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Who is the Griffin Neighborhood Association?
The Griffin Neighborhood Association (GNA) is s registered with the State of Washington as a non-profit organization. We are a nonpartisan group of neighbors living within the boundaries of the Griffin School District, Thurston County, Washington.
Any person owning property, a business, or residing in the Griffin area is eligible to become a member and participate fully in the Association. Membership is also open to community groups and students of the Griffin School District. If you live or work in the Griffin neighborhood or Steamboat Peninsula, the Griffin Neighborhood Association is you.
Originally organized as the Oyster Bay Neighborhood Association in 1990, we were registered with the State of Washington as the nonprofit Griffin Neighborhood Association in December, 1995.
The mission of the Griffin Neighborhood Association is to help build community consensus on major issues confronting the Griffin area, including growth, land issues, habitat, water quality, transportation and school planning. When appropriate, we research issues as honest brokers of information, provide forums for debate, attempt to arrive at community consensus and issue resolution, and present this consensus to appropriate decision makers.
The Griffin Neighborhood Association also undertakes and supports projects that benefit our community, help to build a sense of community, and educate the community on topics of interest.
Our Board and Officers
Our Board is comprised of current members of the Association, elected by members of the Association present at the Annual Meeting. Officers are elected from Board membership by members of the Board.
Our Upcoming Events
Local residents: Join Nextdoor to see GNA events, plus many more goings-on here in our neighborhood!
A goldmine of information on historic place names can be found in Thurston County Place Names: A Heritage Guide, published by the Thurston County Historic Commission, and edited by Gayle Palmer and Shanna Stevenson.
You may remember Shanna Stevenson, the Thurston County Historian, who regaled many of us with stories and historical information at a meeting of the Griffin Neighborhood Association in October of 1996. Many Griffin area names appear in this publication, including:
- Burns Cove and Burns Lake, which are named after Jolson and Henry Burns who arrived on the Cove in 1870.
- Butler Cove, which is named after John L. Butler who obtained a 640-acre donation land claim in 1861 above the Cove. Some years before, a young Haida Indian chief, Tsus-sy-uch, from the Queen Charloue Islands was killed at the Cove by white settlers. It is believed that the Haida retaliated several years later and killed Isaac N. Ebey on Whidbey Island.
- Carlyon Beach is named after Fred and Carlie Carlyon. It was developed as a farm and resort with cabins, a store, and boat rentals, operating from 1927 until 1959.
- Gallagher Cove is named after John H. Galliher, an early resident of the area. Shanna Stevenson notes that most maps have incorrectly used the more common spelling of Gallagher.
- Hunter Point is named after Alfred Allan Hunter and his wife Sarah Emma Daniels Hunter. They purchased the point, which was known as Cushman Point, from Elizabeth Cushman in 1887. The Hunters operated a resort, had a fruit orchard, and supplied firewood to steamships.
- Schneider’s Prairie is named for Konrad and Albertine Schneider. They arrived in Thurston County in 1852 and filed a land claim on April 15, 1853. He was born in what now is Germany and became a naturalized citizen in Iowa in 1849. Don Lee Frazier, who spoke at the Griffin Neighborhood Association annual meeting in January of 1997, indicates that the original homesteader on the Prairie was not Schneider, but was a man named Puffin. Puffin disappeared and in short order the names Case and Cross show up in county land records. Finally, Schneider bought the Prairie.
- Summit Lake was known as Pray’s Lake in 1860, named after James B. Pray, who was an early settler on the lake. The lake was called Crooked Lake in an 1875 survey map. Apparently, Summit Lake came into use around 1900 when the Henry McCleary Timber Company began logging in the area At one time there was a logging camp called the Summit Lake Auto Camp on the lake. A resort was also operated on the lake for years.
