Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary wednesday February 28, 1883

AM misty & PM fair.  Have a protracted argument on boiler business in morning & finally conclude to send to Frisco for more iron, then go down & do some calking on old boiler myself.  Enjoy some fine music at Mr. Brown's at night.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Early Days at Rosedale as read by Mrs. W, E. White

I ran across this article from Mary Ellen and Don Sehmel which was read by Mrs. W. E. White on Old Settler’s Day at the Peninsula Fair , unfortunately though other than that notation the paper is undated.   However we do know that, based upon the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives that the 4th annual Gig Harbor Fair was held on September 11-13, 1925.  The archive continues with the statement “It reminded all that the friendly community of “Rosedale Always has a Welcome”  And that it had been named in 1883 by W. E. White for the many roses that grew around the inlet.”

But I think it gives us a better understanding of live around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.  And, also how resilient the early settlers were.
Rosedale, Washington

I have been asked to write an article on the early history of Rosedale.  It would take some time to hunt up dates, to recall a few incidents land events, in their order, so will skip over a few on hand.  I do know that the general public gets tired of listening to the old settlers tales of pioneer days.

I started with my two children Walter and Willie from Nebraska and arrived in Tacoma in Oct. 1882, coming by way of the N. P. Railroad to San Francisco then taking a boat to Seattle, then to Tacoma, changing again to Steilacoom but the boat dropped us of at Fox Island.  Then we got a rowboat to take us to the head of Wollochet Bay.  We rested there at our good neighbor’s George Ferguson then we started through the trail to our last stopping place, beautiful Henderson Bay.  Henderson Bay was called after Capt. Henderson on of the officers to Admiral Rainier’s fleet.  At the head of this bay, on the place now owned by Mr. Peters (1) were two log cabins, relics of the Hudson Bay Company  One was a large bunk house with a primitive fire place built of mud and stones at the bottom and the roof of the house being open at the top for the smoke to go through.  This place was occupied by a family by the name of Eason (2), the original owner of the point across from the Lay Store.  We lived in the other one.  Every evening we would sit around the fireplace and talk and sing and make huckleberry pudding in a large pot on the rods across the fireplace.  When done we would eat our dinner.  Each family contributed their share.  Soon we departed, they to their home and we to our little shack on the homestead.  We were finally alone, “the Gude Mon” going away to work, then with the two babies we learned to row a little.  After a while we became brave enough to visit our neighbors.  When we became very lonely, would tie Willie in a soap box in the bottom of the boat, row down to Mrs. Henry’s, stay a night or two bringing her home to stay with us a while.  Often when rowing up in the evening I used to imagine a great canoe load of Indians coming up, remembering the stories I had read of their cruelties to early settlers.  I awoke many a time putting my hand to my head to see if my scape was still there.  But the Indians never came.

Our mail used to come over to Wollochet Bay by way of Steilacoom, carried on the “Baby Mine” by Capt. Emmett Hunt.  The few settlers along the Bay used to take turns going after the mail as it only came once a week, we were very anxious.  This is where our dear neighbor, Mrs. Whitmore should come in.  Her house was usually the stopping place for volunteers.  We only had one Christmas dinner.  Usually we met at Capt. McLean’s (now Mrs. Warren’s home) each contributing some part of the meal, and with one fiddle used to dance away the long hours; not the fox trot then.  Our first school was held on the point now occupied by White’s Store.  As the new settlers came we decided to be on the map and have a Post Office of our own.  Mr. White and Mr. David Petrey went around the bay and got signers.  We called a meeting at Capt. McLean’s and these names  were mentioned:  Ferndale, Rosedale, Alpine, Brownsville, McLeans Landing (anything but Brownville, says I.  That means whiskers and a sunbonnet).  As there were two families of Browns, I didn’t say it aloud, but to myself.  When Mr. White went to the Chamber of Commerce to see about it we found Ferndale on the map of Washington, so Rosedale was decided on and Rosedale it remains.
4th of July 1905

Our first mail boat was the “Sophis” owned and operated by the Lorenz family.  News came to us that a great steamer was going to come over and try to establish a route betweenTacoma and Rosedale and adjoining stations.  The great day arrived; we were there with our boys and girls, our gun and lunches.  When the “Clara Brown” came around the island and whistled, such shouting and yelling, such firing of guns.  The opening of the Panama Canal was nothing to it.  We used to go in a rowboat for supplies two or three times a year, a couple families going together and bringing enough to last some time.  By and by a trail was blazed between here and Gig Harbor; also on the way to Purdy.  The Charles Sehmel brought his bride from Germany and Henry soon followed suit.  We were very happy that we had neighbors about us.

We used to pay our minister in this manner; we would each bring a dozen eggs and have a crate of chickens or ducks.  Each family brought one or two and the minister shipped them using the money for himself.  Of course there were other ways such as socials and entertainments.  I do not want to forget our literary society or the little paper read at the society.

