History, Hollywood, Miners & Druids in Roslyn, Washington
Some of my favorite trip experiences are the result of an open mind and an open agenda and the flexibility to see what the day brings. I visited Roslyn, Washington with the goal of reconnecting with some friends. I had passed through Roslyn on refreshment stops while camping in the area periodically over the years. Those trips involved pizza, beer, and pool at the Brick. This time, I intended to experience a bit more of the local life and discover some of the town’s historical sites.
The town of Roslyn was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1978. It’s 1920’s buildings are representative of western frontier commercial architecture. The brick and weathered wood buildings have a wonderful patina and are required to maintain their 1920’s appearance.
The town was bustling with tourists on their way in or out to play on nearby lake Kachess or lake Cle Elum and locals shopping at the farmers market.
I walked through the residential part of town marveling at the little miner’s shacks and Victorian houses.
This beautiful Victorian home for sale was Maggie’s House on the show Northern Exposure filmed here in Roslyn from 1990-1995. It is also available for nightly rental. The Farmers Market takes place right in front of the radio station featured in the show. The storefront of KBHR 570 is preserved as a tourist attraction.
Roslyn’s mines began to shut down in the 1920’s and the last mine closed in the 60’s. The small town built on coal production transformed into an artist and recreation community. Many of Roslyn’s residents today are descendents from the immigrant workers who first came to Roslyn to work in the mines. I was astounded at the diversity. It first struck me when I visited the Cemetery just outside of town. It is made up of 26 separate ethnic and lodge cemeteries. Workers came from Italy, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to work in the mines. During the Knights of Labor Strike of 1988, instead of reconciling with the strikers, the Northern Coal Company brought 300 black strikebreakers to Roslyn to keep production going.
I was fascinated by all the old signage, the lodges, the orders, and reading about the benefits they provided. And the separation. The old weathered wood signage is still legible. This one reads: “..........Good Fellows Lodge was organized in 1888 and later merged with the Lake Valley Lodge no. 112 in Roslyn, originally the order was founded in England in the 1700’s to provide benefits and to help it’s members during a misfortune. It is a secret society and has its own system of rites and passwords. The Rebekkah Lodges in the Odd Fellows are chiefly for the women, although some men belong. The Rebekkah Lodge in Roslyn was founded in 1888.”
I was very excited to visit the Druid Cemetery. Mostly because I grew up reading Asterix & Obelisk. But the Druids of Kittitas County were an Italian Lodge that no longer exists in Roslyn. The cemetery has become abandoned.
I ran out of time to walk/run the Coal Mines Trail before heading back to the City. I look forward to more time spent exploring this small mining town with its stories, its character, and beautiful setting.Add a comment