Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar, Cat Adoption Day, and Santa – Saturday, December 5

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The annual Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar will be Saturday, December 5th at Griffin Fire Station  from 10am – 3pm. Many of the crafters/artists are from the local area featuring handmade wreaths and Christmas decorations; beautiful gifts for people, pets, gardens and birds; homemade jams, jellies, and seasonings; beautiful jewelry and woodwork to list just a few items. There will also be a raffle and bake sale with goodies donated by friends and neighbors.

Santa will be available for pictures with pets (on leashes only) and children. The coffee is on, so stop by for fun and good cheer.

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 5
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin Fire Department

The Cat House (6515 Sexton Drive NW) will be open for viewing and adoptions. Many kitties would love to begin the holidays with a forever home and there are so many to choose from.

For more information about Feline Friends, click here.

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool to Host “Fiesta in December”

FiestaInDecember

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On Saturday, December 5, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool will host its annual fundraising dinner at the Griffin School. This year the SICP has joined with Steamboat Grill & Greens to create a taco bar. Olympic Mountain Ice Cream will supply the dessert. There will also be a fun photo booth, arts and crafts for the kids, and a silent auction with many items donated from local businesses.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling (360) 866-1819 or at the door the day of the event.

Fiesta in December to benefit the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
6:00 PM
Saturday, December 5
Griffin School

Since 1972, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool has provided an exceptional early learning experience for the children of our peninsula. Click here for more information about the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool.

Steamboat Grill & Greens to Host Fundraiser for Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool

201509_SICP_fundraiserSteamboat Grill & Greens (formerly Steamboat Annie’s) is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool. For food purchases on Tuesday, September 29, Steamboat Grill & Greens will make a donation to the SICP.

On Tuesday, just mention that you’re there to benefit the preschool.

Fundraiser for Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Tuesday, September 29, 11 AM to 8 PM
Steamboat Grill & Greens
3634 Steamboat Island Rd. NW

There will be a limited menu of burgers, veggie burgers, fries, shakes, and eggrolls. But if you’ve visited Steamboat Grill & Greens, you probably know even a limited menu is one of the best drive-in menus you’ll find.

Are you familiar with the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool? Operating since 1972, SICP has offered an outstanding experience for children just starting their school years. It’s a school where past students are now enrolling their own kids! Three different classes provide programs for children ages 2 to 3 years (the Chipmunk class), 3 to 4 years (Otter class), and 4 to 5 years (Orca class).

“Our goal is to provide a balanced preschool program for the whole child, by providing opportunities and activities that will nurture children’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development.”

Led by a professional teacher, with parent involvement overseen through a program by the South Puget Sound Community College, SICP gives parents the opportunity to take part in their child’s early education.

The Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool is one of the local institutions that make living here on the Steamboat Peninsula so good. We welcome the chance to support the SICP in this way and thank Steamboat Grill & Greens for their donation.

In September, Thoughts Turn to Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Expo

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Tennyson wrote, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” It’s fall now and the thoughts of residents in the Pacific Northwest turn to winter preparedness. This year, in addition to checking the wood supply and tuning up the generator, why not spend a little time preparing for something more than just winter? On Saturday, September 26, Thurston County Emergency Management is hosting its annual Emergency Preparedness Expo. This is a great opportunity to meet with equipment vendors and local agencies who are planning not only for winter, but for something far more challenging.

Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 26, 20155
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Yelm High School

Here on the Steamboat Peninsula, we’re used to preparing for a few days without electricity or a few days with limited access to nearby cities. In a disaster, though, we know we’ll need to be prepared for one, two, or three weeks on our own. The Emergency Preparedness Expo is a great one-stop solution to address planning and equipment needs.

Our own disaster preparedness web page provides a wealth of information to assist in preparing your own home for something more difficult than an emergency. Our web page goes a step further, too. Disaster preparedness requires a plan that includes working with some of your neighbors a block or two in any direction from your home. Our web page includes tips and links to other resources you can use to plan with your neighbors for “the big one.”

In February, 2001, a landslide took out a section of US-101 and residents had to travel through McCleary to get from Olympia to the Steamboat Peninsula. A big earthquake is not only likely to take out bridges on US-101 in both directions, it’s expected a good sized quake would cut off portions of this peninsula as Steamboat Island Road, itself, could be made impassable.

September is National Preparedness Month. Don’t be caught off-guard. The Emergency Preparedness Expo is a great way to start your planning.

The Way It Was: Griffin Area Pre-School 3 (Now More Than 4) Decades Ago

SICP_Open_HouseThough I had grown up in the Griffin area, I found when we moved into our half-finished new home in 1971 that I really knew very few “younger” people. So when Mrs. Groeschell, Scot’s kindergarten teacher, mentioned that there was a group of mothers interested in starting a preschool, I was curious — even if Greg was only twenty months old.

It was in the days when Evergreen-State College was just getting under way and there were many new families of staff and faculty moving into the area. They were accustomed to a more urban life style and missed having next-door neighbors and organized opportunities for young children. In a matter of weeks a group of women were meeting semi-weekly in homes, exchanging experiences with preschools in other areas, talking philosophy of childrearing, drinking coffee and just getting acquainted.

I believe it was Sandy Nisbet who first met with Griffin principal Eunice Carter, to present our proposal for utilizing the unused portable building behind the school (now one of the maintenance sheds) to house the prospective Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool Permission. The request was granted by the Griffin school board.

Now the work really began! We started moving out lumber scraps, broken chairs and miscellaneous “junk”. Then came the cleaning, painting and decorating. (Greg always did like having the left-over Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper from his bedroom in the new “story comer”). Soon appeared the block area, painting place and housekeeping space all furnished with donated items from members and the supportive community.

