Tag Archives: history

The Cultured Cup – Dallas


My dear friend and her daughter took me to a magical tea tasting room called The Cultured Cup at 13714 Gamma Rd. #104, Dallas, TX 75244 and it was a delightful experience. I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we entered a nondescript building with minimal signage and walked through an office work area to fine a tasting room. There were nine of us tasting teas while we were there, three young couples and the three of us. The tasting room is open on the weekends and features different selections each time. Our guide, Kyle, was also happy to brew other teas that we were interested in. What struck me the most was just how welcoming and knowledgeable Kyle, one of the co-owners, was as he spent almost an hour introducing us to tea. He obviously has a passion about the history and process of making tea. To see him in action, go here.   Anyway, I was so enchanted by the whole experience that I forgot to take a good photo, but their website has many lovely pictures and is an education unto itself.


Perkins House, Colfax, WA


The drive out to Pullman, WA from Tacoma is a long one and I especially don’t like doing it over a weekend (one day there and one day back). But it was time for dear daughter to come home and off we went. I mentioned that I wanted to stop at Colfax on the way home to see a log cabin. The website I found said “Perkins House, Colfax, built in 1886, an original log cabin.” So I figured the Perkins House was a log cabin. I imagined it would take five minutes to walk around a small cabin, snap a couple of pictures and be on our way.

But when we got there it turned out to be an amazing house and a log cabin, and it was open to the public. Dear daughter happily agreed to a tour (muttering that it was my mother’s day present) and our guide took us through the entire property, sharing the history. Really, it was fascinating, well worth the stop. The property was placed on the national historic register in 1972.

We learned that Mr. Perkins founded Colfax and the local saw mill. He, his wife and their four children lived in the log cabin (built in 1870, the oldest standing building in the county) for a while, but in 1880s moved into the lovely Victorian house. We also got to hear an early record player and listen to the honey bees that live in the wall. We especially loved the wallpaper, which was mostly reproduced based on the original. Oh, did I mention, there is an outhouse with the traditional moon on the door? Our volunteer guide was terrific, so pleasant and knowledgeable. He was also patient with our many questions.


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Fort Steilacoom Museum

imageFor a year we planned to visit Historic Fort Steilacoom at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd, Lakewood, but they have limited hours (Sundays 1-4 during the summer and the first Sunday of the month from 1-4 from Labor Day to Memorial Day), and we have three different schedules, so it just took that long.

We thought it would be a small museum and perhaps it might be about Western State Hospital, but we were wrong on both accounts. The museum included several buildings and a two hour tour and was completely about the historic fort which had operated on the grounds. The tour guide was so incredibly  knowledgeable and explained the fort’s history using the detailed model and in the other buildings to illustrate to us how the soldiers lived. I found it particularly interesting that the army would send representatives back east to meet new immigrants at the docks. The men would be offered transportation to the west coast and a job with room and board. Some eventually received free land. Such an opportunity. The fort’s history can be found on their website, but it is worthwhile to visit in person and go inside the actual buildings and talk to the terrific volunteers.

Talking about the volunteers, the green tint on the two gentleman is completely the fault of the lens! I was told that the lack of smiles is because people didn’t smile for photos in those days. They thought it made them look imbecilic.

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Jesse James Grave (maybe)


Catching up from the Texas trip.

A dear friend of the family and I had a summer goal of finding the alleged grave of Jesse James in the Granbury Cemetery. We had tried last summer, but had no luck in the approaching dark. This time we set out in early evening and found Jessie’s grave, as well as Granbury’s grave and the burial site of an amputated arm.

Granbury (sometimes seen as Granberry) is the namesake of the town. As far as I can tell he never lived in Granbury, but his body was exhumed (for the second time) and buried here. There is also a gravesite for his wife, Fannie Granbury, though she isn’t buried there. She died at the young age of 25 and is in an unmarked grave in Alabama which is where she died of natural causes.

The buried arm is that of W. H. Holland who lost his arm in a childhood accident on November 16, 1895. The rest of Mr. Holland died sometime later and is buried elsewhere in the cemetery. The photo that shows that is of three above ground tombs. The arm is in the middle and there are infants to either side.

History tells us that the outlaw Jesse James was killed by a member of his gang in 1882 for the reward money. However, relatives of James say that his death was faked and it is really somebody else buried in Missouri in a grave labeled Jessie James.  The story goes that James was even a pallbearer at his own funeral! James took the alias of J. Frank Dalton and settled in Granbury eventually passing away in 1951 at the age of 103. Apparently toward the end of his life he even confessed. At the bottom of his headstone (look hard!) it says “supposedly killed in 1882”.

Haunted Granbury by Brandy Herr is full of interesting stories and well worth reading.



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Bonnie and Clyde are rumored to have been here

imageThe story is that Bonnie and Clyde’s car was in need of repair and they stopped at the service station on the town square in Granbury, TX. While it was being fixed, they had a picnic on the lawn of the courthouse. The local law recognized them, but decided to leave well enough alone since they did have a reputation! They finished their lunch, picked up their car and skedaddled out of there. I’m not sure if that is true, but the building is certainly there.

