Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’

See you in Ilwaco Friday evening!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

“POW” by Jean Nitzel – 2017

I think that I can actually count on one hand the number of times our Oysterville Friday Night Gathering has been cancelled — with the exception of the Covid Days, of course.  This coming Friday — day after tomorrow counts as one of those few!

I’ve cancelled in deference to the Artists’ Reception at the Columbia Heritage Museum being held that evening from 4 to 7 p.m.  And, at least two of our “regular” Friday Nighters — Jean Nitzel and Tucker Wachsmuth — will have works on exhibit!  Yay!!

The theme of this year’s Benefit Art Auction is “The Hidden World of Pacific Northwest’s Forests and Gardens” — a motif of mind-boggling possibilities!  Over 60 works will be on display at the Museum’s main gallery for three weeks — October 21st through November 12. During that time, bids can be placed in-person at the museum, or online by going to A link to the auction website can also be found on the front page of the CPHM website.

“Think Small” by Noel Thomas – 2017

For those who would like first pick of any artwork in the auction,  raffle tickets will be on sale at the Museum until the 4 pm opening on October 21st. Only 50 raffle tickets will be sold ($20 per ticket) and the winner can choose any artwork before the auction starts.

Meet the artists!  Enjoy the refreshmets! Bid on your favorite artworks!  All this and more from 4 to 7 at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum!  See you there!



Oh no! Not more treasures!

Sunday, September 11th, 2022

“Self,” I said to myself… “It’s high time to get on with this downsizing project!”  It’s a project Nyel and I began several years ago with an eye to leaving the house in understandable condition when it’s our time to shuffle off. “Understandable” translates to getting rid of all of our personal “stuff” — those keepsakes and photos and endless file folders of written material that will mean nothing to those who will be here next.

We made good progress and between the things that went to museum archives and collections, the things that are designated for family members, the things that we took to thrift stores and Good Will, and the detritus we threw out, we  probably redistributed 80% of the items in the garage and our back forty storage area.  But even so, what remains seems daunting.

I began this morning with a heavy cardboard box labeled Dale’s Photos etc. ’98? “Piece of cake,” I thought to myself.  “Those were the years when mom was at Golden Sands and later at the nursing home.  I probably took most of those pictures myself.  They’ll be easy to cull…”

And the first thing I ran across was an envelope sent from Williams, Arizona on March 22, 1931 — addressed to “Miss Dale Espy” in Redlands California and written in my father’s familiar handwriting  Postage: 2 cents.  It turned out  to be a letter written after my not-yet-dad and a friend had hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back while on Spring Break from the University of Redlands.  Two weeks later, on Easter Sunday (April 5th), Dale Espy and Bill Little would announce their engagement.

Hard on the heels of that treasure, I ran across a postcard in my own tidy 22-year-old’s handwriting sent from Perugia, Italy on March 8, 1958.  The picture on the front was of Michelangelo’s “David” and I reported that we (Charlie’s dad and I)) were still crazy about Italy and that “Quad (which was Charlie’s toddler- nickname) is fine.”

Maybe it’s going to take longer to go through this box than expected…

Walking Back in Time in Old Ilwaco

Saturday, July 16th, 2022

On The Ilwaco Walking Tour

Today I did the impossible.  At least that’s what I would have told you yesterday!  I stood for two hours, walked a couple of miles, and had a first-hand look at Ilwaco from 1850 to 1890.  In fact, some of that time I wasn’t even in Ilwaco — I was sliding down the hill from Pacific City and walking around Unity in the years before the U. S. Post Office declared the town “Ilwaco” in 1876.

The conductor on this Walking Tour time machine was fellow Community Historian, Michael Lemeshko.  He is taking small groups to key areas that he has discovered as he has researched his forthcoming (but not quite finished) book on B.A. Seaborg.  As he explained, although most of those early buildings are gone, the geography remains much the same as it was a century-and-a-half ago.

