Ocean Park’s Wreckage

Nov 2, 2016 | 2 comments

The Wreckage - Picture Postcard by Charles Fitzpatrick c. 1930s

The Wreckage Picture Postcard by Charles Fitzpatrick c. 1930s

My usual early Wednesday perusal of the online Chinook Observer took longer than usual this morning.  It’s a great issue – full of human interest stories and upbeat arts news.  I can’t wait until the mail arrives and I can get my hands on a ‘hard copy’ so I can read it in earnest.  And, I want to call my friend Cate Gable and talk to her about The Wreckage in Ocean Park.

In her weekly column, Coast Chronicles, there is an item about the venerable old building (built in 1912/1913) along with a copy of the Charles Fitzpatrick picture postcard of it in its heyday.  I was very interested to read that the present owners are trying to sell the building and I immediately lapsed into a fantasy that someone would buy it and restore it to its former ‘glory.’

For some time now, The Wreckage has looked just plain sad.  The old logs look weathered to the point of decay and long gone are the driftwood animals that populated the yard when I was a kid.  Even some of the furniture was made from driftwood.  I vaguely remember going there with my grandfather who was a friend of Mr. Allison’s and I was fascinated by all the “stuff” in the house.

Poems of the Pacific by Guy Selwyn Allison, reissued August 2016

Poems of the Pacific by Guy Selwyn Allison, reissued August 2016

Time and weather have taken their toll, of course, and there are few hints left of the vitality of that original building which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  Now it is a wreckage in the true sense of the word.  Sad, but understandable – especially to those of us who live in Oysterville’s Historic District.  Maintaining century-old buildings in our climate is a constant challenge.  I can’t imagine what it might take to restore The Wreckage to its earlier state.  But even keeping it as it is would be preferable to selling it to developers of an RV Park as mentioned in Cate’s column.  YIKES!

Also, I wonder if Cate knows about Guy Allison’s poetry. A bit serendipitously, it seems to me,  her column also mentions Sunday’s poetry reading at Willapa Bay AiR.  She is a fine poet in her own right and she might be interested in Mr. Allison’s 1918 book, Poems of the Pacific. I think there’s a copy he gave to my grandparents around here somewhere…  Or, the recently reprinted edition is  now available as an ebook.  I wonder what Mr. Allison would have thought of that!

2 Comments

  1. Marion Freshley

    I remember going with my folks to Guy Allison’s to what he called ‘The Chatter Club’. I was very young so don’t remember at all what they talked about but I think it was interesting that he had these little meetings. He would set an alarm for the meeting time to end. This was always quite humorous to everyone.

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  2. Jennifer Rhue

    -In about 1960, while on vacation in Long Beach and Ocean Park with my parents, we happened across The Wreckage. My Father talked to Mr. Allison about buying it. I was about 9 years old so wasn’t horribly interested in the business side of things. I loved the house with its big fireplace and upstairs room but what was fascinating to me was the driftwood critters and the 8 hole miniature golf course in the yard. The holes were tin cans sunk into the lawn. The bunkhouses in the back were pretty rundown, but I would have loved playing in them anyway. In the end, The Wreckage wasn’t meant to be ours…my Mother said no. Years later, after my Father had passed, she said she regretted not buying the house, as it would have been a great place for me to live. Mr. Allison gave me a signed copy of his book, Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. I still have it in a prominent place in my home library.

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