Because we have been hearing so much about the foghorn in recent weeks, I decided to share the history of this aid to navigation, which dates back to 1896. I am sharing a picture of the Coquille River Lighthouse, which was built in 1895 on Rackleff Rock. The black appendage pointed toward the mouth of the river is the fog signal trumpet, which was serviced by a redwood tank holding 5,000 gallons of water. According to a Notice to Mariners, dated 1896, "during thick or foggy weather a Daboll trumpet will sound blasts of 5 seconds' duration separated by silent intervals of 25 seconds."
I saw a recent news item from KCBY-TV explaining that "the fog signal has been a part of Bandon since the early 1970s," which prompted me to search for the earliest mention of the foghorn, which turned out to be the late 1800s.
But the good news is that because of the efforts, primarily of two Bandon women, Tacy Andersen and Susan DeSalvatore, the Coast Guard has suspended, at least temporarily, its original plan to change the continuous sound foghorn to an on-demand, marine radio activated sound signal. The change had been announced for May 10. It's not known when the final decision will be made.
But back to the foghorn.
In Curt Beckham's book about Bandon, he points out that "in 1890 House Bill No. 6455 provided for the establishment of a lighthouse and fog signal near the mouth of the Coquille River. The government engineers took advantage of Rackleff Rock, formerly a peril to shipping. They blasted it level and set the new lighthouse on this firm foundation. Nearby carpenters erected a handsome, two-story duplex for keepers' quarters and a barn for the horses and wagons at the station. The Treasury Department estimated the necessary appropriations for the project at $50,000.
"The station included a steam-powered, fog signal, a massive horn pointed west from the eaves of the lighthouse. The keeper illuminated the light and started operation of the fog signal in 1896."
It's not hard to see that the foghorn, in one form or another, has been a tradition for nearly 125 years.
I've chosen the third picture because I have been wanting to write about one of Bandon's most tragic murders, which occurred just over 100 years ago when City Attorney Graydon Treadgold was murdered in cold blood. His widow, Claire Treadgold, far right, lived here for more than 40 years before moving to be near her son in San Diego in 1963. I knew her well as she was a good friend of my grandmother, Grace Felsheim.
I seldom find mistakes in Curt Beckham's book, but in his story about Graydon's murder, he adds: "Mrs. Treadgold continued to live in Bandon for several years with her two sons attending the local schools." Actually, make that 47, not several, years.
But back to the murder.
"During Bandon's rapid expansion and prosperous years the city also attracted the rougher elements of society. By the time of the 1914 fire the population had increased to about 1,800 people. By 1911 eight saloons catered to the populace and bawdy houses were nearby. The drunkenness and debauchery brought fights and other disturbances.
"A number of incidents involving sales of liquor to youths and revocation of liquor licenses continued until finally, in 1916, a saloon keeper murdered a lawyer and committed suicide. It was a sordid affair involving Joe Coach, the saloon keeper, and G.T. Treadgold, a young lawyer, attorney for the city of Bandon.
"The city council hired G.T. Treadgold as city attorney to rid Bandon of its undesirable element. Treadgold arrested Joe Coach and John Herron for selling liquor to minors. One thing after another caused the council to revoke Coach's license in October of 1914."
Coach, who had inherited part of his family's fortune, began blaming Treadgold for having squandered most of his inheritance. He then began to slander the attorney, which resulted in a defamation trial in Coos County Circuit Court, which was won by Treadgold.
"Coach apparently harbored his hatred of Treadgold over the next several months. On Oct. 19, 1916, he found Treadgold in Alden A. Paul's garage in Coquille. Coach pulled a revolver and shot Treadgold, killing him instantly. He then shot himself in the temple. Coach lived a couple of days."
Oh yes, the other two women in the photograph, taken in March of 1962 in the Masonic Hall, are, at left, Margaret (Mrs. Jack) Dean, a long-time member of the Southern Coos General Hospital board of directors, and Clara Brown, grandmother of Judy Brown Densmore and the great-grandmother of Bryan Longland.
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David and I attended opening night of MarLo Dance Studio's production of Pinocchio, and fabulous is the only way to describe it. Director Maria Merriam celebrated the 20th anniversary of MarLo Dance Studio in a big way.
I don't think I have ever missed one of Maria's shows, and each year I am blown away with the professionalism of her shows and the talent of her dancers, who come in all ages from the tiniest of dancers to those who have performed on stage for many years.
The costumes, backdrops, the sound and the lighting were all spectacular and made for one of the best shows I've ever seen on the stage of the Sprague Theater.
You don't want to miss this show, which will continue this weekend (May 17-19) with Friday and Saturday night shows starting at 7, and the Sunday matinee at 3. For reserve seating visit www.marlodance.com or call 706-550-1416.
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It was a great weekend for Face Rock Creamery's sixth annual celebration, with food, music, games for kids and lots of people on hand. The weather was warm and sunny Saturday, and although it was cloudy Sunday, there was no wind, so both days were pretty great for an outside celebration.
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I was surprised to see a huge cloud of smoke and flames billowing from the Riverside Drive area Sunday evening. I raced down to see where it was coming from, and soon learned, from Fire Chief Lanny Boston, that it was a permitted controlled burn by Moore Mill to get rid of 10 large piles of gorse and debris. Lanny said the windless night was perfect for burning ... and added that the City Council had given permission. Actually, it had not specifically come to the council, but the city manager had given permission. Even though they weren't sure when conditions would be ideal to burn, it would have been nice to alert the newspaper and Coffee Break of the possibility so that when people saw smoke and flames, they would understand where it was coming from and that it was a permit fire. But that didn't occur ... and it should have.
Sometimes open communication is the hardest of all skills to learn ....
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I saw a press release that said the campground at Bullards Beach State Park would be closed during the months of January and February, and part of March, for construction on the campground's main sewer line.