Thursday, July 26, 2012

Art Glein, Glein Boatbuilding (Eddon Boatyard)

Bjarne (Left) Art (right) Glein - 1930 Tacoma
Courtesy of Linda Glein
Art Glein
Glein Boat Company (site of today's Eddon Boatyard)

Almost everyone in Gig Harbor is familiar with the city-owned waterfront property of Eddon Boatyard, but most people don't know much about the owner who sold the property to Ed Hoppen and Don Harder -- the two men who ran Eddon Boat Company, which gave the park its name.

I asked Gary Glein if he would share some of his father's history in Gig Harbor. Fortunately for me, Gary agreed and below you can read his father's story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Art and Dot Glein built the building and house now known as Eddon Boatyard in 1945.

Art was of Norwegians descent and was born in Balfour, North Dakota, in 1907. By the mid 1920s he had moved to Tacoma and by the end of the decade he worked for Andrew's Fixture as a cabinetmaker and ran the Tacoma Flying Service along with his brother Bjarne Glein.

In the mid-1930s Art began his boat building career by building a yacht in his yard in North Tacoma. He then had a boating service facility near old Tacoma. In 1945, Art purchased the Anderson Boatyard in Gig Harbor and built the existing yard and the home where he and his wife lived. They had no children at that time.

Glein Boat Company. The family house is at the left.
Art successfully built yachts and fishing boats and completed repairs as Glein Boat Co. Many of those boats are still being used in Northwest waters. In January, 1950, the harbor froze, trapping boats and making it difficult for Art to complete his boat orders on time. Frustrated, he put the yard up for sale, and when it sold, he moved to California and then Florida to do contracting work. Years later he moved back to the Northwest and lived on Day Island, Mercer Island, and Meydenbauer Bay, always on the water.

Art passed away in 1990 at the age of 83.

Art was always an entrepreneur, friendly to everyone, and a lover of boating and the water. With his yard, he continued Gig Harbor's boat building legacy and left us with buildings that have become a wonderful community park and facility.

Gary Glein
July 2012

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Over to Bob's and back.  A glorious time singing in the evening.  Girls are .... "

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Racing Roosters and the Bandstand

Head of the Bay Bandstand
Clarence Shaw and Bill Slonecker were two men who were always promoters.  How about creating a street celebration to drum up business for Bill's new Home Cafe? It had opened in the Sweeney Block in February 1935.  (That was a large wooden building located in the empty spot just north of the Anthony's Restaurant at the head of the bay.)

Slonecker told Shaw, "Let's do something different than let our whiskers grow old, under duress." They decided to have a big party to dedicate the newly-built bandstand on July 20, 1935.

In the early 1930s, dances in Gig Harbor were held wherever a spot could be found.  In the summer, barges were brought in and tied up to the head of the bay. The adults danced as their children watched, and later falling asleep on the benches lining the dance floor. The solution was to build a bandstand.  It could be used for dances as well as concerts by local bands such as the VFW Band, the Olympic Band and the Peninsula Band.  It was quite a community effort.  Locals donated one to ten dollars, with the Austin Mill giving thirty.    

Shaw devised the idea of running roosters down the street.  The area was full of poultry farmers, and Shaw, being a Nebraska farm boy, knew they could really run if motivated.  He put out the call for roosters.

At first the duo thought about slipping a cut silk stocking over the birds so they wouldn't fly away.  But that just caused feathers to fly as the rooster went crazy being restricted. They settled on adding a red tag to the rooster tails.  That scares the rooster into thinking it must run away from it.   Also they could write a number on them for identification as well as motivating them to move along.   

The race course was a straight track just 40 yards long.  Nine men lined up across the street with their roosters.  The crowd stood on each side. The rules were the winner would be the first rooster to run, fly, hop, walk or skip into the net stretched across the street. 

The gun was fired!  And, not a rooster moved.  They just stood there.  

Their owners began to yell and wave their arms, pushing them along the street, running all the way down to the net.  The race ended with men and roosters all tangled in the net.  However, one rooster escaped all this excitement and wasn't found for days.  

