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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!
Historically, a number of different public school districts have educated children in the Griffin area. These school districts were created by Thurston County in the early years of Washington Territory and statehood.
Initially, the Griffin community was included the Olympia School District which was created by the first Board of County Commissioners for all of Thurston County. Although this school district was countywide, its schoolhouse was constructed in Olympia and probably only the few white school children living in that town attended the school.
Thurston County soon created additional school districts throughout the county as settlers moved throughout Thurston County. More and more school districts were created as settlers moved to more remote areas. Mud Bay School District was formed around 1870 and served all of the northwestern portion of the county, including the Griffin community. The primary schoolhouse was located on John McLane’s claim off of what now is known as Delphi Road. However, it appears that the school district operated a school in the late 1870’s at the log cabin of John and Ella Olson, which was located in what is now called the Holiday Valley Estates. Schneider’s Prairie School District was created in 1881, occupying all of the Griffin peninsula. The Summit Lake School was also created in 1881, occupying the area around Summit Lake. Continue reading
The Stream Team is partnering with South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA) and a team from Washington Sea Grant and the University of Washington who are seeking volunteers to help monitor for invasive green crabs at sites throughout Puget Sound. If you are interested in monitoring local pocket estuaries this workshop is for you! The workshop will cover green crab life history, threats to Puget Sound, crab identification and instruction on monitoring protocol.
Tuesday, July 14th
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Olympia City Hall, 601 E. 4th Ave., Olympia
In 2012, an established population of the globally invasive crab was discovered in Sooke Inlet, BC, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca – the first time this species has been found in the Salish Sea. The presence of this invasive crab within the Salish Sea increases the chances that European Green Crabs could invade further into inland Puget Sound shorelines, where habitat is plentiful for green crabs to thrive.
Volunteers will be trained to conduct monthly (July-August) trapping and/or molt surveys for green crabs, and the other crabs and fish that live at select sites. All necessary equipment and training will be provided. Your observations will contribute not only to the conservation of Washington shorelines, but also contribute to research on our diverse pocket estuary habitats. Curious about whether your favorite shoreline might be good green crab habitat? Click here to see priority shoreline sites, including those on our own Steamboat Peninsula.
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