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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
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July 29, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 29, 1971

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"" -- ,M everyone passims thcough Belfaix, " Belfaix who served as ~oceman and completed until the ~ollowh~g the old Chalet school building, project superintendent .on the year when the gymnasium was will be completely gone from the schoolground by the time school reopens in the fail. Hartstrom Brothers Constructio~l ot Bremerton were low bidders for the demolition job, at $3,412.50, and were contracted by the North Mason School Board to have the job done by August 21. Built during the depression by WPA labor, it was truly a unique building. Logs which were used for building support, for partitions and for the "beamed ceiling" effect throughout, were donated from local forests by timber companies. Three-fourths of the shakes used on the roof were locally cut and donated, construction job. Even the thousands of rocks which were used for walls both inside and out didn't cost a cent. "We had an old Model A Ford truck on the job and men would drive out and bring back a truckload of rocks for the building," said Newkirk. He Said some were gathered from beaches, others from the railroad grades. He estimates that eighty per cent of the cost of the erection of the Chalet went into labor, only twenty per cent for materials. The Chalet, which replaced a grade school located near the Union River bridge at the beginning of North Shore road, was opened to classes in the fall finished. Four classrooms, a library, an office and the large gym with a stage were included in the Chalet Within a few years it was outgrown and partitions separated the gym into additional classrooms. When the new elementary school was built in the forties (now referred to as the "old elementary" building,) the lower elementary students moved to the new building and the older children attended classes in the Chalet. Violation of too many fire safety rules caused the Chalet to be abandoned for school use in 1967. It was in the 1950's that the School Board was first advised IT TOOK A TALL LADDER to do any work on the roof of the Chalet. Photo courtesy Alma Sundstrom. A FAMILIAR LANDMARK in Belfair, the Chalet had been unused as a school building since 1967 when this recent photo was taken. Page 4 - Huckleberry Herald section of Shelton-Mason County Journal - July 29, 19711 in the t'xfties an estimate of $100,000 was made as the cost of bringing the building up to "safe" standards. Labor and materials weren't as cheap as in the thirties when, as well as Newkirk can remember, he thinks the total cost of building the Chalet was around $9,000 Once the heat from the old Donkey boiler was turned off for good, because the school wasn't being used anymore, a problem which had always plagued the Chalet became worse. That was one of moisture coming up through the floors. With no heat at all the past few years there would sometimes be a layer of water lying building. Last week many people visited the Chalet, some with nostalgic memories of other days when they had been there, some getting their first glimpse at the rustic interior, to browse through objects which had been in the school and were being offered for sale. Old books, old school desks, even panelling off the walls or insulation were carted off by the shoppers. Part of the proceeds went to the PTA which ran the sale and the rest was turned over to the North Mason School district. There are many residents of the area who were saddened by KIDS HAVEN'T CHANGED any since 1937. Along comes a nice day, and new school or not, they like to play outside during recess time. Photo courtesy Alma Sundstrom. FOUR TEACHERS handled the students in the eight grades taught in the Chalet when it opened in the fall of 1937. Left to right are Alma Sundstrom, (grades 1 and 2), Irene Baker, (grades 3 and 4), Frances Gladwin, (grades 5 and 6), and Aaron Masters, principal, (grades 7 and 8.) Photo courtesy Alma Sundstrom. to teat tlae o16 "o~d~.u~ d~o~ru, decision which was based on the fact that the school district x~as spending $1,000 a year for insurance, which, by law, had to be carried on the building whether it was being used or not. Two years ago, when the subject of possible demolition of the Chalet was first brought up by the School Board, a group of citizens, operating through the local Historical Society, asked for a reprieve on the decision to give them time to figure out a way to save the landmark. It was hoped that it might be eligible for federal funds to preserve it as an historical landmark which might be used as a museum for Mason County historical items. But the funds were not forthcoming and the cost of remodeling, renovating and bringing it up to modern safety standards was way beyond the means of the historical group. Newkirk, who had played an important role in the erection of the Chalet, was one of those most active in trying to find a way to preserve it. But now time has run out. By the time this issue of the Herald comes out, the Chalet will probably be no more.., just a pile of rubble composed of rocks originally from the beaches of Hood Canal and from the hills above Belfair, of polished logs and thousands of shakes, which, in the early 1930's, were evergreen trees growing in the woods around Belfair. I~IIL~~ i~ i~ " ~ ~ CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHALET was done by WPA labor with 80 per cent of the cost going for labor since so many of the materials were gathered locally at no cost. Photo courtesy Marion Newkirk. ~~~~~~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~u~~~lull~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!