Guemes Island Historical Society:

Guemes Island Historical Society Minutes, October 21, 2018


October 8, 2018  


Present: Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Win Anderson, Joan Palmer, Heather Miller, Carol Steffy, Norlin & Mary Joyce, Adam Veal, Mary & Jeff Hale, Kathy Whitman, Ian Woofenden, Morna McEachern, Grant Brockmeyer, Karen Lamphere, Bob Anderson, Mark Ohms, Nancy Bush, Gary Rainwater, Ralph & Ann Mendershausen, Sue O’Donnell (sec)


Show & Tell:  Ruth Coey has recently moved from her Guemes home at 6694 Guemes Island Road.  This is also the location of the emergency “helipad”.  The family had an estate sale this past week and Tom Deach showed pictures of some ancient farm equipment the family has donated to the Historical Society.   Diane reports these treasures were in the barn when the Coey family bought the place back in 1973 (?)   Tom was especially entranced by a potato digger/planter.  The equipment is in storage, waiting for display space at our future museum.


Program:   Glen Veal, having researched Cypress Island for last month’s Moonlight Dinner Cruise around Cypress Island was ready to fill in some of the details . . .


Glen grew up on Guemes Island and has memories of exploring Cypress, the island just across the Bellingham Channel to the west.  He said his Dad, Bill Veal, would take the boys to Cypress in his boat and leave them to explore and camp for several days.  Glen remembers eating off the land, playing on the beaches and hiking up to the lake on top of Cypress to swim and catch fish.


Glen researched ancient and recent history so that he could point out landmarks as the “Mystic Sea” left Anacortes to travel down the Guemes Channel and circle Cypress clock-wise.  His narration was full of anecdotes and the history of the island.


Don Strom (1929-1910), cousin of Dr. Eugene “Bud” Strom (1922-2017) had been collecting info on Cypress for many years and planned to write a book.  At some point, after Don’s passing [Don was Anacortes fire chief from1955-1986] Glen and Janice were given charge of his box of stories and artifacts. 


Long ago, Cypress Island was inhabited by many rhododendron bushes.  The mayor of Anacortes at the time decided Anacortes should have a
Rhododendron Festival and hired passenger boats to take folks to Cypress during the festival.  Folks picked the flowers and dug up the plants with abandon until Cypress residents tried to put a stop to the practice.  Turns out there are no longer any rhododendrons on Cypress.  One of the explorers of the early 1800s, Captain Vancouver, named the Island Cypress mistaking the Juniper bushes for Cypress trees. 


An excellent history of the next 100 years, written by Win Anderson is in the September 2004 copy of the “Evening Star of Guemes Island”.


Old Business: 

New signs – Tom will buy a 4x8 sheet of plywood.  It will be cut in half and Bob A. will paint each with white paint.  We will use them to advertise the bazaar and other events. 

Community Hall Displays – Bob has an idea to have island artists do some back-drops we could use to display artifacts on the west wall.  The Guemes relief map has been repaired by Carol Deach and we would like to have a work party to get it placed.  We may look into a shelf unit to compliment the small display case already in the hall. 

The Guemes Ferry office has some wonderful photos of past ferries and ferry captains.  Society would like to have copies for our archives.

Treasurer’s Report (attached) Janice reports current balance of $37,353.75              A fourth CD has been purchased and we have investments of ~$7000.

Storage of Artifacts – Much of our collection is stored in various barns and storerooms on Guemes.  The Deach family has recently provided a locked, heated, 8’X24’ space.  As our collection increases in size (farm implements . . .) we realize a need for more room.  Tom is looking into buying a 8’ x 20’ container and will research prices. 

Circle Cypress Cruise – very enjoyable aboard the “Mystic Sea”, September 14!  Glen Veal did a wonderful historic narration on history of Cypress Island.  Profit of $2104 has been reported for 2018; 2017 cruise profit was $2890.  We were surprised to learn we need to obtain a “special occasion” permit, 30 days in advance of the event!

New Business: 

Field Trip:  last year some of the Society members attended a film fest at the Sedro-Woolley museum, then had lunch in Mt. Vernon.  A fun day! 

This year we will have a scheduled field trip to the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum in Arlington (20722 -67th Ave NE, 98223) on Wednesday, October 24.  This museum is open Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays.

Bob A. told of recent visits to the Lightcatcher Museum in Bellingham and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in B.C.

Holiday Bazaar – will be Saturday, November 24, 10am – 2pm.  Janice has a directory of past artists and most have re-upped for this year’s event.  Lunch will be served and a bake sale will take place to benefit the Historical Society treasury.  We will also sell canned soda left-over from the September cruise.  Advertising will be on Linetime and My Guemes plus signs/posters at ferry.

Dog Show 2019 – will be 3rd Saturday of August (8/17).

Future Museum Acquisitions – Bob brought up the topic of “Intellectual Properties” that would be of interest to the Guemes community.  Poets, artists, writers, etc. all have works to be handed down to the next generations.  We will think about forming an Acquisitions Committee to sort out this interesting question.

November Presentation – Win is researching the Mangan family and will be offering fun facts about them (November 12)!

Recent Guemes Losses:

Mary Davis Mittelstaedt  (1924-2018)

Barbara McClean (Gilkey) Kager (1940-2018) 

Ansel Q. Hyland (1944-2018)


Respectfully submitted,

Sue O’Donnell (secretary)   10/8/2018