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Pages of the Past

120 Years Ago

June 29, 1894

The fine farm of George Geissler, a short distance west of town, has been purchased by Ninemire & Morgan, the consideration being $11,000. The farm consisted of 115 acres, and is considered one of the best in the valley. Messrs. Ninemire & Morgan will remove their slaughterhouse and buildings to the place, and will keep their stock there. Mr. Geissler has not yet decided what he will do in the future.

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The government lighthouse board has accepted the offer of the Westport Beach Townsite company for land on the north side of Ocean Avenue, Westport, upon which to construct the Grays Harbor lighthouse, and two blocks inside for the necessary outbuildings. The work on the lighthouse will be commenced this summer.

100 Years Ago

June 26, 1914

Probably the most spectacular July Fourth celebration to be staged in Southwester Washington in several years will be that held in Aberdeen on July 2-3 and 4. First among the features will come a daily balloon ascension with a parachute drop of several hundred feet. A varsity crew race in four-oar shells between four varsity University of Washington boys who reside on Grays Harbor and four who reside in the vicinity of Chehalis and Centralia will also be a novelty. Two of the men who will row in the Grays Harbor shell are now at Poughkeepsie to race in the intercollegiate regatta Saturday.

Aberdeen has spent $1,000 for a fireworks display consisting of four large pieces, valued at $100 each, and scores of minor ones. The fireworks are from the Hitt company of Tacoma and will be shot off by two experts sent here from the Sound.

Henry Dixon, coast champion in the 16-foot class of gasoline speed boats, is to appear in the water sports and each afternoon of the three days’ Splash celebration will make trips up and down the Chehalis River drawing a man on a 12-inch plank behind his boat, while it is making 40 miles an hour. Dixon has recently built a new 16-foot speed boat which is capable of 45 miles an hour.

75 Years Ago

June 29, 1939

The body of Capt. Peter W. Johnson, master of the S.S. Margaret Schafer of the Schafer Bros. Steamship lines, was found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles harbor Saturday morning, June 23.

An autopsy revealed that he died from a self-inflicted bullet, but no reason was ascribed for the act.

50 Years Ago

June 25, 1964

When Congresswoman Julia Butler Hansen sent a recent telegram announcing that the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, of which she is a member, had just approved $200,000 for the Wynooche dam, she virtually declared that the long-sought project was fast approaching the stage of actual construction.

This sum was recommended by President Johnson in his annual budget and the backing of the committee is considered assurance that it will be approved by Congress.

This sum, after its final appropriation, will be spent by the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, to initiate planning and design for the structure itself. Prior, and much less costly surveys, have been general in nature, intended chiefly to determine the project’s disability, both economically and from an engineering standpoint. Skilled Army engineers have previously returned favorable reports on both counts.

It is estimated that the Wynooche project will cost more than $40 million, which would make it by far the largest in the history of this area. Ultimately, it is intended to provide water for Grays Harbor industries, power and flood control, as well as other benefits, not the least of which would be recreation.

25 Years Ago

June 29, 1989

Extreme high tides, powerful onshore winds and a teeming Chehalis River combine every winter to bring the threat of flooding to the South Aberdeen and Cosmopolis area. The situation occurs six or seven times each season and sometimes results in damages to the area.

A repeat of a flood of record — like that of 1933 — would cause about $10 million in damage in today’s economy, according to Forest Brooks, the Aberdeen-Cosmopolis flood control project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Although the entire Grays Harbor area has flooding problems, the situation is particularly bad on the south side, where about 3,500 people live,” Brooks noted.

The Corps’ plan is to build a levee system 4.2 miles long, which will protect 1,176 acres of vulnerable flood plain.

The estimated total cost of the work is about $10 million.

10 Years Ago

June 24, 2004

Bigger pay raises for firefighters and whether to talk with the Sheriff’s Office about outsourcing the police department are among the decisions the Montesano City Council was not allowed to make Tuesday because Mayor Pro Tem Vini Samuel refused to entertain surprise motions.

About four dozen residents were on hand for the meeting, fearful the council might vote on some of the more controversial proposals advocated by the Public Safety Committee. But the only surprise this week was Samuel’s refusal to allow surprise votes. She was sitting in for Mayor Dick Stone.

Councilman Bud Owen sought a vote on a number of the Public Safety Committee’s budget-cutting recommendations, while Councilman Walt Bussard wanted to clarify a proposal he made giving firefighters a raise.

“I had decided well before this meeting” to stick to the agenda, Samuel told fellow council members. “I think it is inappropriate to have random motions coming up. I want everybody to know what’s going on.”