Now would be a good time to tell you about the well on Mr. Peter’s place.  It is about sixty five years old.  Messrs Winchester and Jones, two Hudson Bay Co. men told me it had been there thirty five years when we came.  Us young folks used to shut our eyes, dip a bucket up and down three times and wish.  It always came true.  Try it.  I could tell you a little incident about Dead Man’s  Island.  Have you read Herbert Bashford’s poem about it?  And the stories about a wild cat terrorizing the neighborhood; people that were lost and found again; but it would take too long.  And now I shut my eyes holding my head up to catch the first rain drops of the season - and glad my home is on the shores of Henderson Bay.

(1) The Peters’ place was at the head of the Slough where Mr. McMasters and his sister live.  Mr. Peters developed into a very pretty park like place.

(2) Wm. Eason HD6496 homesteaded what later was developed as Henderson Bay Orchard Tracts-from Cherry Cove to Yakima Pt.
Unknown Rosedale Family

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary Wednesday February 21, 1883

Misty AM.  Fair PM.  Tested our boiler & find it must have repairs.  All day on the boat.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Avalon

If you have lived in Gig Harbor for any time, you probably are aware of how active the various residents are when it comes to historic preservation.  Just to name a few, there’s the Shenandoah, Eddon Boatworks property now known as Eddon Boat Park and Gig Harbor Boatyard, Ancich Bros. Park, Skansie Bros. Netshed, home and Park, Wilkirson Farm Park, Austin Estuary, Donkey  Creek Park, and the list goes on and on.  There are people currently working on saving the 1913 St. Nicholas Catholic Church* and a group who have recently started “Save the Avalon”* campaign and most likely there are several other campaigns as well.

Today though, I thought I would concentrate only on the Avalon.  The Avalon is a 65-foot purse seiner that was built in 1929 for Andrew Skansie and as a sister ship to Spiro Babich’s 69-foot Invincible.  Mitchell Skansie had mentioned to his brother that he had some long planking, aged and excellent timber left over from the ferry boats he had built.  Mitchell also mentioned that since it was winter he didn’t have any new orders so he thought maybe his brother would want a new boat.  This was not an unusual thought since Andrew, Spiro and other successful fishermen frequently updated their fleet every few years.  That way they always had a modern efficient boat to work with.  They basically turned their boats over the way people turn leased cars over based upon the term of the lease.
Mitchell Skansie

As the men sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking, both Spiro and Andrew pursued the idea and began negotiating size, engines, cost; all the expenses versus asset value.  They were fishermen but they were also excellent businessmen.  Spiro decided he wanted a 69-footer and he wanted his built second.  That way any problems with Andrew’s would be fixed in his, especially since Mitchell had a new foreman in the yard.  Everyone laughed and Andrew said he had no problem going first but he only wanted a 65-footer, powered with a 50-hp Frisco standard engine.  A larger boat would need more power, therefore result in higher cost not only in engine cost but also materials.  

One of Andrew’s friend, Chuck Martinolich of Martinolich Shipbuilding Company, was talking to him prior to the purchase of the actual engine to be installed.  Chuck convince Andrew to install a diesel 75-hp engine, and as part of the deal Chuck would crew with him for the first year making sure the Skansie boys were knowledgeable in operating it.  in 1938 Andrew updated the engine with 110-hp 4-cylinder Atlas Imperial.  (Spiro put a 120-hp 4-cylinder Washington diesel in his boat before launching.)

Once the decisions for the construction had been made and the boat started, there was the necessity of naming the new boat before it was launched.  As usual, it was up to all of Andrew’s children to name it before it was launched.  Five children and each with nearly a full page of names and none the same.  Finally they were able to whittle the list down to two:  Avalon and Saratoga.   Andrew looked at what the children had come up with, thought for a few minutes and decided.  He went with the shorter name because it was shorter and easier to paint and probably less expensive.

Andrew ran Avalon from 1929 until he retired in 1934.  Then he got other local skippers to run it for him:  Paul Serka in 1935, Nick “Mikelich” Mosich 1936, Pete Jugovich 1937, Mike Katich 1938 and Nick Mosich again in 1939.

Nick Mosich was suppose to run it again in 1940 but a charter on his own boat Success fell through and so he couldn’t.  Andrew understood, but didn’t know who he could find to run the 1940 season. Nick points to Andrew’s son Antone and said “Give it to him.”  

Antone said he didn’t sleep for 3 nights, scared that he wasn’t ready, something might go wrong.  But as the days past he started feeling more confident in his ability to handle it.  No power in the seine skiff , no reels, no power blocks, no fathometer, no radar.  Antone’s brothers Vince and Peter crewed for him and they were joined by Nick Makovich.  Vince was netman (one of the best around) and Peter worked for Foss Maritime’s machine shop and knew engines and machinery.

Antone ran the Avalon for 47 years until he and his brothers retired in 1987.  The boat was sold in 1990 and was operated out of Bellingham.  At the end Antone said “You know, I fished for 54 years as crewman and skipper and it was all on one boat, the Avalon.  That’s amazing, isn’t it?”  The answer to that question is an emphatic and resounding “YES”.
Avalon participating in the first Harbor Holidays "Blessing of the Fleet"

*Note:  Thanks to Lee Makovich, The Avalon:  a family history, published in the February 1995 issue of The Fishermen’s News.  A copy is located in the HHM Resource Room

*Note:  Information on the “Save the Avalon” can be found on social Media, principally Facebook.

