Mansions and Museums
In 1897, lumber baron Robert Lytle built Hoquiam’s Castle (515 Chenault Ave., Hoquiam, 360/533-2005, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily in the summer, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun. the rest of the year, closed in Dec., $4 adults, $1 kids), a stunning maroon-and-white, three-story spectacle that’s been restored to its original luster, with the original oak woodwork. It’s completely furnished in turn-of-the-20th-century antiques, Tiffany-style lamps, and cut-crystal chandeliers. Half-hour tours are offered throughout the day. The hillside mansion overlooks town and has a distinctive monkey-puzzle tree outside.
Another wealthy lumber magnate, Alex Polson, once owned the largest logging operation in the world, Polson Logging Company (now a part of Rayonier). In 1923 he funded the building of a home for his son and daughter-in-law on property adjoining his own house. This 26-room Polson Museum (1611 Riverside Ave., 360/533-5862, www.polsonmuseum.org, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sat., noon–4 p.m. Sun. Apr. 1–Dec. 23, noon–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Dec. 27–Mar. 31, $10 families, $4 adults, $2 students) is now named in his honor. Alex Polson’s own home was razed after his death in 1939; his widow didn’t want anyone else to live in it. The site of their home is now a small park with a rose garden, historic logging equipment, and a blacksmith shop. The museum houses all sorts of memorabilia: a magnificent old grandfather clock, a fun model railroad, a model of an old logging camp, a two-man chainsaw, and even an old boxing bag.
The Aberdeen Museum of History (117 E. 3rd St., 360/533-1976, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., free) displays exhibits of local history, including a century-old kitchen and bedroom, pioneer church, blacksmith shop, four antique fire trucks, a dugout canoe, thousands of pro-union buttons, and a short video about the great fire of 1903 that destroyed 140 buildings. There’s lots of offbeat what-was-that-used-for stuff here.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition