Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Afternoon with Miss Lucy Goodman

Miss Lucy Goodman

Lucy Goodman is a name well known around Gig Harbor. She was a beloved educator who devoted her entire life to teaching generations of peninsula students. On Saturday, December 8, at 11 am, Miss Lucy will come to life in the Harbor History Museum's historic Midway School. As of now, there are only seven seats left for this special presentation - RSVP required! Admission: Harbor History Museum members free, non-members museum admission ($7) plus $5 program admission.

Miss Lucy and graduating students

Miss Lucy will be brought to life by living history performer Karen Haas. Karen is well known in Washington state for her wonderful presentations of women in history. To bring these women to life, Karen spends a remarkable amount of time researching each individual by reading through personal diaries, newspaper articles, oral history transcripts, books, and more. We are excited to have her as our beloved "Miss Lucy."

More about Karen and Miss Lucy...

Karen Haas is a historian and living history performer who feels especially rewarded telling the tales of those whose voices are usually silent in history - the women. An experienced teacher, she turned an avocation of history into a vocation as an educator at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and curator of education at the White River Valley Museum in Auburn. She has researched and developed a broad variety of living history programs designed to teach and and pique an interest in the past for audiences of all ages. In 2009, she had the pleasure of delving into Harbor History Museum's archives and learning about Gig Harbor's indefatigable teacher, Lucy Goodman. Member of one of Gig Harbor's first Caucasian families, "Miss Lucy" started her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse. She was one of the first teachers at the new Gig Harbor two-room schoolhouse at the corner of today's Peacock Hill and Franklin. When she retired  in 1927, local residents begged her to continue teaching their children and grandchildren. So, she opened her own kindergarten, where she taught for 35 more years. Miss Lucy's kindergarten was located at the site of today's Anthony's parking lot. 
Miss Lucy and students in Gig Harbor's first schoolhouse
at the head of the bay (Peacock Hill & Franklin)

As a fellow educator, Karen found a connection to Miss Lucy:

When I think of Miss Lucy, the first description that comes to mind is "Gig Harbor's own Energizer Bunny," she just kept going and going and going....As a former teacher, it was especially meaningful to me to learn of this teacher whose love for her students shines through in articles about her and in memories people have shared. I just hope I can do justice to this vibrant, dedicated teacher who had such an impact on generations of Gig Harbor families.
Karen Haas, storyteller and educator 

Don't miss this special one-time performance of Karen Haas as Miss Lucy. Call 253-858-6722 ext. 2 to reserve your seat.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Went down to Frost's but they were gone away so proceeded on to Steilacoom.  Got my dinner and came home.  All ready for business tomorrow morning."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Storey Timber Company

Once upon a time…  Do you like stories that begin with those words? Or do you feel they only belong in children’s storybooks? I couldn’t make up my mind, so on that basis I believe I’ll use them in this brief history of the Storey Timber Company.

Once upon a time there was a logging railroad which ran from the South Rosedale Slough southerly through the Dan Brown homestead and probably through the John George Schindler homestead. The time period was in the early 1900s; most likely 1905 or a bit later, with 1910 as the time of the most activity. The actual history has been lost. Most people in Rosedale generally agreed that it originated about where the Chalet in the Woods is now located, and that the superintendent of the old style, “ground-lead” logging operation was a man named Frank Fuhrman. Mr. Fuhrman lived on the Arletta site.

Site of South Rosedale Slough, Brown homestead on the right

The two men who had an interest in this venture were Frank Fuhrman and Chester Thorne of Lakewood. It is unsure which of the men worked for the Old National Bank which loaned the money to finance the logging operations. There is no record of whom the other members of the company were or who were the fallers, buckers, men, and equipment to yard the logs.

The steam locomotive made several runs in a day hauling the logs from the hilly forest between Arletta and South Rosedale dumping them in the water at the slough along today's Ray Nash Drive. This log dump was on the Dan Brown homestead on the east side of the slough on the flat area south of the present bridge. The Storey Timber Company operated this log dump through 1912.
Rosedale Logging Camp

After the dump was abandoned by the railroad, and other loggers ceased to use it and all the old growth had been cut, the rails were taken up for salvage. 

