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
It is located at 4118 Rosedale Street in
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. Gig Harbor
The Wilkinson family came to
in the 1890s. In 1909, Mr. Wilkinson purchased this property where he operated the Pioneer Dairy for many years. Gig Harbor
William and Mary Castle Wilkinson came from the Midwest. When they first arrived in
they lived down on the waterfront in the vicinity of Pioneer and Harborview where their chickens wandered freely in the area. Gig Harbor
|Wilkinson deep in his pea patch|
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 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
|Looking southwest. Note utility poles at right|
That is why it is so gratifying to see the
continue in Maria Wilkinson’s footsteps. Gig Harbor Community Garden