Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wes Ulsh’s Totem

Anyone entering or leaving Gig Harbor, Washington, will notice the totem across from the Gig Harbor United Methodist Church.  The colors have faded but the totem still stands at 182 feet tall as a silent sentry.  It was dedicated on July 28, 1979 as A Memorial totem dedicated to those who walked before and those who will walk and shared by us today.
Photo via iPad
The information in this blog is being reproduced from the pamphlet provided for the dedication.  Hopefully it will help us all to remember the meaning behind this specific totem.

Totems are never worshipped as idols, and have no deligious significance, though they are held in reverence, as it is believed the Totem Spirit enters the carved symbols, stately masterpieces of Love and Patience.

A Tribute To Those hose Special Skills And Assistance Made It All Possible

This totem pole was carved from a Western red cedar (hula plicate) snag, the remains of a tree that grew in an area just south of the present town boundary of Gig Harbor which was also the site of the old army Ft. Spire.  The tree was 182 feet tall and 38 inches in diameter at the base.  By counting the rings in the wood it was determined it had stood as a growing tree for 257 years and then fell victim to lightning or a forest fire.  In either event the result was the same in that the heat had the effect of case hardening the outer surface of the tree, protecting it from the assault of weather and insects for at least 50 additional years.

Colors - Matoe Wanbli
Removed pole from forest - Paul Fatland
Transporting pole - Earl Benson, Don Shaw
Erecting Pole - “Duke” Thrailkill,  Gery Walsh, Jack Dawson, Paul Dawson, Carl Veitenhans, Clarence Thrall
Research - Cecelia Carpenter, To Oluse, Gig Harbor Historical Society
Editing - Pam Wise, Steve Dable
Tech. Assistance - Stan Wheeler, Victor Ulsh, Al Tomlin, Donna SHort, Tim Macy
Totem Pole Princess - Lisa
Dedication - Harold S. George & Family, Hinauri Tribole
Oil Painting - Margret Dole

Some of the early known Indians of Gig Harbor were Dave Squally (a wonderful drag net fisherman), Annie Squally (Lopeton) (a very good basket maker), Burnt Charlie, Joe “Gig Harbor” Young, Emma Squally Simmons, and Sally Jackson.  A beautiful philosophy expressed by Joe was “When the fish don’t run you simply sit down and wait.”

The Totem Pole

Gig, the seagull, (Kwal’ax or Tasmo’tl) was capable of changing form at will to conceal his supernatural identity.  He was capable of the marvelous feats transcending the powers of animals and men in the present-day world.  The seagull is known for his protective and creative ability.

(Sea) Wolf (Wasko) bestows his happy spirit to help people.  Women obtaining this spirit become skilled seamstresses and men become skilled in woodcraft.  Wolf and killer-whale are interchangeable so either form represents the other.  Wolf would run down from the hills and leap into the water, changing to a killer whale in mid leap.

Chief Rahari (New Zealand chief) represents the acceptance of people as they are without putting conditions on their friendship and trusting and believing in them until they prove unworthy, unfortunately, this is just the opposite from the way most people are today.  With Chief Rahari is lizard  (Makotapiri) who represents patience and the ability to complete a task regardless of the time required.

Bear (Chet-woot) stands for strength and leadership and is most eagerly desired because of his guardian spirit of protectiveness of the woman.  Women who gain this spirit become excellent housekeepers, fine cooks, and good mothers.  Men proteges become skilled providers possessing great endurance.

(Totem-Pole Princess -Lisa) 

Sea Lion (Matih) spirit gives swimming and fishing skill and those who had his blessing were destined to wealth.  With Sea Lion are two salmon (Walelee), the symbols of fertility, immortality, and wealth.  With his influence one can influence the weather, prevent or change excessive cold snaps, and change snow to rain.

Owl (Kwel-kwel) is the guardian spirit of medicine men and represents a direct tie with the spirit world.  He gives the ability to hunt on sea or land all game in foul and fair weather.  Owl and mink are also interchangeable.  With owl is Chief Squally (Shoma’Mish Chief) from the Gig Harbor Clan wearing his tadn skillik (Chief’s hat).

