Nestled just a stone’s throw beneath the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington lies an unassuming National Historic Site filled with stories worth telling. On a recent work trip to the south end of Skamania County, I stumbled upon this great heritage destination. If you’re looking to escape a bustling city without traveling too far into the void of central Washington, Skamania County is an excellent
We’re all familiar with the historic events that led to the American Revolution, when the American Colonies seceded from rule by Great Britain. Somewhat less well known are the reasons behind the second war between England and the U.S…the War of 1812. But it’s unlikely you can find very many people who can tell you about the third war between these two superpowers, which took place – or, more accurately,
Back in June of 2016, a colleague of mine at the Washington State Archives – Benjamin Helle, Olympia branch archivist – published an article in that agency’s newsletter about a little-known and seldom-visited monument in the South Sound area dedicated to the Medicine Creek Treaty. What followed was an adventure in state history that nearly anyone can undertake.
We need volunteers with a passion for local history to fill two open positions on the Historical Commission, which provides leadership in raising awareness of Lacey’s history and preservation of local historic resources.
The term “ghost town” in today’s time has evolved from its more literal interpretation to describe any small town that has been abandoned or vacated. Most of the time, however, towns devoid of inhabitants have nowhere to grow but older. Not so for old Alder.
Several months back, I blogged about the effort to save the historic nuclear reactor building on the UW Seattle campus. Sadly – despite its listing on the National Register of Historic Places – UW went ahead with the demolition of this beautifully brutalist building.
There are dozens of things to see and do on the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway in southwest Washington (see here and here for just a few examples), but surely one of the most unique lies just outside a tiny berg called Knappton on the bank of the Columbia River. If you head west from Knappton Cove you might spot a rusty barge parked in a shallow bay called Hungry Harbor. There is
We’ve all seen those grainy, black and white films of immigrants packed shoulder to shoulder on steamships pouring into America in the early 1900s. You can see them pass the Statue of Liberty and watch as they file out of the ships and into the long lines awaiting them before they are permitted entry into the United States. But we often overlook the fact that scenes like this were taking
The Nuclear Reactor Building is an exceptional example of Brutalist design from the Mid-century Modern era and the ideals that drove the Modern movement. Designed by renowned architects of the time, the building’s design promotes technology and rejects the conventional academic architecture surrounding it. It is a completely unique structure, and represents a specific time and way of thinking in the history of the University, and the overarching history of
Some could argue that “hiking” could be a bit of an exaggeration, given that Watershed Park is technically a city-owned property just a few blocks south of downtown Olympia. But do it on a day when the rain is coming down in lines and throw in eight soggy Cub Scouts and their parents along for the ride, and the challenge suddenly becomes more strenuous. I’m the Den Leader for a local bunch
One of the most enthralling aspects of Washington state – besides its snow-capped mountain vistas, panoramic ocean views, arid desert plains, and ancient lakes, rivers and forests – is the fact that there is a unique and wonderful history attached to each one. Nowhere is that arguably more evident than in the southwestern foothills of Mount Rainier. On the surface, an affordable train ride through the woods (with or without
Between June 15th and 21st, the U.S. Open (the golf one, not the tennis one) took place at our very own Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. Thanks to my employer, I had the unique opportunity to attend the Open as a member of the media. Tasked with uncovering local and behind-the-scenes stories, I did my best – along with the international army of reporters, photographers, bloggers, anchors, writers, producers,
The ability to entice visitors to your corner of Washington may lie in your area’s unique local history. Statistics show that more and more people are citing historical—whether it be natural, cultural or heritage tourism as the reason for their travel. You need to stay on the forefront of this emerging trend…but how? What is heritage tourism? The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience
In honor of the Seattle flagship’s 93rd birthday, the Steamship Virginia V Foundation is offering the public a limited number of tickets to join them for the birthday cruise on Sunday, June 7th. They’re celebrating 93 years of “Keeping The Steam Up!” around the Puget Sound with the annual celebratory cruise. Proud to continue the tradition of steaming in the northwest, the foundation says it’s looking forward to welcoming you aboard. The cruise is presented
There are very few places in Washington where you can hike through the woods, trip over a 200-year-old cannonball and land amongst an assortment of arrowheads and prehistoric bison fossils. In fact, there’s likely only one place where that amazing scenario could potentially play out, and that is on Orcas Island in the San Juans. As the largest island in San Juan County, Orcas is surprisingly not named after the
And why wouldn’t they? It’s a wonderful place to visit on the way from Aberdeen to Long Beach, especially if you’re looking for historical tourism opportunities. The City of Raymond is a community sometimes overlooked in the story of Washington. Like so many other towns scattered across the state, Raymond saw its beginnings as a central point of the lumber industry in the mid- to late-1800s. Raymond’s name comes from
On the morning of Friday, March 13, 2015, the bones of Washington’s most well-known ferry were picked clean. Kalakala supporters who desperately searched for years for a way to save the prodigious icon could finally relegate their desire to restore the grand ship to the what-could-have-been. And history buffs longing to claim a piece of her for their own could finally do so, for as little as ten bucks. I
This time-lapse video documents the final voyage of the Kalakala. The former Washington state ferry was moved Thursday from the Hylebos Waterway, where it’s languished for more than a decade, to the Blair Waterway, where it will be dismantled for scrap.
