Packwood Area




These memories were originally contributed to the Shopper about 2002 by longtime Packwood resident, 

   Packwood Lumber truck driver, local and Nashville singer-songwriter Johnny Mullins (1943-2009). 

Editor Dave Bunting has also contributed to the list.


Note by Johnnie Mullins when he first contributed these:
“Reflecting on memories of by gone days, I find very refreshing---especially after the events of Sept. 11. The roots of my raising in the Big Bottom Valley run deeper than the deepest fishing hole in the Cowlitz River, and I feel truly blessed. Getting lost in the 50’s and 60’s keeps me ever so humble and a smile to my face. I hope reading this will bring a smile to yours.”


Do You Remember-

• the snowstorm of ‘49 and ‘50?

• when Packwood was called Lewis?

• the huckleberry camps on Davis Mountain?

• the Cowlitz River without Dams?

• a basketball team called the Packwood Jacks?

• when horses were used for logging on the Gifford Pinchot?

• a Dude Ranch now High Valley Golf Course?

• when eagles along the Cowlitz were as common as robins?

• when taverns were closed on Sunday?

• a school teacher manning Tatoosh Mountain lookout named Martha Hardy?

• when you never had to lock your doors at night?

• working hayfields for $1 or less an hour?

• the rodeo grounds and trap shooting range across the road from the Packwood Mill?

• Andy Brown’s mule chewing tobacco?

• Saturday night dancing at the Blue Spruce Tavern?

• a homestead on the Cowlitz River called “Rusty’s Island”?

• Ethel White Real Estate of Packwood?

• Johnson Island at the end of what is now Stover Road?

• rafting shake bolts down the river from Johnson Island?

• a country western band called ‘The Sneed Family’?

• the Christian tent revivals along Highway 12?

• when you could drive from Packwood to Highway 99 without meeting one car?

• Ralph Knutson's restaurant of all native wood interior and handmade furnishings where Cruiser's Pizza is now?

• “August’s (Slenkamp) Shack” firewatch camp up Willame Creek Road above the twin culverts?

• Cowlitz Indians and Packwood residents Jim and Annie Yoke?

• the huge Annual Packwood Barbecues at La Wis Wis that required hired sheriff's reserve deputies to control parking along and across the highway and school buses to ferry from the parking to the barbecue?

• Johnny Mullins, Eddie Music, Donnie Morris and their bands?

• Sherman Combs, his post office and museum where the library is now, and his water system?

• the fish hatchery at La Wis Wis?

• the fish hatchery at the mouth of Hall Creek using water from the intake at the foot of Johnson Creek?

• the handcrank and No. 9 bare wire telephone system that connected Packwood mill, businesses, homes, school, all the lookouts, all the logging operations and the Packwood, Randle, Tieton, Ohanapecosh and White River Ranger Stations?

• the Club Cafe of Irv and Hemmie Kuhnhausen? Their waitresses Birdie Dessell, Rita Springer, Mary Lou Morgan, Barb Kuhnhausen and others?

• the Bucket ‘O Blood tavern predecessor to the Club Cafe?

• the old 2-story community hall at Main & Haines, more recently the "ski lodge?"

• electric power supplied to Packwood by the mill’s Hager Creek hydroelectric plant and how all lights in town dimmed every time their saw cut into a big log?

• Clyde Balch, his logging operations, and his wife Connie Balch Combs Baker, his son Jay and daughter Kay, and his logging foreman _______?

• Johnson Creek Logging Co.’s camp at the foot of Johnson Creek Road?

• Harold “Harley” Averill, ranger station fireboss, his plane and hangar at the airstrip?

• the Summit Creek coal mine?

• the road Averill and Doug Scott built from Summit Creek Campground to the top of the Coal Mine Property on Laurel (Cortright) Ridge?

• Mill headsaw operator Bernard Miller?

• Packwood U.S. Forest Service District Rangers and other employees including Bill Sethe and wife Carrie, Fritz Morrison, Roger Stamie, Kelly Coon, Jack Fowler, Hugh Koetje, John Czemerys, Cal Dunnell, Jack Cheney, many others?

• Forester and Fire Commissioner Wyman Ross and wife Gail?

• John Mackevich and Willard Latimer’s J & W Logging and Trucking?

• John Moorcroft Logging and road construction? His father Ralph and mother Rhoda, wife Zelma Blankenship Moorcroft and sons Jim, Roy and Gerald?  John as longtime school board member including during construction of the “new” school in the 1950’s??

• Packwood Grade School with enrollment of over 150?

White Pass Country Museum

Packwood 8th Grade 1961-1962


• Teachers _______ Coburn, Louis Shores and many others?

• Richard D. “Crow” Goble

• Sam Neukirk of Packwood Heights and daughter Jean Neukirk Styers, Ranger Station Clerk?

• the Packwood Lake Power Project?

• the early 1960’s construction of the “new” highway U.S. 12?

• Doug Scott and his logging operations and firefighting water tankers?

• the Tumac Mineral Springs bottling plant at Soda Springs?

• Ed Cheney Chevron?

• George Morgan and his service station where Beslow Auto Parts is now?

