ensuring preservation of these beautiful civic structures across the state.” — Joel Winborn, director of Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities “We received a grant from the Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation that focuses exclusively on historic structures throughout the state of Washington,” Winborn said. “These special funding sources give counties like ours the ability to save the maintenance dollars by match funding, while ensuring preservation of these beautiful civic structures across the state.” Now in its centennial year, the courthouse will undergo more exterior and interior rehabilitation with a $278,000 grant, half paid for by the county and half by the state. Exterior rehabilitation includes restoring and repairing the E. Howard Co. Boston Model 2 tower clock; decorative metal and wood trim at the entry; light standards at the main entry; and damaged terra cotta at the main entry. The exterior will be cleaned by pressure washing and sealed. Interior rehabilitation includes repairing/restoring the wood rail decorative metal at the second floor; the terrazzo on the second floor; repairing and cleaning the scagliola at the main door; replacing the third floor carpeting; and upgrading signage and the second floor restrooms for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Aldergrove Construction of Port Angeles was awarded the contract for $263,642 and Winborn hopes the work will be completed by the dedication anniversary on June 14. “This project continues our ongoing facilities maintenance and Capital Improvement Plan and concludes the higher cost repair items that have been needing attention,” Winborn noted. As of early February, plans on how to commemorate the courthouse’s centennial hadn’t been firmed up yet. Today, the Classical Revival courthouse and its modern addition are insured for $10.1 million. “We are very fortunate to have received several of these grants over the course of the last decade,” Winborn said. “The state is committed to the restoration of these wonderful structures. Our commissioners, past and present, also realize the importance of maintaining this historic building as well as the significant role it has played in our county’s history. It’s quite a special building.” n Top Right: One of the finest features of the courthouse’s architecture are the staircases and lobby walls clad with cream-colored scagliola, veined and polished to look like expensive marble. The material was made on site with gypsum plaster and an artisan’s touch. Middle Right: Facilities director Joel Winborn points to the electric winding system that runs the clock. Behind him is one of the four clock faces, each 100 inches in diameter. Bottom Right: Seattle jeweler and watchmaker Joseph Mayer, who installed the tower clock, took such pride in his work that he affixed this plaque for all of posterity. Mayer said at the time, “The equipment calls for the best made clock in the world — the E. Howard Tower Clock.”
Spring 2015 LOP 27
Brants feed in the Dungeness harbor, one of the many areas that support migratory birds at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
A (wildlife) refuge for all seasons Stunning Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge celebrates 100 years Story and photos by Mary Powell
t’s a rain-soaked day in February in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and all is well. Although a storm has moved in, bringing clouds that drape the treetops in the forest, causing bloated raindrops to splash on its floor, and a blanket of fog obscures the beach and the view beyond, the myriad of wildlife that make the refuge home are unperturbed. There are surprisingly quite a number of people-types who have braved the weather to visit one of the most striking pieces of real estate on the North Olympic Peninsula. They are probably not as comfortable, however, as the 244 species of birds, 29 species of mammals, eight species of reptiles and amphibians and 26 species of fish (also not bothered by a little rain, obviously) that migrate in and out of the refuge year-round. “We get between 80,000 to 100,000 visitors per year,” says Dave Falzetti, the federal wildlife officer at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. “They come from all over the world.” On this particular day, the parking lots at the refuge kiosk and headquarters are fairly
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full and folks preparing for an adventure on the trails, beaches or out to the famous Dungeness Spit and lighthouse are gearing up: umbrellas up, boots laced up, raincoats buttoned up. After paying the $3, they are off in search of adventure. Which they will find. But it is always a tradeoff, visitors versus wildlife, so to speak. “Having people visit does impact the wildlife, but it is a trade-off,” Falzetti contends. “People need to see and learn about wildlife in its natural habitat.” He describes the refuge as a kind of classroom, not necessarily a place to go and play, but a place to experience wildlife and nature. “It gives a sense of importance to these areas,” he says, referencing the more than 500 national wildlife refuges in the United States. Falzetti also worries about development encroaching on the refuge. “There is a lot of environmental pressure here,” he maintains. “It will always be people versus wildlife.” But, he continues, “Yes, this is the home of the birds, but it also belongs to the
people. That’s why is was set up, it’s all about education.” It’s also why aberrations such as ATVs are not allowed on the spit or beaches, since such vehicles have a negative impact on the marine life, especially birds. Falzetti is one of those people who deeply cares about the refuge, the land, the environment and the future of all three. He attended Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and completed his master’s degree in environmental studies at Evergreen College in Olympia. A fan of the outdoors, he spent time camping in the forests and mountains of New Mexico. He began his career with the National Park Service, starting as the night ranger at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. “I wanted to do more to make a contribution,” he says about why he came to Sequim. “My wife and I frequently came up here for vacations and we were always disappointed when we had to go home.” Before taking the job at the Dungeness Refuge, he was the wildlife officer at the
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in DuPont. In 2003, he transferred to our bit of heaven.
and raptors and plenty of bald eagles. The two spits, Dungeness and Graveyard, provide shelter for shorebirds. In the mud on the tide flats are worms, clams and crustaceans, a smorgasbord for shorebirds when low tide exposes the tasty treats. The Dungeness harbor and bay area is protected from heavy surf and is full of fish. Eelgrass beds in the bay provide food for brant, a species of goose that are abundant in the refuge, and a nursery, so to speak, for marine life, such as the famous Dungeness crab. The refuge is 1.206 square miles, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife statistics. As if that isn’t enough to maintain, Falzetti and his five employees are responsible for six nearby refuges, including Protection Island and the San Juan Island National Refuge. Protection Island is closed to the public, however. “We want to restore the habitat back to what is was before development impacted the wildlife on the island,” Falzetti maintains. In fact, he says, every island offshore between the North Olympic Peninsula and Aberdeen is protected.