Our Time Travelling Guide, Michael Lemeshko

But not exactly.  Half the hill where the original Presbyterian Church sat is gone — sliced away from top to bottom in order to construct the main street of town — a street which sported a store, a saloon (or two? or more?) and two houses for “sporting women.”  Ilwaco — even before it was named for the Chinook “Chief” Elwako-Jim — was a rip-roaring fishing village with a population of bachelor Finns who worked hard all day and caroused in the saloons at night.  The Presbyterians didn’t like the atmosphere and moved their church to the other side of the yet-undeveloped town.

We walked toward the present-day boat basin where our guide pointed out the once-upon-a-time high tide line — a marshy unstable area now paved over with streets and parking lots.  But some of us wondered about the underpinnings of that apparent stability… The geographic features seem obvious.  I couldn’t help but wonder how the permanence of cement and asphalt compare to the wooden and brick houses that were there 150 years ago.  Will they one day be gone as well?

IR&N Turntable in Ilwaco – 1890s

We followed the now imaginary train tracks to the once-upon-a-time turn table upon which two men could turn an entire train.  And we heard the story of the kids who were playing there and the tragedy involving a little boy whose legs were crushed…   Further up the street, was the opera house, though as far as is known, an opera was never presented there.  And, then, B.A. Seaborg’s final building — the building that we know today as…

But take the tour, yourself!  There will be another one tomorrow morning at ten o’clock and again on the third Saturdays of August and September.  Reserve your place by calling the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum – 360-642-3446.



Attention Local History Buffs!

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Ilwaco Shoreline, 1903

If you are interested in local history, especially the history of early Ilwaco, Community Historian Michael Lemeshko and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum are offering you a fabulous opportunity!  Walking tours of historic Ilwaco beginning in May!  (Lest this information be misleading, I do believe it is the same tour, offered on various dates for your convenience.)  Here is what the CPHM website says:

The tours will be held on the 3rd Saturday of the month from May through September rain or shine. They begin at 2 pm (meet in the Museum’s parking lot) and will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. Each tour is limited to 15 people. You must reserve your spot by calling the Museum at 360-642-3446. The tours are $5 per person, with proceeds supporting the Museum. All participants will be required to wear a safety vest which will be provided.

Mike Lemeshko, September 2016, on the publication of his first book!

The walking tours, led by Michael, will focus on early events and locations  important to the founding of Ilwaco through 1899. As they walk through the areas where Ilwaco had it’s (sometimes) boisterous beginnings, participants will learn about Hayden’s Cove Saloon, the Ilwaco Wharf Company’s Pier, and Finn Hall .  Much of the information is as yet “unpublished” and is the result of Michael’s diligent research for his next book which is about B.A. Seaborg, founder of the Aberdeen Packing Company and Ilwaco’s most successful (and,  perhaps, most controversial) early entrepreneur.

The tours should be a real treat — especially given Michael’s uncanny ability “to find where the bodies are buried” — both literally and figuratively.  It was while he was writing his first book — The Cantankerous Farmer vs. The Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company and the rest of his neighbors on the Long Beach Peninsula – about Judge John Briscoe (a contemporary of Seaborg’s) that he formed “The Friends of the Briscoe Burying Ground” to take care of a small grave in a field north of Long Beach.  Since then… discoveries have been made!

And no telling what he’s uncovered in his research in Ilwaco.  Sign up for one of his tours and find out!  Perhaps I will see you there…



Walking In A Wachsmuth Wonderland

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

About The Artist

No sooner had I posted my (very late) blog yesterday, than I received a couple of photographs from Collections Manager Betsy Millard and a short note regarding the exhibition of Tucker’s Christmas Cards at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  So, in an unprecedented piggy-back on a previous day’s blog, I want to share the photos and the name of the exhibit — “Walking in A Wachsmuth Wonderland.”

Profusion From The Artist’s Studio

As you enter the Museum, you are immediately surrounded by Christmas — Tucker’s half-century of holiday cards as depicted in his yearly greetings to friends and family.  In the glass display cases immediately to the left and right of the front doors, are a few cards with explanatory displays describing his process, and steps required for some of the finished products.  In addition, are examples of the table-setting-name-tags/ornaments which sometimes accompany the cards.