*Note:  Information on how you can help save St. Nicholas Catholic Church is found on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation site under “Most Endangered List -Current List”

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary February 14, 1883

Cloudy & misty.  Overslept this morn, but however at last harnessed up "Baby Mine" & took scow to town.  Arrived there at 10:50 and wait nearly forever for Bill Dick so till tide turns but got home by bedtime & all is well.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

An Interview with Mark Hall-Patton, Expert on Local Historical Preservation

This is Brandon McCormick again and I am back with a new blog. I  thought it would be interesting to hear from an accomplished expert in the field of local history and a new voice.  Mark Hall-Patton and I talked about his views on history and its preservation over a phone interview. 

Mark Hall-Patton has worked with museums for over 30 years and is currently the Administrator of the Clark County Museum system, Las Vegas, Nevada. He is an accomplished historical writer with more than 400 published articles and 2 books: “Memories of the Land: Placenames of San Luis Obispo County”, and “Asphalt Memories; Origins of Some of the Street Names of Clark County”. Mark is also known for his appearances on national television as a visiting historical expert for a History Channel program, Pawn Stars. He is an accomplished figure in the historical community whose insights yield a wealth of information on an array of topics surrounding local history.

Mark Hall-Patton

Questions for Mark Hall-Patton:

When did you first discover an interest in history?
As long as I can remember. I always tell people I started building museums when I was 8. I built them in the patio at home when I was a kid. I’ve always enjoyed history. I would be the one sitting and listening to the old timers talk. It’s basically what I’ve done all of my life. 

How did your initial interests transform into physical action to preserve history?
When I was a senior in college getting ready to receive my Bachelor’s form the University of California-Irvine, one of my professors asked me what I wanted to do in graduate studies.  I mentioned museum work, so he told me about a program at the University of Delaware which was teaching courses on museum studies, so getting involved in that program was my first step to becoming a preserver of history.

Why is it essential for a community to preserve their past?
From my standpoint, a community needs to know where it comes from and cannot know that without having knowledge of their heritage- especially those communities which expanded relatively quickly such as in Las Vegas where I work.  The fact is many residents of these kinds of towns had no idea that their community had a history to be told. If a collective community has no comprehension of its past, how can the people truly value the place in which they are living? What makes your town unique from all the other towns?

What attributes of local museums are essential for communites?
One thing above all else that history museums do specifically is provide a space where local communities can learn informally from tangible artifacts and get a sense of what the reality of the heritage of an area is for themselves.

How does knowledge, or ignorance, of history affect someone’s everyday life?
Ignorance means you do it over again: if somebody has done something and it didn’t work they are going to turn around and do the exact same thing again. It is much along the lines of insanity to be ignorant of history as you will likely do the same things over again expecting different outcomes. If new arrivals to a community are unaware of the history of the town, why should they care about it, if they find no bonds with it.  History ties into the competition between cities in essence for residents. You will lose important parts of what makes your community special, and what makes you, as a person, a participant in that history.

Could there be improvements in local historical education in public schools?
Local history and some other forms of historical education,  in public schools are terribly lacking. All too often, histories of all kinds are made to conform to politically correct or “necessary” views with no deep understanding, context, or appreciation left with the students. In simpler terms, it is like the Charlie Brown cartoons - all the children are hearing from the adults are muffled noises. And I’m not saying we have to emphasize the bad parts of our history, but they need to be made public and discussed as it too is a part of our larger story. If we don’t teach our children why and who we are, they will be lost when it does become important for them to understand the who and why in later in life.

Is utilization of the Internet through means such as social media paramount to a successful environment for history?
The Internet is a glorified typewriter, another means invented by which we can send information out to more people than before. As much as the internet is now a useful tool for spreading information, there is just as much danger that it could spread misinformation. Unfortunately most resources on the Internet are lacking credibility. Even worse, young people who use social media the most are not being taught correctly how to separate the good sources from bad ones. So while museums can use this technology to spread great information and attract people to their museum, be aware that it needs to be made clear that nothing can actually compare to the unique experiences of actually visiting a museum.  Your interest in and actually seeing the concrete evidence of a communities’ past through the artifacts on exhibit, which cannot be replaced or done anywhere else. In surveys, museums are the second most trusted sources for historical information, right behind family members if I need to emphasize this anymore. To cut right to the chase, blogs like yours are fine unless they cross the line and get off topic: for example, if you are a local history museum in the Puget Sound, don’t be posting articles on Ancient Egypt.

Any final words of encouragement to impart on those interested in exploring Gig Harbor’s history further?
In my experience, there is no better task in the world for a person to fulfill than through promoting, teaching, and learning history. It is not like you have to stand at a street corner preaching about history, but share it with your friends whenever you have a chance.  Encourage them to read the local historical blogs or articles and visit the museum. The fact is life has fewer mysteries and is so much more far-reaching and satisfying when you know your history. 

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary February 7, 1883

A trifle warmer.  Wander forth & cut a fir for wood.  Saw some then go down & find water nearly all out of tank through the bursted pipe casing it out & return.  Alfred & Mother come in eve.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.