Granddaughter pays homage to ancestors

Family operated Olympic Hot Springs Resort for 60 years

  • Monday, March 24, 2014 12:46pm
  • Life
Granddaughter pays homage to ancestors

Port Angeles born and bred author Teresa Schoeffel-Lingvall’s new book, “Images of America: Olympic Hot Springs,” is a labor of love.

 

The slim volume tells the story of her ancestors’ nearly 60-year history with the Olympic Hot Springs through dozens of family photos dating from the 1890s to the resort’s closure in 1966.

 

“The story never really has been told,” Lingvall said. “It’s my family, my ancestors — it’s personal. I’m proud of my heritage and that it was a beloved resort which saw thousands of people, myself included.”

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe knew about the mineral springs long before white settlers arrived and because Lingvall’s great-grandfather Billy Everett was half-Elwha Klallam and raised by the tribe, he, too, was attracted to them about 1907.

 

Her great-great-grandfather John Everett was an early pioneer who came to the Olympic Peninsula in a canoe from Vancouver, Canada, and married Mary Pysht, a Klallam woman.

 

“It was a primitive gathering place for friends and family and with two other partners, around 1908 they got a lease for the property,” Lingvall said. “Grandpa Billy blazed a trail by hand with a machete and hand saws. I admire his diligence and strength — they just don’t make people like that anymore.”

 

The first lodge was built in 1912 and burned in 1917. Lingvall’s grandparents Harry and Jean Schoeffel began managing the hot springs in 1921 and opened a new lodge in 1926, running it until 1940, when a huge snowfall caved in the structure. They rebuilt again in 1941 and ran the resort, with one concrete and two wooden pools and up to 25 cabins until 1966 when the federal government refused to renew their lease.

 

The book’s cover shows the lodge in the 1930s and its collapse within a decade “just broke Grandma’s heart,” Lingvall recalled. “Just the strength and tenacity they had, they just didn’t give up.”

 

Lingvall covers each decade from the early 1900s to the mid-1960s with scores of historical photos and descriptive narrative captions. There were 21 grotto-like pools at 2,100 feet in elevation and the resort was 21 miles from Port Angeles. The pools are of various sizes and range from 89 to 109 degrees, Lingvall said.

 

Especially poignant for Lingvall is the way the Olympic Hot Springs Resort ended. Even though the land lease and improvements existed before Olympic National Park was established, the latter refused to renew the Schoeffels’ lease in 1966 and it was forced to close. The couple lost a case to be compensated for fair market value, and that fact, plus nature’s ravages on the buildings from then on has been hard on Lingvall and her extended family.

 

“To lose it in such a way was really sad,” she said. “Now, nothing is left. It’s all back to its natural state but if you go up and walk around, you can see pieces of concrete from the old pool.”

 

The best part of having written the book is the appreciation of other local history buffs. “I wrote it out of a love for the resort and my grandparents because I wanted the story to be told,” Lingvall said.

 

Lingvall will have the following book signings this month and next: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Suzone’s Coffee Lounge, 241 E. Washington St.; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Port Angeles Public Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.; and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, Costco, 955 W. Washington St.

 

It’s also for sale at Pacific Mist Books and Hardy’s Market in Sequim.

 

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