"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

03 July 2015

❖ 4th of JULY ❖ 1895

Postcard inscribed by the highly regarded
Capt. Sam Barlow, born into one of the earliest families 
on Lopez Island.
Sent to Mary Hudson, of a homestead family 
farming along Harney Channel, Shaw Island.
Mary fell in love with Capt. Robert Griswold westward 
along the coast in Blind Bay. Mailed 1910.
Recalling the 4th of July 1895
"I tell the story as it was related to me, by my sister Mrs. E. W. Harrison, who was one of those present. The Mt. Constitution 'switchback road' was made entirely by donated labor, and was a tremendous undertaking, considering the difficulties involved.
      About 35 people attended the picnic, few of them now living on the Island [Orcas.] It was a very rainy day, but in spite of that fact, the start was made about 9 am. There were two teams, one belonging to Eb Harrison, and another consisting of a bull and a horse tied up together, belonging to Dr. Hilton.
      The women and children were in the wagons, together with an organ for there was to be a dance; numerous baskets of lunch and a big freezer of ice cream. The bull and the horse went bravely for a time, but finally became stuck in the mud, and the other team came to the rescue and pulled them out. It must be remembered that this road had just been completed; it was therefore soft and the rain descending steadily did not help matters at all. The summit was finally reached, a fire made, and a few dispirited attempts made at dancing in the 'pavilion,' that was a big-framed structure, then in existence. The lunch was served under the friendly roof, the picnickers visiting the bonfire to thaw out between bites of ice cream. A tent had been erected for the babies and it was pretty well filled. Everybody shivered––the babies cried––and Mollie Harrison was said to be the only cheerful one present. She was four years-old and gave a recitation as follows:
            'Mamma had a chicken,
             Its feathers were white as snow
             Along came a Methodist preacher
             And the chicken had to go!'
Above the clouds that dim the blue,
Early Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island, WA.
click to enlarge.
      After the chronicle of this sad event, the horses becoming cold and restless, it was decided that the celebration was over and the return trip was made in much shorter time than the previous one.
      But the road was made, and the picnic celebrating its completion was a fact, and succeeding generations trailing over it probably have little idea of what it meant in those times to project and carry out such an undertaking."
Agnes B. Harrison; Friday Harbor Journal, 5 May 1932.
      To read more about Dr. Agnes Harrison of Eastsound, WA, here is a Link
      

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