Tucker’s Christmas Cards On Display at CPHM

Along the hallway leading to the museum’s auditorium, the display cases are  filled with cards — a lovely display creating the “walkway” of the Wachsmuth Wonderland.  Seen as a totality, there is no mistaking that they are by a single artist.  Tucker’s distinctive style — somewhat formal but almost always depicting a bit of whimsy or nostalgia — is clearly apparent.  It’s a lovely walk to take as winter rains and winds splash and bluster outside.   No matter what, it will put you in the mood for the Christmas Season in all its many aspects!

A Lifetime’s Creativity on Display at CPHM!

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Card and Ornaments – The Hobby Horse Year 2012

If you know Tucker Wachsmuth (or Chester or Chet or Tuck — depending on how and since when), you are probably aware that he is always busy at this time of year.  It’s the holiday season and each year since he and Carol were married in 1970, he has spent these weeks before December 25th making their family Christmas card.

Each year, the theme differs.  Sometimes he depicts something that the family has recently enjoyed doing.  At other times, it’s an activity they’ve done together or, perhaps, centers on one of Tucker’s many interests — sailing, the wild creatures that visit their Oysterville place, or possibly a more seasonal theme such as gingerbread men or snow falling on the Oysterville Church.  Some themes are personal yet with universal appeal — Carol’s childhood teddy bear (which she still has) or, in 2012, their four grandchildren riding hobby horses.

Tucker’s 50th Christmas Card — Our House!

Tucker’s methods range from silkscreen to linoleum or wood block prints or rubbings, and even to cutouts using a template and X-Acto knife.  Backgrounds or finishing touches might be made with an airbrush or by using colored pencils or hand-painting specific details.  And, as if those techniques aren’t enough, Tucker says he sometimes has to design and make some of the behind-the-scenes equipment so that his silkscreen or other printing apparatus does exactly what he would like.

Frustrations along the way?  Of course, there are many.  The greatest, according to the artist, is to successfully execute an idea but then to be unable to find the paper that will fulfill his vision.  Perhaps not quite the right sheen or the blue being close but…

Tucker’s Cards on Display at Our House – 2017

Nevertheless, after half a century of Christmas cards, there is no doubt that Tucker’s degree in art has come to fruition — over and over again.  51 years of Christmas cards plus, in some cases, a Christmas ornament for each family member as accompaniment!  (Those, by the way, began as place holders at the large Christmas dinner that Carol did each year before she retired.  They soon served a dual purpose — an ornament for the Christmas tree, as well.)  “But I don’t make them every year,  says Tucker.

And the best news of all — Tucker’s cards are now on exhibit at the Columbia Heritage Museum!  The lobby is full of Christmas — all of it Tucker Wachsmuth’s Christmas Cards and accoutrements, the work of a lifetime!  Bravo, Tucker!  I urge everyone to go take a look.  It will get you in the Christmas spirit no matter what!!  And I guarantee it will make you wonder what he will come up with for Christmas 2021!

It was fun but it wasn’t the same…

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

In all fairness, CPHM’s “Out The Window Art Auction” was not meant to be the same as its annual “Six by Six” predecessors.  Hence the name change and the differences in entry requirements, presentations, etc.  We knew all that going in, but even so, our visit to the exhibition this morning required some serious self-talk and a great deal of wishful thinking about next year and the years to follow.

I was totally unprepared for the disparity in sizes, approaches and yes, let’s be honest, in the quality of entries.  A few  like Tucker’s  “The Jibe Mark: The Oysterville Regatta” and Marie Powell’s “Window To A Summer Garden” were downright spectacular.  And several — Bruce Peterson’s “Bus – Florence Italy”, Charles Funk’s “Cones & Crow” and Patti Breidenbach’s “Sun Flower Days” reminded me of long-ago experiences with a visceral jolt.

But honestly?  Mark Tyler’s “Daisies” and Don Nisbett’s “Untitled” are the ones that called me back to look again.  And then again.  Was it because they were the only two six-by-sixes?  Perhaps.  I’m a sucker for daisies so Mark’s subject-matter could have been part of the appeal.  But, it definitely wasn’t subject matter with Don’s.  Perhaps composition?  I’m sure not colors.  And I don’t think I’d want to live with it.  But still… those two small pieces were the most compelling for me.

