Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Roslyn the Town

One of my readers said he like to hear
more about the little town that I lived in
during the 70's. I had mention I would
do some about the adventures in Roslyn.
But I think he had mind more about the
town. So while I will do both, I will start
with the town. This will be several blogs.
But first the town of Roslyn 1970's.

Roslyn, Washington is a small town at the
foot of Snoqualmie Pass. It is off the beaten
path of Highway 90. If you blink your eyes,
you will miss the turn for it. So if you do, you
can go to Cle Elum the next town and back
track on the highway (not freeway) between
the two towns. There is a 2 mile straight stretch
between the two of them.

The town at the time I lived there, was a
combination of loggers, retired coal miners,
and hippies. The first one and the third one
had trouble adjusting to each other. Mostly
the loggers had trouble adjusting to the hippies.
There were tales of hippies being harassed
as they would be walking or riding their bikes
to their homes.

The town was made up of very old houses.
Most of them there from the time of the mines.
As Roslyn was a mining town at first. Around
the end of the 1890's and into the 1950's the
main employment was mining and logging.
Definitely a tale of the Jimmy Dean song of
being own by the Company Store. Which took
up about 3 blocks. The company store was own
by another company by the 1970's.

The stores consist of Fab Kuchin's Roslyn
General store. Which was just about like Little
House on the Prairie type of a store. Fab and
his wife ran it for many years. You could go
get your own groceries from the shelves, but
Fab would get the ones on the top shelf. Also
they had charge accounts, where he trusted
your word on when you would be there to pay.
He also did deliveries especially for the elderly.

Then there was Harper's Hardware Store.
Where you had to tell them if your house
was Roslyn plumbed or was it new plumbing.
Roslyn plumbing left a lot to be desired. But
the main way you could tell if it was Roslyn
plumbing was if your hot faucet was on the
right and your cold on your left.

There were about 6 bars in town. And,
of course the post office.

And across the street from the post office
was the building that most of the nation is
aware of. In my days it was called Mary's
Freezer shop. But the nation knows it by a
different name because they saw it in the
beginning of the show called Northern Exposure.
Which was suppose to be Alaska. That is the
shot where the moose strolls down the street.
I never saw a moose in Roslyn. But it would
not have been surprising if an elk or deer
had walked down the street.

Mary's Freezer shop was a restaurant as
well as having freezer lockers for rent.
(Hence, the freezer in the name) Mary
was an old time Roslyn gal. Born and raised
there. And you could take your family there
without any problems. She loved kids. And
had the best food. Especially hamburgers.

Up the hill was the cemetery. The Roslyn
cemetery was known for the glass covered
pictures on the tombstones. The cemetery
was divided in many ways. By nationality,
club groups and a few others. There were
many Italians there. But also Swedish,
Norwegian, and Chechzolvains.

Many of the houses had a little tiny house
just outside of the big house. That was where
the men undress and washed up before coming
in the house. They used this to get the coal off
of them and the clothes, so as not to get the
dust in the house. My kids used ours for a play
house on raining days.

Some times the town got a little rowdy.
There were a lot of horses around the area.
And some of the cowboy types would ride
their horses to town on a weekend. And a
few of them rode their horses inside the bars.

I believe the Brick was the oldest of the
bunch. It also had a very long bar that came
from somewhere far away. It also was
featured in the Northern Exposure show.

The entertainment of the town was playing
pool on one of the bar's teams in the winter
and playing baseball in the summer. And
snowmobiling. Everyone had snowmobiles.
We would snowmobile every where in the town.
There was a back road from our house to the
main part of town. We even snowmobiled down
the railroad tracks (it was used for logs) from
Roslyn to Ronald, the next town up.

And also they had a horse play day at the ring.
Which was at the beginning of town. If you
turn down the street by the ring, and drove
west you would be in the beginning of
Duck Town. Not a real name of the place,
but known by the locals as such.

If you drive down the road going into
Roslyn, going by the horse ring, about
3 blocks I think, there is a road on the right,
that goes down a steep hill.California Street.
Going into Shaft street. We lived at the corner
house. On California, across the street from the
junk yard. But you go down the road, to Shaft Street
and follow it around to the right (the end of
Duck Town) you will see on your right, a hole
in a wall, size of a store. It is called Carek's
Meat Store. It was run by Johnny Carek and
his wife Lenore. Great people. Now it is run
by their daughter Diane. They have the best
jerky and pepperoni in the land. None better.
They have other meats too. But those two
are worth the stop.

I use to send my kids down for a pound
or two of hamburger. And my kid would
come back with two inch piece of pepperoni,
"for being a good boy", Johnny would say.
Needless to say it was a fight of who was
going to go down for me.

The people of Roslyn stuck together. If there
was a fire, everyone was there to help. They
had two police officers and Josh, the police chief.
He only worked during the day, the other
two worked weekends and evenings.until
10 pm. unless called.

For 3 years I was their dispatcher. I had
the police radio, the fire alarm and the bank
alarm in my house. It was great as I could be
home with my kids and get paid for it. My
hours were from 5 at night until 8 in the
morning. (the town clerk did day shift) and
on Fridays I did it from 5 p. m. to 8 am on
Monday. I got the big sum of $35 a month
for this.That is not a typo, that was really
per month. It was fun except one day. The
bank alarm went off. I about had a heart
attack. But some where in my being, I found
the calmness to tell them on the radio what
was going on. They were just approaching
the bank. It seems the bank manager was
going back to check out something and forgot
about the alarm.

Over the years I got to hear some of the
funniest things, on the radio, or in the calls
(after all if they needed a police officer they
would call it in, which was transferred to
the phone at my house). And because it
was a small town, if some one was in an
accident it was kind of hard because we all
knew each other so well. But all those years
when I was asked about the going's on,
I never told anyone. Even though, it only
paid $35, I honored the confidentially of the job.

So there you are the town of Roslyn.... part one?


She Wolf said...

I still to this day remember the smell of the little meat market around the corner, playing on the honda hills, sliding from the main street above the house all the way down to the back yard in the snow. If my memorie serves me right the phone in the house was red, I thought it was cool that we had a batman phone in our house. I remember dad working in the garage, and mom jumping her horse in the back yard. cool memories.

doug loth said...

I liked the story about Roslyn in the 70's. My mom (Leah Randall) moved in 62. She grew up on the lake. Back in the 30's when they built the dam,they had to move the small community (Lake Dale) away from the area of the new water line. THe goverment then sold the buildings and leased the land. My moms parents (Eugene@Emma Randall) bought the gen. store and a building or house not sure, to make their place of living. Now when you visit the lake and drive into Speely Beach,(not sure of spelling) local acess, you are driving thru my moms old back yard. p.s. if you look to the left side of entrance you will find old foundation material. (p.s.s. just for author, when they drain the lake way down, sometimes you can go down and find indian arrow heads, slim pickings now a days.) A interested reader,please edit, thanks Doug Loth. If you want to go on facebook and talk, you can reach me at, i will accept you as a friend, maybe give me a clue (last name Roslyn?) I miss riding on the slags!!!!