If you spent any part of your childhood in Eatonville, you fished at the Kids’ Pond.
For almost 60 years, kids have stood shoulder to shoulder on the opening day of fishing season, casting their lines — half the time hooking a tree branch or a nearby kid — to get their limit of trout.
The pond got its start back in March, 1952. At a Thursday night Lyons Club meeting George Smallwood — former mayor of Eatonville and Fish and Wildlife Manager — suggested the town could use a fishing pond for children.
Everyone must have thought this was an exceptional idea because by that Sunday, the pond was a reality. All that was missing were the fish.
Whirlwind of Activity
Councilman John Swanson got the ball rolling. A spot was chosen on Weyerhaeuser land just outside town and Weyerhaeuser gave the project a “thumbs up” (approval being obviously a less rigorous process back then).
The Eatonville airport was going in nearby and Swanson brought down his bulldozer and asked Ray Treadwell to start digging.
The other men got busy slashing bush and making paths. By sundown all that was left to do was some cleanup.
The Dispatch reported, “Sunday [Swanson] was out enlisting aid . . . and by sundown a pond nine feet deep and about an acre in area was finished. The pond will be stocked by the state game commission this year.”
Land For Sale
In 1986 Weyerhaeuser put the land up for sale. The price tag was $75,00.00. Edith Erickson, in her book Timber Town and Later, said, “After much discussion at three council meetings, it was decided to buy it on a 15-year contract at 11 percent interest.”
The town soon after renamed the Kids’ Pond “George Smallwood Memorial Park”.
Next time you’re at the pond, check out the channels going to and from. Tom Smallwood, (George Smallwood’s son) says the men originally dug a channel from Lynch Creek to feed water to the pond and dug another to take the water back out. The State eventually said it had to be damned up, but now you know the “rest of the story”.