• the regular fly-in breakfasts by pilots and planes at the airstrip?

• construction of the Packwood Community Hall by volunteers and donations from Uno Ostrom, owner of Packwood Lumber?

• Charlie Wagner’s sausages?

• the little theater productions by Cowlitz Curtain Callers?

• the __________ Dance Club?

• Packwood street lights being turned off when contributions weren't enough and how black dark the town became after dark?

• all of the Forest Service Rangers responding to help the volunteer fire department on all fire alarms?

• the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs Resort, baths, cabins and lodge at Ohanapecosh?

• the old little firehall where Packwood ACE hardware's warehouse is now?

• the Packwood Cafe and Trophy Room?

• the Packwood rodeos across from the mill?

• the big fire that burned the big timber of the valley and almost the town, with Jim Fults atop the school, saving it by putting out falling embers with a hose?

• Howard and Irene Anderson? And Howard’s horse and mule packtrains including one string of over 100 animals guiding U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas through the Goat Rocks?

• Packer Andy Brown and their horse operations on Snyder Road?

• Billy Packwood’s coal mine?

• The Klassey family who lived near the mill, and whose son found hundreds of arrow heads and other artifacts along Hall Creek?

• the old 2-story ranger station where the ranger station is now, and the even older ranger station on Main Street?

• "Doc Andy" and Ann Andersons' High Valley Dude Ranch across from where High Valley clubhouse is now?

• Dr. Mary Anderson and her place with its huge country kitchen, where The Inn at Tatoosh Meadows is now.

• Hogan's cabins where the Four Square Church is now?

• the old Baptist Church at the corner of Main and Rainier?

• Elmer and Fred Hornquist?

• P. R. Johnson of Mt. View Lodge

 Kenny Short and his truck shop

 Bobby and Buck Morrison and their Morrison Brothers Logging

• Tom Lyda Logging

• Harry Potter

• H. Bee Blankenship (the first baby born in the valley)

• Art and Kay Webster

• Scotty and Jesse Mullins

• Bill Poston

• Larry and Charlotte Ostrom

• Mill owner Ben Niedermeyer

• Cotton Brothers and Packwood Lumber owners Walt and John Cotton and their company logging civil engineer and land surveyor Bob Brown?

• Johnson Creek Logging Co. and it's big camp at the foot of Johnson Creek Road?

• Skate Creek Logging Co. and its big camp near the north end of Skate Creek Road?

• Kay's Drive-In? Her waitresses Bernadine Mullins and Susie Bowen?

• Martha Hardy, her books, her smiles and her camera?

• Hiram Matchett and John Panco of Matchett & Panco Crushing and Gravel?

• Myrtle Baines and her gas station and cabins across from where Cruiser's Pizza is now?

• Clara Thompson and her son and their gas station and cabins across from where Cruisers Pizza is now?

• George and Emily Phillips and their gas station where the Cornerstone Rock Shop is now?

• Ernie and Bugs Johnson and their Johnson Brothers Texaco across from where Blantons is now?

• Harold's (Blanton) Recreation, and Charlie's (Lane) Place where Peters Inn is now?

• Ed Cheney and his Chevron station where Cougar and Val's is now?

• the Coal Creek Yacht Club restaurant where Coal Creek Motel is now?

• Brook Haines and Packwood Mercantile and Packwood Cafe?

• Toad Blankenship and Packwood Mercantile, Coal Creek Cafe, horse logging and cougar hunting?

• the Packwood Lake Power Project?

PackPly Veneer where Packwood Lumber's shop was more recently?

• the old "shortcut" road between Craig and Willame Creek Roads, which connected those roads before the Packwood end of the Skate Creek Road was built?

• the old bridge across the river between what are now Turner Road and Elkhorn Drive?

• Rhoda Moorcroft and her superb cooking at the ranger station cook shack?

• the homesteads at the foot of Willame Creek and the road from them to what is now Craig Road?

• Markel Cain and his White Pass Garbage Co.?

• the swinging bridge at La Wis Wis?

• Bob's Trading Post with Bob Baker, many employees including Violet Smith and many butchers including Stan Lawrence, Mike Robb and sausagemaker Charlie Wagner?

• "Crit" Crittendon and his Packaway Market where the pharmacy was more recently, and how "Crit" gave all mill workers credit one winter when the mill had to close right before Christmas?

• the Old Settlers' Picnics, a few tables in the park at Sherman Combs' museum, now the library, which were the beginning of the Annual Labor Day Flea Mart?

• firemen including Bob MacGuire and others- far too many to name?

• pastors including Clarence Meyers, Robert and Louella Marquis, George and Shirley Merrin and many others?

• Evan Blankenship’s cattle drives through Packwood driving up in the spring and back in the fall from the grazing allotments on Dixon and Tatoosh Mountains?

• Tom Lyda Logging?

• Packwood Lumber woods bosses Johnny Reichel and Pud Severns?

• Morrison Brothers Logging (Tubby and ______)?


More fond memories? Send them to the White Pass Country Historical Society. Your new information should be emailed to:     ., or mailed to: White Pass Country Historical Society, P. O. Box 958, Packwood WA 98361.