Frog (Shwah-kuh) is the guardian and warns of approaching enemies besides protecting the totem-pole itself from the spirit of decay.
Photo via iPad

The dedication pamphlet continues with the reciting of The Legend of Gig, The Seagull, A Note on The Religious Beliefs of the Early Indians of the Gig Harbor Area, Background and Influence of Totemism and a map showing you the location of the totem.

Should you wish to read those items, please visit the Gig Harbor Harbor History Museum,  Gig Harbor Washington on Thursday mornings when Research Room is open 10-12 AM.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary Wednesday March 28, 1883

Rainy by spells.  However go to Tacoma and find boiler iron here but nothing done to it so stay to see work begin on it.  Go to dancing school in eve.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Baseball on the Peninsula

As we head into the baseball season; yes, we are still in spring training , but before we head into the regular season I thought it would be a great time to take stock of the great baseball played on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

If you have had the opportunity to read  Along the Waterfront, a History of the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula Areas written by the students of 1974-75, Goodman Middle School, Gig Harbor, Washington, you have had the privilege of seeing pictures of some of the early teams.

1.  Early Home Baseball Team
2.  Vaughn High School Baseball 1937
3.  Cromwell Baseball Team 1913
4.  Arletta Reds 1915

But lets talk a little bit more in detail about the game itself and some of the people that played on the various teams.
Gig Harbor Team 1924 or 1925

In 1909 baseball games were played by the Schultz and Hunt families on Pioneer Way (7521) where The Peninsula Gateway was located in the late 1970-80s.  Those two families were joined by the Kimball boys from the top of the hill and the Cruver boys.

Longbranch was the best community known for its ball teams per The Peninsula Gateway  in an article written by Gladys Para on June 5, 1985.  Longbranch was definitelyy a “baseball town”.  They had a great ballpark, and a very stron team.  The team frequently traveled out of tow to Fort Lewis, Tacoma, and Steilacoom for games as well as other surrounding Peninsula commutes.  Gladys indicated a long held sentiment in Longbranch that “some folks liked to say that when the Rickert family came from Wisconsin in 1902 they brought kids (6 sons) and baseball to Longbranch”.

Marv August Rickert was born in Longbranch January 8, 1921 and went on to play professional ball for the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Red Sox.  Marv was an ‘emergency’ player in the 1948 World Series.  All told for you baseball buffs, he batted .211 in the World Series (4 for 19) which was won by Cleveland in 6 games. 

Gladys Para wrote another two-part article on the 1950 Gig Harbor baseball team in The Peninsula Gateway in July 9th and July 16th, 1986 paper.  Back in the 1950 the Gig Harbor team was unedited having won the 15th straight game.  “Bristling with confidence they promptly challenged the local businessmen to a game of softball Monday night at Goodman Middle School (now Harbor Ridge)”.

The outcome shocked the young team, especially since the businessmen’s team was made up of a bunch of “broken down, out-of-condition has-beens who stepped out on the field not knowing they were a bunch of broken down, out-of-condition has-beens because someone forgot to tell them.  ..(who) just went out and played a game of ball the best they could”.  On the other hand, the young team was a winning team that had overcome every obstacle the opposing teams presented.  But the outcome of this particular game…well it seems as though the has-beens weren’t as has-been as the young team thought..  The has-beens won the game 3 to 2!

The Gig Harbor baseball team faded out in the mid-50s when slo-pitch was introduced using players mostly over age 28.  Their games were played at Peninsula High School every Sunday.  Although the games were very popular with fans they never did as well as the Longbranch team.  In 1950 the Gig Harbor team beat Longbranch for the first and only time.
Gig Harbor Team (Unknown Year and players)

As well as Marv Rickert, Gig Harbor’s Gary Moore received offers from several teams such as Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees but unlike Marv, Gary declined.  Gary Moore’s history is explained in a blog the Harbor History Museum published on July 3, 2012.

