Historical Society, 2017 - August Meeting Minutes


August 14, 2017


Present: Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Carol Deach, Win Anderson, Carol & Kit Harma, Nancy & Al Bush, Stephanie Kavanaugh, Kristina Diamond, Ron Knowles, Lynne Myall, Vicki Hallingstad, Emma & Rob Shroder, Shirley & Dave Margeson, Sally Stapp, Barb & Mark Ohms, Ian Woofenden, Sue Barnette, Hugh Watson, Wendell & Kathleen Phillips, Barbara Graham, Susan Rombeek, Loalinda Bird, Sue & Jim Nichol, Joan Palmer, Carol Steffy, Bill & Darlene Rainwater, Kathy Finks, Sylvia Henderson, Min-Zhan Lu, Anne & Don Passarelli, Susie Everett, Becky Rodman, Ann & Bob Corbett, Caden Stocker, Desiree Stocker, Mickie Hansen, Mike & Janie Hansen, Paul Patterson, Marietta & Pat Harrigan, Barbara & Randy Schnabel, Julie Pingree, Anne Casperson, Sandra & Jon Prescott, Sue O’Donnell (sec) and more


Tom opened meeting with an example of a recent addition to our collection.  He urged those present to think of donating artifacts. 


PROGRAM:  Carol Harma presented the large gathering of interested Guemes folks with her research on the history and mysteries – in pictures, stories, brochure and maps of the eastern side of Guemes Island and what we know today as “The Hideaway” on our southeastern point.


Early non-native settlers on Guemes, late 1800s, settled in the flat interior of the island where they could grow food crops and graze farm animals after clearing the land of forest, brush and boulders.  (Win Anderson surmises that initially, Guemes was a hard place to farm due to the rocky soil; there is plenty of evidence of boulders being dumped over the banks.)  Into the 1900s folks discovered the no-bank shores of Guemes as nice places to live and vacation. Few people paid much attention to the cliffs and steep terrain of the southeast section of Guemes. 

In her research, Carol found this area of Guemes to be owned by Erving Cook in 1917.  (“Cook’s Cove” named by him?)  A shell midden was found early on in Cook’s Cove by Judy Rainwater. Carol brought a pestle found there to show us.


In 1955 a warranty deed shows the land (sections 5&8) sold to the Morrison family (of Anacortes) for $10,000. Morrisons owned the land through 1967 when a George Miller became the owner/seller of lots.

In August of 1962 a plan for development was recorded with Skagit County and Carol found a brochure and article in Anacortes Reporter (January 1963) describing the plans for developing 700 acres; 5 wells drilled; 18 miles of 24’ wide gravel roads; Copeland Lumber to supply bldg. materials; house plans; lots to go for $1100-$3400 each.


It was a slow start in the early 1960s with no electricity or water (when the Almar carried only 9-12 cars at a time).  Hand tools were used to build the first vacation cabin in Cook’s Cove by Bill & Mildred Bates (7603 Holiday Blvd) in 1963.  Their friends Gerry & Art Dutton helped and soon began building the 2nd house at 7562 Holiday Blvd. Family members and groups of friends began buying lots.

Betty & Spencer Crooks (7330 Holiday Blvd) were the first full-time residents after buying a place in 1974 [all house numbers were 3 digits up until about 1998].


Some current Guemes residents have memories of the big real estate hoopla of the 60s & 70s.  McPherson Realty took over in 1968.  An A-frame sales office was built.  There was talk of a marina, country club and commercial properties!

Paul Patterson remembers a float plane from Seattle bringing prospective buyers to a rustic dock in Cook’s Cove, 1968.  Dave Margeson remembers a little advertising ditty running on the Seattle TV stations  . . . “Guys wear your jeans, gals wear your ginghams”.  Al Bush remembered the totem poles carved by Solly Latchman and rock wall built by Ray Lowman at the entrance to “Holiday Hideaway”. For a while the totem poles were there and then they were gone. Not many Hideaway residents ever got to see them. Kit Harma recently dug around in the bushes behind the wall and found the concrete platforms to which the poles had been attached. Jeanne Notson and others remember the realtors’ signs regularly disappearing. 


Photocopy of newspaper article dated January 23, 1963, from the Anacortes Reporter, page 1, columns 7-9. 

