OPINION: A brief history of McCleary

A monthly column about the history of McCleary,

Historically Speaking

By Linda Thompson

If you visit the museum in McCleary you will find the time line ends at 1989. That, coincidently, was my first full year living in McCleary. What happened? Did I stop progress? That has bothered me over the years and more and more I would hear visitors to the museum comment on it.

Finally, with the help of The Vidette who opened their office for me, I researched for about two years to bring us up-to-date. I’m not quite there, but I am in the home stretch. Charles Fattig is looking it over to make corrections or additions, then I’ll make the “rest of the chart.”

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights of our little town with you. When we get it as correct as Charles can make it, we’ll include it online, too. Our board is new and doing a terrific job of moving us forward to include more on social media.

McCleary’s Time line – 100 YEARS

1917 Methodist Episcopal built

1921 New Post Office built Bank of McCleary built

1923 Ada McCleary dies

1924 First sound motion pictures in new movie theater

1926 School burns Methodist Church rebuilt

1930 No money to hire minister

1933 Students still buy own books Teachers unpaid

1941 Henry McCleary sells to Simpson

1942 Fire department created

1943 Henry McCleary Dies McCleary incorporated as town

1944 McCleary gets own power, light system Population 1200

1949 Library opened

1953 New school built Sewer system complete

1954 VFW Hall built

1956 Mark E Reed Hospital opens

1958 New City Hall built

1959 First Bear Festival

1962 New Post office built

1969 Dent and Curran tie for Mayor Curran wins with toss of a coin

1973 Dent and Curran tie for Mayor again, Dent wins with toss of a coin

1976 Eastern Grays Harbor Historical Society officially formed

1984 Carnell House becomes museum

1985 Timberland Library closes, volunteer keep it open

1989 30th Bear Festival Timberland Library resumes operation; Population 1460

January 1990 Car Phones coming to area US Cellular Service first to reach harbor area will allow people to use car phones in certain areas

August 1995 Michael, Wendy and Austin Bassett murder victims

January 1997 Historical Society making plans for McCleary Centennial celebration with publication of cookbook

July 1999 Earthquake shakes McCleary 55 just north of Satsop

March 2000 Y2K no problem; McCleary’s giant dies, Cecil “Primo” Boling, 7’8 ½” – age 79; Students put mementos in a time capsule last month under the new restrooms at Beerbower Park

July 2002 Park kitchen complete with community and fire department’s help

June 2003 McCleary Auction House destroyed by flames; Timberland Reginal Library, McCleary Branch, grand opening in new location

July 2003 McCleary over pass open – almost – Grand opening July 2, traffic July 14

January 2004 Worst snowstorm since ’96 leaves area braced for flooding

March 2004 Gas prices $1.81, $1.91 and $2.01

October 2006 Mark Reed Hospital celebrates 50 years

October 2008 McCleary School celebrates 100 years