Robin Hood Days (1954)

Robin Hood Days - Eatonville's Men in Tights (1954)
Robin Hood Days – Eatonville’s Glen Hicker, orignal Men in Tights (1954)

Robin Hood Days

When the Eatonville mill closed its doors in the 1950s, people worried that the town might not survive. Operation Bootstrap began — a community effort to keep the doors open. One of many thing things that came out of Bootstrap was Robin Hood Days.

The idea was to build the community into “a state archery center” and create an event that would bring people to Eatonville. On March 18, 1954, the Dispatch reported, “Robin Hood Days would be a magnet to draw archers not only from this state, but also from neighboring states.”

Gearing Up
The town was enthusiastic and embraced the event. At a March 22, 1954 Bootstrap meeting, the minutes read that “Shirley Daniels (Maid Marion) came equipped with bow, arrow, and all the paraphernalia for Robin Hood Days. We were very impressed and decided that everyone should surely cooperate if we could look as jaunty as she.”

Robinhood Days - Kids at Fish pond 1954
Robinhood Days – Kids at Fish pond 1954 (Kids: LtoR John Hightower, unknown, Phil Grove, Gary Hicker, boy behind counter unknown, second boy behind counter Bill Morrison, Janet Hicks. Adult: Leona Hamilton)

Martha Parrish, said she and other women sewed countless hats and vests from bolts of corduroy, preparing for the event.

The word went out far and wide. Mr. William Tone, Chairman of Operation Bootstrap, even invited the President. A letter from the White House reads,

“We are waiting the arrival of the “Robin Hood” hats, which you stated were being mailed for the President’s grandchildren.

“It is indeed inspiring that your community, despite the numerous handicaps you mentioned, has instituted what you term “Operation Bootstrap” in a self-help program with notable success. The President appreciates your kindness in telling him about the remarkable progress you and your fellow-townsmen have made through your own efforts.”

Robin Hood Days Program cover (1954)
Robin Hood Days Program cover (1954)

Ambitious Program
On August 19, 20 and 21 Robin Hood Days were held and included:
• archery events, like shooting from the saddle
• vaudeville and archery clowns
• a William Tell reenactment with a “state champion archer shooing an apple from the head of a small boy”. (I’m curious who volunteered their child for this.)
• a beef barbecue put on by Edwin Haarstad.
• shooting fish in a barrel (Presumably with a bow and arrow.)
• bow versus guns — Washington state archers versus the Pierce County Sheriff
• a pageant held in the football field where townspeople played out the legend of Robin Hood and his merry men. (My mom, Kathy Mettler, played one of Maid Marion’s maidens one year.)
• a street dance following the pageant.

Robin Hood Day Parade (Bootstrap) 1954
Robin Hood Day Parade (Bootstrap) 1954

The event only lasted a handful of years. That’s too bad. This sounds like a heck of a lot of fun — the town dressed up in tights once of year with arrows flying around. It beats the heck out of Leavenworth and the lederhosen.

Images courtesy of Rich and Ruthie Williams.

Click on images to enlarge.

12 responses to “Robin Hood Days (1954)”

  1. Hi Di,

    The person in the lower right corner of the Robin Hood Day Parade picture (The back of her head) is Ruthie. She was envious because her older sister Jean Ann got to march in the parade. Her mother Madge took these pictures.


  2. I stumbled onto this site and it sure brings back memories. In 1954 I played the part of Robin Hood. I remember the Daniel’s family and at that time Mr. tone who was the High School principle being very involved. Mrs. Daniels made my costume. It was alot of fun going to the various promotional functions, such as meeting the governor in Olympia, being on tv in Seattle, mock battle with the Seattle Seafair pirates, being in the Daffodil Parade on Eatonville’s float and the pageant at Eatonville Ball field. Many years have passed by but the memories still linger. Dick Logston


  3. I have a picture of the Eatonville Lumber co. work force during world war two, and a couple pictures of the Eatonville Basketball team who lost to Monroe in the 1952 state championship game. If you would like I will scan them or mail them to you, but would like them back. Let me know if I can help with thie site. Dick Logston


    • That would be GREAT. If you want to scan them and email them to me, then there won’t be risk of losing them in the mail. I’m also up at Eatonville every day getting mail and/or having lunch, so I could always meet you somewhere too. 🙂


  4. I will scan them for you. The picture of the mill workers is very wide and will only scan half at a time so hope you can work with that. I live in Aberdeen, my brother has lived in Eatonville all his life. We grew up one mile out on the Linch Creek road on a twenty five acre farm. That property today has been subdivided and has many homes on it. Dick L.


  5. Ican remember being in several archery contests and winning prize arrow. Quiver and arm guard. So much fun. Great picture of my Aunt Leona


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