Authors’ books will be available in the Museum Gift Shop and at the lectures. JCHS members receive a 10% discount on books purchases and all museum gift shop merchandise.

Video recordings and transcripts of First Friday Lectures are available at the JCHS Research Center.

First Friday Lectures 2017

Unless noted our Friday Lectures Start at 7:00 p.m. and are held in the historic Port Townsend City Council Chambers, 540 Water Street, 360-385-1003. Suggested donation: $5.00.

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Wooden Boat Festival. Photo by George Leionen

November: Wooden Boat Festival Beginnings

Sailmaker Carol Hasse, owner of Hasse & Company Port Townsend Sails and one of the founders of the Wooden Boat Festival, will talk about the festival’s history and growth with a panel of other speakers at the First Friday Lecture on November 3.  Joining her will be current Wooden Boat Foundation Festival and Events director, Barb Trailer, and former director of the Wooden Boat Foundation, Kaci Cronkhite.  The panel will include other participants who took part in the development of the festival.  Audience participation and story sharing is encouraged.

The first Wooden Boat Festival was held in 1977.  At that time Point Hudson, where the festival is located, was sleeper, funkier, and populated by idealistic young boat makers and craftsmen.  Point Hudson had been discovered just a few years earlier by boat-dwelling members of the counter culture who, rather than going back to the land like many of their generation, went to sea for the freedom and connection to nature.  Some learned skills to build and repair their boats and set up shops in reasonably-priced Point Hudson's historic structures. 

Hasse, who had learned sail making from traditional master Franz Schattauer, was working for Ron Harrow in his sail loft on the second floor of the old Armory Building (she would buy the business the following year).  Sam Connor had a boat building shop on the ground floor.  When Connor heard rumors that Wooden Boat magazine writer, Tim Snider, was scouting west coast locations for a new type of boat show that focused on learning wooden boat crafts, he contacted Snider and encouraged him to consider Port Townsend. 

Port Townsend and Point Hudson were perfect for the new festival. The first, in September of 1977, was a roaring success.  Eight hundred visitors were optimistically expected; instead, 3,000 wooden boat fans and 200 boats showed up.  Every year attendance grows; now over 30,000 people and 300 boats participate.  Even with the larger crowds, Hasse feels that each festival is as magical and inspiring as the very first one.

Some legendary stories, as well as almost forgotten memories, will be shared at the November 3 First Friday Lecture.  The lecture will start at 7:00 in the historic City Council Chambers at 540 Water Street in Port Townsend. 

Olympic Hot SpringsOctober: Olympic Hot Springs

Author Theresa Schoenfall will present the history of the Olympic Hot Springs at the First Friday Lecture on October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Port Townsend’s City Council Chambers at 540 Water Street.

Now a popular hiking destination, in the 1920s the Olympic Hot Springs was a resort with a lodge, furnished cabins, and a swimming pool.  Originally discovered in 1892 by Andrew Jacobsen, the site was stumbled upon by Billy Everett, “Slim” Farrell, and Charlie Anderson in 1907 when they were on a hunting trip. 

The men began to develop the site, which opened to the public in 1909 with Everett as the proprietor.  The resort was popular and thrived.  In 1940, the Olympic National Park annexed the hot springs.  After a heavy snowfall collapsed most of the buildings’ roofs, the resort was closed and the remaining buildings raised in 1966.  All that remains are seven pools that are just a foot deep.

Schoenfall has an insider’s view of the history of the hot springs; her family owned and operated the Olympic Hot Springs resort for 60 years.  Her book, The Olympic Hot Springs, is available through Arcadia Publishing.

September: Lighthouse Poetry

Glynda Peterson Schaad will present “The Art & Poetry of May Macleod Pitt” for the First Friday Lecture on September 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Port Townsend’s historic City Hall at 540 Water Street.

May Macleod Pitt, her husband, and children were lighthouse keepers on Destruction Island in the early 1900s.  The idea of living year round on a rugged, isolated, Washington coast island drew Schaad and her co-writer and brother, Gary Peterson, to start researching Pitt’s life.  Their search was further stimulated by the discovery of Pitt’s poetry, which was shown to them by Pitt’s granddaughter. 