It was time to get the fathers involved. The outside play area was their project. As with everything else, it was done on shoestring. There was a sandbox, a jungle-gym made of used tires bolted together, the ever-popular old wooden rowboat, and the low, peeled-pole territorial fence that doubled as a balance beam. It was as much to keep our little ones in as to keep out the curious grade school students.

We now had a name, bylaws, a building, two teachers, two sessions of eager students and many involved parents. It was March 1972 and school was open! Out of those six months of hard work had come new friends, new parenting skills, new opportunities for our children and a legacy of learning and laughter for years to come.

By Marilyn Calkins

Reprinted from the March 1999 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.

This Saturday, August 8, from 10 AM to 12 noon, Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool will host an Open House. Interested families can meet Teacher Alex, tour the classroom, see the new play area, and chat with other preschool families!

Visit the school’s web site at http://www.steamboatislandpreschool.org for more information.

Griffin Area Schools

Griffin School wideEducation is now provided in the Griffin area by the Griffin School District, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool, and home education.

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.Read More

Help Us to Monitor Our Beaches for Invasive Green Crabs – July 14

Igreen_crabnvasive European Green Crabs could be coming to a beach near you!

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

To register for this workshop, visit www.streamteam.info and click on “register”. For more information, contact Michelle at mstevie@ci.olympia.wa.us  or crabteam@uw.edu

green_crab_imageIn 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.

What’s In A Name? A Lot of History, For One Thing

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It’s thought Young Cove is named after Volney C.F. Young. Young was born on June 9, 1881, and died December 13, 1967 in Olympia at age 86.

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.

Griffin’s Roots Include a Colorful Farming History

Oyster Bay Farm

The Oyster Bay Farm

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.

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Promotional flyer from the Old Homestead Inn (click the image for a larger view)

The Hunters planted some 1200 fruit trees and hoped to make money in the fruit business. Their business prospered for several years but the market dried up with the advent of the Yakima Valley fruit industry. The orchard was reduced in size for home use. Descendants recall an old family story where the Hunters traded a bucket of apples with a Native American for a bucket of oysters.

Their daughter, Georgia, married Frederick A. (Fritz) Schmidt. They built cottages on the beach at Hunter’s Point and rented the cottages during the summer. The resort was known as both the Hunter’s Point Pleasure Resort and the Old Homestead Inn. They catered to visitors and locals alike. An old advertisement described the resort as a place “where the simplicity of the farmhouse extends its restful welcome.” The daily camping fee was 50¢, the weekly vacation rate for a stay in a cabin was $15, and a chicken dinner cost $1.25.

Lea McGaughy and her husband Harry McGaughy, aunt and uncle of long-time Griffin peninsula resident Mike Le May, ran the Hunter farm in the 1920’s.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Jim Tobin, a Native American, had a farm in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s north of Young Cove on what now is called Gravelly Beach Loop. Mr. Tobin grew strawberries and had a mixed orchard of apple and Italian prune plum trees. Tobin’s primary income came from harvesting oysters on oysterlands he owned that extended from the mouth of Young Cove, around Flapjack Point, to north of the present day Frye Cove county park.

Tobin had trouble making mortgage and tax payments and his oyster operations became less productive. He began selling parts of his farm to make his mortgage payments. William Joseph Le May and Dora Drake Le May purchased 20 acres from Tobin in 1923. Their boys, aged 11 and 14, ran the farm. Mike Le May was then 11 years old.

J.A. Melliour also purchased 20 acres from Tobin in 1923. The farm was immediately west of the Le May property. Melliour soon died and his brother Osias Melliour inherited the land and ran a strawberry farm there. Mike Le May recalls that years later when times were hard during the Depression, the “money lender” took over the Melliour farm, subdivided the acreage, and sold lots.

Many of the Griffin area’s older residents picked strawberries as children at the Le May and Melliour farms.

The Almost Cattle Baron

Mike Le May recalls hearing a story that in the late 1800’s E.T. Young attempted to buy considerable acreage in the lower portion of Griffin peninsula and create a large cattle ranch. Although Mr. Young purchased considerable acreage, the ranch never really materialized.

Apparently, Mr. Young had hoped to purchase a large block of land stretching from the foot of Oyster Bay to Young Cove and northward for a considerable distance. He had planned to run a fence from Oyster Bay to Young Cove and let the cattle forage north of the fence.

Bill Durward recalls that E.T. Young owned the end of what is now Keating Road. This probably was the last remnants of the want-a-be cattle baron’s holdings. Mike Le May indicates that in the 1920’s old man Young lived in a float house tied up north of Fourth Street in the vicinity of Jack J. Brenner and Charles Brenner’s Oyster Company. This is the present location of the Olympia Oyster House.

Young Road and Young Cove are named after E.T. Young.

Eberhardt Blueberries sales flyerThe Blueberry Bash

In 1921, Joseph Eberhardt planted 50 acres of blueberries east of the current Steamboat Island Road. He experimented with various different species of berries, finally developing a large berry bearing his name, the Eberhardt Blueberry. The Eberhardt farm was the most successful berry farm in the area.

Mr. Eberhardt sold his farm to Floyd and Laniera Savage and moved to Santa Cruz, California, where the climate was better suited for his namesake blueberry. The Savages ran the farm for years. The farm produces the delectable blueberries that are consumed with glee at the annual Saint Christopher’s Church Blueberry Bash.

– from original text by Steve Lundin, reprinted from the October 1997 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.