And in that blog you will also learn the names of some of the other men and women from the Gig Harbor Peninsula that are members of the Tacoma-Pierce County Hall of Fame:  Nancy Jerkovich, Marco Malich, Paul Gustafson, Fran Pinchbeck, Russell White, Bill Turnbull, Denise Hoober, Frank Ruffo and two basketball players, Gregg Lovrovich and Roger Iverson.

So I hope this little taste of Gig Harbor’s history in the field of baseball will encourage you to get out and enjoy the game.  Anyone ready for some peanuts or crackerjacks at the old ball game?
Cromwell Baseball Team 1913: Front row: Felix Dagasso, Hartman Stang, Olr Olson, Knute Sande.  Back row: Edward Carlson, Manfred Samuelson, Victor Samuelson, Oscar Samuelson, Arthur Berntsen

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary Wednesday March 21, 1883

Weather hot.  Knock about town all of AM.  Have some girl fooling after dinner & then come home.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Richard (Dick) W. Uhlman and His Floating Supermarket

Today if you want to shop for groceries including meat, you generally hop in the car and drive to the nearest favorite market.  Or, to a farmers’ market where the vendors offers the various food product(s) you are needing.  Or perhaps you go to both, the store and the farmers market.  But in 1912 shopping for groceries wasn’t that easy or convenient, especially for the more isolated areas of the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

This difficulty was solved by Dick Uhlman in 1912 when he launched the “Butcher Boat”, or his floating supermarket.   He used this boat to carry groceries and meat to island and shore communities around Tacoma.  But let’s go back a little early in time and it will become clearer why this idea came to him and why it was such a success even though Butcher Boat only operated for 6 years, until 1918.

According to an article written by Erna Bence in The Tacoma Sunday Ledger, 1947, Dick was “alert to commuters’ needs”.  It doesn’t appear that Dick was influenced by Alfred Fuller (The Fuller Brush Man) and his door-to-door selling business in Connecticut started in 1906 and eventually spreading across the country.  No, what Dick kept noticing was the buying habits of his customers (those same commuters Erna Bence mentioned) living across Puget Sound from Tacoma’s Old Town where his meat market was located.  Also this customer base seemed to be growing.  Those customers would stock up on supplies which had to last several days without refrigeration.  He had opened is meat market in Tacoma’s Old Town in 1887 at age 23.  So he had plenty of opportunity during the following 25 years to notice the growth of the Gig Harbor Peninsula and its communities.  And in doing so, he saw the opportunity to grow his business.  

So in 1912 Dick started construction on his floating supermarket, more commonly known as The Butcher Boat.  Once completed he would take the groceries and meat to all those people living some distance from his meat market.

The Butcher Boat was 41 foot craft with a 9 foot beam.  Dick outfitted it just as you would a land based store.  On one side were shelves with the staples and other nonperishable grocery items.  The other side was fitted with the meat market, counter and chopping block.  The boat was a success; it was on May 28, 1912 that the Washington Department of Commerce & Labor granted Dick a license - not only to operate his floating supermarket but also to carry passengers.  During the 6 years Dick operated the Butcher Boat he is quoted as saying “on our best day, one clerk and I made $200.”  (Inflation Calculator 2014  $1.00 (1912) equals $24.39 (2014)

Dick had two separate alternating routes from Old Town Tacoma in order to serve all his customers.  One route took him along the east passage from Dash Point stopping at all the liftle communities as far north as Stone’s Landing (Redondo Beach).  The other route would go along the west passage to Vashon stopping at Burton, Dockton, Quartermaster Harbor, Mazanita and Magnolia, Harbor Heights and Spring beaches before crossing over to Pt. Defiance and then on to Day Island and to the communities of Hales Passage.  As soon as the whistle blew, the women would rush to the landing in order to be first in line for the choicest cuts of meat.  

