Some Pictures from today's flights
Some pictures from a flight this morning before the wind arrived. This is from a small town on Samish Bay. It is 70 miles north of Seattle and 27 miles south of Canada . The town's Name is Blanchard
Islands that can be seen in photos are Samish, Guemes, Cypress, Vendovi, Eliza, Portage, Lummi, and Orcas
Blanchard shifts from logging to oysters
Undated 1976 article from the Skagit Valley Herald
In 1885, George Blanchard started a logging operation at what is now Blanchard, Washington. The men employed brought their families and started building homes. The first post office was established July 20, 1886, with George Blanchard named as postmaster. The office was discontinued in 1891 but reestablished Sept. 9, 1903, under the name of Fravel.
Mr. [John] Fravel, an explorer, settled near the bay. The Fravel property was divided when the railroad was built [1901-03]. Other early families living on farms in the immediate vicinity were the Morrisons, Burns and Wrights. Other logging interests moved in when the post office was restored. The Hazel Mill Co. bought property and a large logging and lumber industry began. In addition to the mill, there were two logging camps on the hill [Blanchard Mountain]. Many families lived at the camp near the lakes on the hilltop. About 600 men were employed in this operation and there was a large boarding and rooming house to accommodate the workers. The railroad depot was called Blanchard and the post office Fravel. In 1915 a vote was taken and the majority ruled to have the post office changed to Blanchard.
The town of Blanchard was originally laid out with two plats. One was filed by Terry Coble and the other by Wendell Morrison. Until 1942, Blanchard had its own grade school. Three teachers were employed and the school had modern rooms and a large gymnasium. In 1942 the school districts were consolidated and the children attend elementary school in Edison and high school in Burlington. In 1951 the people banded together and raised the money to buy the old Great Northern depot building, which they remodeled into a modern Community Club hall. With much hard labor and many donations, this hall became the center of activities and also used by surrounding areas as well. The Blanchard post office and store closed in October 1975. Since the logging industry waned the principal industry has been oyster raising and marketing, with Rock Point the largest grower and shipper in the area.
Tillie Coble is the unofficial historian of Blanchard. She keeps old newspaper clips and photographs of the area tucked away in her closet. The schoolhouse bell from the Equality socialist colony sits atop her garage. And anecdotes about the old days are stored in her head.
Mrs. Coble was born in 1897, the same year that Ed Pelton, the leader of colony came to Blanchard to build the ideal community to change the state of Washington into a giant cooperative. She was born near Burlington and later moved with her family to a farm near Allen. She did not start school until she was eight but she kep going until she had completed the normal school [now Western Washington University] in Bellingham, and was prepared to teach school herself.
At 19 years, she was hired as the teacher at the one-room Bow Hill school. She taught for one year and then married George Coble in 1918. They moved into the same house on Chuckanut drive they live in today. There they raised three children. Mr. Coble farmed and worked for Rock Point Oyster Co. and Mrs. Coble worked for 22 year in the post office.
Although she was only a young girl, Mrs. Coble remembers Equality and its members. She was about ten years old when she saw the big ovens where the bread was baked. She remembers being told that when clothes were washed you did not always get the same ones back [that] you put in the dirty laundry.
She remembers how the colony people worked at the mill in Blanchard after the colony closed. Her uncle rented the colony land after it closed. "It just didn't work out," she said about the colony. "It was human nature."
IF i've read it correctly, you REALLY ought to get Tillie Cobles anecdotes on paper as she's only likely to be around for another twenty years or so ;-)
I did a similar thing to a distinctly elderly school teacher and one of the last relatives from a well known local family from Polperro in Cornwall when I was a lot younger. She was born in 1874. I spent a week with her and lost count of how many cups of tea I made and drank. I must admit the first day I was a little bored but by the third day I was spellbound. Life ws sure different and a lot harder in those days!
Many thanks for the images and history of another place I'll probably never see, unfortunately.
Last edited by GeeW; Dec 17, 2006 at 05:19 PM. Reason: endless spelling orrors!
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