The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, along with many other refuges in the country, is celebrating its centennial year. But before the refuge was deemed so, birds and other wildlife took advantage of the diverse land on the Strait of Juan de Fuca that includes one of the world’s longest sand spits, forest and marshes. Plenty of places to nest, rest and feast. Oh, and we can’t forget the New Dungeness Lighthouse. See accompanying story on page 30. President Woodrow Wilson, who recognized the importance of natural habitats, established the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 20, 1915, as a refuge, preserve and breeding ground for native birds. The earliest effort to set aside an area of federally owned land specifically for wildlife preservation occurred in 1868 when President Ulysses S. Grant set aside the Pribilof Islands in Alaska as a preserve for the northern fur seal. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order to establish Pelican Island Migratory Bird Reservation along the central Atlantic coast of Florida. Pelican Island Migratory Reservation was the first to be managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biological Survey for migratory bird purposes. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the governing agency for national wildlife refuges. The twin, if you will, to the wildlife refuge system is the National Wilderness Preservation System, established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Today, that system includes 757 Congressionally designated wilderness areas comprising about 109 million acres in the country. Since the first wildlife refuge, the National Wildlife Refuge System has grown to include more than 560 refuges, 38 wetland managements districts and other protected areas encompassing 150 million acres of land and water. There is at least one wildlife refuge in every state, most within an hour’s drive of a major metropolitan area. Wildlife refuges provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 > > The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is species of fish, according to the U.S. Fish 100 years old this year and Wildlife Service. More than 47 million people visit > > Between 80,000-100,000 people from the national wildlife refuges each year, all over the world visit each year generating $1.7 billion and creating thousands of jobs in local communities. > > The refuge consists of 1.206 square miles
BY THE NUMBERS
The diversity of the Dungeness wildlife refuge is incredible. Each niche of the refuge houses specific wildlife. For instance, on the bluffs above the spit the coniferous forests house deer, songbirds
> > The refuge habitats are home to 244 bird species, 18 types of land mammals, 11 marine mammal species > > There are more than 560 national wildlife refuges in the United States
Above: A newt finds shelter on the forest floor near the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. Photo by Christopher Dorris Left: Ron Andrus is one of more than 100 volunteers at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Dave Falzetti, wildlife officer, calls Andrus a “very important volunteer.” How do six people possibly take care of six refuges? The answer: volunteers. The refuge has an active program of volunteers right around 130 strong. “Volunteers are the backbone of the program, the meat and bones of the operation,” Falzetti says enthusiastically. John Maxwell, a retired United Methodist pastor, is one of those volunteers and has been for the past five years. He has lived in this neck of the woods for 12 years and after retiring in 2008, began looking for volunteer opportunities. Since offering his services, Maxwell has come to be known as the volunteer historian for the refuge. He has spent about a year researching the refuge’s background, preparing for the centennial this year. A tall, softspoken man, he is a veritable walking encyclopedia when it comes to historical information regarding the area. He is, indeed, a very knowledgable, interesting man and an asset to the volunteer corps. He gives credit to Falzetti for the success of the volunteer program. “It needs to be said,” Maxwell insists, “Dave
Spring 2015 LOP 29
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING, ANYONE? Of the many activities visitors can partake in at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, a trek out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse is one of the favorites. It isn’t an easy hike, however; many who have walked the 5.5-mile spit to the light station have forgotten that the trail is filled with beach debris, and then, of course, there’s the pesky tide that comes in without notice. “People have been stuck out there, they just have to wait it out,” says Ron Andrus, a volunteer with the Dungeness Refuge. Andrus has hiked out to the lighthouse a few times himself and warns those willing to brave the winds and often rain, to wear appropriate clothing and know the tide tables. “Flip-flops don’t work,” he laughs. While the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the lighthouse has been functional since it was lit for the first time on Dec. 14, 1857. It was the first lighthouse completed on the Salish Sea, a part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The lighthouse was 100 feet tall at first, but because of the cracking tower — possibly caused by the North Cascades earthquake in 1872 — the tower was lowered to 63 feet in 1927. Throughout the years, the oil-burning light and bell were replaced with newer technology. In 1993, the New Dungeness Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Originally, there were two full-time keepers who lived at the lighthouse. In 1904, quarters for the officer in charge was built east of the lighthouse. Today, this is the keeper’s quarters. Due to budget cuts, the U.S. Coast Guard in 1994 retired its last keeper. Sadly, plans were made to board up the buildings. However, as good citizens are often inclined to do, a group stepped forward to preserve the lighthouse and the New Dungeness Light Station Association was organized. They obtained a renewable license with the U.S. Coast Guard. Today the light station is maintained and operated by the association. Members of the association, of which there are more than 1,900, which includes 800 families, have the opportunity to become keepers and live the life of a keeper for a week. It’s not the vacation you might think, though. As the brochures put it, “being responsible for the operation of the lighthouse is much the same isolation as keepers of the 19th century.” Each week, as many as six volunteer keepers who have paid a weekly fee, planned their meals and purchased their food, are taken to the station. During the week, they perform maintenance and repair to the buildings, mow, trim and water the lawn. They also serve as tour guides to visitors who have hiked the 5.5 miles. The tour includes a trip to the top of the tower. The New Dungeness Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Northwest and is one of the very few that allow families the opportunity to be lighthouse keepers. The New Dungeness Light Station is open to the public every day, free of charge. Again, be sure to check the tide tables before heading out and plan on a 5-hour round trip. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/washingtonmaritime/ dungeness/
30 LOP Spring 2015
John Maxwell, left, volunteer historian, and Dave Falzetti, wildlife officer, at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.