Dick soon learned the ins and outs of the Sound, developing a fine sense of navigation in all kinds of weather including rough currents, wind and dense fog.  But even with all his skill there were times when even he had to layover.  It was on his layovers at Berg’s Landing on the shore of Cutthroat Bay (Wollochet Bay) that he met and became friends with blind John Skinshot.  This friendship eventually lead to Dick’s purchase of the 7 1/2 acres John owned.  Then even before Dick made a decision to stop operating the Butcher Boat, he started clearing the land, cutting timber, splitting shingles in order to build a stock barn and a 5 bedroom house.  Part of his land included an abandoned mill and dock.
Barge with freight car at Berg's Landing

Stacked Lumber at Sawmill at Berg's Landing

It was during this time that Dick became a leader in establishing a ferry service from Titlow Beach in Tacoma to Wollochet Bay.  He raised $1,000 in donations, labor and materials.  In 1918 Dick’s new store was built and the new ferry service started.  This was a perfect time to end the operation of the famous Butcher Boat.
Esther & Richard (Dick) Uhlman in front of their store at Berg's Landing

Esther & Richard (Dick) Uhlman

Despite Dick’s reputation as gruff and hard, he wasn’t, he was one of those people who always step forward to help someone with a hard luck story.  He had a large stack of unpaid bills for groceries that some people never paid.  

His grandson, Joe Uhlman recounted a lovely story in his history of his Grandfather.  “One Christmas after Grandmother and Grandfather had celebrated their 50th anniversary, they had gone to bed.  Grandfather heard the clock strike midnight.  He said, “Mother, did you hear that clock?”  “No”.  Grandmother had been rather hard of hearing lately.  “Well, I gave you that clock on the first Christmas after we married.  We have been together for 50 years and expect to be together for another 10 years until the clock stops.”  They did tick another ten years to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  

DIck lived until December 18, 1956 when at age 92 he died.  Joe Uhlman goes on to say “He seemed to enjoy life until my Grandmother died.  He couldn’t reconcile her death and appreciate the fact that they had had so many happy years together and had accomplished so much.” 

Note:  Thanks to Both Joe Uhlman for his history of his Grandfather and to Erna Bence for her article in the Tacoma Sunday Ledger, 1947.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary Wednesday March 14, 1883

I think somme warmer today with a pleasant breeze.  I've crosscut some, gossip and work on house.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gig Harbor Law Enforcement History

I came across a donation in the Harbor History Museum Resource Room with the following comment:

“Donated in hopes of contributing to, or starting some type of documentation of the Gig Harbor Police Department.”

It appears that this was a paper written by Earl M. Gurney a student in a Law Enforcement Program conducted at Fort Steilacoom Community College, Mr. Thomas Lewis Professor, March 22, 1978.  

Although I am not going to reproduce the entire document, I thought it might be interesting to challenge you readers to add to the history as compiled by Mr. Gurney on Gig Harbor Patrol Person,  covering the following:

!. History
II. The Department and Qualifications
III.  Duties, Equipment and Benefits
IV.  Future Plans
Appendix.  Gig Harbor is a Good Place to Live
Attachment #1:  Job Description for a Patrol Person
Attachment #2: Application for Employment
Attachment #3:  Gig Harbor Police Department Residence Interview Form

I am going to skip reproducing the outline other than to state Mr. Gurney’s (Outline)  Controlling Purpose:  This paper is to present the history, the job and the qualifications needed for the patrol person position with the Gig Harbor Police Department. 

I.  History

The history and organization of the Gig Harbor Police Department has no previous documentation other than with the references in city budgets and city council reports.  The information in this report was received mainly from interviews conducted with some of the current residents, who were the early day founders, and with some of the current public officials of the city of Gig Harbor.

