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2022 - A year in Review

February 16, 2023

Dear Mayor Hansen & Council Members

 2022 saw the Ferndale Heritage Society being able to revive some programs and continue some projects that had been on hold because of the pandemic. The Education Program under the Supervision of Julie Aamot was able to begin again in a small way. They were able to host about 100 students and adults from private schools.

The spring plant sale (since it’s an outdoor event) was held, and the proceeds were used to hire a seasonal gardener to take care of the flower beds around the cabins and near the entrance to Pioneer Park.

In July we again helped the Old Settlers Association host the cabins during the Pioneer Days event. Cabins were open a limited number of hours each day and only cabins that had volunteers were open.

The Tillicum House and Log Church rentals are again available. The Heritage Society has limited the rentals to daytime (8:am – 6:pm) use only.

Louise Sager was able to finally complete a “100 years of Fashion Show” which had been originally scheduled for spring of 2020.

Our biggest expense/project this year was the finalization of the repairs and remodel of the Mountain View Schoolhouse. Bonnie Wiesen headed the project which began almost 10 years ago with moving the building into the park. She spent many hours coordinating and researching how to restore the building back to a one-room school house, teacher residence and library. Over $69,000.00, mostly from dedicated donations, was spent to complete the project. Some of the items included in the renovation were roof repairs, electrical connections, new ceiling fans, replacing individual glass panes, new shelves, and painting. Although the building is not a log cabin, it is over 100 years old has a place in the history of Whatcom County. If you weren’t able to attend the open house in September, stop by and see it during the next Pioneer Days or Old Fashioned Christmas. A small porch area was built for the back door of the Jenni House. This sturdy structure is ADA compliant and built to facilitate a wheelchair ramp in the future.

Our Olde Fashion Christmas event was held the first weekend in December. Some of the modifications from last year worked so well, we incorporated them permanently. The children’s craft tables, refreshments, entertainment, and visits with Santa are now in the Pioneer Pavilion. Over 1300 people attended this event. We appreciated the support from the City of Ferndale and the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. Special thanks to Mayor Hansen and Council Members, Herb Porter and Erin Gunter for volunteering.

The Lighted Christmas Stroll was held the 2nd and 3rd weekends in December. This event receives a great response from the community and draws many people from out of town. Nearly 3,000 people attended over the four evenings. Special thanks to Mayor Hansen for helping all four evenings! Olde Fashioned Christmas and the Lighted Christmas Stroll are the events that push the limits of our volunteers. Set up takes almost 1000 hours over 8 - 10 work parties in November. Olde Fashioned Christmas takes over 400 volunteer hours to run and the Lighted Christmas Stroll takes over 200 hours.

In total the Ferndale Heritage Society logged over 4,452 volunteer hours in 2022. We have appreciated the increase support from the City of Ferndale and look forward to another successful year of preserving history at the Pioneer Village in Pioneer Park.


Ferndale Heritage Society Board

2020 - A Year Without What the Heritage Society Does Best

Well it was a year that most of us will remember as we try and forgot all the new experiences, or restrictions that came into play due to the Pandemic Covid.  January started off normal, highway litter pickup happened in January under Dick Mill’s coordination, but that was the only one that happened for the year. In February things were slowing down, and the Heritage Society was being made aware of life as we knew it might be changing. And yes, it did. March came and no General membership meeting was held. Julie Aamot, education program director made the call to cancel our springtime program for the many local students who looked forward to our hands-on activities.

By April no board meeting, no general meeting and we figured our annual fund-raising plant sale would not get the city okay and we cancelled.  We did get in on the Sandy Point Community plant exchange and made $335. This money typically goes to buying plants and paying someone to water weekly at the park. Well, we did not need the watering or plants as the city, following state directives, closed Pioneer Park to the public.  Without key access, none of the society members could access the park to do any kind of flower bed maintenance and the cabins and flower beds looked pretty sad.

May came and no park opening so no park tour guides were needed. This was very disappointing as these tour guides are at the park six days a week to greet visitors and locals alike. Stopping at the Parker house store for an afternoon ice cream was a treat.

Once access to the cabins was semi achieved, Robert Lyles and Ron Wilson picked up where our beloved Chief Knapp had left off doing upgrades to the Rogers (Veterans) Museum.  And across the yard, Dick Mills, James Burgress, Clara and Zach Wopat started with the total renovation of the Lopas House.  Ben Brown donated his time to support the project with his skills in welding and steel works. Instead of a “print shop” cabin where the artifacts could be viewed from a distance, displays were built, artifacts relocated and moved into printing sequence.  This hard-working group is just finishing their labor of love in November. New track lighting is in the works and will be donated by Ferndale Ace Hardware.

Our Heritage Board met in June, outside, seated in chairs six feet apart. It was different but we met and accomplished what we needed to.  The annual Old Settlers Picnic that happens the last week in July, of course was cancelled also.