does a wonderful job with the volunteers.” Volunteers are kept busy as trailhead docents, greeting and assisting visitors, taking wildlife surveys, keeping the beaches clean, trail maintenance and more. A comprehensive training takes place annually in the spring. Another extraordinary volunteer, Ron Andrus, spends most of his time at the refuge as a trailhead docent. He has volunteered for 2 1/2 years, but has been coming up to the peninsula for 14 years from California. The refuge wasn’t new to him, so it was a natural pairing to offer his services. “I like the outdoors and am a people person,” he says in way of explanation as why he volunteers here. “You do it because you want to and to help protect the refuge.” The most interesting people he has met? A group from Chechnya! And, he jokes, “I wanted a jacket,” the coats the volunteers often wear when the cold weather sets in. The Dungeness National Wildlife Center recruits two volunteer caretakers for a year for the summer months. The caretaker lives on the refuge and has a variety of duties. A small stipend is provided. An important aspect to the management of the refuge is building partnerships with various organizations and government agencies. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge has formed strong partnerships with Friends of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, an organization that promotes the conservation of the resources of the refuge, the New Dungeness Light Station Association and the Dungeness Recreation Area. Bordering the refuge, the county recreation area provides visitors with opportunities for hiking and wildlife watching, as well as activities not allowed on the refuge, including trails to walk with pets, a campground and a picnic area with fire pits “When people come to the refuge with their pets or want to camp, we always tell them to go to the county park to play, the refuge is a home for the birds,” Falzetti says. “It’s great to have that resource there.”
Geologically speaking, the refuge has been in existence for a very long time and will most likely continue to be so. About 10,000 years ago, melting glaciers left thick deposits of sand and gravel along the coastline on the North Olympic Peninsula. Waves eroded the deposit, in turn creating steep bluffs and gradually pushed the sand north and east
from the headland, creating the Dungeness Spit. Like all geographic features, if left alone it will continue to grow; the spit continues to grow at its tip at the rate of 13 feet per year. The spit and bluffs created a variety of habitats for birds, mammals and marine mammals. “This is a critically important habitat, that is why the refuge was created, to protect it for our future,” Falzetti claims. “We do our best to do as little damage as possible.” Falzetti recalls a plan set forth to develop a marina at the refuge, a development that would have brought in vacation homes and buildings. For one, that would have destroyed the eelgrass beds, which provide food for many species of birds and marine life. Plus, the area also would have to be dredged once a year or more. “The plan had to have the approval of the Corps of Engineers,” Falzetti remembers. Fortunately they said no. In 1975, the late actor John Wayne gifted the land on Sequim Bay for the specific purpose of a marina. That, Falzetti says, “took the pressure off,” of refuge development. That doesn’t mean the refuge won’t expand. The Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to acquire lands under several legislative authorities. Congress appropriates funds for land acquisition with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Whether the refuge will expand in the future is likely dependent on what land is viable and the need
for more space. “The number of birds here is colossal,” Falzetti observes. “It is so impressive in winter how many birds are here.” What is important for the future of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is that we maintain a balance between protecting, respecting and enjoying the land and habitat for wildlife. Wildlife refuges are often the only venue for viewing such strange-sounding creatures as the yellow-billed loon, a greater scaup or a red-breasted nuthatch. Yes, all these can be observed at the refuge. And, lest you may think it always rains at the refuge, come summertime, sunlight streams down through the trees, giving the forest a cathedral-like feel, the waves on the strait sparkle like diamonds, the lighthouse stands majestic with Mount Baker as a backdrop, looking every bit a scene from a play. It’s the time to see harbor seal, perhaps a gray whale or killer whale out in the surf, and of course, the abundant variety of birds, birds and more birds. “This is not a place to play, but a place to experience wildlife,” Falzetti reminds us. “It gives a sense of importance to these areas.” For more information about the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge or volunteer opportunities, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/ dungeness/ or call the refuge at 360-457-8451. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is at 554 Voice of America Road West, Sequim. n
CENTENNIAL EVENTS Jan. 17: Kick-off anniversary celebration Feb. 21: Winter bird walk on the Refuge March 14, 1-3 p.m.: Presentation about the New Dungeness Light Station at the Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Agnew April 18, 9-11 a.m.: Spring bird walk on the refuge led by members of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society May 16, 1-3 p.m.: Presentation by the Coastal Watershed Institute at the Dungeness River Audubon Center June 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Kids Day at the refuge, many hands-on activities July 18, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.: Geology walks on the refuge Aug. 15: Shorebird walk. Time will depend on the tides Sept. 25-26: Joint celebration of 100 years with the Dungeness River Bridge and Klahhane Hike Club as part of the annual Riverfest at the Dungeness River Audubon Center Nov. 21, 9-11 a.m.: Migrating waterfowl walk on the refuge For more information, visit www.dungeness100.com.