It took quite a bit of discussion to determine the winner--Gertrude Hopkins' rooster. She was the wife of the Gig Harbor Postmaster.  The crowd loved it!  Shaw considered this original race a gift to the sporting world.  Unfortunately, we have no photos of the first race.

At First, the Roosterettes were called the Racing Rooster Girls
We do have a photo of another event of the day, the bathing beauty contest.  Pretty girls were always a part of a Shaw celebration.  There was also a baseball game between the Fats and the Leans. This year that was a men's baseball game.  The next year, the Fats and the Leans were women.  Imagine that terminology today!  

Each year, the races were bigger and better.  They continued until the state outlawed gambling on roosters in 1948, with time out for World War II. That didn't stop Shaw.  In 1951, he came up with the Round Rock Contest.  

Linda McCowen, Historic Photo Editor
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dr. Hiram Herbert Rust’s Diary – July 1897

Dr. Rust, Estella, and family at Gig Harbor home.

I thought it might be interesting to read what Dr, Rust recorded in his diary for the month of July, 1897. I did not change any spellings; I left the entries as he recorded them, along with his punctuation. So here is how one person experienced July in 1897.  Can we compare then to now?

Tuesday July 6, 1897:  Cloudy – raining & raining.  Breakfasted at Pratt’s at 7:30.  Took train for Enumclaw at 9:55  On reaching home visited Eckhart’s. Find that Mrs Eckhart has fracture of liaments – quite serious/See [unable to make out] McKay – better see others at office.  Dine at home – Esson House.  Supper at home 6:30 train brings John Atkinson.  We have just done supper – E [wife Estella] and I – when he arrives – E sets table for him and he eats and talks – We 3 retire at 9:50,

Wednesday July 7, 1897:  Cloudy & raining raining & raining.  John Atkinson rises first about 7 – then Estella and me. After breakfast we start the washing, a big one – comparatively – Mr. Atkinson helps. I drive to Buckley – dine at Buckley Hotel – Put Jim up at Diemers – Pay a drug bill to Repinsky $5.20.  Buy 2# coffee and a side of bacon at Mill store $2.50. Also at Jones 2 pr. Rubbers 1 for E and 1 for me $1.25.  

Thursday July 8, 1897: Cloudy . I send $1.50 express order to Nation publishing Co. for a diamond ring, offered to Estella as a prize for her good work in word building – E and Atkinson and I drive to the Coombs corner where they leave me and walk to the ranch.  I drive to Palmer. See the Platts & McKennons – a long hard drive.  Return to Esson at about 6 pm – Mr Newman has not supped yet so he and I get supper at the Esson.  Mr N. does most of the work. We retire here at about 11.

Friday July 9, 1897:  Fine, very fine.  Rise at 7, Newman gets breakfast.  Mr Eckhart sends for me I see Mrs E and at office I see several and extract 2 teeth for Mrs Paul Brooks, and cut my finger. Mr Newman gets dinner for he and I at about 2 o’clock. I extract another tooth for Mr Evans Prescribe for Mrs Hogan – visit Mrs McKay – Send medicine to Palmer – Write to Ben. Receive letter from W. W. Young of Gig Harbor asking for a certificate – Prescribe for Mr Rebar – also for Mr English and Mr Centrer & Mr Sorenson – Drive to Conway’s Home at 9 o’clock.  Mr N gets supper – too late to drive to Eagle Ranch.  Retire.
Rust home on east side of harbor. Horse and wagon near roadway.

Thursday July 15, 1897:  Fine. Mostly office work. Estella and I drove to Eagle Ranch via McKeys  Reached the ranch at about dark pm. Supped there. Retired there at about 10.

Friday July 16, 1897:  Rains more or less all day.  We came to Eagle Ranch to pick berries and make a little hay, but will do neither today. Estella and I read “Ocean” and I write to Hunter a very long letter and part of a letter to Ben. We retire at about 10 o’clock.