Schaad and Peterson are well suited to research Pitt’s life.  They’ve written about many historic Olympic Peninsula women, including their grandmother Minnie Peterson, a well-known guide, outfitter, and packer who led trips into the high Olympic Mountains wilderness.  Her story is told in High Divide: Minnie Peterson’s Olympic Mountain Adventures (The Early Years 1915-1962).

Describing her connection to the Olympic Peninsula, Schaad said, “Obviously, the roots are deep.  I’m a fifth generation descendent of Washington Territory.  My dad, Oscar, and my mom, Wilma, are 95 and 92 respectively, and still live on the family farm in Forks.”  Gary Peterson lives on Minnie’s homestead.

Women to Reckon With was published in 2007 but Schaad and Peterson continue to find interesting stories.  May Macleod Pitt’s is one of them.  Her story will be included in the next volume of Women to Reckon With.  Schaad’s First Friday Lecture will include Pitt’s life story and a reading of some of her poetry. 

August: Sharing Stories of the Food Co-op

The First Friday Lecture on August 4, will be “Sharing Stories - the Food Co-op.” A panel of current and long-time Food Co-op members, including Grant Logg, Bernie Donanberg, and Ana Wolpin, will tell stories of their time at the Co-op. The audience members may then share their stories or ask questions.

The Food Co-op has been in business for almost 50 years. It started in the spring of 1970 in Grant Logg’s store, Funk Candle, in the N.D. Hill building space currently occupied by Pacific Traditions Gallery. Logg went to Seattle and bought some rice candies, a few bags of beans and some grains which he sat around the shop. “About two months later, someone at the Health Department came and they said, ‘Oh, you’ve got food. You should put those beans up on the shelf anyway.’ Tough bunch,” Logg said in a JCHS oral history.

Logg was joined by some friends who thought they should get a bit more organized and form a co-op. They moved uptown to Tyler Street into the space that’s now Pane d’Amore, got a big pot belly stove for heat, and incorporated as the Food Co-op in 1972.

By the time Gale Wallis, who will be leading the First Friday discussion, arrived in Port Townsend in December of 1983, the co-op was over ten years old. By then it was in a renovated old bus barn where it had moved in 1979. Wallis was a bit different from the young people with counter culture sympathies who were being drawn to Port Townsend in the 70s and early 80s. “I came from L.A. wearing pantyhose and stiletto heels,” said Wallis. She joined the Food-Coop soon after coming to Port Townsend. “They were hungry for people who could run a cash register. I was a CPA at the time and could handle a cash register,” said Wallis.

The Co-op continued to grow and change until an even larger space was necessary. In 2001, the Co-op moved into their current location which had been a bowling alley. In 2005, they bought the building.

Gale Wallis has witnessed decades of changes and can still be found at the cash register.“The Co-op truly has shaped my life. I learned so much just sitting there listening to people talk in a way I’d never heard before and that shaped me,” said Wallis.

Somethings change but somethings stay the same. “Grant Logg comes through my line at the Co-op and I scan his tofu along with everyone else’s,” said Wallis.

July: Marrowstone Island History

Marrowstone Island historian Karen Russell with be the speaker at the First Friday Lecture at 7:00 p.m. on July 7. Russell is the author of Marrowstone, which she co-wrote with fellow islander Jeanne Bean.

The book began as a small project to discover the history of the Nordland Garden Club which Russell had joined after settling on the island in 1973 when her husband left the Navy.

“I was the program chairman and I thought it would be interesting to find out the history of the club because I was a new member to the community. I couldn’t find very much information on the island,” said Russell.

The lack of information available to Russell was overcome by interviewing charter members of the garden club. Because the club was founded was in 1937 many of the charter members were still very much alive and had interesting stories to tell. The history Russell compiled of the club was so well received that she decided to continue researching, assembling a short history of the island. Jeanne Bean, another island newcomer, volunteered to help with the project.

The short history kept growing as Russell and Bean searched courthouse records, conducted interviews, and looked through early editions of the Leader. Two and a half years later they published Marrowstone.

The book was published in 1978 but Russell is still gathering Marrowstone Island history. “You can’t help but research sometimes,” said Russell who continued to collect oral histories from the island.