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A bridge with a past The crown jewel at Railroad Bridge Park turns 100 this year Story and photos by Mary Powell
The Railroad Bridge turns 100 this year and is the centerpiece of Railroad Bridge Park, located at the west end of Sequim. About 120,000 walkers, runners, birders and bikers cross the bridge each year.
he’s a grand old gal and stands straight and proud even as she approaches her centennial birthday. Somewhat a celebrity in and around the Sequim environs, she is not a who but a what, and has been the centerpiece of the Railroad Bridge Park since its inception in the early 1990s, hosting 120,000 — give or take a few — walkers, runners, with or without dogs, birders and bikers each year. If you’ve guessed this extremely popular entity is the Railroad Bridge, you are right. But it’s fair to say you would be in the minority if you knew very much about the bridge, including the fact that it turns 100 years old this year, or that at more than 730 feet long, Railroad Bridge is the longest bridge on the Dungeness River. Or maybe some don’t realize that this bridge once carried trains over the river, but that is probably obvious what with the name Railroad Bridge. Another revelation is that the bridge and the surrounding Railroad Bridge Park, with its trails, Audubon center and a myriad of annual programs, is not a city nor county park, but is owned and managed by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Railroad Bridge Park is on tribal property, explains Annette Nesse, chief operating officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. And that, she says, includes the bridge and trestle. “The park is not a public place, not a state park,” Nesse makes clear. “A lot of people think their tax money goes to maintain the park, but that’s not the case.”
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Above left: The Olympic Discovery Trail crosses Railroad Bridge and is a popular spot for visitors and local citizens alike. Jerry Campbell, pictured, says he spends time at the park nearly every day, contemplating the future of the bridge. Above right: The grand old bridge stands proud and tall as it celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Built in 1915, trains chugged over the bridge filled with logs and eventually, people. The last train crossed the bridge in March 1985. Below: Powell Jones, born and raised in Sequim, is the executive director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, located at Railroad Bridge Park, and is in the process of planning centennial celebrations for the 100-year-old Railroad Bridge. Instead the tribe contributes to the maintenance of the park and bridge and has access to various funding sources to continue that support. The fact that the park isn’t a public place or state park by no means excludes visitors. That the tribe took the initiative to manage the area after the railroad ended its glory days ensures the park and bridge will be preserved in perpetuity for all to enjoy.
The back story
If the grand old gal could talk, what stories we would hear. Alas, we have human historians to tell the story of Railroad Bridge, past and present. Ken Wiersema, retired civil engineer and railroad enthusiast; Steve Hauff, former Clallam County Public Works director; and Annette Hanson, former Sequim School District communications director and history enthusiast, are but a few of area historians who have pieced together the story of the Railroad Bridge. Take a walk across the bridge today and if you use your imagination you just might hear the chugging of a trail and the whistle of the locomotive warning its oncoming presence. Now imagine it’s the summer of 1915, when the bridge first carried trains from Port Townsend to Port Angeles and then west to connect with logging railroads. According to research by Hauff and John Hook, grading for the bridge and the railroad bed began in January 1914, with equipment and materials brought by ships and barges to Port
Angeles. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, later called the Milwaukee Road, built the bridge. Railroad Bridge is only one piece of the past railroad activity on the peninsula. Between the 1880s to the mid-1980s, more than 30 companies operated 100 miles of railroad on the peninsula, the logging business being the impetus for the growth of rail transportation in Clallam County. “Railroads were what determined if your town was a town” during the 1870s and 1880s, Hauff relates in one of his many presentations. “They were really important to the movers and shakers of the time.”
Between 1914 and 1915, the rail line from west of Port Angeles was extended east to Carlsborg, Sequim, Gardiner and Discovery Bay, where it connected to the Port Townsend line. Railroad Bridge first carried trains in July 1915, including the first passenger train from Port Angeles to Sequim. From 1915 to 1980, the Milwaukee Road operated the rail line from Port Townsend to Port Angeles and then west to connect with several logging railroads. The line operated passenger service until the 1930s, the service ending due in part to the effects of the Great Depression. Ken Wiersema takes special interest in the design of the grand old gal, most likely due to his civil engineering background. “The bridge is a modified Howe-through truss,” Wiersema explains. “This means that the train went through the middle of the structure of the truss.” To add to her fame, the bridge was somewhat a trendsetter when it came to its design. William Howe, the designer of the truss, was a millwright from Massachusetts and also was — interesting tidbit — the uncle of Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine! At any rate, Howe’s major innovation was the use of iron to carry the tension load and wood to carry the compression load. “On our bridge there are sets of vertical steel rods on each side that carried the tension that was exerted by the weight of the train as it went over the bridge,” Wiersema says. “Many railroads adopted this design as a standard railroad structure.”