The police department in the city of Gig Harbor had been in existence since the town was incorporated on June 30, 1946. (1)  At that time there was only one appointed patrolman, called town marshall.  His duties were mainly to control the drunks, the traffic and the parking problems.  He was also responsible for security and the handling of other minor civil disorders, however he had no arrest powers according to Harold H. Ryan.  (2)  Such powers were established when the city attorney, Mr. Dean Mullen, introduced a blanket police ordinance that was passed in August 1946.  (3)  The pay for the town marshall was only what the town could afford, which was very little, until the first city budget was established in late 1946.  This budget set the monthly pay for the town marshall at $125.00 plus $15.00 for monthly expenses.  (4)\\According to Mrs. Ryan, the exact population of the city at the time it was first incorporated is unknown.  She related that it was not very large and did not increase to any great degree until the toll was removed from the new Narrows Bridge in the early 1960s.  Prior to this time the city had maintained a one man patrol because there were few new people or transients coming into the area.  Before the bridge was completed the only access to the city was by fairy (sic) or by driving through Olympia and Shelton.  The price of the toll also kept a lot of people out, unless they had business on the peninsula.  Once the area was open to the outside populace, large numbers of vehicles were recovered in the heavily wooded area in and around Gig Harbor.  Most of the vehicles had been previously reported stolen from other areas of the state.  As with many other small communities, the problem of securing property and valuables was not an issue of great concern in the early days, as Mrs. Ryan recalls.  The great influx of people caused the property owners to start locking their doors, their vehicles and providing some type of protection for their valuables and their families.  As the town increased in size, so did the police department to what it is today, a police chief and three patrolmen.  (5)

According to Rudy Moller, the town of Gig Harbor has always been a quiet, mainly residential waterfront populace with no major businesses or manufacturing plants.  It is currently, and has been for years, the central shopping and business area for many of the nearby communities.  (6)  
Gig Harbor's first Police Car 1948 Ford V8 Panel
Left to Right: Mayor Harold Ryan, Councilman Antone Stanich, Judge H. R. Thurston, Marshall C. M. Jones, Councilman Keith Uddenberg & Fred Perkins

Unknown early City Official
Today in 2014 a check on the City of Gig Harbor, Washington reveals a much larger police department that existed in 1946.  Paul White was appointed the Town Marshall according to The Peninsula Gateway, July 26, 1946 and H. R. Thurston was appointed  the Police Judge per The Peninsula Gateway August 16, 1946.  The first complete Police Code is Ordinance No. 6 and was passed by the full city council on November 15, 1946 (The Peninsula Gateway November 22, 1946.  Jack (Jake) Bujacich became one of those early policemen when he returned from World War II where he served in the Merchant Marines.

1 - “Gig Harbor”, The Tacoma Times, February 18, 1948, 45, #51, p. 9.
2 - Harold H. Ryan, D.M.D., first mayor of Gig Harbor, Interview on March 14, 1978.
3 - “Ordinance No. 5, The Peninsula Gateway, August 16, 1946, XXX, #16, p. 1
4 - “The First Budget”, The Peninsula Gateway, October 18, 1946, XXX, #25 p. 4 *
4 - Mrs. Harold Ryan, wife of the first mayor, interview on March 15, 1978.
6 - Rudy Moller, “History of Gig Harbor”, Washington State History, 1950 

* 4 - That was actually the second budget for the entire year 1947; The first budget was Ordinance No. 3 for the period July 12, 1946 to December 31, 1946.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Emmett Hunt's Diary March 7, 1883

Another nice day.  Yesterday's program me continued viz. cut wood & build house.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hans (Sonny) Thorwald Hansen, Jr.

I was researching Rosedale and its surroundings at the Gig Harbor Harbor History Museum Resource Room for a blog when I happened to come across an essay entitled “North Rosedale - A History” written by Elma McIntyre Burnett.  Although the essay isn’t dated it appeared to be written in the 1930s.  As I am reading through Mrs. Burnett’s essay to gather information for a blog  I came to one specific paragraph in Mrs. Burnett’s story which suddenly had my full attention.  It was like the proverbial light bulb going off and I knew I had to find a way to write on one specific family in North Rosedale.

