I needed to make room in my email account as we here at Sound Publishing will be “Migrating” to a new system soon and I found this …a letter that had been “lost” in a sea of old emails …I enjoyed reading it again …I hope you enjoy reading it too.
A few years ago I had asked Skip, Forks graduate of 1952, about some of his memories of some Forks events …this was one of his memories that he shared.
Christi Baron, Editor
Do I remember the snow of 1951?
Sorta. It was one heck of a “Nor-Easter” that fooled everybody. Not only did it snow, but the wind was so strong that the snow fell horizontally and we ended up with snow drifts like I had never seen before, or have since for that matter. I couldn’t get to my car for a day after the snow stopped falling; and it was parked between my Grandfather’s store (now Forks Avenue Real Estate) and the old Odd Fellows Hall.
During the storm there was a fire call on Russell Road. The responding engine went off the highway just before Russell Rd. (they had to go past the airport because the plows were running on the highway and Bogachiel Way was blocked to vehicular traffic.)
Anyway, the engine went off the highway and the 500 gallon water tank was frozen before it could be retrieved. Fortunately, the fire in one of the cabins just north of mill creek suffered only smoke damage as all of the smoke came from a chimney fire that did not penetrate to the roofing. Can’t remember who lived in the cabin but I believe that the Hamby’s lived next door.
There was snow everywhere (just added this comment for “color” but I guess it was not the best choice in that there were no discernible colors, it was a white-out!). Getting back to the snow:
I remember the snow drift in front of the High School that stretched from the front of the school building well into the field across the street (the Church had not been built at that time) and where the drift touched the front of the school the top of the drift reached up to the windows of the Music Room (second floor above the main entrance).
I remember that they were trying to clear the snow from the street in front of the schools (now Spartan Ave.) with a small D2 CAT, and when they tried to clear the drift from the front of the High School they made a tunnel on the first pass. It stayed that way for some time so people could take pictures, and the top finally collapsed as the snow began to melt.
There were housing projects built during WWII and they had their names; the grey project, pink project, circle project, etc.. The circle project was across the street from Doc Leibold’s house (now the Miller Tree Inn B&B). Well, during the storm the wind was blowing the snow across the prairie so hard that the wind was blowing snow into circle project attics through the vent holes under the eaves. There were many of us that “manned the bucket brigades” and cleared snow from attics before it melted and caused a lot of damage.
We’d scoop the snow into buckets, lower it through an opening in the ceiling and then send it outside to be dumped in the old “water brigade method of fire fighting.” I don’t recall much damage being reported, but I do remember the praise given Mr. Dudley for keeping the electric generators on line throughout the whole ordeal. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he spent the full time there; grabbing naps whenever he could. He was that sort of person.
Because of the volume of snow the streets through town (main highway) were plowed to the center of the street so melting snow could drain into the gutters and then into the storm drains. I remember well, standing in front of my grandfather’s store, looking across the street, and because of the piled snow in the middle of the street, only being able to see the second floors of the Antlers Hotel and the top of the roof of Ackerly’s house (set back farther from the street.)
Yes, I also did a stint on the roof of my Grandfather’s store (Richard Miller and Les “Bumpy” Coyle assisting) to eliminate weight on the flat roof, and the same on the roof of the Odd Fellows Hall (same crew plus four or five men of the Lodge) for the same reason.
There is one thing that rings common in my memories of Forks, and the surrounding area up into the early 1950s; the people from the lower Hoh to Clallam Bay, and more particularly the greater Forks area, never hesitated to help in time of need, and more importantly NEVER expected anything in return; except a “thank you” here and there.
Guess “The West End’” was sort of a big family. Sure, there were squabbles now and then – but very seldom anything everlasting. Gee, I guess those of us that grew up/lived there may not fully appreciate how good it was, and how fortunate we were/are. And that goes to those who moved to Forks and stayed because they felt comfortable and fit in. There are few of us left, but I am sure that the lessons we learned have remained with us, and have been passed along to our following generations.
Skip (Bernard Judson)