Saturday July 17, 1897:  Rains in the morning, fair in afternoon.  Finish my letter to Ben. Read more in “Ocean”.  Write a little on a story I had started yesterday. At about 3 pm, we get ready to drive back to Enumclaw. E & I pick some black berries by the way and arrive at the Esson House about 6., as I do E having left me a little sooner at the turn to walk home while I drive over to McKeys. I find Mr Newman cleaning and rearranging in the drug store. We read the news after tea, especially the exciting news from Alaska, particularly the Klondyke. Retire at about 10 pm.

Sunday July 18, 1897:  Fine, warm.  E. and I take breakfast at the Esson at about 8 o’clock, then a lot of office work and call at Eckharts. E and I dine at about 8 pm and I write to Arthur & Ettie and send a newspaper clipping on the reported gold find to Gig Harbor, which Ben had sent in a letter today. Towards evening Estella and I drive to McKeys and to Veasea where she remains with Jim while I walk over the railroad track to Whites and back. Then we proceed to Eagle Ranch reaching there at 8:20.  Read from “Ocean” a little and retire at 10.

Monday July 19, 1897: Fine, warm. Estella picks more black berries and I and Orson McKay mow clover and hay.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Raising thunder up in the mountains this morning but we get none of it.  Clear again at night.  Young folks come down from ... today."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Nice day.  After a prolonged season of fun, went to Mr. G's for the night."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wilkinson Farm Park

Have you had the opportunity to visit the Wilkinson Farm lately? It is so great to see the beautiful garden plots, the potting shed, and all the activities surrounding this great resource available to Gig Harbor residents.

It is located at 4118 Rosedale Street in Gig Harbor and is a 16-acre wildlife park with wetlands, holly groves, meadows, a community garden and trails. There are power outlets, a water fountain and a water hose bib available. The historic homestead includes a barn, house and outbuildings that will be stabilized for public access in the future. There are no public restrooms.  However there is on-site parking

The Wilkinson family came to Gig Harbor in the 1890s. In 1909, Mr. Wilkinson purchased this property where he operated the Pioneer Dairy for many years.

William and Mary Castle Wilkinson came from the Midwest. When they first arrived in Gig Harbor they lived down on the waterfront in the vicinity of Pioneer and Harborview where their chickens wandered freely in the area.

Wilkinson deep in his pea patch
Once they purchased this acreage on Rosedale however, William started to clear a field and build a small “love tester” shack in the middle of the field. There he, Maria, their three daughters, Dorothy, Helen and Wilma, and their son Vivian lived. 

William's next project the realization of his dream. In 1914, he built a beautiful barn to house his dairy herd. It was constructed of logs from his property and milled into lumber at the C. O. Austin Mill. Once that was completed, he was willing to start on their ‘proper’ house. The barn was near completion when, on the Fourth of July, 1915, the family celebrated with a picnic held for everyone who had helped raise the barn.  Shortly afterwards, William was killed in a fall from its loft.

Building the barn that still stands today
Maria Wilkinson was left to build the family’s last home alone, getting the job completed in the same way that she accomplished the farm and garden work – with the help of her children.

Maria built a neat white house facing Rosedale Street that took shape slowly.  She wanted a simple plan “with no nooks or crannies, something that I can get into,” and she built it easily without professional help.  In addition to what Maria purchased from C. O. Austin Mill, some of the lumber she used came from the original “love tester” shack.  While she and Vivian were tearing down one house to build the new one, the family made do in a tent, and occasionally slept in the barn.

Maria with Dorothy, Helen, Wilma and son Vivian

They finally moved into their new home in September (the year is unknown). It had a roof, but  windows had yet to be installed. After all, Maria and the children still had to maintain the farm. They raised corn and hay for silage to feed enough milking cows to establish a dairy route in Gig Harbor.

Looking southwest.  Note utility poles at right
Maria planted vegetables every spring before her death in 1953, a practice that her daughter, Helen, continued. Helen smiled and commented that “when something was gone, we’d just wait till it came around again.”  Dorothy died in September, 1974.