A spur of the tracks ran from the vicinity of the Kopperman land and Bill Sehmel’s place to the main line. The Arletta to Rosedale road (Ray Nash Drive) was blocked whenever the locomotive was approaching or leaving the log dump. Henry Kopperman (born 1908) remember that some of the bigger and older boys from nearby farms would paint the tracks with axle-grease and hid in the wooded area to watch the heavy iron wheels spin out of control. 
Logging railroad track near Rosedale

According to Bob Crandall, a Rosedale historian, young John Schindler was a witness to an accident in 1908 when he was 14 years old. Bob Crandall wrote “This day, John was watching the engine with logs moving towards the dump. The grade to the water was quite steep. The train was traveling too fast!  John was likely the first person to arrive where the train left the tracks.  Logs were everywhere.  He remembers lifting a steam line off one man’s neck and burning his hands severely.” The fireman and engine were taken to the hospital in Tacoma. The engine was righted, but the logging operations didn’t last long after this accident.

Chrissy Yates walks her dog along the railroad trestle over Whitmore Creek in south Rosedale, circa 1918.
Chrissy was the daughter of Albert and Sarah Yates, early Rosedale pioneers.

 Mollie Yates Bothwell, daughter of George Yates, remembered playing on the trestle after the tracks were gone, using it as a shortcut home from school. With child’s eyes Mollie saw the trestle support as a “tall tower” and looked upon it as a local wonder.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Clouds and sunshine and cool.  Read politics awhile then banked up my fires after which went to the bay for ducks but gun would not discharge.  Did get it hot at last and bagged one of the birds." 

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Martin Skrivanich

This is an oral history prepared by Mary Mead in May, 1990. I find Martin’s history very interesting because I live in the house that his uncle and step-father purchased in 1909. 

The house was originally built by Joseph Dorotich when he and John Novak platted Millville in 1888. George M. Sprague purchased the property on January 10, 1889 for $360. I have been unable to find any information on Mr. Sprague; is he the Sprague that Sprague Avenue in Tacoma is named for?  George Savage is shown as owner on December 27, 1890 and I was told by an old-timer that George Savage was a notary public, and that the house was used as an office for the lumber mill in Millville.  Again I have not been able to find any documentation on those facts. Mrs. M. K. Anderson bought the property on July 12, 1897, and she sold it to Dominick Skrivanich in 1909 for $900. Martin’s mother was Godenta Johanna Morin Skrivanich. His brother, born before his mother married Dominick Skrivanich, was Gaspero.

But let’s get on with Martin’s interview with Mary Mead...

“Martin was seven years old when he arrived in Gig Harbor. Martin’s father had died and his uncle hearing that his brother’s widow and children were starving sent for them to come to America. They arrived in New York on the 25th of August 1909. The ship that carried them to the new world was the Argentina. From there, they traveled to Tacoma by train. Martin’s mother and uncle married in Tacoma in 1909.

“Martin’s father had fished the Columbia River in the 1890-1900s. They fished for salmon in large row boats 'powered by big 200 pound bruisers with 16 foot oars.' They would fish in the spring for early Chinook salmon, Steelhead late in winter, and in the summer Chinook salmon. On a good day you would catch three to four big salmon, after which the men would go to shore and celebrate. 'That was what life was all about then.' These men would also have tug boats tow them up to fish in the San Juan Islands. Martin remembers sleeping in Lizzy Larson’s cave in the San Juans.
Fishing boat "Aeroplane"
“In 1918, Martin’s stepfather bought a boat and named it Aeroplane. Martin, who was 16 years old, was chief engineer. The Aeroplane was a seiner where the nets had to be pulled by hand. Nineteen eighteen proved to be a poor year for fishing. Many boats did not make enough to pay for the food. Martin remembers making 20 cents after they took out the money he owed for boots. However, he remembers 1919 being a good year as they went into partnership on the St. Mary and the Freedom.  However, too many partners made it difficult to run the company smoothly. In 1929, Martin went to California to buy the Fort Bragg.  It was time for him to run his own boat. The new boat was 62 feet long with a 15 foot beam, a boat big enough to live on while fishing instead of living on shore. It also was a purse seiner with a gas engine.

“1930 was a good year for fishing but the Depression hit and they had to dump five to six thousand fish overboard because no one would pay anything for the fish. Martin remembers catching 13,000 fish a day but only getting 5 cents a piece. In 1935, they sold the Fort Bragg because they couldn’t maintain the boat on 5 cents a fish.  Martin continued to fish running a company boat.
Fort Bragg

“In 1940, he had a gillnetter built named the Mary Lee.  He fished with this boat three to four years, fishing the [Salmon Banks] outside of the San Juan Islands. In 1942 to '44 he fished on a purse seiner named the Oregonian. These were fair years for fishing. In 1940, fishermen became upset because they wanted to sell fish by the pound not the piece. As with everything, it was a struggle in the beginning. Now the buyer wouldn’t have it any other way. Martin remembers a big year around 1942-44 where they were getting $1 a piece for Sockeye salmon. All of a sudden, the cannery dropped the price to 50 cents because they saw a large school of fish moving into the straits. Nothing to do but 'cuss and spit.' Some men chose to go out and fish anyway and the price ended up at 40 cents. They continued to fish on the Oregonian 12 to 14 years, eventually installing a D-1300 diesel engine to give them more power. Now, they went dragging in Alaska. They would drag the net on the bottom fishing for sole, line cod, and rock cod. They also fished for dog fish, keeping only the liver which was used for oil. Martin remembers the boat being stacked high with dog fish three different times in a day. The problem was when you throw too many fish overboard at one time the bottom gets sour and the fish will not come back to that spot.