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

I’m glad we went and saw the exhibition “up close and personal.”  It was definitely a better way to view each of the pieces than through the online display, though that hasn’t been true in previous years.  I’m not sure exactly why this year’s online presentation didn’t seem as good.  I wonder if it had to do with the disparate sizes and how they were photographed.  Or, more likely it was just me.  Even so, do I think there is a place for such a fundraiser in the future?  You betcha.

But, the Pandemic Gods willing, could we please have both?  There is nothing that can quite compete with the excitement generated at the live Six-by-Six auction with Bruce Peterson auctioneering, Karla Nelson handling the long distance phonelines (better than CenturyLink, you betcha!) and Richard Schroeder providing security NMW (no matter what.)  Add a few bidding wars among friends, a toast or two to the winners (or sometimes the losers!) and food that is as artistic as it is tasty… and it’s the best show in town!  Fingers crossed and paddles raised for next year!

The Long Agos and The Short Agos

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

When four-year-old Christian Hawes told his his Uncle Dick, “It’s not the long-agos that are hard to remember; it’s the short-agos”  I knew exactly what he meant.  But Christian is older now — maybe in his late thirties? — and we might be a bit older, too.  Though I hate to admit it, the long-agos and short-agos are beginning to blend together.

So, it was with particular delight that Nyel and I recently reviewed the scrapbooks from the sixteen years of our Annual Oysterville Champagne and Croquet Galas.  The first noteworthy thing was the sixteen (count ’em: one-six) years.  For at least a decade both of us have thought we put those galas on for twenty years.  WRONG.  Anyway you slice it, 1985 to 2000 made sixteen and we have the registrations, the score cards, the pictures, the news reports, and the scrapbooks to prove it.

How slim we all were way back then!  How un-gray and how lithe and athletic.   And energetic!  For the most part, Nyel and I did the work ourselves.  We laid out the courts, put up the tent (loaned each year by Noreen Robinson), schlepped the champagne (donated yearly by Jack’s), sent out the invitations, registered the teams, asked friends to be judges and my uncle Willard to act as Master of Ceremony.  Whatever non-profit was the beneficiary was asked to provide finger foods (always fabulous!) and the guests (who had each donated $20 toward the benefitting non-profit) came in whatever they deemed was an appropriate croquet costume. The setting was my folks’ place (now ours) in Oysterville and, often, Willard and Louise Espy hosted a potluck picnic at their Red Cottage afterwards.

There was, of course, the trophy which “lived” at the Heron and Beaver Pub at the Shelburne. Our festivities began the night before the Croquet Gala (always held on the Sunday following Labor Day) with the traditional “stealing of the trophy” from Tony Kischner so that it could be presented to the winning team the next day  Over the years, the Saturday night event gathered enough followers of its own that Tony had to have us sit in the garden area outside to leave room for other pub customers.

Sadly, one of the scrapbooks will probably have to be discarded.  It was the victim of a 1992 water heater disaster and, though I plan to work on it a bit, I don’t know if it will be worth turning over to the Heritage Museum with the others.  Some long-agos will just have to be remembered without benefit of visual aids!  Perhaps, if Christian’s theory was correct, the longer we wait, the better we will recall those badly damaged 1994-1996 years…  We can but hope!



And there they were! The flying scrapbooks!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Gordon was right!

I think there are 90 or 100 of them.  Scrapbooks! Year upon year of them about our lives — about the people we love; the places we’ve worked (The Bookvendor, Ocean Park School, Long Beach School, Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum when it was still the Ilwaco Heritage Museum); the community events we’ve been involved with (The Annual Oysterville Champagne and Croquet Gala, Vespers at the Historic Oysterville Church);and on and on and on.

