November 24, 2014

WA State History – The Fire Lookout Builders

nooksacklookout-hoh

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, so they say. Roadside signs here in Washington state give the forest fire danger level each summer and fall. They say it rains here in Washington all the time, and the locals let you believe that so we don’t have more people moving here, but the truth is, it gets pretty dry by late July and lasts into August and September at times. Forest fires have always been a part of life here in the Pacific Northwest, and always will be.

My first memory of my dad working for the State Forestry Service was when I was about 5 or 6. Of course, I took it more personally because when Dad was away on a job Mom would let us have cool things like pancakes for supper. Looking at it as an adult, I imagine that Dad probably hated those jobs building fire lookouts for the State. It was darn hard work, even for a young guy in his 30’s. One of his recollections says when he worked at the fire lookout in Raymond, “It rained every day!”.

The reason this topic is even on my family history radar is because I am transcribing a list of jobs my dad worked on throughout his life as a carpenter. In that list he mentions several of the lookouts he helped build, and I was just astounded at the sheer number of them. Some had been built decades before and were being upgraded in the mid-1950’s when he was involved, but some might have been new construction.

Somewhere, I think we might have a picture or two of some lookouts he worked on, but I found a really nifty site today that lists some of the lookouts with pictures of them when they were still in service. The website is: 

The photos on the page are indexed and I would like to show some of them here, but they are private and only viewable on the pages.

Here is a link to some of the WA state lookout towers by region. A few that Dad (W. G. Yates) worked on are: Squally Jim at Pe Ell; Entwhistle (Dad’s first job for the Forestry); Coyote Mountain; Crawford Mountain; Deep Creek, Ladd Mountain, Raymond, Capitol Peak (gone now; Dad said you could see the Pacific Ocean on a clear day!); Elk Rock – near Mt. St. Helens; and even one here in Port Orchard. The logo above is from Rex’s site and I have made it a link to his main page if you would like to give him a visit.

This is just tiny glimpse into one man’s work accomplishments and contributions. Dad was of the G.I. Generation since he was born in 1920 and a WWII veteran. I miss him every day.

More from iPentimento:

 

A Seattle Adventure With Mom

hottle

Adventures With Mom

To be honest, I can’t remember for sure what year it was, but sometime between 1983 and 1987 my mom and I embarked on a special trip to Seattle.

In my school years we had gone there many times on the Greyhound bus (you know, back when it was more safe and they were cleaner) to visit my grandparents that lived in an apartment on Spring Street.

In fact, one time Mom and I took a notion to ride over from Seattle to Bremerton on the ferry. While we were in the waiting area I decided to take a look at the various travel brochures in order to kill some time. I turned around just in time to see a man gently guiding my mom off to some other part of the ferry terminal! I didn’t even have time to think, I just took a few quick strides over to Mom’s other arm and said, “Where are you going?” She said the guy wanted to ‘show her something‘. I don’t even want to think about what that something was!  My mom was obviously very trusting. I knew from that moment on that our roles were reversing and I would be looking out for her just as much as she did for me.

At the Mayflower Park Hotel

Back to the original story though. In the 1980’s period I mentioned, I was probably in my mid-30’s so that would make Mom in her 50’s. I thought she was old at the time, but now that I’m going to turn 59 this year, she was just a spring chicken. :)

Mom and I had planned our visit to Seattle because she wanted to go back to see her parent’s old home on Queen Anne Hill just one more time.  I was reluctant, but she insisted, and so that was the main goal for one of our days.

mayflower-hotel

We were staying at the Mayflower Park Hotel on this visit, and we enjoyed our room with the old tile work and porcelain fixtures in the bathroom. It was like being transported back in time to my mom’s era when she was a young woman living in Seattle. We even treated ourselves to a morning ritual of tea and coffee with rolls brought by room service. I never knew what a hottel of tea was before that trip! Did you know they’re called a hottle?

hottle

If you look at the rooms for the hotel now, they seem bright and cheery, but I remember them as dark and cozy, with sounds of traffic and pedestrians hustling to and from work wafting up to our seventh floor room. My memory is always connected to aromas and smells too, and since this was before the hotel was completely remodeled, it had the air of old wood, a slight mustiness, and that mysterious sweet smell that conjures up visions in the mind of romantic liasons or secret rendezvous.