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Above left: A February wind and rain storm damaged the west end of the Railroad Bridge trestle, closing the bridge to foot traffic. Photo by Christopher Dorris Above right: A bottleneck of trees and logs from upstream on the Dungeness River possibly hit the supporting pilings on the Railroad Bridge, causing part of the trestle to buckle. Photo by Christopher Dorris The design was inexpensive and (IAC). The Washington “How many people work in a place where there is a Recreation could be prefabricated, cut to size in State Department of Wildlife (now different landscape each day? It’s like a Christmas State Department of Fish and a mill or an off-site shop and hauled to the site by the railroad. Then it Wildlife) agreed to hold the title and present for me.” could be assembled by a crew of to lease the property to a local public railroad construction workers. — Powell Jones, executive director, Dungeness River Audubon Center, entity. The Clallam County Parks Powell Jones, executive director location of Railroad Bridge Park and the historical Railroad Bridge and Recreation District I agreed to of the Dungeness River Audubon manage the property and trail.” Center, located at Railroad Bridge Most of the work on converting It was becoming a nuisance.” Park, likens the process to a giant the bridge to a people-friendly The bridge came close to being removed. Tinker Toy set. pathway took place in the early 1990s. Trail Fortunately, a number of individuals, groups “It is a unique design,” he says. “They could coalition volunteers re-decked the bridge and committees pulled together to not only assemble the parts in two weeks. The bridge and trestle and converted a half-mile of bare save the bridge, but turn it into recreational served for for 70 years as a railroad bridge.” track to a paved trail. In 1992, the museum space meant for all to use and enjoy. The Railroad Bridge Howe truss was one of group secured grant funding from the State Annette Hanson has served on several the last built in Washington and is one of the Department of Natural Resources to add 10 committees that helped save our bridge. In few remaining, Wiersema says. acres of land on the east side of the Dungeness “It might even be the last,” he exclaims. And, the meantime, she has taken a keen interest River, adjacent to the bridge. in the area’s history, joining volunteers with it is on the National Register of Historic Places. “In 1993, they worked to secure a legislative the Sequim Natural History Museum in the appropriation for $300,000 to construct an development of Railroad Bridge Park, making it interpretive center at the park to house the No more trains the permanent home of the museum. museum (formerly located at the old Sequim By the 1980s, the timber industry on the Hanson tells the somewhat complicated School District high school) and to provide a North Olympic Peninsula was in decline, thus story of saving the bridge. range of natural history and environmental the need for the train was greatly reduced. The “After the train tracks were pulled up, the education functions for the public,” Hanson Milwaukee Road sold the line to the Seattle Peninsula Trail Coalition tried without success writes. and North Coast Railroad in 1980. It then to secure the entire right of way for a trail. The Railroad Bridge Park was dedicated in abandoned the line in 1985. 1992 with the Railroad Bridge standing as its “A small independent company operated the railroad company began divesting itself of the right of way, piece by piece. PTC then secured glorious centerpiece. railway for a while,” Wiersema reflects. “The several partnerships to save the historic bridge By 1993, the recreation district’s goals had last train crossed the bridge in March 1985.” – a critical feature if the dream of a recreational changed and once again, the now very popular Our grand old gal was suddenly left high and trail was to come to life,” Hanson explained. park and bridge were vulnerable. dry with no purpose, other than to entertain “In 1990, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) In 1993, however, the Jamestown S’Klallam what became a teenage hangout. agreed to purchase the bridge and the Tribe agreed to take ownership of the park and Wiersema chuckles with the memory of half mile right of way to Runnion Road, bridge. The Dungeness River is the ancestral the activities that took place in what is now provided someone bought it from them. The home of the S’Klallam people and the park and Railroad Bridge Park. property was subsequently resold to the bridge are on tribal land. Today, the Dungeness “People, mostly teenagers, were going down State Interagency Committee for Outdoor River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge to the river and trespassing on private property.
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Bridge Bits • • • • • • • • •
Railroad Bridge celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The first trains crossed the bridge in July 1915. The total length of the bridge, including truss and trestle, is more than 730 feet, making it the longest bridge on the Dungeness River. The bridge is a modified Howe-through truss, meaning the train went through the middle of the structure of the truss. Railroad Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. The logging business was the impetus for rail transportation on the peninsula. The last train traveled over Railroad Bridge in March 1985. Private citizens and organizations worked together to ensure the bridge would not be destroyed and could be a place of recreation for all. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe took ownership of Railroad Bridge Park in 1993. Railroad Bridge Park is at 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, Sequim. For more information, visit the Dungeness River Center at www.dungenessrivercenter.org, or call, 360-681-4076.
Park is an active partnership of three organizations operating under a Memorandum of Understanding: The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society and the National Audubon Society. “Railroad Bridge Park has become a community treasure,” Hanson professes. “In addition to providing the best public access to the lower Dungeness, the park has grown to 56 acres that protect critical habitat and provide important recreational and educational opportunities.”
