Archive for the ‘Looking Ahead’ Category

Gearing Up To Look Back On Our History!

Friday, July 28th, 2023

Oysterville Schoolhouse

Somehow it seems just right that we are beginning a new venture in Oysterville, Pacific County’s oldest extant settlement.  And… the “we” being a group of folks from Pacific County and beyond who are interested in the history of our county and intrigued with the possibilities of learning and sharing more about the way it was.  Which, of course, inevitably leads to how it is now — but we plan for that to take a while.

Oysterville Stagecoach

We are calling our endeavor “The History Forum” and, so far, we envision it this way:  on the first Wednesday of each month (September through May) anyone interested in Pacific County’s past may gather at the Oysterville Schoolhouse from 10:00 a.m. until noon.  They will comprise “The History Forum” — not always the same people, perhaps, but always people interested in Pacific County history.

There will be a topic each month which will be introduced/explored by a panel of two or three “experts” — folks who know enough to get us started by speaking for ten of fifteen minutes.  And then for the remainder of our two hours, the rest of us will ask our questions, suggest answers to one another if we have them, and generally put in our two bits worth about what we know or would like to find out.

H.A. Espy’s 1890 Diary

Among us there will undoubtedly be those who can suggest places to go for more definitive information or to research specifics.  There may be those  who have artifacts related to the topic-of-the-day to tell us about, perhaps even a treasured bit of correspondence or a diary entry appropriate to the day’s topic.

Abe Wing and James Johnson, early oystermen

Speaking of which — Our theme for our First Year will be the Pioneer Years (roughly 1840-1870) and our September topic will be “How We Got Here.”  (It may well be a continuing topic if interest and information is compelling!) To get us started, our first panelists will be three of our Pacific County neighbors whose roots here go back to pre-settlement times.

We are still in the early planning stages.  I urge you to mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 6th, 10:00 – 12 N. To make sure you get any notifications as we proceed, please send me your email address.  Anyone with an interest in Pacific County’s rich heritage is more than welcome to be a part of our History Forum!

Question as ye might, but…

Saturday, May 6th, 2023

Churchyard – Ready for Spring and Summer

Depending upon the day, I’ve been told, “It’s Spring at last!” and “Nope!  No Spring this year!  We’ve gone straight from Winter to Summer!” Or even, “Do you think we have already headed into Fall?”

But I’m here to tell you that some years it’s just like that in Oysterville and the best way to tell which season it is has nothing to do with the weather at all.  It has everything to do with two important factors — the flags in the churchyard and the cannon on our croquet court.

Each year, along about the first week in May, that old flagpole across the street — the one in the churchyard that I can see from my west-facing windows — begins to look pretty lonely.  That’s when I used to ask Nyel if he could possibly find time to put up our flags — the American flag and the Washington State flag.  These days I call Tucker.  And last week: mission accomplished!  The flags are flying in the old churchyard!

Let The Celebrations Begin!

And not too long after that sigh of relief has been exhaled, I begin to worry about the lonely looking cement pad at the west end of our croquet court.  Again, these days it’s Tucker and one or both of his sons, Charley and Clark, I turn to.  “I think it’s about time to move the cannon out of its winter quarters (in our garage) and begin to ready ourselves for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July,”  say.  And today… mission accomplished!

Now, no matter the weather, it’s Flag and Cannon Season in Oysterville!  And it definitely feels like Celebration Times are a-coming!


Forty-four years and the counting is over!!

Thursday, April 6th, 2023

In the summer of 1978, I moved to the Peninsula full time.  I would live in Oysterville, dividing my time between my folks’ place in the H.A. Espy House across from the church and my Uncle Willard’s “Little Red Cottage” a few doors to the south.  In the fall I would begin teaching in the Ocean Beach School District and, in the meantime, I would begin the process of building a house on my acreage on the bay, about a mile south of the village.

Ossie Steiner had agreed to do the building — to begin after he  finished his part of renovating the Historic Oysterville Church.  His step-sons Guenter and Wolfgang Mack would join him.  I would act as “General Contractor” (with a LOT of guidance from Ossie!)  Meanwhile, Ollie Oman put in a 1,000 foot road from Sandridge to the building site, Bill Niemi located a good water source for my well, and the little mill at the old Martin Bog cut the framing lumber and cedar siding to my specifications.

Soon I had PUD put in a trench beside my road into which would go the electric line, the telephone line, the water line.  I called Cox Cable in Long Beach — at least my memory says “Cox” but there have been many changes over the years — to ask about getting Cable TV.  “Well, we can lay the cable from the road to the building site using the PUD trench, but we aren’t yet installed north of Joe Johns Road so there won’t be a hook-up yet.  It might be a while.”

Nyel and I lived happily for twenty years in that house with an antenna jury-rigged by one  of our ham radio operator friends.  Periodically we’d call about the progress of the cable as one company after another took over the business.  By the time we moved into the Family House in Oysterville in 1998, we were getting internet service through the PUD, later through CenturyLink, most recently through StarLink — none of whom were at all satisfactory.

TODAY, 44 YEARS LATER, SPECTRUM CAME AND HOOKED ME UP!  They had begun laying their CABLE along the right-of-way by my  house last summer.  I began calling them just after Christmas to find out what was going on.  And then today, slick as a whistle, it took Casey, Riley, Justin, and Kodi just four more hours to get my “devices” hooked up and running!

They told me that I am the first in the village to have CABLE.  Well, I should hope so.  I’ve been trying for almost half of my life for this hookup!  YAY!

I noticed in the paper this week…

Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Steamers Shamrock and Reliable — Passenger Ferries on Willapa Bay in the early 20th century

I have to admit that I very nearly skipped that front page article headlined “Partners envision county’s housing future.”  And then as I glanced at it, phrases like “local livability” and “hybrid launch event” added to my distaste and… even now I can’t believe I read the whole thing!

Maybe it was the image of UW students working side-by-side with our County Codgers that kept me reading.  Or perhaps it was the LCY (Liveable City Year) track record that impressed me.  But what really really gave me hope was their statement that “in looking at the permitting for building in Pacific County, the  group found it to be a long and arduous process compared to that of other communities in the State …”  Why am I not surprised?  And raise your hand if you aren’t either!

I do look forward to seeing some (but perhaps not all) of their plans for the County coming to fruition.  The one I’m a bit hesitant about (and probably won’t be around for) is their interest in the Willapa Bay Ferry feasibility study.  Should the County ever go forward with such a plan, a pedestrian and bike ferry would travel from the Port of  Peninsula in Nahcotta to the Tokeland Marina and possibly to Bay Center or South Bend, as well.  This would be the final leg in a “round-the-county tourism trail.”

Victoria Clipper – Passenger Service between Victoria B.C. and Seattle

I can only envision the parking lots at the various docking points — acres and acres of asphalt where you could leave your car for the duration.  I mean, how long would it take to go from Nahcotta to Tokeland and don’t you need a good high tide to get from portal to portal on our bay?  So…several small ferries or one very large one to make things “feasible?” Then the visitors would explore and visit and wait until the next high tide to return for their cars?  And would the approach look a lot like those ferry terminals around Puget Sound — one huge asphalt covered parking area so bye-bye little old Nahcotta?