Thursday, October 30, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 166

Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia

This week’s postcard is used and postmarked 1938.  It is a Linen card, popular during the 1930s and 1940s, produced using the C.T. American Art coloring method. B.S. Reynolds of Washington, D.C published the card.  The picture is of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia and is one of the churches where George Washington attended.  It is located 9 miles from his home at Mount Vernon.  Other notable people who also attended services here were the Lees and Lafayette. 

Originally built in 1773 it is one of the oldest churches in the United States.  Constructed of red brick, although it looks more rectangular it is actually a square.  The church and accompanying land measures one acre and includes a cemetery.  There have been additions to the campus but the core building is much the same as it was in the beginning and is still used as a church today.  None of the original architectural drawings exist; however, modern computer generated drawings have been produced from the building. 

The basic design for the doors and windows came from plans made by Batty Langley dating from 1739.  Batty Langley (1696 - 1751) was an English garden designer and an author of several books such as, Ancient Architecture Restored, Gothic Architecture, improved by Rules and Proportions, and The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs.  He was known to have been a self-promoter.  His books were disdained by some in England;however, his “do it yourself” type books were very popular in the American colonies.  The books had engraved designs for structures and these designs were implemented in many colonial buildings.  Several of the old colonial churches in the United States have a similar design—five windows on one side, three windows on the other, and something Langley called “Rusticated Doors.”  Christ Church has just the one door while some of the others also have doors on the sides and more than one altar.  A church built at the same time in Falls Church, Virginia is almost identical to the one shown on the card.  The bell tower and steeple for the Alexandria church were added later.

For additional information and to view a video about the church architecture, please see:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Herbert Solwold

Herbert Solwold, 1987

On 17 July 1987 I had the great good fortune to meet with Agnes Allpress* at her home in Silverdale, Washington. Agnes had as her special guest, Herbert Solwold who had just celebrated his 95th birthday.  He certainly did not look his age when I saw him.   This photo was was taken earlier that year at his home in Swisshome, Oregon.  He was a perfect delight to visit.  At that time he lived with his stepson and step-daughter-in-law and had driven up to Washington to meet with a group of family members.  Sixty-five people gathered at a reunion in his honor, some coming from as far away as Illinois.

Jorgen (George) Ostinius Olsen Solwold, ca 1870

Uncle Herbert's father was Jorgen Ostinius Olsen Solwold who was born 30 October 1851 on the Kragføt farm in Ulefoss, Holla, Telemark, Norway.  George as he was called in the United States worked as a ship painter in Bergen, emigrating at age 18 or 19 from that city.  Herbert said that his father suffered from lead poisoning as a result of his ship painting.  He also recalled that when his father first came to Hood's Canal Captain Hood's head was on a post at Hood's Point--Captain Hood having angered the Indians had "made his last point."

George married Mary (her maiden name appears in places as either Thornsen or Sorensen), who was born in Norway 8 May 1860 and came to the United States at age 3.  Her family originally settled in Minnesota.  George and Mary were married 23 December 1879 in Winona County, Minnesota and left there traveling across the country to become homesteaders at Duckabush located on Hood's Canal in Jefferson County, Washington.  They settled there around 1884 to 1886 which was before Washington territory became a state (November 11, 1889).  George had two brothers, Gunnar and Olaf Solwold who may have also lived in the area.  

George and Mary lived in a log cabin which they built from timber on their land.  Their land was on the south of the mouth of the Duckabush River along the beach.  They were hardworking pioneers who loved the land on which they lived.  They had two sons, Herbert and Walter.  Walter passed away in 1969.  George was appointed Duckabush Postmaster in 1891. They would row seven miles to Seabeck for mail and supplies.  The post office at Duckabush was discontinued in 1926.  They also had a small general store for many years.  George died 5 May 1931, and Mary passed away 14 October 1953.  