Turning 100, be it an object or person, is cause for celebration and that’s just what is planned for our grand old gal. Jones is especially passionate about the bridge which he can see from his office window at the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Jones is one of the rare birds — pun intended — who is a Sequim native, born and raised here. After high school, he attended and graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. It was there he met his wife, who now teaches at the Sequim School District. After returning to Sequim, Jones worked at Railroad Bridge Park for 10 years and has been the director of the center for three years. “I have an opportunity to protect a place I grew up in,” Jones says of his position at the park. The River Center opened on Oct. 21, 2001, and includes the interpretive building, an open amphitheater with a stage and seating for 75 and the RiverShed, a shelter with permanent picnic tables and benches. And, of course, the bridge, a testament to what was and what is to be. Which brings us back to the birthday girl’s parties, some of which are in the planning stages. Jones will stage what he is calling Bridgehenge. He is envisioning a gathering of bridge-lovers on March 20, the first day of spring, the full moon, the equinox. “It just seems an appropriate day for celebration of the 100-year-old bridge,” he says with a smile. A series of talks regarding the bridge will be given by Steve Hauff and of course, there is the annual River Festival held in September, the theme of which will be Celebrating 100 years on the Peninsula. Jones says a plaque honoring 100-year-old events will be unveiled at the festival. A committee is in the process of finalizing other celebratory events. Turning 100, however, is not without its share of anxiety. Will the bridge stand the test of time, to last in perpetuity? To be sure, there is plenty to indicate its old age right before our eyes. The walking surface for instance, is in need of renovation. Just this past February, a soaking rainstorm and flood-strength waters did severe damage to Railroad Bridge. A clog of trees, logs and debris coming downstream on the Dungeness River undermined several
support pilings and quite possibly led to the collapse of the western walkway portion of the bridge, closing it to foot traffic. While the bridge itself is not in danger of falling into the river, according the Jamestown Excavating division manager John Kertis, “the extensive damage to the trestle and trusses will need to be repaired before the bridge will open.” The day after the trestle collapse, the faithful made their pilgrimage to Railroad Bridge Park, some walking under umbrellas, others skirting mud puddles splattered around, all paying homage to their beloved bridge. Most hoped for the best for their old friend, anticipating the closure would be short-lived. “It is time for us to look ahead,” says Jones, reminding us there is no funding other than grants for this marvelous park and bridge. We are indeed, at a place where the past inspires our future, when we must take responsibility for the preservation of our natural treasures for the next generation and on. Would the grand old gal live another hundred years, what stories she would continue to tell, what thousands of feet, bikes, dogs, wheelchairs, will have crossed the well-worn surface and be thankful to have done so. Happy birthday, dear friend. Much credit and gratitude goes to Annette Hanson and Ken Wiersema for their contribution to the story of the Railroad Bridge. — Mary Powell
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To advertise in Clallam County, call 360-683-3311. In Jefferson County, call 360-385-2900.
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Spring 2015 LOP 35
Spaghetti and Swiss Chard with Garlic Chips (makes 4-6 servings)
Silverwater co-owner Alison Powers shows off a variety of spices available at the Silverwater Cafe. The restaurant features a full dining room, a lounge and a unique dinner and a movie venue on its third floor.
Silverwater Cafe fills the bill It started as a humble fish and chips shack on the waterfront, but today the Silverwater Café in Port Townsend is much more – it features a full-service restaurant, a comfy lounge and it operates the Starlight Room with Port Townsend’s Rose Theater. In the Starlight Room, diners relax with food and drinks on cozy couches and overstuffed chairs while viewing a movie on the big screen. This 21 and over venue offers a full bar and a small plates menu featuring truffle fries, sliders, paninis, wraps, salads, quesadillas and the famous Rose Theatre popcorn. Movies run twice daily. For the current offering, go to www.rosetheatre.com. Whether it’s a business lunch out, a meeting over drinks or date night with a movie, the Silverwater fills the bill. For more information, see silverwatercafe.com. Co-owner Alison Powers regularly shares recipes with customers. Here she shares a light comfort meal that is pretty guilt-free.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup dried currants 2 pounds green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped separately 1/2 cup water 1 pound spaghetti 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut into slivers 6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups)
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook onion in oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plumped, about 1 minute. Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until stems and leaves are tender, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta in an 8-quart pot of well-salted, boiling water until al dente. Reserve one cup pasta-cooking water before draining spaghetti. Toss spaghetti with chard stems and leaves, olives and 1/2 cup cooking water in skillet, adding more cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with feta cheese and garlic chips.
THEN James & Hastings Building This block of downtown Port Townsend, anchored on the corner by the James & Hastings building, is preserved pretty much as it looked more than 100 years ago. The James & Hastings building was built in 1889 and was described then as an elaborate building with three stories and a basement that cost $35,000-$45,000 to build. It is built on land where the first log cabin in Port Townsend was built in 1851. Ultimately, speculators had grander things in mind for that corner lot. The building is named for Francis James and Lucinda Hastings, the widow of merchant Loren B. Hastings. Over the years, the building has served many purposes. A mercantile store occupied the bottom floor for many years. In the decades that followed its construction, it also housed restaurants, saloons and offices. In 1900, the building was occupied by the Vienna Hotel and Bar. Today, the James & Hastings building still anchors that block of Water Street in Port Townsend. Colorful and restored, it houses a variety of shops, offices and apartments.
36 LOP Spring 2015
Historic photo courtesy of the Port Townsend Leader collection. Current photo by Fred Obee.
