Lakewood has always been a military town, since even long before it was a town.  We learned about that history.
Notes from the March 2 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
recorded by Tom McClellan
This week’s meeting started out with welcoming our guest speaker Walter Neary, and our Past District Governor Greg Horn from the Lakewood Rotary Club.  Jeannie Hill noted by way of a Sunshine Report that Lakewood has a fairly big Ukrainian immigrant population, folks who are hurting over what is happening back in their homeland.  And Georgene Mellom’s friend Jack had a scary trip to the ER a week ago, and is back home now.
Future Programs
March 9     LTC Matthew Nelson, Chief of Plans, 252nd Cyberspace Opns Group
March 16   Lori Brown, President, Pacific Harbors Council of Boy Scouts of America
March 23   Kim Barnard, How to be a helpful 911 caller
March 30   Battalion Chief Jeff Axtell and Scott Adams, How to be a helpful emergency victim
The latter two are intended as a 2-part series, giving us a look inside how emergencies are handled from the time of the 911 call to when the first responders arrive, and what we as citizens, bystanders, or victims can do to make their jobs easier.  We will learn about new smartphone apps that can communicate a victim’s health records to the 911 dispatchers, and thus to the responding crews.
In a change to our past procedures, the board has decided to put a membership application right on our club’s web site.  In the past, a nominee for membership had to be proposed by an existing member, but the board thinks it is time for a change, to perhaps cast a wider net and catch someone that we might not have thought of.  Such applicants will still need to have a member act as sponsor and mentor when first being accepted into the club.  Look for the new application button on the Home page at
President’s Corner
Teresa Nye shared a brief video describing a program at the Dirtfish Rally School, which teaches off-road driving.  The name Dirtfish refers to a car fishtailing in the dirt and mud.  March is women’s motorsports month. 
Fun And Fines
The singing of Happy Birthday was withheld, since Judi Maier and Teresa Nye still had four more days to go before their birthdays.  Ed Trobaugh was happy to note that his lovely wife Pam was set to turn 90 years old, although it is hard to believe he knows that fact due to his frequent assertion that he never asks a lady to reveal her age. 
Hallie McCurdy ratted on Scott Adams, who was celebrating the March 1 anniversary of the creation of West Pierce Fire and Rescue back in 2011.  He also paid the IOU for his birthday as mentioned last week.  What was not clear was why Hallie herself was not also celebrating that 11th anniversary. 
Alan Billingsley reported that he had taken a recent trip to ski with his grandchildren at White Pass.  He asserts that he has long been able to outski his own children, but the day will soon come that his daredevil grandkids will outdo him. 
Past District Governor Greg Horn paid $5, just because.
Heidi Wachter wanted everyone to know about a new ad hoc committee formed to discuss trees in the City of Lakewood, and what the City’s policies and building codes ought to say about them.  Alan Billingsley is serving on that committee.
Marie Barth was back in town and paid a visit.  She and husband Bruce are both celebrating birthdays.  Last weekend she learned to drive Bruce’s big truck in the snow in Montana.  They are all moved into their house in the former bank building (complete with two vaults), and Marie is excited about getting new countertops 2 weeks from now. 
This Week’s Program
Walter Neary came to speak about the Historic Fort Steilacoom Association.  Neary had served as president of that group from 1998-2001, and now again starting in the autumn of 2020.  He once was an editor of the Lakewood Journal, and was one of our first City Council members.  And two months ago he began work as a communications manager for the UW School of Medicine.
In the 1830s, the British came to the area with the Hudson’s Bay Company.  In 1844, Joseph Heath arrived and tried to farm what is now Fort Steilacoom Park, without much success, but he did leave behind a detailed diary, and a few farm buildings.  That farm became Fort Steilacoom, and in 1854 the U.S. cavalry arrived.  The soldiers took over the farm buildings and built more quarters. 
Conflicts with the natives in the area were a big issue for a while, but by 1856 that was winding down.  But some white settlers thought the war was not over, and brought up a volunteer militia from Oregon.  There was a massacre of the natives, and the US Army brought the survivors to Fort Steilacoom.  Neary shared a few more tidbits about the initial history.
The U.S. Army left in 1861 to support the Union’s actions in the Civil War back east, and the fort reverted to the Washington territory.  Officials saw more of a need for a mental hospital than a fortress, and the property was deeded to create the Steilacoom Asylum, now known as Western State Hospital.  Barracks buildings were converted into the first wards.
By the 1970s, the surviving Fort Steilacoom buildings were falling apart.  Volunteers got together, raised money, and were able to refurbish 4 of them. 
The Historic Fort Steilacoom Association maintains those buildings and hosts tours and other events.  Tours are 1PM to 4PM on the first Sunday of the month, and cost $5.  Reservations are needed because of capacity limits.  You can sign up at
Membership in the Association is $20/year, or $15 for those 65 and older.
With $234 in the pot, and with 39 cards remaining of which 2 are aces and 1 joker, Ramona Hinton had the winning ticket, and drew the joker!  That was worth $20.
And Finally…
The great thing about museums is that they help us learn about how things used to be, before modern conveniences.  I’ll bet you did not know that before computer keyboards were invented, cats had to sit on radios.