Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hy Iu Hee Hee

In 1935 shortly after Prohibition ended, the Hy Iu Hee Hee was built on 100 acres of state leased lands on Swede Hill on the road to Rosedale [now known as Burnham and Sehmel] on the winding road to Bremerton.  The site itself is now under State Highway 16.  There were also six cabins for rent in the woods behind the tavern. 
                                                                    The tavern next to the road grade for Highway 16

The name “Hy Iu Hee Hee” means “Good Times and Lots of Laughter”.

Owners of the tavern through the years were:  (1) Walter and Berthe Mosher, the original owners; (2) Al and Micki Johnson, who owned it for a very short time; (3) George and Nellie Goodall, who sold it to (4) Harold and Florence (Berg) Smith and (5) Charles and Florence Smith Robinson. 
                                                                        One of six cabins behind the tavern
Before Walter and Berthe Mosher sold the tavern it was the most popular refueling tavern on the lower Peninsula and the country was well into World War II.  Carloads of people got together to have a good time during the gas rationing time in the early 1940s.  So to save money on gas, cars were packed full.  Parking was hard to find in the lot and on both sides of the road in each direction.  Some of the regulars walked daily to the tavern as it was the highlight of their day.  During construction of the tavern, local people were allowed to carve their names and favorite sayings on the bar top made by Walter Mosher.  It was created from the middle section of one large log, then sanded and finished with a thick varnish-like covering and highly polished.

                                                                                                          Dot Berg Fagerstrom tends the bar and lunch counter

Clarence E. Shaw, local sign painter,  created large murals on the ceiling of the addition which was added a little later.  He also painted the Indian Maiden on the top of the roof.  She was known as “Madam To Wagh”.  Mr. Shaw most likely painted the large signs on the outside walls of the building. 

Harold and Florence Smith bought the tavern in 1948.  When Mr. Smith died, Florence married Charles Robinson.  During all the time Florence was an owner,  the sense of welcome and belonging abounded.  The front door could still be opened by pulling a knotted rope to lift a wooden latch to allow people to enter.  The tavern had rules which were strictly enforced.  They opened at 8 AM and closed at midnight.  

In the earlier days Hy Iu Hee Hee was the place for dancing and live music on Friday and Saturday.  The tavern sold cheese, crackers, meats and later lunches.  Then a big production was made over dinners with leg of lamb and chicken dinners.   Besides beer, the homemade chili and the hamburgers were the most popular in the later years.

The chili recipe was Nellie Goodall’s and she handed it down to Florence Smith, later Robinson.  Here is the recipe which has been copied (spellings and all)  directly from the recipe. It was entitled, "Here’s what’s cookin’ Recipe from the kitchen of Hy Iu Hee Hee by owner Florence Robinson”.

Chillie Recipe
6 cups red beans – cook till getting tender.  Add more water as needed.
Add 1 large onion chopped and parsley leaves if available – also 2 large cloves garlic, 1 large spoon each of chillie powder – 3 Tspn dry mustard – 1 teaspoon several dashes of cayene pepper, 1 teaspoon cumine powder, 4 stocks celery & leaves, 1 can tomatoe sauce, 1 handfull salt.

Cook till well seasoned and fully done.
About 2# hamburger

In approximately 1958 the State condemned the tavern building and asked Hy Iu Hee Hee to vacate the premises for the construction of the new freeway to Purdy.  There was a law on the books at that time that stated you could not burn a structure that was standing.  So the Robinsons hired Lyle Severtsen to come with his bulldozer and push the building down after they had salvaged all things of value.  Once it was down they burned the debris.
                                             Clarence Shaw's sign over the entrance with Madam to Wagh pictured above

The Hy Iu Hee Hee came back to life in 1983 when it was rebuilt by the current owners on Burnham Road.     

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