I had a rare free afternoon on this lovely sunny Saturday and stopped to visit the Lakewood History Museum at 6211 Mt Tacoma Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. It is located in a small retail space in the Lakewood Colonial Center. It is small, but charming and I actually knew the woman who was volunteering there today. Since Lakewood is a relatively new city, incorporated in 1995, I hadn’t thought it had much history, but I learned a great deal. I hadn’t realized that the area had originally been called The Prairie and I was reminded of the fact that the Lakewood Town Center was on the site of a convent. And I enjoyed seeing the replica of an old fashion classroom and a log cabin interior. The post office boxes particularly fascinated me. Altogether I took in that although it has only been a city for 20 years, there is still an extensive past. I promised to bring my husband to the museum for a visit. The Lakewood Historical Society has a wealth of information about the museum and events in the area.
There was no power at my house on Saturday morning. Something to do with the lines being down and it impacting our immediate neighborhood. The house became surprisingly cold pretty darn fast and I couldn’t make my morning tea, so I grabbed my stuff and went off to Starbucks to warm up and wake up. While waiting for my Americano I perused the bulletin board and noticed an informational flyer for Summit Public Schools that will be opening a ninth grade high school in the fall of 2015 with about 120 students. The school, called Olympus High School, will be adding on a grade each year until it has the more traditional 9th – 12th grade high school configuration. This developing charter school will serve Tacoma’s South End, Eastside and Hilltop communities and provide “a personalized learning experience to each and every student, giving all students the opportunity to achieve their academic goals regardless of their previous preparation and background” (from their website).
So with the news that it was going to take 45 minutes for my hot water heater to be hot again, I jumped in my car and drove off to see this new school at 409 Puyallup Avenue in the Dome District. Oh! I recognize the building across from Alfred’s Cafe and Bull’s Eye Indoor Shooting Range. The building, which is obviously being renovated, was constructed in 1929 for Nalley’s Fine Foods. They sold it in 1953 and since then it has been a Salvation Army Social Center and I seem to remember some kind of sporting goods being sold out of it. It is great to see such a lovely old building being updated.
When I got out of my car to take a photo a man walked up to me and said he’d “been waiting his whole ****ing life”. Ummmm. Thanks? But no worries, he wasn’t talking to me, but only to his invisible friend. I let him get further down the road before I ventured out. I have to say the neighborhood had a host of interesting characters (that’s me being nice). I will be fascinated to see how the school developments.
Western State Hospital is the largest psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi and is located on Steilacoom Boulevard in Lakewood, WA. It was originally named Fort Steilacoom Asylum when it opened in 1871 at the site of an army post. More than 3,000 patients are buried at the Western State Hospital State Historic Cemetery though not all of them have grave markers with their name and dates on it. Some have a small, concrete numbered block as a marker, which was originally considered proper because of the stigma of mental health concerns. The cemetery, which is located on the grounds of Fort Steilacoom Park (formerly former the hospital farm), ceased having burials in 1953. The Grave Concerns Association is a volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration of the cemetery.
Benjamin Hooper was one of the earliest burials. Benjamin (1792-1891) was the first patient admitted to the Western Territories Asylum for the Insane on 8/19/1871.
And a shout out to Shelley, who had the brilliant idea to go visit and was bold enough to drive all over Western State Hospital grounds looking for the cemetery (that was on the other side of the road!). I can hardly wait until we go to the Western State Hospital Museum!
The Doll House Museum at 421 Bridge Street, Granbury, TX is really pretty cool. It had its grand opening on December 8, 2012 and per the owners has been gaining in popularity. The museum is on the main floor of the historic house. There are about 3,000 dolls at the museum with many of them on display. I don’t know much about dolls, but there were some lovely ones there. And the women (sisters) that were there when I visited were so nice, welcoming and devoted to their passion. Really, if you like dolls or history at all, it is worth a visit. And if all you want is an interesting place to get out of the Texas heat (over 100 degrees today!), it’s good for that too. More information can be found here.
The historic Edgewood-Nyhold Windmill, located at 2284 Meridian Avenue, Edgewood, was constructed in 1902. It was moved from its original location at Jovita Blvd and Meridian (SR-161) on August 24, 1980. At its original location of Nyhold Farms it provided water for his crops and his neighbors crops. Edgewood is one of Pierce County’s smaller cities with a population of under 10,000.
The 107′ Grays Harbor Lighthouse in Westport is the tallest lighthouse in Washington State and the third tallest on the West Coast. It was built in 1898 by architect Carl W. Leick to provide a guiding beacon for ships entering Grays Harbor. I said to my dear husband that I was surprised to see that the lighthouse was so far away from the Pacific Ocean. In reading the history I discovered that the lighthouse was originally 400′ from the high tide line, but because of build up caused mostly by the jetty system now in place at the entrance of Grays Harbor, the lighthouse is now 3,000′ from the high tide line. In 1998 the property was leased and then renovated by the Westport-South Beach Historical Society and in 2001 public tours began. In 2004 the Historic Society became the owners of their lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The property is on the National Historic Register.
The Carlson Cabin in Yelm at 301 West Yelm Avenue was constructed in 1945, so I’d consider it old but perhaps not historic. It was constructed by Yelm’s Lions Club and Axel Carlson (co-owner of the Sundown Logging Co.) made all of arrangements. The logs were hand hewed. The space is used for Lion’s Meetings, Scout Meetings, weddings, parties and other social events. The Yelm Lions Club, which was chartered in 1939, offers a free dinner every Thursday to anyone who is hungry.
I went to Yelm for a holiday gather and had a lovely time both there and on the drive to and fro. Yelm has a population of about 7,000 and per Wikipedia, “the word “Yelm” is said to come from the Coast Salish word shelm or chelm, meaning “heat waves from the sun” referring to heat mirages.”
Tacoma has one of the 100 Wyland Whaling Wall murals “Washington Orcas” around the world and its on the Bowes Building at 100 South 9th Street in Downtown Tacoma. Currently the main level of the building is occupied by Big Whiskey Saloon, but the building has a long history. The architect was Edward Heath and the building was constructed in 1908 in white Vermont marble. The property was added to the National Historic Register and the Tacoma Register in 1979. Edward J. Bowes, the original owner, eventually gained a national reputation as an entertainment figure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bowes
Over the years, the occupants have included: Pacific Bldg. & Loan Assoc., M. Schmidt & Son Merchant Tailors, Tacoma Savings & Loan Assoc., All About Travel, Pacific Rim Restaurant, Zeppo Italian Restaurant, and Seven Cities Restaurant.
Wylan started painting his large murals in the 1980s. This was his 21st mural and I remember taking my lunch break from my downtown job at the time to watch him paint. I was fascinated. There were four Whaling Walls in Washington State, but sadly now only the Tacoma one remains.
The Nisqually Delta is one of 23 National Wildlife Refuges in Washington State and the only one in Thurston County. Today I went to visit because I had to get out of the house and into the sunshine. Dear husband got up extra early and opted for a nap and dear daughter was under the weather. I was afraid that the eagles would carry away the dogs (and it turns out they weren’t allowed anyway), so I went alone. I was surprised to see that the visitor center was open and there were only a couple of parking spots available.
The dairy barns above were built in 1934 as part of the large Brown family farm that had been on the site. The eagle below was perched on a tree near the barns. One of the highlights of the hike was an older man with a very nice telescope showed me a Northern Shrike, an unusual bird for this part of the country. Apparently this charming little bird will sometimes eat other birds! Live and learn.