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You re The Apprentice In These Craft Workshops Port Townsend ofand teaches classes usten boasts that it’s an ing only hand tools. I see art town. But really, it’s he is this spring offering a town steeped in, and “Hand Saw Essentials,” a teaching traditional, tantwo day class in the “segible skills. lection, technique, sharpArt breaks rules. It ening and restoration of threatens the status old saws,” and suspect quo. It’s disruptive, disthere’s more here than it turbing and makes dismight appear. Tolpin has By Jan Halliday cordant noise. You don’t written best-selling books see any Frank Geary aron small house design and chitecture in Port Townsend’s Na- on crafting gypsy wagons. Even if tional Historic District. Or public woodworking is not your interest, art that arouses outrage. The larg- looking at the school’s catalogue est public art installation on Port on line is well worth your time. Townsend’s waterfront, a large ptwoodschool.org polished bronze that looks like a This spring the woodworking hex nut or a doughnut with edges, school also offers four classes in an did arouse rage, not for its outland- even deeper tradition: Northwest ishness but for its cost and because Coast Art, taught by a master it wasn’t made by a local artist. carver, Steve Brown. Brown, who Tradition is strong here, and resides in Sequim, has restored having first attracted young black- and replaced some of the best tosmiths and boat builders in the temic artwork in Alaska, includearly 1970s, Port Townsend has ing The House of Chief Shakes, become even more intent at pre- with a group of Tlingit carvers, in serving and teaching time-honored Wrangell. craft. A curator of Northwest Coast Jim Tolpin, a local resident, Art at the Seattle Art Museum, instructor and a founder of the Brown offers classes this spring in Port Townsend School of Wood- NW Coast formline design, adze working, based at Fort Worden, and tool making, ladle and bowl See TRADITIONS, Page 41▼ has given up using power tools
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Spring 2015 LOP 37 Spring 2015 LOP 37
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38 LOP Spring 2015
Spring 2015 LOP 38
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Spring 2015 LOP 39
Spring 2015 LOP 39
Key City Fish Market Offering the best in Fresh Local Seafood, Natural Meats, and Free Range Poultry. Also serving top quality Tacos from our Taco to Go Window. Open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.
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In the Boat Yard • 307 10th St. • 379-5516 • www.keycityfish.com
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Discover what the south end of Whidbey Island has to offer. Whether on the Island for a quiet getaway, extended vacation or visiting with friends, let us drive you to some of Whidbey’s finest wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms. Tour includes tasting fees, pick up and drop off from your Whidbey location. Come sit back, relax and enjoy some local wine with us.
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CHS Chimacum • 9315 Rhody Drive
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Spring 2015 LOP 40
caliberhomeloans.com • 360-379-6425 601 S. Race St., Ste. B Port Angeles, WA
175 W. Washington St. Sequim, WA
10712 Rhody Dr., Ste. 103 1480 Sid Uhinck Rd., Ste. 200 Port Hadlock, WA Silverdale, WA
Apparel, Accessories & Decor Victorian Pirate . Steampunk
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This 36-foot long motor sailor was designed by Carl Chamberlin of Port Townsend and modified for an owner in southern California. Shown l. to r. are: Students Matthew Shreeve, Vernon Pearia, Charlie Duerr, instructor Ben Kahn in face mask, Hwan Pyung Kim, and Travis Dowds.
Traditions: ▼Continued from page 37
Jan Garing Broker/Owner
Helping Buyers & Sellers Since 1998 1220 Water St., Port Townsend Office 360 385-9344 x24 Cell 360-301-5492 firstname.lastname@example.org
232 Taylor St. • (360) 379-4181
Connect to your Celtic roots on the Olympic Peninsula
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carving and hand carving a Tlingitstyle mask. Learning by doing is invaluable for a deeper understanding of this unique region as expressed by its first artists, and taking any class from Brown is an opportunity of a lifetime. While we’re hanging around Fort Worden, lets see what Centrum, an arts organization housed in a charming, 1890-era saltbox, is up to: Same old thing and good for them, there’s been an ongoing parade of expertise from all over the country teaching workshops in Port Townsend for 40 summers. Classes in acoustic blues include gospel singing, rhythm and blues piano, and moaning Delta blues. “Fiddle tunes,” which includes traditional music from Cape Breton, the Piedmont and Cajun country, is not limited to fiddles but includes other stringed instruments such as banjo and guitar, as well as washboards and harmonicas. Instructors, many of them famous musicians in their 90s, teach here. There’s also a jazz workshop but that doesn’t fit so nicely into my argument, so have a look at centrum.org. While you’re at it, check out their other offerings, such as the Writers Conference that draws some of the best writers and poets as instructors. Most workshops include public performances and readings, so if you can’t do, view. Two other traditional schools exist here: The Northwest School
Steve Brown, teaching this spring at the Port Townsend Woodworking School, is an expert on Northwest Coast Native totemic carving.