June: Art Talk with Linda Okazaki

Linda Okazaki

Painter Linda Okazaki will be the First Friday speaker on June 2. Her brightly-colored watercolor and oil paintings explore and expand on a foundation of figurative painting to create a distinctive style. She continually experiments with an intersection of personal narrative, the dream world, and the playful – and sometimes dark – part of the creative spirit.

Water and the landscapes of Washington are a source of inspiration for Okazaki. The Chinese Gardens are a favorite subject. “I know it’s not a real pond but I love watching all the different colors – it’s brown, it’s green, it’s orange, it’s pink, it’s blue. I feel like I could paint that the rest of my life,” said Okazaki.

Okazaki, a Port Townsend resident since 1980, has an MFA from Washington State University where she taught in the Fine Arts Department. She currently teaches at the Port Townsend School of Art but her main focus is the hours she spends in her studio. Okazaki’s paintings are in many collections including The Seattle Art Museum Northwest Collection, The Washington State Arts Commission, and The Jefferson Museum of Art & History.

Okazaki’s work is on exhibit until July 1st at The Virginia Inn at 1937 1st Avenue in Seattle where she and other artists who were showing work in Pioneer Square in the mid-70s congregated. The exhibit, a visual feast titled “Come to the Table,” is inspired by food, imagination, and the rich tradition of daily domestic ritual that encircle the table.

Her work is also on display in the exhibit “Pat and Peter Simpson: Collectors & Patrons” at the Jefferson Museum of Art & History.

Okazaki will present an overview of her work and discuss how her early ideas still resonate in her contemporary paintings. She will show the stream of thematic ideas that travel through her work and some of the images from life and other painters that she references.

May: Native American History

On May 5 Barb Laski will present a program is entitled “On Whose Land We Stand”. She will describe life before the first Euro-American settlers and the major influences affecting the lives of native persons during the 19th century. She will talk about Indian relationships with fur traders and early settlers, the realities of the 1855 Point No Point Treaty, chief Chetzemoka, and why the newest Washington State ferry is named the Chemakum.

Laski, a white woman, said: “Do I genuinely wish that a native person were delivering this presentation instead of me? Absolutely! Nonetheless, we need to start somewhere to reframe our history to dispel misconceptions.” She has spent three years doing intensive research, visiting tribes, studying in Jamestown’s Heron Hall and Port Gamble’s Little Boston library. She has worked closely with cultural leaders of the Makah, Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Lower Elwha Klallam, and Suquamish tribes to create the experiential course for adults entitled “Honoring Our Local Tribes.”

Laski is originally from Hartford, Connecticut and played basketball for the University of Connecticut. She is a graduate of Harvard Business School, an executive manager with Fortune 500 firms, and a health care strategy consultant. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, supporting social justice, interfaith, and environmental initiatives. She and her husband Art Carpenter and their three dogs love the Pacific Northwest.

April: Stephen Yates Art Talk

Stephen Yates at work

Long time local, Stephen Yates's work is widely collected. He has shown in 26 solo exhibits and over 130 group exhibits. After completing his MFA (University of Kansas) in 1980, he moved to Port Townsend where he has actively pursued his art career. Certain themes reoccur in his imagery; abstracted views of the natural world, especially water and plant forms, are found in most pieces. Gestural brushwork and many small brushstrokes are combined with fluid, uncontrolled passages and bold colors to suggest energy and movement.

March: The Truth and I

Paula BeckerHumanities Washington speaker Paula Becker will present “The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of Memoir” at the First Friday Lecture on March 3.

Paula Becker is the award-winning author of Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I and co-author of The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy. She is featured in the documentary film When Seattle Invented the Future: The 1962 World’s Fair which aired on PBS stations nationwide. She has written for HistoryLink.org since 2001 and is a staff historian.

February: Protection Island

Protection Island

How does Protection Island differ today from when Europeans first explored it? Wildlife biologist Sollmann Lorenz will discuss that question at the First Friday Lecture on February 3.

Lorenz is particularly excited about overseeing the prairie restoration at Dungeness and Protection Island. Lorenz said, “What did the eyes see back in 1792? What can be seen today? Come on a journey and discover the past, present, and future vision for Protection Island. We’ll look at the island as a whole considering the wildlife and the habitat that makes this island such a wonderful jewel in the Salish Sea.”