In southwestern Washington where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean are a string of sites that no historical tourist or lifelong resident of our state should leave unvisited. Between Hungry Harbor and the Long Beach Peninsula are three places that hold not only state but national significance. They are the three places that Captain Meriwether Lewis, Lieutenant William Clark and the entire Corps of Discovery expedition met with
In December of 1966, the City of Lacey was celebrating its incorporation. The small settlements of Woodland and Chambers Prairie had united to form what was then a bedroom community to nearby Olympia. But just a few months earlier that year, Lacey residents got a chance to attend another celebration, as one of the Northwest’s first modern indoor shopping malls opened for business at South Sound Center. When it opened,
Happy new year, and welcome to 2015! In the spirit of new beginnings, making resolutions and so forth, I thought I would share some of the blog posts from the last two years that didn’t quite make it to the publish stage. So let it be known that, from this day forward, I will finish every blog post I start – no matter the time or research involved, and no matter
Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula is well known for many reasons. The prolific oyster and razor clam harvests, Jake the Alligator Man at Marsh’s Free Museum and one of the longest beaches in the world (28 continuous miles of sand-filled fun) are just a few. But there’s more to the iconic arm of Pacific County than just having a good time which, incidentally, is far too easy to do. Many
I introduced myself and my wife to our Lake Quinault coach tour guide, LeRoy Tipton. He said our names twice and quipped, “I have a really good memory. But my recall does not work very well. In fact, I have a very good memory except for names…faces, places, events, dates…stuff like that.” During the twenty-minute introduction where LeRoy (pronounced “luh-ROY” not “LEE-roy”) eloquently set the stage for our three-hour tour
“Yes, Mr. President. It is, indeed, breathtaking.” Those are the words I imagine Washington State Governor Clarence D. Martin spoke in 1937 after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first commented on the beauty of what was then known as the Mount Olympus National Monument. Of course, Governor Martin would likely have been hiding a smirk at having to reinforce such an obvious statement by FDR. After all, it was a natural
My thanks to 91-year-old Robert Peloli – the last living coal miner in Wilkeson, his family, Wilkeson Mayor Bob Walker, Pierce County, and Dave Kellman, my intrepid videographer for this story. I think this is the best video we’ve done, and it’s a story near and dear to my heart. I hope you all enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!
When most folks want to unplug for a weekend, they are often disappointed to find that their secret hideaway has suddenly become everyone else’s destination hot-spot. Many of Washington’s smaller beach communities can end up crawling with tourists during the busy season…good for their local economy, sure, but the bane of travelers looking for peace and quiet. However, a few places still remain where individuals, couples and families can find
I got an e-mail recently from a team of brothers who are traveling around the country documenting the wondrous scenery of America’s 59 National Parks. Their first stop? Right here in Washington, in one of my favorite places…Olympic National Park. Their video is a culmination of a month’s time spent videoing some of the most incredible parts of Olympic National Park. It’s a dazzling 4 minute short film that takes
The City of Lacey Historical Commission will consider the nomination of Old Main Building on the campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey to the National Register of Historic Places at its September 17, 2014 meeting. The meeting will be held in Lacey City Hall, 420 College Street SE in Lacey beginning at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and comment on the nomination. Old Main was constructed
As of Thursday, August 14, yours truly is the newest member of the Lacey Historical Commission. My father had made me aware of the volunteer opportunity after he saw it advertised in the Olympian and I knew I couldn’t pass up a chance to be part of it! I filled out the application on the City of Lacey’s website and got a call three weeks later from Lori Flemm, the
In June, Chambers Bay Golf Course in Pierce County will join the ranks of such prestigious courses as Pebble Beach, Bethpage, Marian, and Pinehurst, among others. At these courses, some of the greatest players ever to walk the links made U.S. Open History. Chambers Bay is poised to become the next great field of champions. But unlike the other courses, whose golf history goes back generations, Chambers Bay is a
There have always been references to the famed Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet that I’ve run across while researching Washington State history. The entrepreneurial spirit that gave birth to the fleet in the 1850s is part of what makes Washington such a fascinating place. From the 1850s through the 1920s, it was said there were so many steam ships racing around the Sound that it looked like a swarm of mosquitos.