This is the paragraph:

In 1925 H. T. Hansen bought Cherries’ place.  A point of land with tide flats included.  They had a good goeduck bed.  The Hansens had 5 children, Constance, Virginia, Ruth, Merium (sic) & Sonny Jr.  Merium (sic)  was later killed while riding her bike in Tacoma.  They had a big home in Tacoma with 5 hired help but in the summer the(sic) roughed it.  They had only one hired hand to care for the saddle horses & raise a garden.  They had electricity brought in and it was there I saw my first refrigerator.  They were new then and they even made ice cream - a wondrous (sic) thing.  They had a new Cadillac car with jump up seats in the back between the front seat and the back seat, they could be folded up.”

Now you are probably wondering what is it about that paragraph of the Hansen family that would set off a light bulb in my head.  In the 1960s I lived in San Francisco and worked for an insurance brokerage house named Miller & Ames.  Sonny Hansen was training to take over the business that his grandfather, Lorenz Hansen, had started and his father, Hans Thorwald, was then CEO and Chairman of the Board. (The name had been changed from L. N. Hansen & Co. when Sonny’s grandfather died and his own father brought in a partner; they changed the firm’s name to Hansen & Rowland Inc.)  San Francisco was the center of the insurance industry for the western part of the United States and as a result, Sonny would visit frequently.  Miller & Ames specialized in construction surety and we co-brokered the larger construction accounts written by Sonny’s Tacoma company, Hansen & Rowland Inc.

Hansen & Rowland, Inc. courtesy of Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

But before I finish that connection lets talk a little be more about the property that H. T. Hansen bought in 1925.  Bob Crandall writes in his book “Rosedale” that he doesn’t remember what year the Cherry family moved to Cherry Point but he believes it was around 1900.  The property was planted with fruit trees.  Some apples did well but it was better known for the bing cherry trees which produced large crop of cherries every year.  It was not unusual for people living in Tacoma, Seattle and the surrounding areas to purchase property for summer homes in the Gig Harbor communities.

Sometime in the early 1900s a state law was passed allowing property owners to purchase the tide lands adjoining their property.  Joseph and Martha Jane Cherry managed to buy their tide lands but unfortunately following their son Willard’s death they suffered financially as well as emotionally.  The Cherry family sold the property to Mr. H. T. Hansen to avoid losing their home for past due taxes.

Even after Mr. Hansen owned the property the land was an operating farm until World War II.  Besides the cherry trees, grapes were a large farm crop.    Following the war, the land was allowed to lay fallow and turned simply into fields; sometimes is was used as pasture land.

H. T. Hansen, Sr.’s parents were born in Denmark, although I believe at the time Lorenz Hansen was born in Sleswig (sic), it was under German control as it is on the Jutland Peninsula and fluctuated being Danish and German control during its history.  Lorenz and Christina immigrated to the United States in the mid-1800s and settled for a while in Ashland, Wisconsin where Hans, Sr. was born in 1888.  Shortly after his birth the family moved to Tacoma, Washington.  

Hansen & Rowland, Inc. was the successor to L. N. Hansen & Co. in 1889 as mentioned earlier.  Hans Sr. eventually took over the business and built it into one of the largest and most successful insurance brokerage houses and agencies in the Tacoma area.  Their book of business was varied, and in 1930 even owned their own airplane which allowed them to travel throughout the state and Oregon to inspect the various businesses and properties they insured.  Herbert T. Duren joined Hansen & Rowland, Inc. in the 1920s and was active in insuring fishing boats and maritime industry in the Puget Sound until his death in the 1987. 

Sonny Hansen took over the presidency of Hansen & Rowland, Inc. in 1966 following his father’s death, and continued to grow the business through the years.  Just prior to his death in 1981 at age 53, the business was sold to a large national insurance company.  It continued to operate under the name Hansen & Rowland Inc. until 1989, and then it closed the doors in Tacoma and moved all its operations to Seattle.

And getting back to my association with Sonny and Hansen & Rowland; well in 1977 I moved to Gig Harbor and the following year went to work for Sonny and Hansen & Rowland, Inc.  I remained with the company and its successors until 1994, after which I moved on to another Tacoma insurance firm. 

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.