“It’s a sickness,” Gordon used to say.  He had 110 of his own scrapbooks the last time I remember but I’m sure there were more after that.  They are all at the Heritage Museum now and mine are on their way to join them.  Nyel and I “review” two or three a day and once a week I ferry a few dozen more of ours to join Gordon’s.  That’s what I was doing today when DISASTER STRUCK!

I was loaded down, traveling on the front road and just passing Ocean Park School, when  I heard a peculiar whooshing -clumping sound that seemed to be following along behind me.  It took me until Klipsan to realize that something was seriously amiss.  Very seriously.   The trunk was wide open and it looked like a half dozen scrapbooks were gone. As in G-O-N-E.

And on it goes…

And I proceeded on — heartsick but with little hope of finding the missing treasures.  Betsy said, “You’ll find them.  Or someone will.  Put it on Facebook.”  I was less than hopeful but retraced my steps anyway.  Nowhere along the roadside through Klipsan, Ocean Park, or Nahcotta.  Back to the Oysterville Post Office where I thought the “speed bump parking strip” might have jiggled everything loose.  No luck.  On the final turn toward home, right there on the northwest corner of Oysterville and Territory Roads was a neat stack of four scrapbooks!

Mega thank yous to whoever the Good Samaritan of Lost Scrapbooks was!  Or maybe Gordon was being my Scrapbook Guardian!  However I earned such a blessing, I am eternally grateful.  And I can scarcely believe my good luck.


It certainly wasn’t the first time…

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Historically Speaking – The Baptist Church and Parsonage

I had to chuckle a bit at someone’s remark about our house a few days ago.  I had written something on my blog about Oysterville needing a museum and a reader responded, “I thought your home was the Oysterville Historical Museum.”  It’s not the first time that the “museum” word has come up in connection with this old house but, usually, it’s in the context of a question and not always with complimentary overtones —   As in, “Don’t you feel like you’re living in a museum?”

The answer to that, of course, is easy.  I’ve known the furniture and many of the other contents of this house for my entire life.  At various times I lived here or stayed for prolonged periods with my grandparents and with my parents.  The old rocking chairs have associations going back to sitting in granny’s lap to have my tears dried or a skinned knee bandaged or just to hear a story on a rainy afternoon.  I’ve set the table with my great-grandmother’s silver and my mother’s china a gazillion times.  Not once have I ever thought or uttered the word “museum” in connection with any of it.

All Set for Dinner

Nyel, on the other hand, as the most recent full-time occupant of the house, may feel differently.  We met shortly before he received his Master’s degree from the UW in museology and the only remark I’ve ever heard him make relative to the house is something like, “…and little did I know that before long I’d become an owner and full-time curator of our very own house museum!”  But said in a joking way.

But, I do sometimes feel a bit of responsibility beyond family when it comes to some of the “stuff” that has been deposited here.  Take Reverend Robert Yeatman’s chair, for instance.  His daughter, Dorothy, brought it to my mother shortly after my folks had retired in the early ’70s and moved into the family house.

Reverend Yeatman’s Chair

Dorothy, who lived in Ocean Park,  had spent several years in this house when she was a little girl.  “My father used to sit in that chair when he was writing his sermons,” Dorothy told Mom.  “The chair belongs here as a reminder of the days the house served as the Parsonage for the church across the street.”

And, though I never knew Reverend Yeatman, I do think of him each time I use that chair!  I “remember” that he and his family lived here from 1898-1901 — just before the Reverend Josiah Crouch took his infamous turn as the Baptist pastor and left behind his ghostly wife.

In a way, I guess, that sort of memory-association with the things in the house do make it seem a bit like a museum. The house not only provides a context and an environment for the artifacts that are associated with it, but it also helps keep the stories of those artifacts “alive.”  The downside, though, is that our “artifacts” are still in use so there are no guarantees about their longevity or protection.   And, as wonderful as it would be to have an honest-to-goodness Oysterville Museum, the reality is that it takes more resources than our little village could possibly provide.

So, until that changes,  let’s hear it for the Columbia Heritage Museum and the Pacific County Historical Society Museum – two worthy institutions that we all need to support in order to keep our local history alive — even the history associated with our old houses and old folks!  Hear! Hear!