Mount Rainier is an active volcano. We all live in its shadow and love having it serve as one of our state’s most iconic symbols. We drink in its abundant wildlife and panoramic views, and take our midwest friends on tours of its national park. Yet it’s imperative that we all remain prepared for the inevitable.
In a split second, I knew it was a bald eagle as it shot by about ten feet overhead. I had never been that close to one in flight before. The unmistakable white markings, yellow beak and talons and gargantuan wingspan that easily distinguished it from the more common ravens and falcons in Ocean Shores were clearly visible just before it disappeared over the roofline as quickly as it had materialized.
Everybody thought I was joking when I said I was taking a business trip from Olympia to Vancouver to Yakima to Spokane to Wenatchee to Everett to Bellevue to Tacoma and back to Olympia in two days. The itinerary I had laid out with Google Maps said it was a cinch and I’m the guy who enjoys driving around this beautiful state we call home. Well, I proved to everyone
For Fathers’ Day 2013, my dad had gotten the two of us a fishing excursion on Westport Charters in Westport, WA. Father’s Day is in June, but we had to take our trip in early August thanks to the Legislature being unable to complete its business in three consecutive sessions (yes, it still smarts). I had been looking forward to this trip for two reasons: I was anxious for some
Almost every year I pack up the family and head ten miles south of our Lacey home to go camping at Millersylvania State Park, and every time we make plans to take advantage of the miles of woodland trails skirting its edges. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, we’ve never been able to actually hike those trails. But this weekend I was determined to spend some long-overdue and much-needed quality
Fall in Western Washington always brings the wet weather. Sometimes it starts in late August, and sometimes it holds off until October. This year appears to be one of the late years, as we had lots of nice days in September and early October. But make no mistake, fall has finally descended on us. Grey skies, whipping winds, falling leaves, and rain-soaked sidewalks are a dead giveaway. And speaking of
I sincerely hope anyone reading this is inspired to climb a mountain of their own. I hope it’s one of the beloved mountains of Washington State, but any mountain that strikes a chord in your heart will suffice. It’s not just something other people talk about. You can do it too. Just make sure you have the right training, the right gear and the right attitude and you’d be surprised how high you can climb.
I was almost five years old when I rode on my father’s back during a hike on Mt. Rainier one sunny Saturday afternoon. During that walk, he paused for a moment while viewing the distant, lofty, snow-capped peak to the southwest, speculating aloud on the possibility of one of the 18 volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range ever erupting. It was May 17th, 1980, and the next morning the world
After deciding to climb Mt. Saint Helens in early 2012 and committing myself by actually purchasing the permits back in February, Dad and I had been training for the climb for months as the ascent date approached. It wasn’t until August finally arrived that we fully realized the gravity of the task we were about to undertake and upon reevaluation, found ourselves lacking in several training areas. When deciding to
Today I saw a request for name suggestions for Washington State’s newest additions to the ferry fleet. I’ve got a dozen or so ideas that I’ll be submitting, and you can too by following the directions outlined in the news release below. Now before you start submitting things like S.S. Minnow, Ship of Fools or Taxpayer’s Folly, keep in mind that the Washington State Transportation Commission has certain requirements – such
I’m reading (actually, listening to) a book called The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan. In it, Gifford Pinchot comments that Washington State’s Lake Chelan bears a striking resemblance to Italy’s Lago di Como (Lake Como). I thought that was interesting so I put together this little side-by-side comparison thanks to the technological marvel that is Google Maps. What do you think? Does
You don’t see a whole lot of Flag Day parades anymore these days. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find half a dozen people who even know what Flag Day is. For those still wondering, Flag Day is a United States commemorative day (not yet an official holiday) that falls every year on June 14, commemorating the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of
We began building our Ocean Shores home in 2008. When we moved our borrowed 5th wheel trailer to the construction site in October of that year, we started daily beach walks. The beach nearest our home is part of the Oyehut Wildlife Recreation Area, managed by the WDFW as a subunit of the John’s River Wildlife Area nearer to Westport, Washington. Almost immediately upon taking these walks, we started seeing
One of Washington’s jewels is our state park system. Yes, it is expensive to run, and goodness knows the political shenanigans that take place to keep it alive. But… if you look around our state, we have some pretty awesome parks within reach of almost everyone in the state. It is well worth the cost of an annual Discover Pass for you and your family to enjoy these gifts. End
