Forty years ago this month the Forks Forum featured a front-page story about a fire that destroyed Butts’ Cafe and Fish Company. It was a sad loss for the area and those that enjoyed eating there!
It was 1939 when Bert H. Butts moved to La Push from West Port. He partnered up with Lawrence Pattison and established a fish buying station, using a scow towed around from Seattle for receiving fish.
He provided a market for salmon and smelt which had previously been shipped out of La Push.
Butts and Pattison started a store on the scow which was operated by Ed Ryan. They also built a shore installation, a two-story building that was operated as a crab cannery for three years.
A dock was built and the store and a restaurant located on it. In 1958 a flood took out the dock and the store and restaurant were opened in the former crab cannery.
It was thought that the fire was started from a propane gas heater. It had been put out by the Coast Guard but a miscommunication with getting the power turned off caused another fire to start and 30-knot winds fanned the new fire up to the second story restaurant. The 1979 fire left the building a total loss and gone was some great clam chowder and delicious cream pies!