“In 1945 to 47 he went to Alaska salmon fishing. Martin’s son David continued to fish in the Bering Sea. The Oregonian was sold and burned in Alaska taking the life of the new owner.”


© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Did some reading and made a door latch.  Broke up a big boulder in P.M.  Made a call in evening."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 1880, Sunday

On this day Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Very ... and cool.  Strolled down to my habitation and tinkered some.  My fireplace lacks mortar I fear."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shipwright Term of the Week:

STEM...the foremost structural member of a vessel which is a vertical extension of the keel.

Visit the Maritime Gallery at the Harbor History Museum and see if you can find the "stem" on the purse seiner Shenandoah!

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dr. Alfred Mark Burnham

The following is a short biography of Dr. Alfred Burnham that I came across in the Harbor History Museum research and resource room. This is just another fascinating item that you can find when you visit this room on Thursday morning from 10 to noon. The author’s name is not given.

Alfred Mark Burnham
“Alfred M. Burnham was born in 1824 at Pavillion, New York. He received his medical education at the University of Buffalo, graduating in 1852. In 1860, he went to Albert Lea, Minnesota, where he took up a homestead. “Dr. Burnham was the second assistant surgeon to the Minnesota 10th Regiment Volunteers during the Civil War.

Rachel Hord Burnham
“Following his marriage in 1866 to Miss Rachel Hord [editor's note: Rachel was his second wife, his first wife died in Albert Lea], Dr. Burnham went to Fort Steele, Wyoming, where he filled a contract for getting ties for the Union Pacific Railroad. Alfred Bismarck was born there.

“The family returned to Albert Lea where Clarence and Luella were born. Came a severe winter, plagued with diphtheria, and Dr. Burnham went from one distressed home to another. The strain broke his own health and in the spring he was ready to move to California. A traveler from Washington Territory passed through Albert Lea, displaying fruits and berries from the Northwest. Dr. Burnham was so amazed by the stranger’s account of Washington wonders; he boarded his family on a train bound for Tacoma.

They arrived in the Puget Sound area in 1884. Tacoma was their first home and a son Frank was born that year. Dr. Burnham purchased a 160 acre homestead at the head of Gig Harbor Bay later that year and moved his family from Tacoma in a row boat. [Editor's note: In 1886, Burnham purchased land at the head of the bay from pioneer Peter Goldsmith, who first came with Sam Jerisich. The next year, Burnham bought an adjacent twelve acres of land from Jerisich and John Farrague.]

First Burnham home at today's Donkey Creek Park

“Dr. Burnham was the first Gig Harbor doctor and also opened the first general store. He platted his land which became the nucleus for the town of Gig Harbor. He and Mrs. Burnham filed the plat for the original town of Gig Harbor on April 28, 1888. He also surveyed the rights of way for roads to Purdy and Olalla. [Editor's note: The new "City of Gig Harbor" platted by the Burnhams was the same land that the three founding fishermen -- Jerisich, Goldsmith, and Farrague -- had owned in earlier years, encompassing the land from today's Donkey Creek park to the Bogue Viewing Platform. Burnham placed a stone monument marking the two main streets of Front and Harbor, most likely at the corner of today's Harborview and North Harborview. For the first time, Gig Harbor had streets. Two months later, Jerisich, Joseph Dorotich, and John and Josephine Novak platted the town site of Millville, today's "downtown" area.]
“To induce settlement, he offered a free lot to anyone who would build a house providing it was painted white or some other light color.

“Through the influence of Dr. Burnham many settlers from Albert Lea, Minnesota, came to the harbor. The Gig Harbor Mill Company, formed from Albert Lea settlers, erected a sawmill on the west side of the harbor.
The Gig Harbor Mill Company was located
at the foot of today's Rosedale Street.
“He died in Gig Harbor in 1896 at the age of 72.  He is buried in the Gig Harbor Cemetery.”
Burnham store at the head of the bay. In addition to the store,
the building had a community hall for plays and recitals.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.