As I tweeted last week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Committee on Geographic Names is meeting to consider changing the names of a number of Washington State locations, the most prominent being Soap Lake in Grant County. Someone had the bright idea of renaming it “Lake Smokiam” despite the local community having spent th0usands of dollars marketing the lake’s alleged medicinal properties. Needless to say, Soap Lake residents
Isaac Ingalls Stevens was the first governor of the newly-formed Washington Territory in 1853. I’ve been reading more about the significance of his life since I began diving into library books about Washington state history. In a previous post I wrote about how I visited the cemetery where our first territorial lieutenant governor, Charles Mason, is buried. He served as the acting governor of Washington Territory while Isaac Stevens was
Earlier this week I became aware of a plan to pave over part of the parade grounds at old Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood. The property belongs to Western State Hospital – itself an icon of Washington State History – and the hospital is managed by the state Department of Social and Health Services. Through my work with 28th District State Senator Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, who represents the district in which
Kelly was feeling under the weather one day last week, so I decided to take Parker off her hands and get him out of the house for a bit. I had wanted to make a day out of it, perhaps visiting the recreated Fort Nisqually on Point Defiance, visiting the old Fort Nisqually in DuPont (and the historic Dynamite Train), or Fort Steilacoom Park between the two. Being that the
Being cooped up in the house for days on end is enough to drive anyone mad, and throwing a four-year-old in the cage can sometimes seem just plain cruel. So needless to say, I had to get my poor wife and son out of the house before we all ended up in the newspaper the next day. Despite the intermittent weather on Saturday, we decided to visit Tumwater Historical Park
The Evergreen Sportsman’s Club bills itself as the west coast’s premiere shooting facility. While I can’t confirm that (come on, the entire west coast of the United States? Really?), it does boast 36 trap fields, hosts several 2 and 3-day shoots throughout the year, and has one of the nicest range masters you’ll ever come across. They also host the annual Washington State Championships and the PITA Grand Pacific Championships
Last week, I began planning the first full episode of the Washington, Our Home, video series and I decided the creation and exploration of the Willamette Meridian would be a good first start. To begin with, as I asked in a previous blog post, I had to learn why in the world someone in the mid-1800’s would decide that a straight line north and south from Portland, Oregon, was even necessary.
So I went to the Lacey public library last weekend because it’s free and Parker loves to visit. Usually, I supervise him playing in the children’s area or – more recently – help him with the computer learning games. Incidentally, I never imagined that a three-year-old could successfully operate a graphic user interface…but who knew? He already has the library’s high score on Clifford’s Day Out. Anyway, after my wife
Boy, do a little research and it’s amazing what you might learn. Nearly every day, I drive past the Odd Fellows Memorial Park at the corner of Custer, North and Cleveland (Yelm Highway) in Tumwater. Most people know it as “The Pellegrino’s intersection” or the “Artistry in Flowers” corner, or “the one right by Baskin-Robbins, Safeway or Domino’s Pizza,” or – more appropriately for this blog post – “the one
We’re leaving for Carmel, California, tomorow to spend Christmas with my inlaws. My job today, besides packing and cleaning house, was to drop the dog off at the boarding facility. Living in Lacey, we board her at Northwind Kennels, which is just a short drive southeast on the Yelm Highway from our house. On the way, I drove past a small, brown sign that read, “Historical Marker” with an arrow pointing
Moclips has been a community for a long time. It was only incorporated, though, in 1905 with the final nails being driven by the Northern Pacific Railroad. It became a resort community and had local industries such as lumber mills and canneries. Over the years Moclips suffered setbacks from fires and storms, finally sustaining about 600 people. Just south of the town of Moclips, Washington, along the rugged Pacific coast,
Sitting Log at the North Jetty in Ocean Shores, Washington Linda and I try to walk on the beach every day. We tell ourselves that it is exercise, but really it’s just taking advantage of where we live (Ocean Shores, Washington). We have different beaches that we can go to, so we don’t see the same thing every day. What we have discovered is that you CAN go to the
Last weekend, we took a trip into Kitsap County to see my Uncle Verne, who lives at the Department of Veterans Affairs veterans home in Retsil, outside Port Orchard. The facility was built in 1910 on a 31- acre bluff overlooking Puget Sound. According to the website, “Today the Veterans Home is a state-of-the-art, non-institutional facility providing a ‘Resident Centered Care’ concept that focuses resources around the individual resident. All primary services for a resident
Ok. I used to pride myself in knowing just about everything in the way of scenic travel in Washington State. Imagine my surprise when we were camping recently and I discovered there was a NEW national park in our state! Well, not just in our state, but portions of the Lewis and Clark National Park are in the southwest corner of Washington, at the mouth of the Columbia river. This