While Herbert was growing up at Duckabush Sadie Stean was doing the same in Norway.  Sadie's story has already been told in the blog.  She was the granddaughter of Mikal Alfsen Roland Hornnes and Anna Gundersdatter.  Her mother was Raghnild Mikalsdatter and her father was Ola Johnson Stean.  Sadie was another of Lil Anna's nieces and cousin of Gunnie Swanson.  After Sadie came to the United States and moved to Seattle around 1909, she made friends with Ester and Line.  Ester married Jack Jarness, Line married Carl Carlson.  These three girls went camping on the land owned by Herbert's parents at Duckabush.  It was during one of the camping trips that Herbert and Sadie met and began to see each other.  They dated for a couple of years before World War I called Herbert to France.  They wrote during the war and when he returned home they were married at Gunnie (Gunie) and L.R. Swanson's home in Silverdale, Washington on 8 October 1919.  

Ester, Sadie, and Line on a camping trip, ca 1914

Herbert Solwold in his World War I uniform, taken in France 1917

The photo above of Herbert in his uniform was sent as a postcard to Axel and (Lil) Anna Hornnes Schroder as a Christmas greeting in 1917.  Herbert had stayed with them in 1916 before going into the army.   Altogether he was in the service for 17 months, going first to Camp Lewis, then Georgia, then to Camp New Jersey before being sent overseas.

When he returned Herbert worked for a time (1919/1920) at the fish hatchery in Brinnon, Washington near Duckabush.  He was called back to work as manager in 1921/22.  In 1922 he built a log house in Brinnon which he and Sadie kept until about 1933 when it was sold for $3,000.  The picture below is of Richard Solwold, the only son of Herbert and Sadie.  It was taken in the snowy woods on the north side of the Solwold house.

Richard Solwold

Herbert was married three times.  After Sadie passed away in 1941 he married Marian Taylor also called "Georgie" in 1943.  Georgie died in 1972 and that same year Herbert married Connie Danielson.   Connie lived until 1983.  Herb said that he had no plans to remarry again and was quite happy to live with Connie's son, Floyd, and wife, Helen Danielson, in Swisshome, Oregon.  "They are taking good care of me," he said when I talked with him in 1987. 

Herb passed away on 9 December 1989.  In a short history of his life written by Mrs. Bailey of Dosewallips, Washington he was described as the oldest living native son of the Brinnon area, Jefferson County, Washington.  Herb was still surf fishing in the Pacific Ocean in his 97th year but he got a blood clot in his leg and was hospitalized for a short time before he died.  When he was 95 he walked all around the Brinnon area telling stories of his parents pioneering days and "walked the legs off" people half his age.  He had 6 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  When I visited with him he did indeed fit the description "sharp as a tack" and full of fun.  I feel very privileged to have met and visited with him.



To help family members place the individuals I will try and connect them beginning with
* Agnes Allpress was the daughter of Gunnie Osmun Swanson and granddaughter of Osmund Baardsen Gåseflå who was the husband of (Store) Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes.  Because she was so tiny when she was born Gunnie was nicknamed "Bitta" by her siblings. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 165

Hallstatt, shown on the postcard above, is a small picturesque town approximately a two-hour or less drive from Salzburg, Austria.  We were absolutely stunned by the beauty of this place with the lake, mountains, and traditional Austrian alpine buildings.  A scenic delight for the traveler.  This region was historically very wealthy because of the discovery of salt.  Salt was used as a preservative as well as a seasoning and a valuable commodity.  We did not do it but it is possible to tour the mine located above the main area of the city.   A pipeline to transport the salt brine to Ebensee was built 400 years ago from 13,000 hollowed out trees.  Salt production still plays an important part in the economy of the village, as does tourism. 

 Until 1890 it was only possible to reach Hallstatt by boat or narrow mountain trails.  There are two parking lots accessed by tunnel under the mountain behind the town.  The village itself has only narrow lanes for pedestrians and a few delivery vehicles and local residents. 

 There are still boat tours across the lake

We saw several swans in the lake and even boats like the one above that look like swans big enough for small groups of people but these are more for recreation than necessity. 