- Young Cove was named after Volney Young who was an early steamboat captain (click here for information about the mail boat Mizpah). However, during their youth both Bill Durwood and Mike LeMay recall E.T. Young as the owner of land in the area. As noted in an earlier article, Mike LeMay remembers a story that E. T. Young had at one time attempted to buy land running from Oyster Bay to Young Cove and run cattle in the area. Perhaps, E.T. was the son of Volney.
Later articles will provide more information on local historic place names.
– Original text by Steve Lundin. Reprinted from the January 1998 issue of “Neighbors”, the newsletter of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. This is part of a series of articles reprinted from earlier publications in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.
Steve Lundin is a long-time resident of the Griffin community located in northwest Thurston County. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Washington and a J.D. degree from the University of Washington Law School and recently retired as a senior counsel for the Washington State House of Representatives after nearly 30 years.
He is recognized as the local historian of the Griffin area and has written a number of articles on local history and a book entitled Griffin Area Schools, available from the Griffin Neighborhood Association at a cost of $10.
Lundin also wrote a comprehensive reference book on local governments in Washington State entitled The Closest Governments to the People – A Complete Reference Guide to Local Government in Washington State. The book costs $85, plus shipping and handling. It is available on the web from the Division of Governmental Studies and Services, Washington State University, at http://dgss.wsu.edu/ or from WSU Extension at www.pubs.wsu.edu.
In addition to harvesting Olympia oysters and other forms of sea life, agriculture on the Griffin peninsula has consisted of growing fruit, raising cattle and sheep, dairy farming, and raising poultry. Many early farms were not large commercial operations, producing food for the settlers and some cash crops to supplement incomes.
The first significant commercial agricultural operation may have been a short-lived commercial apple orchard at Hunter’s Point. Other early commercial operations included raising strawberries on what is now called Gravelly Beach Loop and raising blueberries at the Eberhardt blueberry farm off what is now called Steamboat Island Road.
Hunter Apple Orchard
Alfred Allan Hunter and Sarah Emma Daniels Hunter moved from Ukiah, California, and settled on Bush Prairie with their old friend George Bush. In 1887 they purchased a tract of land on the tip of what is now known as Hunter’s Point. The land was purchased for its timber. They built a home, a wharf and sold firewood and fresh water to the steamer ships, ferries, and barges plying the waters between Olympia and Shelton. The boats made a number of stops up and down Eld Inlet, including the Mud Bay Logging Company facilities at the foot of Mud Bay and the infamous Ellis tavern and general pleasure house on what is now Madrona Beach Road. Continue reading
Several speakers at the Griffin Association’s annual meeting on January 31, 1997, recalled early days when poor road conditions existed in the Griffin area. Our roads were narrow, winding, pot holed, and dusty. Travel was hard. Families made infrequent trips into Olympia for supplies.
Steamboat Island Road was once known as Hunter Point Road. Bill Durward recalled that in 1926 or 1927, a major revision of Hunter Point Road relocated the road to the approximate location of the current Steamboat Island Road. Our primary thoroughfare has been straightened, widened, and leveled since then. Continue reading
Stand in their yard and you can hear the voice of nature whispering. Schneider Creek gently ripples through a culvert passing under the driveway of Tom and Charlene Wynne, carrying an occasional coho salmon, beginning its journey here on Wynne’s farm, a 500-plus acre estate that includes a mile and a half of Schneider Creek’s five-mile run through the Griffin peninsula. But if not for the efforts of the Wynnes over the past several years, that whisper might have been silenced by now.
The creek was artificially re-routed for unknown reasons sometime before Wynne’s grandfather Dominic Wynne bought the first 80 acres of the farm back in 1916. Consequently, it was not flowing according to Mother Nature’s plan, to the point where the salmon and other fish were at risk, and parts of the Wynne property were under 18 inches of water when it rained.
“It was a problem for me because I was driving through a foot or more of water any time it rained,” says Tom Wynne. “It was going to create a flooding problem on the county road sometime soon. “And,” he adds, “it was a problem for the fish because the passage in the creek was becoming so narrow that the fish were having trouble getting through.” Continue reading