My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, and my first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Even though I had gone to bed relatively early the night before, I still didn’t get much sleep since it was the night before my first real hunting trip. Fortunately, the excitement of the coming day was also enough to roust me out of bed at that ungodly hour and
One out of the way (REALLY out of the way!) location in Washington State is Tokeland, situated on a peninsula by the north shore of Willapa Bay near its mouth at the Pacific Ocean. Named after Chief Toke, of the Shoalwater Bay tribe, and probably NOT after the slang term for smoking marijuana, the community has about 150 resident souls brave enough to weather the… well, actually the weather. The
As I sit here in my blaze orange Deer Camp 2011 tee-shirt from Cabela’s and write this blog entry on my couch, I think about how I should be out in the woods sitting on a stump glassing a clearcut for movement. I should be creeping through the timber areas north of Brady, Washington, stalking deer and elk. Maybe even a cougar or a bear. I should be shoulder to
Yes, I blog about Ocean Shores a lot. My parents live there, so what can I do? We drove over on Saturday afternoon and dad made a great dinner of sausage, sauerkraut, apples, bacon, and rolls. Delicious if you like sauerkraut. While we could have gone to the beach before sundown, we were very tired from a trip to Point Defiance Zoo that morning, so we opted to stay home
I recently had the fortune to be taken on a personal tour of the Weyerhauser logging areas north of Brady, WA. I’ve been more and more interested in hunting as of late, and a coworker of mine – an avid hunter since he was a teenager – was kind enough to take me on a scouting trip to the area where he hunts every year. Being completely unfamiliar with anything
Last weekend was my parents 40th anniversary, so Kelly, Parker and I spent the weekend at their house in Ocean Shores. I realized that I’ve never written about Ocean Shores in this blog, and it was about time I did. I guess we travel there so much, it’s lost some of its initial charm. Ocean Shores is a little less than two hours west of Olympia. To get there, you
I had the opportunity to take a private tour of the towns of Centralia and Chehalis today. My friend and former co-worker, Jim Valley (now the Executive Director of the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce), agreed to meet me for lunch so I could pick his brain about a few ideas I’ve had. After lunch at Azteca (where we ran into Rep. Richard DeBolt, Washington State House Minority Leader), Jim showed
Last weekend, I got another chance to drive through some small Washington towns to which I’ve never been before. It was our family reunion weekend, an annual event, that was scheduled this year for Packwood, Washington. We always try to find a somewhat centralized location so all family members can at least make an effort to attend. Packwood seemed to be easy for us and for the Campbells in the Yakima area,
Since non-union state employees haven’t received any pay increases in almost two years, my wife and I decided to forgo the traditional anniversary gifts and cards to each other. We celebrated our seven-year anniversary on Monday (July 5th) the same as any other day…Parker woke us up around five in the morning, and yours truly spent the rest of the early morning on the couch as he watched Handy Manny.
Father’s Day turned out to be pretty spectacular despite the terrible weather. Kelly, Parker and I went with several of our family friends to the Olympia Air Show to see the planes and let the kids get close up views of the “ah-panes.” Not expecting much from the Olympia Regional Airport, I was surprised to find the place packed with both planes and patrons. After parking in a field some
These were my comments printed in the Vancouver Columbian for their 30-year anniversary special on the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. You can read them on the website here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/apr/14/lifelong-interest-started-boom/ I’ll be the first to admit that my memory as described below is slightly inaccurate, as I found out from my father after discussing this article with him, however it is still worth posting due to the special occasion. Enjoy!
I had the pleasure of taking my son, Parker, to Mt. Rainier National Park on Sunday…well, at least to the gate. Wait…let me tell the whole story from the beginning. Kelly had to work all day Sunday since the Senate wasn’t in session that day, so I got to stay home with Parker. Though she got to stay home with him all day Friday and Saturday while I was at
I don’t even know how the rest of that Annie Lennox song goes. Something about diving into an ocean I think. But the rain has returned to the Pacific Northwest! I’ve only got a few quick minutes to post before work, but I wanted to say how much I enjoy the rain. It’s one of the great parts about living in this part of the country. North Dakota gets the
Olympia has some beautiful scenery if you can rise above the fray and see it for it’s natural wonder. Perhaps by the time Parker is older, the wrinkles in this city will have been ironed out.
It was such a nice day, that Kelly and I took Parker to Tolmie State Park just north of Hawk’s Prairie today. Just as the sun was beginning to set, we hit the beach at low tide. The Olympic Mountains were glorious and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The beach was pretty busy with clam-diggers, explorers and pets running around. We made our way through the bevy of