Notice the steep stairway on the left side of the photo above

The houses and buildings look like they are stacked one upon another and cling precariously to the mountainside using what seems like every available inch of land.  Many dwellings can only be reached by very steep stairways.  We climbed up and down the stairs to get better views of the lake, the village and the churches.   At one time there was a fire here that destroyed several buildings and in remembrance of the event, the lives and property lost the building where the fire started is always painted red.  Many of the other buildings are painted pastel colors or are natural wood.  Almost all had flower or window boxes.  One house had old hand tools hung on the outside walls.  And for those who have heard the song “Edelweiss” from the movie “The Sound of Music” and never seen the blossom we spotted a basket of them with an identifying sign in front of a small shop. 

Because of the topography there is limited burial space requiring bones to be exhumed every ten years or so and placed in an ossuary to make room for new burials.  Although we did not visit it, the ossuary is open for tours and has a collection of decorated skulls with names, professions, death dates on display.  

We planned to return to the hotel in Salzburg that evening so we chose to visit the museum and get an overview of the culture, growth, and history rather than do separate tours of the ossuary and the salt mine. Iron Age Hallstatt is a World Heritage Site for Cultural Heritage.

In the museum we saw displays depicting how the people lived and worked here from about 7,000 years ago until the present time.  There have been several mine disasters some that necessitated the closure of selected tunnels.  At one time a large mudslide came down the mountain and into the mine tunnels filling everything. Fortunately not many workers were in the mine at the time of the slide.   Artifacts have been recovered including shoes, tools, and even bodies that were preserved by the salt and mud.  The systematic method used in Hallstatt to recover items of archeological significance is now also employed elsewhere.


For additional information, see:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gold Creek Trail

Gold Creek Trail

These pictures are from the Gold Creek Trail, the most recent hike, near Snoqualmie Pass.  About halfway up the trail enters the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  Gold Pond along this trail was one of the first places we hiked to when Bob was healing from his broken leg a year ago.  It is also one of the places selected as a Mountaineer cross-country ski trip when I was taking lessons last winter.  

The first section of the trail is an old logging road so it is wide and fairly even.  It is a pretty area and not much elevation gain but the trail is very rocky in places and we ended up going 6.2 miles round trip.  The trail condition and the distance pushed me from an “easy” or “very easy” hike to the moderate category. 

As we hoped there was more color on the hills.  Although we expected rain it stayed nice all day.  We heard birds, saw chipmunks, heard picas, and found plenty of mushrooms again.  

 Aside from some hardy Pearly everlasting we only saw a couple of other flowers still in the last stages of bloom until we came upon this little blue flower (as yet unidentified).  

Lunch by the creek with no other people around was peaceful and quiet. 

As we returned to the parking area we passed by Gold Pond but did not stop to see if there were migrating birds there.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Talapus Lake

We have taken a couple of hikes since the city waterfall and fountain walk.  The first one was to Talapus Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Snoqualmie Pass.  This was about a 4 mile round trip with a 750 foot elevation gain through forest to a beautiful lake. 

It is possible to continue on the trail for several more miles encountering other lakes but 4 miles has been about my limit so we stopped at Talapus Lake, had lunch, and then returned to the trailhead. 

The trail is mostly nice packed dirt and in places there are boardwalks over what will be marshy ground during the rainy season. 

In one place we had to climb over a downed tree and in a couple of other places it was open space enough we had to look carefully to make sure we were still on a trail.  Notice Bob's lederhosen and alpine hat, perfect attire for a hike anywhere not just in Austria.

New logs had been hauled in and stacked up make much-needed repairs to creek crossings.  The bridges were slick because they were wet and some had gaps that would have been scary if the drop had been deeper and the water running higher.

Lots of mushrooms, some autumn colors on the hillsides, and still some water in the creeks.  The weather was good in the mountains the day we did this hike. 

We stopped at Boehm’s Candy store in Issaquah on the way home and loaded up on chocolate covered marzipan.