~~ POLISHED LOGS placed upright to support the floor, panelled walls and log beamed ceiling of the stage at the north end of the Chalet in the gymnasium carried out the rustic theme seen throughout the building. Recognize anyone you know? Photo courtesy Alma Sundstrom. By JULI PRESTON --CR 5-6288 ~~u~~~~u~u~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~u~~~u~~~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~u~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ill~~~~~~~~~l~~~~~~~~~|llIlt M r and Mrs. Garlan Crosswhite recently returned from a three week trip by camper to Alaska. The road was rough a great deal of the way and was either very muddy or so dusty, it was necessary to drive with the lights on. They arrived at Eagle Alaska and then on to Fairbanks from which they traveled to Circle, the farthest point north one can tra(,el by road. The Crosswhites found either ice from lakes or snow on the ground for their icebox They also found it very strange to have daylight 24 hours around the clock, but a native of the area said she found it more difficult to adapt to having it dark all the time during the winter. During the whole trip they spotted only one black bear, but spotted a large herd of wild sheep on the mountain side. They also counted nine moose and two moose calves which is an unusual sight After traveling back to Anchorage and down through Seward and Valdez the Crosswhites took a six hour ferry ride from Haines to Juneau Here, at the capital of Alaska, they toured a museum and received a pin and certificate of lifetime membership to The Order of the Alaskan Walrus for visiting the state Then they boarded the ferry for a remaining twenty-five hour ride to Prince Rupert. From there they traveled back to Belfalr and were glad to be home! Traveling down our South Shore, one may notice that some of our "residents are fixing up those old, but necessary, eye sores known as mailboxes! They can be purchased ready decorated, but a little paint, stick-em flowers or a decorative stand adds to our scenic route along the canal For those who rarely travel past Twanoh State Park, it may be news to learn that the road is being resurfaced now. This makes for minor inconvenience in following the lead truck on the one way lane, but work is going rapidly and will make for easier and better traveling when it's finished- Reminder - 40 m.p.h.! South Shore residents past Twanoh are welcome to call and add news to this column. The long distance charge is relatively low and your news would be more than welcome! Cars Inlury in area Several persons were injured in automobile accidents in the North Mason area during the past three weeks. On July 8 at 1:25 p.m., a 2-car accident in the Thriftway parking lot in Belfair resulted in Mrs. Virginia Rommen being taken to Harrison Hospital by the Be l fair Aid Car with a neck injury According to Trooper Dodd of WSP who investigated the accident, Mrs. Rommen, travelling east in the parking lot, pulled in front of a car driven by S~_ o~,~la DeLong of South ,,ore, wlao was headed south. A collision resulted, with Mrs. Rommen's car being spun around. No damage was suffered by Miss DeLong's '66 Chev. but damage to Mrs. Rommen's '68 Renault was estimated at $600. Another 2-car accident, on July 14 at 10:15 am., at the curve entering South Shore just south of Belfair, damaged both cars and left the driver of one, Mrs. Helena Robbins, 81, of Seattle, with a possible broken left elbow. A report by Trooper Hanson of WSP indicates that Mrs. Robbins, headed east, failed to negotiate a curve to the right, crossed the center line and struck a westbound car driven by Sheryl Rennet, 21, of Tacoma, head-on. Damage to Mrs. Robbin's '62 Rambler. was estimated at $500; to the other vehicle, a '66 Ford, $600. The first of two accidents in the area on July 17 was a "family affair" with Phyllis Senf, 29, of Bremerton taken to Harrison Hospital by the Allyn Aid Car for treatment of bruises and multiple abrasions. Mrs. Senf, driving a '62 Mercury sedan which was totalled, had been following her husband, LeRoy, 38, who was driving a '66 Chev. pickup; when Senf slowed down for some dogs on the highway about a mile south of Allyn his truck was struck from behind by his wife's car. Senf was treated by a private physician for a laceration of the forehead and left arm and a son of the couple, Thomas, age 7, who had been a passenger in his mother's car, escaped with only a bloody nose. Damage to the pick-up was estimated at $400 by Trooper Hanson of WSP, Less than an hour later speeding on South Shore caused a spectacular one-ear accident in which the driver, Roger L. Harris, 21, of Kent received a laceration on the side of his head. According to the report of Trooper Close of WSP, Harris was westbound on South Shore about seven miles south of Belfalr at a high rate of speed when he came into a left curve. His car spun around going broadside for 206 feet, struck a large pole, flew through the air for sixty feet beer a twenty foot bank, struck a fence and came to rest in a private yard. The accident, which occurred at 4:15 p.m., resulted in $500 damage to his '66 Corvette convertible. July 29, 1971 - Huckleberry Herald section of Shelton-Mason County Journal - Page 5