Arts and entertainment community
The setup for our last question about the local history of Gig Harbor now and then was very simple: in 1930, Flameau arrived in Gig Harbor. It’s still there, although it’s now known by a different name.
Q: What is Flamo?
“Flamo” was the trade name for propane of the Standard Oil Company of California.
The first mention of Flameau in The gateway to the peninsula, on March 28, 1930, almost explains it, but not quite: “Paul Lamoureux has taken a job in a new department in the Standard Oil operations here. This job consists of looking after the sales end of a new item, for this section known as “Flamo”, or cream of mineral gas. This product is really compressed natural gas that is processed in liquid form and can be used for lighting, heating, cooking and is sold at a price equal to 2 cents per kw of electricity.
The Berkheimer store was chosen to feature Flamo because it was adding to its inventory a line of heating and cooking appliances that burned bottled gas.
Slauson’s Turkey Farm
Given the advertisement for the Flamo demo, a natural follow-up question would be: Where was Berkheimer’s store? But it was moved to a more seasonal theme, Thanksgiving turkeys.
There are still more than a few senior members of the Peninsula community who remember the Slawsons. Siblings Cynthia, Bob and Carolyn (and a few years later Bob’s boys Robert and Danny) all attended Peninsula schools.
Bob’s parents, Elwell and Charlotte, brought their family to the Peninsula from Montana in the early 1940s. They start a farm, raise turkeys and pigs. The birds must have sold better as they named the business Slawson’s Turkey Farm.
In 1947, Elwell took a job with the federal government in Alaska while the family remained to manage the farm. In 1948, he and Charlotte moved permanently to Anchorage.
For several years that the Slauson family operated their farm, the Peninsula had a local source for its holiday turkeys. The obvious question is:
Where is Slawson’s Turkey Farm located?
Hints: It wasn’t tucked away in a far corner of the peninsula or tucked away down a dead end road. It was in front of a street that is still very busy today.
We will get the answer on December 4th. If that’s too far in the future and you just can’t wait, try this: drive the main roads of the peninsula for a few hours with the radio off and the windows down. If you’re walking past a place where you’re absolutely convinced you can hear the ghostly gurgling of tens of thousands of long-ago staples, this is probably the place.
Either that or your water pump is going out.
If you find it, by all means, please go to the Gig Harbor Now Facebook page and tell us about the experience. Did it have a spiritual nature? Life changing? Are you hungry?
Although completely unintentional, it’s worth noting how beautifully the previous theme complements the current one. No doubt many Slawson turkeys have been cooked with Flamo.
Greg Spadoni of Olala has had more access to local history than most lifelong residents. During 25 years of road construction, working for the Spadoni brothers, his first cousins twice removed, he traveled to every corner of the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsulas, noticing many abandoned buildings, overgrown farms and roads that no longer had a destination. Through his current affiliation with the Port History Museum in Gig Harbor as the unofficial chief (and only) assistant to Linda McCowen, the museum’s primary photo archive volunteer, he regularly studies the area’s largest collection of visual history. Combined with the printed history available at the museum and online, it has revealed countless stories about long-forgotten local people and events.