Residual Artifacts of Port Ludlow

by Tim Rensema, Staff Writer

In the June 2021 edition of the Voice, I wrote an article about the location of the fire station. I received notifica- tions—two through emails to the Voice, and one really irate phone call. Bill Eldridge, a descendant from a major farming family who has been a resident at Port Ludlow for a long time, corrected me on my assumptions. There were three big mistakes I made: The first was the location – the existing firehouse is currently on the site of the original fire house. The location I identified had been used as a construction yard for the condominiums going up across Oak Bay Road. The building I thought may have been the early fire house was actually located in Mats Mats and was later a bait shop. I apologize for these mistakes and hope not to repeat them. We have various structures or artifacts that still exist in Port Ludlow.

As you walk along Heron, on the uphill side toward where in earlier articles I said the water reservoir was, approxi- mately thirty feet back in the brush are a number of 2-inch iron pipes. I believe these to be water pipes, given their proximity to the water reservoir but don’t know what structures they supported. There is another water pipe off Camber Lane Trail (as you go to the cul-de-sac, to the left) that may have transported water further down in South Bay. These lines appear to have been abandoned for some time. There are also concrete drain or sewer pipe sections on Camber that have been there for years.

Sometimes you have to look really well because the struc- tures are difficult to find. This is where knowing some facts before looking may assist in finding remnants of some structures. The big culverts under Paradise Road on Ludlow Creek were not always there. Prior to those, there was a bridge to access South Bay. Paradise Road follows some very steep hills (like up to the Teal Lake Road) and early on was a very poor wagon road. A bridge had been constructed to cross Ludlow Creek and some of the piles or supports are still across the creek on the west side. You can only see them from the south side of the creek, but there are a few of them in a row which are easily visible if you know where to look.

One of the interesting finds that is not so obvious is on the offshoot from the Gazebo trail behind the Bay Club. As you walk up the left side of the loop, there is a trail that goes off to the left. Down that trail (it is not maintained) up slope you will see the remains of telephone poles with anchoring cable still attached. Due to the placement of these poles, I believe these were the last poles used in the telephone line that stretched across Ludlow Creek outlet, behind the Bay Club, up over the hill and eventually down to Termination Point (the location of the Hood Canal Bridge). This tele- phone line shows up in the 1936 USGS topographic map, cutting back from the Gazebo hill to Paradise Road, then up Teal Lake Road then diverting off for a direct line to Termination Point. According to Signe Swanson (in her oral history) Port Ludlow had phone service by at least 1929, when Swansonville finally got electric power. In an 1895 map of Port Ludlow, the telephone line is a telegraph line and crosses further out in the bay (on pilings I would guess). With the amount of log boom works at Camp Walker and after, it certainly made more sense to move the line. Now the power/telephone line follows Paradise Road across Ludlow Creek. I have not been able to find any plans for when the line was moved off the Gazebo hill to its current location. In the 1895 map it is carried as a telegraph line, not telephone.

There are the remains of cable all over Port Ludlow, most visibly on the trails. Given that the booms holding logs in the Ludlow Creek outfall area needed to be secured to hold the logs in, that may explain the cables crossing the Picnic Point trail. On the Interpretive trail there is also a large cable that crosses the trail by the bridge. At one time there was a railroad bridge that crossed the intermittent stream, just downstream from the existing pedestrian bridge. This cable may have helped to support the railroad bridge crossing the cut, given its large diameter. Or it may just be waste cable that happens to cross the trail at a key point. Finally, on the lower part of Rainier Trail, there is a cable that typically was used for cable log skidders. If you walk on up to the new crossing to Camano Lane, you may see a piece of hydraulic hose that is used in more modern log harvesting equipment.

There are more questions than answers. It is important to capture the oral histories of folks who have lived in this area for a long time to answer the many historic questions we have of old Port Ludlow. If you are interested in more information on the history of the area, you may wish to look at the Swansonville web site (just being completed) at that captures a tremendous amount of history, including photos of the area.