Another Two Ride The Bus

Mom convinced me that she knew the bus routes and which one to take, so after a nice breakfast in the hotel cafe, we hopped on the city bus and set out for 2466 4th North.  I thought we were just going to go look at the house and then come back on the bus, but as it turned out the owners were having a new bathtub installed that day and the workers were hauling it in through the upstairs window. Mom, bold woman that she was, went to the door and explained that the house had belonged to her parents at one time and that she had been married there in front of the marble fireplace in the living room. (This was all news to me!).

Astonishingly, they let us in and Mom and I made a quick dash up the stairs to her old room. She must have been in nostalgia heaven that day as she walked around the rooms and thought of happy times there. She related stories from the 1940’s that included Mrs. Silverstone, a lady that my grandma Eppie (Lillian Vera Epstein Moline) had worked for as a private nurse. Mrs. Silverstone had even attended the wedding of my parents on February 5, 1944.  At the time, I think it was all lost on me, the significance of being in the home where my mom and dad got married, her days of waiting for letters home from my dad when he was in New Caledonia, but I’m so glad I made that trip down memory lane with my mom. I know it made her very happy at the time. Thanks Mom! I miss you!

joan-moline-yates-1923-2001

Joan Moline Yates

1923-2001

Cabinet of Curiosities: Fossils

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I love showing off my “curiosities”, although this post may be late to enter in the Blog Carnival Cabinet of Curiosities. In any case, here is my contribution to the show and tell.

My curiosities are millions of years old and they were all found at Main Beach on Amelia Island, Florida between 1988 and 1992. The two teeth are from Great White (Megaladon) sharks and they were found on the same day after a storm churned up the sand offshore and deposited the teeth for this lucky fossil hunter. The more complete tooth of the two was ‘hiding’ under some foam on the beach and as I swooshed my foot over the foam, I could just see a little bit of this big tooth. Now, this isn’t one of the biggest teeth to be found, to be sure, but it is the biggest I am apt to ever find since I no longer live in Florida, but in Washington state.

My friend Ann and I were just strolling down the beach, admittedly hoping to find a huge tooth. We playfully nudged each other out of the way and practically dove to grab any big tooth laying there, which is what we did when I found the tooth on the left. Ziplock bags are a prerequisite for beach combing on Amelia Island, and many days we would haul home a good sized handful of smaller teeth. By the way, yes, that is a full-sized #2 pencil I used for comparison.

The third item in the picture is a fossilized mammoth tooth I found sometime in 1988. It was when we first moved to the island and our friend Peggy, a biology teacher at the high school, identified it for me one night in her living room as we paid a visit after a day at the beach. She slyly said that if I ever wanted to get rid of it, she would love to have it. Ha! Fat chance!

Although my interests for this blog generally turn in the direction of genealogy, I guess we can stretch it a bit and talk about animal fossils instead of my ancestors. If anyone finds my dead end, Miles Yates, I would be happy to trade him for a fossil or two. ;)

The Carstairs Family Dirt

I suppose you’re thinking that this is going to be about some dastardly deed done by someone in the Carstairs family. Wrong!

No, instead, this is the story of the David C. and Isabella (Small) Carstairs family, who are originally of Scotland, and are my sister-in-law Kathy’s Great-great Grandparents.

Actually, this is about where this branch of the Carstairs family settled here in Washington state near Matlock in Mason County. I have not pinpointed the time by finding them in the census, but I do know that they were residents of Washington according to the Territorial Censuses of 1887 and 1892.

As it turns out, the land where they farmed and raised sheep had some very distinctive soil, probably left over from when the last glacier pulled out and headed north. Carstairs Soil

My point is, when you are looking for family information, you never know what kind of dirt you will find. Real, or the gossipy kind. In any case, keep your mind open when you are doing Google searches or the kind, because that is how I found out about the soil being named for the Carstairs family and the land where it is found.

carstairs-descendants-by-carol-wilkerson

The above is a Genealogy Report format of 3 generations of this family. Please contact me for any additions, connections or corrections. webduckie AT yahoo DOT com

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