Monday’s Mystery

Today’s “mystery” is really no mystery. It’s a question: Why don’t folks more quickly and more generously step up to the plate to help out when monetary help is needed for a cause in which they already do passionately believe???

I’m talking about the terrible fire that has destroyed the Gray’s Harbor Genealogical Society Library. They put out a call for on-site help but most of us live too far away to help that way. But how about monetarily? Here was a plea from their president:

Anyone wishing to make financial donation is encouraged to use our Go Fund Me campaign or direct to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

If you would like more information or have questions, please contact me at

Gary Parfitt, President, Grays Harbor Genealogical Society

Think about this; you can help solve this “mystery.”

Monday’s Mystery

Ah, got a good one for you today. What can you tell me about the connection between Washington, specifically Clark County, and prunes?

Yes, prunes……that yummy, sticky dried fruit that begins as juicy plums. Vancouver, in Clark County, was once the Prune Capital of the world. There were prune-themed everything including a parade and a Prune Princess! And wouldn’t you guess that Prune Wine would be delicious?

(Took this image and learned all about this at the Clark County Historical Society in Vancouver.)

Monday Mystery

Congrats to Patty Olsen and Bette Hull for correctly knowing that last week’s photo was taken at the Gingko Park in Vantage. And thanks to Roberta, Opal, Barbara and Jim for guessing!

Today’s mystery isn’t much of a mystery as I post this pix. Ever heard of Frenchtown here in Washington? Settled by descendants of the French-Canadien voyagers and their Metis wives, this was a real place near Walla Walla. I enjoy reading/learning American history above all else, and a friend told me about this story and this place. Fascinating!  The story of how this place, and other similar places, came to be, is told wonderfully in the book Songs Upon the Rivers by Robert Foxcurran, Michel Bouchard and Sebastien Malette, published in 2016.

The cover of this book states: “The buried history of the French-speaking Canadiens and Metis from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi across to the Pacific.”

I think we need to more about this “buried history”!!

Monday Mystery

Since Walla Walla was on my mind (see last week’s post), I got to wondering how this lovely town got it’s double-double name…. a name that many Easterners would laugh at.

“Walla Walla” was a Nez Perce name given to one of the indigenous groups who lived in the Walla Walla Valley, according to Myron Eells (1843-1907), a missionary who worked among and studied native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. “Walla Walla” means running watersor more specifically, the place where a small stream runs into a larger one. In the Blue Mountains, the eastern border of the county, the Touchet and Walla Walla rivers originate and flow downhill westward, converging with Mill and Dry creeks in the heart of the valley and ultimately joining the Columbia River.”

Now you know!  Or did you already know that??  (I did not.)


**Quote from, website for Washington History and a 2008 post by Michael J. Paulus, Jr.

Monday Mystery

If I were to ask you, “Ever heard of Frenchtown…..and where is it?” What would be your answer………… I said Frenchtown, Montana, just west of Missoula, when Margie Beldin asked me this question. “Nope,” she said, “Frenchtown near Walla Walla!”   WHAT??

Here’s the story summary: The French Canadian voyageurs travel throughout Canada and then down into the Pacific Northwest. As decades passed, and as they intermarried with local women, they did establish “Frenchtowns” or at least that was the designation given to these settlements.

It’s a forgotten bit of Northwest history that there was such a settlement just off Hwy 12 near the mouth of the Walla Walla River was established about 1824. The settlers in this area retained “their French Canadian character with their architectural forms, land division patterns and Roman Catholic religion.”

Margie Beldin, who has French Canadian ancestry, will give a presentation (in costume!) on this forgotten bit of Northwest history to the TCGS (Tri City Genealogical Society) meeting in October. Can’t wait!

**The quote is from, the website for Washington history; an essay by Stephen B. Emerson posted in 2008.

Monday’s Mystery

As a city girl, this was a “mystery” to me. According to last Sunday’s edition of The Spokesman Review seven counties in Washington have more cows than people. Would that surprise YOU?

What was even more surprising to me was that I thought the taking of an agricultural census was a thing of yesterday but NOT SO. There is a 24-page form sent to Washington farmers periodically asking “how much acreage they farm, the animals and crops they raise, the sale value of products and their own demographics.” Interesting, no?

Rachel Alexander’s article concluded with “Spokane leads the state in llama population with 518. Don’t get spit on.”  Who would have guessed?

Monday Mystery

Thanks to you all who took the time to take me (and my book) to task for that too-old list of Washington passes….. Fran and Patty added Sherman Pass, Chinook Pass and the Hwy 20 North Creek Pass. Whoops.

Today’s Mystery: Know where this is?

This Sol Duc Falls, one of THE most photographed waterfalls in our state. The falls are located up a .8 mile trail just off Hwy 101 west of Port Angeles. The falls flow over four channels with a 37-foot drop with an 11-foot flume drop.

So how did that name come about?

Before 1992, it was “Soleduck,” a Quileute name meaning “magic water” or “sparkling water.” These falls flow down and mix with hot springs forming theraputic pools known to local Indian tribes way before the first white settlers came in the 1880s. A huge 4-story resort was built there in 1912 to lure tourists from Seattle. What an adventure they had getting there! First by boat from Seattle to Port Crescent (now Joyce), then by auto to Lake Crescent, then by boat across the lake and then up the Soleduck River by horse carriage. (Would it have been worth that effort to you to soak in a hot pool…that I’m sure did not look anything like they are today!)

Was privileged to take that hike and soak with my son and daughter last week. Lucky me.

Monday Mystery

Big thanks to all of you who submitted answers to the question of how many mountain passes there are across Washington……. the correct list is: Stevens, White, Cayuse, Blewitt and Snoqualmie. (According to the booklet, Do You Know Washington? published in 1989.) Sorry.

Ever heard of The Sea Glass Beach near Port Townsend? Among beach-glass-pick-er-up-pers, this is a pretty famous place. Here’s why:

Why is there so much sea glass on Glass Beach?

McCurdy Point is a remote bluff located several miles west of Port Townsend, Washington. In the past, trucks backed up to the edge of the bluff and dumped the town’s refuse onto the rocky shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

This was an accepted practice until the late 1960’s. The city then decided to clean up it’s beaches and discontinued dumping and bulldozing debris over the bluff.

Don’t think this photo was taken at this beach but WOW…… who wouldn’t break their back bending over to fill their bucket with these bits!!