of Wooden Boatbuilding, housed in a historic building on the old Port Hadlock waterfront (and in several newer structures erected in a former gravel pit nearby) and the CedarRoot Folk School based on, but not limited to, Marrowstone Island. The boatbuilding school is fully accredited and offers a nine-month course of study in traditional boatbuilding methods during the school year. It also breaks out shorter workshops. This spring’s offerings: Sailmaking, Beginning Rigging, Introduction to Diesel Engines and an evening Maritime History class, “to learn about the history of America within the context of maritime activities and culture, and how it continues to help define our future as a nation and a world.” nwboatschool.org
CedarRoot Folk School’s mission could not be clearer: “Preserving and Restoring the Skills, Traditions and Arts of Rural Living. A School for the People, by the People.” I’m going to send you to their website, but first a list of classes coming up this spring: Natural dyeing, wildlife tracking, fruit tree grafting, blacksmithing and knife making, farmstead cheese and yogurt making, scythe making, cob building fundamentals, the art of making bitters, nature journaling, solar hot water, rush basketry hats, platter carving and an introduction to permaculture. These are classes with immediate, tangible results. cedarrootfolkschool.org Don’t you want to do it all?
Spring 20152015 LOP 41 41 Spring LOP
Celebrate Life By Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith
Do you remember the amazing night we celebrated entering into a new millennium with a wave of global celebrations? Dec. 31, 1999, changing to Jan. 1, 2000, with all its wondrous possibilities as time zones spun into the next universal unfolding of life on earth. We were united as shimmering light from candles, torches, bonfires and fireworks lit up the night sky in a great luminous wave that encircled our planet. From space, our home Gaia was dancing in a party dress adorned sequins amid a starfilled sky of ebony. Even as beautiful as it would have looked from space, it was even more miraculous as we experienced it all around our globe. Sitting in our homes, yet being able to watch on television as that milestone moment traveled west around the world until it came full circle. Images that touched and inspired us all. No longer separate countries, but instead sharing one celebration of life. It is said that Indra’s Web is the night sky that holds all of creation in its star-linked threads … but that incredible night the light-linked threads were us here on earth. How perfect that our modern technology that connects us across our borders is called “the web.” That celebration began with a seaworthy outrigger canoe from the tiny island of Tonga in the Pacific. We were transfixed as we felt the world uniting to watch this little boat with its lit torches set sail across the waters that flow between us. We watched celebrations of light and fireworks in Sydney harbor, along the Great Wall of China, in Moscow’s Red Square, as a laser show on the Pyramids of Giza, above the Eiffel Tower, in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, in the heart of New York City’s Times Square and surrounding our own Seattle Space Needle to name but a few. Our huge planet became an intimate home for us all in a profound new way. It also revealed how much more we have in common than we have differences. Our diversity creates unique notes of life and our oneness harmonizes them into a full symphony. All around the globe, music and song filled the air, laughter and kisses were shared, and we all cheered as the clock
42 LOP Spring 2015
marked midnight. No just any midnight, but one that had become a global party. It was our first true global milestone. We as humans mark our lives with milestones that give it meaning and remind us of the journeys of our souls as we transverse the landscape of earth. From the earliest human, we’ve recognized the importance of the changes in the seasons … born or have chosen to live. The solstices and the equinoxes are ancient milestones marked by temples like Stonehenge. Many of our modern celebrations have their roots in pagan history because this is an expression of our collective humanity. Together, we celebrate holidays distinctive to our native lands. We stop our mundane lives to have a day off with events that remind us that it’s not just another day … it’s special. An important part of our spiritual traditions is the honoring of the high holy days as meaningful rituals and festivals honor our understanding of the Divine. The celebration of milestones is a uniquely human process, but we sometimes forget how important this is. It allows conscious reflection of the process of time and engenders deeper meaning in our lives. We unite to remember and reconnect our relationships with others and with our world. We mark milestones individually as we celebrate birthdays, weddings, graduations
and memorials. These days remind us of the specialness of our lives and how blessed we are to share them with others. They call us to awaken to the wonder of life anew. But how would your life look if you allowed yourself to notice the small moments as well as the grand ones. Not just birthdays, but perhaps remembering the first time you saw the ocean. For in the remembrance, the moment is born anew. Can you find a way to return to a nearby coastline in celebration? Consider creating a personal “milestone day” each quarter on the solstices and equinoxes. Notice how far you’ve come, readjust your life trajectory in a desired direction, remember those who have walked your life path with you and send them a blessing. Traveling through the world in life can be like crossing a desert of wide unknowns. When one encounters an oasis, it is time to stop. For in the desert, one never goes past the sweet flow of water. It is time to sit around a fire in the night with all the others gathered there from their various lands. It is time to rest and remember. Time to think back from whence you’ve come and to use the stars to navigate toward the new lands you seek. It is a place to connect with Source and replenish. It is a perfect time to notice milestones and to celebrate them. We are in the life season of spring with the spring equinox, Ostara, Passover and Easter. There are expressions of new life emerging all around us. Perhaps this spring you can take time to reflect back on the path that brought you to this moment. Remember those special souls who inspired you, celebrate the courage you had to make a leap of faith that changed your life and honor those soul milestones anew. Then turn your attention toward the sunlight and live consciously and in celebration of it all. Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith is minister to the Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center in Port Townsend, a presenter at conferences in the U.S., Italy, France and Great Britain, and spiritual tour guide for international pilgrimages. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Now accepting new patients. For more information or Now accepting new patients. For more information or to make an appointment, call today. to make an appointment, call today.
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