The board got a few of our ladies to make phone calls to our members. We were missing our monthly meetings. These are short on meeting and long on social time. So nice to just check in.

Our big, planned expenditure for 2020 was to finish the chinking on the Foster and Shields houses, and start the chinking process on the Lopas and Rogers houses.  Communication, park access and the season ending didn’t allow for anything to be done this year. Cabins continue to have air spaces and the finding contractors with this know-how will be a high priority for 2021.

It was no surprise that the Olde Fashioned Christmas, the first week in December would be cancelled.  This event packs visitors young and old into our 12 fully decorated cabins for hands on crafts. The smell of baking apples and cookies draw back our favorite memories of Christmas’s in past years. Period costumed volunteers and our guests alike start off their holiday season feeling blessed.

We were sad with our annual events being cancelled, but wait there’s a shining star in the works. Tom and Sue Brand wanting to give back to our community, especially this year, got the society geared up and came up with the idea to decorate the park in Christmas lights in December. We’ll invite our guests to socially distance while strolling the ADA compliant concrete sidewalk that circles the “Pioneer Village”.  Lighted Christmas Stroll Through Pioneer Village was approved by the city and will be a free admission event. We want our guests and our Heritage Society members to get a heartfelt sense of Christmas joy while volunteering or visiting the village during this experience.

Working with the city through a CARES Program grant, some of the expenses of this “virus restricted time” will help cover the extra costs incurred.

Looking forward to a safe, healthy and “let’s get back to normal” kind of year in 2021.  Our Heritage Society members are some of the best, hard working people in our community. We all have a passion to preserve our pioneer history and share the experience with others. We have a treasure here at Pioneer Park, a village of log cabins like no other.  We’re always seeking new members who are interested in our mission, and just want to be a part of a group that makes a difference in our community.

Linda Harkleroad, V.P. and Publicity

Looking back at 2018, Society Accomplishments

MtViewSchoolhouse 300pxIMG 5856We are proud to contribute to the Ferndale Community by making your park a wonderful place to learn the local history, experience the past and visit with friends, old and new.

May 16, 2019

The Ferndale Heritage Society would like to update you on our ongoing efforts to maintain the Pioneer Village cabins and artifacts and to promote Pioneer Park. 

We have obtained quotes for chinking for two of the cabins from a Skagit County company and are waiting to hear when the work will be scheduled.  The hard costs of this service including pressure washing, applying an anti pest solution and two coats of stain are quoted at $5300.00 and $5800.00 respectively for the Foster and Shields Houses.  This cost does not include the actual “chinking” which is billed as a per hour charge.  We anticipate this to double the cost for each cabin but are anxious to get the process completed. Several other cabins are also in need of chinking and we hope the company will be able to add as many as possible to their work load.

Some progress was made on the Mt. View School house. A gas stove was ordered will be installed in 2019.  Mills Electric will be volunteering most of the labor for installing the electrical components and as you know, the city has completed the digging of the trench.

The roof on the Van Burien Post Office was replaced by Nolan Roofing for $1430.00

A new window was installed in the Granary by Fred Sutcliffe for only the cost of materials.

We re-hired the gardener from last year to help keep up the flower beds around the cabins. Unfortunately she was only able to work a few weeks over the summer.  Our spring plant sales fund the purchase of flowers for the gardens. We have also been able to hire out of some of the summer gardening chores to lighten the load for our volunteers.

We are thrilled that with the help of the Mayor, representatives Rick Larson, Vincent Buys & Luanne Van Werven the new sidewalks were installed. We continue to hear positive feedback for this wonderful park improvement.

In conjunction with the new sidewalk, the heaters in the cabins were all converted to natural gas.  We are grateful to the City for reimbursing us for the cost of this change as it was nearly $4000.00.

We again hosted the Education Program for over 700 students, teachers and parent chaperones.

This includes all second graders in the Ferndale School District. This program helps fulfill our mission statement of educating “the community on the history of Whatcom County”.   This two week program kept our volunteers very busy!

We hired Flannel Media to produce a DVD of the park which focuses on the cabins and features our own Fred Sutcliffe as narrator. These are on sale at the Parker House store and we have included one with this correspondence.

For community outreach we provide a quarterly Highway Litter Pick Up in conjunction with Washington State Dept. of Transportation.  Look for our signs on I-5 southbound just before the Nooksack River Bridge and northbound just past the Main Street on ramp.

We supported the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce’s Haunt the Park at Halloween. We help the Old Settlers Association host the cabins during Pioneer Days in July. And we put on the 3-day Olde Fashioned Christmas in December.

Our current endeavor is the roofing of the south side of the Barr Barn.  We have a quote from Nolans Roofing for $9362.00.  The Old Settlers Association has agreed to share the cost and we hope the City of Ferndale will also.

Working with you as Stewards of the Park

Ferndale Heritage Society Board