That is why it is so gratifying to see the Gig Harbor Community Garden continue in Maria Wilkinson’s footsteps.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 1880, Sunday

On this day, Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary: "Too warm and clear.  Embarked for Steilacoom again and a magnificent return trip made more enjoyable by a little tonic.  Hurrah for the 4th."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gary L. Moore 1938/1997

This morning while I was doing the Finholm Stair Climb Gary Moore’s name just jumped out at me when I came to his stair. It’s funny how no matter how often you climb those stairs you seldom take the time to read the names on the stair walk recognizing and remembering so many of past and present families.

I have taken the liberty of referring to the biography of Gary that is published on the Tacoma-Pierce County Old-Timers Baseball Association Hall of Fame. Gary was not the only Gig Harbor resident to be named to the Tacoma-Pierce County Hall of Fame. Some of the other names I found were:  Nancy Jerkovich (Slowpitch), Marco Malich (Slowpitch), Paul Gustafson (Umpire), Fran Pinchbeck (Umpire), Russell White (Baseball), Bill Turnbull (Baseball), and Fran Pinchbeck told me that Denise Hoober (Slowpitch), Gregg Lovrovich (Basketball) and Roger Iverson (Basketball). 

If you are aware of others who should be included on this list, please attach a comment or send an email to the Harbor History Museum ( with the name and sport...and a biography if possible. For example, I found Frank Ruffo on the Baseball list but was unsure if that was Gig Harbor’s Frank Ruffo or another man with the same name.

But now, here's what we know about Gary L. Moore.

Gary was not only a superb commander, but he was also a first-class human being.  He was always there 24 hours a day whenever needed to help solve anyone’s problems, no matter how great or small.  Gary will long be remembers by the men and women of the Armed Forces who had the privilege of serving with him.  He was genuinely respected and loved by all who knew him.”  General Schwarzkopf.

Gary was born in Gig Harbor, WA on May 17, 1938.  As a student at Peninsula High School from 1952 to 1956 and was their first four-year letterman in baseball, basketball and football. 

Gary pitched seven no-hitters for Peninsula High School as well as batting over .350 each of his four years with an average of .595 in his junior year.  He earned a four-year scholarship as a starting pitcher to Oregon State University having declined offers from the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees among others in order to pursue a college education.

Upon graduation, Gary entered the United States Air Force serving a distinguished 25-year career from 1960 until 1981.  Gary Moore was awarded the Legion of Merit Award, two Bronze Stars and 11 Air Medal Awards.  He retired with distinction in 1984 as a Colonel to pursue a private business and professional career as a pilot and airport authority manager in Georgia

At age of 59 Gary was tragically killed in an automobile accident in Georgia on March 13, 1997.  Following his death, the U. S. Navy’s Blue Angels recognized Colonel Moore by naming one of their “Missing Man” maneuvers for him at their Show that year.

Gary Moore’s achievements in athletics while attending Peninsula High School earned him great recognition throughout the community.  The Great Gig Harbor Area Committee organized a “Gary Moore Night” on August 13, 1956 at Peninsula High School after a banquet honoring him.  Gig Harbor Mayor Merrill Parish proclaimed the day “Gary Moore Day”.  Mayor Gretchen Wilbert repeated the proclamation on June 23, 1997 by proclaiming every August fourth as “Gary Moore Day” in Gig Harbor.   

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The First Time We Bridged the Narrows

The idea of bridging the Tacoma Narrows had been talked about for many years.  In December 1927, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce discussed it.  The next May, the Tacoma Chamber followed suit.  

A slogan contest was announced in 1937, with the winner announced the next month.  Effie A Jenks won with "Span the Narrows, Bridge the Gap, Put this Peninsula, On the Map!" A year later, construction began.

The bridge deck is nearly completed.
This aerial views shows Gig Harbor, with Wollochet Bay in the background.
 The first Narrows Bridge opened July 1, 1940 with much fanfare.  The celebration lasted four days.

The crowd views the cars approaching the west side of the Narrows Bridge on Opening Day, 1940.  
In only four months, on November 7, 1940, the bridge would collapse.  Once again, the ferries would be back in business until the 1950 bridge was built.  Only the caissons could be saved for the new bridge.

Linda McCowen, Historic Photo Editor
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.