Pages of the Past, April 19

A weekly collection of stories from The Vidette archives

125 years ago

April 21, 1893

About fifty-five men are engaged in building Mack’s logging railroad west of Elma. The engineering corps has now reached a point about four miles from town, where a camp has been established in order to save the walk to and from town.

100 years ago

April 19, 1918

A few letters came in this week from our boys in France, one of the most interesting of which is from Clarence Ritchie, who was, at the writing, March 1, located up close to the firing lane. It is written in Ritchie’s careless, humorous manner but even so, much that he wanted to tell, and that we would want to know is cut out by the censor. Parts of it follow:

“Those two little months, by the way, have sure been some interesting. The first day up here we got awakened in the wee sma’ hours by the dad blingest bunch of noise I ever heard in one spot. Say, you know, they’re inconsiderate as the dickens about a fellow’s sleep up here. The poor fools are just full of humor. As for instance throwing eight or ten thousand shells at Fritz about 4:30 a.m. just when I want to sleep.

“Another stunt is for Fritz to come rolling over to see us about 10 p.m. in a bunch of tin sparrows and then naturally we try to sling-shot him with a hat full of 75s and between the two we can hardly get any sleep.

“Today was some beauteous day (nice for a little joy ride up the Wynooche.) Fritz has a habit of taking his after dinner stroll right over us so we had some amusement watching the shells bust around him. (Several lines here deleted by the censor.)

75 years ago

April 22, 1943

Get up bright and early for Easter services — because you’ll probably be walking to Church — and you want to have time to stop and chat as you meet so many friends and neighbors along the way! They’ll all be going in the same direction — dads and mothers, girls and boys, wives and sweethearts … all of whom have loved ones in the uniform now. They’ll all be going your way — to Church, to play; and to gain renewed faith to sustain us all in the fight for Victory.

50 years ago

April 18, 1968

Paint and soap alone will not take care of the general state of the Grays Harbor County Jail. If citizens of the community have not visited the local bastile, then the best description can be had from the annual inspection report of 1966 of the State Department of Institutions. In part it said, “This is an old, insecure jail that is not fit for human habitation. Due to some primary weaknesses, it is not safe for personnel nor does it adequately protect the community.”

The present condition of the county jail cannot be blamed on the officials in charge, for they can only do what they are able to do, with what facilities they have at their disposal.

It is also interesting to note that the Grays Harbor jail, built in 1910, has not had any major improvements since that time. “Laundry is done in a corridor, lighting is extremely poor throughout the facility, personal clothing must be washed in the prisoner’s cells, exposed wiring is in evidence and sanitary conditions are not adequate nor are they sanitary,” concluded the report.

All in all, the Grays Harbor jail is not a facility of which the populace can be proud. A tour through the structure should prove that.

25 years ago

April 22, 1993

Sponsors of the annual Montesano Cleanup, the VFW and Jerry Goodwin of East Grays Harbor Recycling, didn’t have quite the action last Sunday as they did at last year’s event, but they did manage to collect about 15 tons of waste that was transported to the LeMay Landfill, another 10 tons of recyclable metal and about a half-ton of recyclable cardboard boxes. Several members of the VFW spent the day driving throughout the city collecting the debris.


Plans are under way for the Granges of Grays Harbor to celebrate National Grange week, April 18-24. Founded in 1867 the Grange was the first fraternal farm organization in the country. Today it is recognized as a family-oriented, rural community service organization.

Grange members participate in legislative activities, community service, various contests, deaf awareness, youth projects, Junior Grange, business meetings and women’s activities. There are 11 subordinate and 2 Junior Granges in Grays Harbor County with a total of 2100 members.

10 years ago

April 17, 2008

Since last fall, McCleary’s Mark Reed Hospital and its Health Care Clinic have been the focus of a continuing effort to gather input into what folks need and want when it comes to health care. Input has also been solicited on how the hospital can financially offer those services.

An overriding theme that’s come up during four community forums in various parts of the district has been that many people haven’t been aware of the array of services that are already available at the hospital and its family practice clinic.

The hospital district includes Elma, McCleary, Satsop, Porter, Malone and the surrounding areas.


Following the Scouts’ motto, “Be Prepared,” Montesano Scoutmaster Robert Randall “Randy” Dutton is ready to put his political beliefs into action. Last Sunday, Dutton announced he will challenge state Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, for his seat in the 24th District. Dutton, 51, who works at home as a telecommuter and is a retired Navy commander, will run on the Republican ticket.