The Baker-Rylee Building at 100 North Crockett Street in Granbury, TX was built in 1895 as a hardware store and has a limestone construction which is typical of the area. The Transcontinental Company bought the building in 1929 and removed two walls to make it into a service station. When my folks first moved to Granbury in 1981, it was still a service station though sometime in the early 1980s that use ceased. I remember going to it when it was an Italian Restaurant and now it is delightful restaurant called The Fillin’ Station. My swiss mushroom burger was one of the best that I’ve ever had and the fries and onion rings were also outstanding. The folks that work there are so very nice.

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Statue of General Hiram Bronson Granberry (Granbury)


Granbury, Texas was named after General Hiram Bronson Granbury, which is sometimes spelled Granberry. His life spanned March 1, 1831 – November 30, 1864, passing away at the young age of 33 years. Per Wikipedia, he was a lawyer and country judge in Texas who later organized a volunteer company for the Confederate army and became its captain. He later was promoted to brigadier general  and was one of the almost 2,000 soldiers that died at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.

From what I’ve read, Granbury was buried near Franklin, Tennessee, where he died, and later re-interred at a different cemetery. Finally in November 30, 1893 (on what would have been his 62nd birthday) he was again re-interred in the city of Granbury, Texas, seat of Hood County, as the town was named in his honor. Although he was as close as Waco, Texas, I’m not finding anything to suggest that he was ever in his name sake city.

The statue which features Granbury in military garb and a confederate flag was erected in 1913. The statue was important from Italy and the base was created by Waxachachie monument maker, James Youngblood.

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Tacoma Cemetery Living History Tour

imageOnce a year, the Tacoma Historical Society, Tacoma Cemetery and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum join forces to produce a Living History Tour.  Each historical reenactor is from the Fort Nisqually Time Travelers and has assumed the role of a Tacoma citizen in the time period around World War I.  This is the 7th tour and the first that I remember that photography was allowed as long as we waited until the end of each talk and didn’t bother the actors.

The list of those represented is here. Thanks to Tacoma Weekly!

  • Alexander Baillie (with the golf club)-  the founder of Tacoma Country & Golf Club. It isn’t often you actually see a twinkle in somebody’s eye! I loved the story about how he imported golf clubs from his beloved Scotland. When the port didn’t know what they were, he convinced the port officials that they were farming equipment so he had less of a tax burden.
  • Annie Brown (white dress) – Annie and Oscar were the lighthouse keepers at Brown’s Point for many years. When she teared up talking about how she missed the lighthouse in her old age, I sniffed a little myself.
  • Ada Bel Tutton Gifford (red dress) had a great hat, as she should since she owned a millinery shop on Broadway Avenue. I loved her pride in her accomplishments.
  • Chester Thorne (arms to side), owner of Thornwood Castle and accomplished local businessman. He owned a yacht name the El Primero and President Taft was one of his more famous guests on it. He lost the yacht in a poker game.
  • Peter Wallerich (hands folded in front), told some of his story in rhyme. He was responsible for the automotive industry situating on South Tacoma Way and bought the Northern Pacific Bank.
  • Hugh and Mildred Wallace (couple) each told their stories of being part of high society. He was the ambassador to France and the French often honored him. She was the much loved daughter of a Chief Justice. They donated the clock tower chimes in Old City Hall to honor their daughter who died. Note to self, their house is still standing at 402 North J.
  • W.F. Sheard (with chair) has a shop across the street from the Tacoma Hotel and was well known for his furs. He is also known for designing the gold bead sight used on Winchester rifles and for bringing the totem pole in Firemen’s Park to Tacoma.

I believe the tour is full for today, but you can contact the Tacoma Historical Society to double check. And make a note to go next year 🙂

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Olmstead Place State Park

IMG_3031On my way back from visiting dear daughter, I stopped at Olmstead Place State Park outside of Ellensburg (921 Ferguson Road, Ellensburg, WA 98926). I was pretty excited to be able to use my Discover Pass, but I didn’t spend too much time since I was worried (rightfully so) about snow on the Pass. The park has 217 acres and plenty of pioneer artifacts. Perhaps my favorite part was the red winged blackbirds. There was an entire flock of them on the overhead wires. More information can be found here.

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Lakewood History Museum

16399548877_c5def60a6e_bI 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.

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Ole 99, South Tacoma

8295763482_c9c83b13e9_oSculpture Fritz Church created Ole 99, a life sized metal horse that was installed at the corner of South 47th Street and South Tacoma in 2011. The horse looks like he is patiently waiting for a Pierce Transit bus. The piece’s name reflects that fact that South Tacoma Way use to be part of Highway 99, the original thoroughfare that ran from Canada to Mexico. I love that the sculpture is tied to an ring on a spike that had originally been used for real work horses.