As you can probably tell from the posts on this blog, I’ve got a thing for Ohop Valley. It’s in no small part because I live there, my parents lived there and my grandparents moved there to farm in the 1940s.
I’m always buying postcard on Ebay. But the ones I like best are the ones that have been mailed. This works out great, because for some reason they are usually the most inexpensive.
For Ohop Valley, I like to see what people where doing back then. In this case, the writer was doing a LOT of canning. And it’s also great to confirm the date on of the photo taken.
Here are two postcards — one mailed September 29, 1913, (the same time Houdini is performing for people in a straightjacket) and one I believe is about 50 years later taken in the 1960s. Fifty years between these post cards and the valley looks amazingly the same. Kind of nice.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Ohop Valleywas populated with Norwegians — like Ingbrick and Marie Jacobson and daughter Signe Keller. This family lived in one of the original homes still standing, near the Pioneer Farm.
In this shot of the valley, their farm is located in the upper right. You can see the barn clearly, although it has recently fallen.
His daughter, Mary (Burwash) Chalberg says, “Springtime on the farm was always one of my favorite seasons. Mom [Carolyn Burwash] would be happily cleaning flower beds and planting and Pop could finally get out and work the ground. Here he is plowing with the John Deere Model M. This picture was taken in the mid to late 70’s.”
It’s that time of year. Looking around for a few Christmasy shots from years past. Here are a a couple from the Peterson family, taken at the Peterson farm in Ohop Valley. There are no house,barns and cows, as the land is now part of the Nisqually Land Trust. But in the the 40s and 50s, there was plenty of holiday spirit taking place.
The first shot is of Linda Lewis and Al with the Christmas tree. The second is Linda Lewis and her sister Cathy during a winter snowfall.
Martin Burwash writes this about his photos of Johnny Larson . . .
Ever wonder what a real northwest pioneer actually looked like? Well here you go. This is Johnny Larson. He and my Grandpa [Matt] Kjelstad were boyhood friends and neighbors in Ohop Valley, southeast of Tacoma. Together with the other pioneering people in the valley, they straightened the creek, cleared the trees, drained the ground and turned a swamp into farmland.
Like many, they had day jobs and farmed as well. My grandpa was a carpenter, Johnny was a logger. As near as I can tell, I took this photo in 1963 or 64. Johnny was in his mid-sixties, terribly hard of hearing and had a hunched backed. Within a couple of years he would be dead, killed in a logging accident.
[The home is still standing today in Ohop Valley.)
These two postcards are an early look at the building (in 1922 a second story was added). The first photo shows a brand new building and the spectacular view of Mount Rainieracross Ohop Valley.
The second postcard is a more unique shot. Instead of a shot of Mount Rainier, it shows the view from the restaurant looking down the other direction of the valley. At the far left, Torger Perterson’s house is visible and you can see hay stacked, ready to come in (before the introduction of bailing hay).
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out Martin Burwash’s blog, Rambling West, I highly recommend it. He’s a spectacular photographer and this past week he posted about his family that homesteaded in Ohop Valley. I’m sharing some of that information with you now.
This first post is about his mom, Carolyn (Kjelstad) Burwash.
“This is a photo taken of my Mom back in 1970. If my math is correct and memory clear, I believe she would have been 84 today. She passed away about 4 years ago.
The Old Man was a hard worker, but Mom was the one with the driven work ethic. I think I get my work-a-holic ways from her. This shot of her on her knees, weeding the big garden at the farm was taken on the 4th of July. I remember Dad was up on the front porch taking a break before we went to the annual Grange picnic. Not so Mom. She had finished frying 6 chickens for the feast, and while they browned in the oven, with still an hour or so before we left, she took her weed box and trowel, and went to the garden, with me in tow. I snuck away long enough to take this shot, before she was able to look up and realize I had skipped out.
Mom was well read, an accomplished musician, a very intelligent woman, and a career housewife. When I say career, I mean that in a very industrial/corporate sense of the word. She worked at that job with the same vigor, seriousness and intensity modern women put into their careers outside of the home. By any standards, our house in Tacoma was a “shack,” but under Mom’s care the interior was immaculate, not a blade of grass out of place in the large yard. Later, when she and the Old Man moved back out to the farm, her childhood home, we used to tease her. The lawn in front of the big old farmhouse under her care was referred to as “the putting green.”
So if I work long hours at the mill. If I spend 7 months out of the year farming nights after work and week-ends. If during the winter months I spend my week-ends out in the fields weeding, it’s not my fault.