"Artisans at rest: Solly Latchman and Ray Lowman take a moment of respite upon completion of the wood sculpture and rock work done at the entrance to Holiday Hideaway, the new development on Guemes Island. Latchman is responsible for the wood sculptured totems and Lowman placed the rocks with tender loving care to achieve this setting. William Wilbur, vice president of Holiday Hideaway commissioned Latchman to execute the wood sulpture [sic] to fit into the feeling of the northwest and to keep the integrity of the natural form. The totem poles are only treated with a wood preservative and are otherwise unpainted. Lowman used native stone exclusively, for the base pedestals and fronting wall. The taller pole took Latchman about five months working three days a week, the shorter one has been in the making for the past two years and was brought to completion just recently."



Win Anderson shared that the Cook family sold “mineral water” from a spring; that Mary Blackinton harvested a special bark there for native remedies; 2 cabins which used to be near the beach were moved to Anacortes, 6th & L Ave.


Carol presented so many fun facts and tid-bits, it will be a treat to read her final write-up of all she discovered – more about the water “shares”, Square Harbor development, law suits, $$$ lost, mining for peat, platting by air, the Mayor of Cook’s Cove, Jack Smith’s t-shirts, Hubert Adams working on roads and the water system, an oil spill, an old map (pre-dating Holiday Hideaway) of a development for 5000 lots, and more!  Carol is putting together all of the information she has gathered in a notebook for the Historical Society archives. 


New Business:


Recent Acquisitions: estate of Jeff Gent has given his 1947 “Curtis Wharf” Chevy dump truck.  The truck was purchased by the Wm. McCracken family and probably driven by Philip McCracken. 

Jeff’s 1953 Jeep with “Down Under Guemes” is a hoped for acquisition in the future.


Edith Walden of The Tide (former Island newsletter) has donated a “Brother” printer/scanner to Hist. Soc.  It turns out we have access to 2 other machines comparable to this one.  Because of limited space in current work-room, we may have to make a decision about which of the machines will be kept. 


Treasurers Report:  (attached) Since the June report, one of our CDs has matured and will roll-over; $500 deposit has been made to Mystic Sea Charters for the September 23rd “Harvest Moon Cruise”; $4911 in cruise fees have been deposited; recycled aluminum cans have brought in $102.60; and we have had a $50 donation from Bill Burlingame.  Balance is $30,873.41 (+ ~$4700 in CDs)


Next meeting: September 11, 6:30pm; Edens Cemetery; a walking tour led by Cemetery Commissioner Adam Veal; board meeting to be in fire hall post-tour.

- this is a change in the schedule; also change in time to catch the daylight


Coming Events:


DOG SHOW – August 19; Tom has applied for necessary permits; cost for permits has risen so high, we may reconsider having the dog show in county park for next year.

Nancy will purchase all food items; Lorraine Francis will supervise the concessions; Janice will chop the onions!

Allen Bush will again make buttons.  Judges will be Lynne Myall & Allen Bush.

Silent Auction items have been acquired; Nancy brought another - Las Vegas surprise bag. Show will be shorter this year with no intermission.


All hands needed to transport equipment to park [tables & chairs are reserved] Friday at 7pm. Set-up will start at 7am on Saturday (“all hands on deck!!!”) for the 10 am SHOW!  Tom has all details covered!  Registration to begin at 9:30am; entry fees are $20/per family with dog; $15/individual with dog.


Win has chosen the artifacts he will display during the show.


HARVEST MOON CRUISE – September 23, 5:45 pm. to raise funds toward a future museum space with room for our archives and historical treasures.  Cruise is sold out but there is a wait list in case of cancellations.

Tom asked us to think about having souvenir tickets printed.

There may be a chance for learning about Samish Nation history.


Possible programs for future:


Thomas D. Wooten, Chairman of Samish Tribe (Nancy attended Skagit Valley fair and was very impressed with the Samish Nation booth where people were weaving hats)

Fund-raiser: put on the play “Waiting in Line”!

North Beach walk

Children of Madge Welch

The LaVeque/Gould families

West  Beach settlements


Recent Guemes losses:  Wallie Valentine Funk Jr. (1922-2017)


Thomas Mitchell (1927-2017) [father of the Bessner grandchildren: Bill, Paul and Mark Mitchell]



Sue Stapp O’Donnell, secretary             

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