This collection of oral histories from the people of upper Kittitas county help document the social, economic, and cultural changes in the area. The Roslyn, Ronald, Cle Elum Heritage Club, in partnership with CWU Libraries, are conducting these interviews to preserve local history. These interviews document the history of the area and changes seen over time since settlement. The rich history of the central cascades can now be shared with the world.
Roslyn, Ronald and Cle Elum are in the northwestern part of Kittitas County (locally known as “the upper county), in Central Washington State. It is a beautiful area on the east slopes of the Cascades where settlers in the late 1800’s created towns that thrived on numerous coal mines, timber, the railroad and other pursuits. Although the mines closed long ago, our club is a Washington non-profit corporation that, consistent with our Mission, Vision, and Values Statements, seeks to keep that rich and diverse heritage alive.
These interviews follow up and compliment interviews conducted by Fred Krueger when he taught High School in Cle Elum and later conducted interviews for Suncadia.
Don Hill was born in Yakima and moved to Easton before he turned one. Don graduated from Cle Elum High School in 1955. He entered the logging industry at the age 10 in his father’s company. In the late 40s he cut, and his dad hauled bobbies and timber props to the #9 mine. Over his career he’s built roads into Cooper river, mineral springs up to Red Top, Table Mountain, and Salmon la Sac. He logged throughout the county including Green canyon in Ellensburg . Don came out of retirement to build roads and golf courses throughout Suncadia.
Donna has a love of hiking and mountaineering. She lived in Colorado until she was 12 and the family relocated to Easton. She was raised by her grandmother and started her own family right after high school. In this interview Donna talks about growing up in Easton and finishing school in Cle Elum. From the time her youngest child was five years old she was taking her three children hiking. She discusses growing up in a small community where they walked everywhere and heated with coal. In the 1970's she attended Central Washington University and became an EMT2, later becoming director of ambulance services for Kittitas County.
The peaks she’s summited: Mount Stuart, Bear Mountain, Mary Peak, Earl Peak. Koppen, South Engles Peak, Iron Peak, Navajo Peak, Peoh Point (three times), Silver Peak, and Miller Peak.
John Cernick Junior talks about growing up in Roslyn, Washington. He discusses the activities of his youth and notes changes over time in the culture of the area. He discusses life as a boy in Ducktown neighborhood of Roslyn. He talks about working in the mines before he joined the Army in 1953. He then worked as a logger and in the construction industry. He remembers the Western Miners strike as a young boy in the 1930's. He tells about the Cle Elum Ski Club and how they took spectators through the mines to reach the jump area. He mentions his current home and how he feeds the wildlife. He also mentions how his family made wine from grapes shipped from California via train. His family came from Croatia as early as 1905.
Louie Osmonovich talks about growing up in the Ducktown neighborhood of Roslyn and his later career as a school teacher. He also discusses his years of backcountry trail riding. He also discusses changes he has seen in the area over time.
Sandra H. Peck
Sandy Peck talks about growing up on Gobblers Knob near South Cle Elum. She discusses her first job as a Theater Usher. Sandy also talks about her father's work as a railroad engineer, and her mother's work as a homemaker. She also mentions her work in education as a testing specialist. She talks about the changes in the region and culture of the area over time
Jeri Francisco Porter
Jeri Francisco Porter talks about her life growing up in Roslyn in the 1950's and 60's. She attended Central Washington State College. She talks about her career as an electrician and finishing her career at Central Washington University. She was mayor of Roslyn. Jeri also discusses some artifacts and documents from her family. She mentions her grandfather was part of the four minute men speeches during the first world war. Jeri also talks about starting the Roslyn Revitalization group. She recalls what life was like as the mines began to decline and other changes in the area over time.
Rudolph A. Kovacevich
Rudy Kovacevich talks about growing up in Roslyn Washington. He discusses his family's Croation roots and ties to the old country. He shares memories of his grandmother and talks about her struggles as a miner's wife. He talks about the feeling of community he felt growing up in a small town. Rudy also shares his grandmother's premonitions.
David Franklin talks about his ties to upper Kittitas county and changes he has seen in the area in his lifetime. He discusses how his in-laws came to the area and how they made a living in South Cle Elum. He first visited the area in 1968 and moved to Cle Elum in 2001. He also discusses the current changes happening in the area including planned development.Dave conducts guided walking tours of Roslyn. They can be booked through https://www.roslynwalkingtours.com/
Sam Krahenbuhl talks about growing up in Roslyn. He discusses the variety of things kids did in the 1950's. He mentions the decline of the mines and changes in town. He mentions night life in Cle Elum. Sam also talks about his love of ice cream.
Beverly Prkacin Read
Beverly discusses being born in Cumberland, Washington and growing up in the cascades. She mentions her work life including running an airport and learning to fly. She talks about her Croatian heritage and being involved in the annual Croatian picnic and helping with Croatian dance. She talks about the efforts to build the Croatian memorial. Beverly also mentions about her continuing career as a realtor.
Fred Talerico discusses growing up in upper Kittitas county and all the activities for youth in the Roslyn. He talks about changes in the area when the mines close.He tells about his time in the U.S. Navy with two tours to southeast Asia. Fred also talks about his career as a coal miner in Alaska. He explains the work of the VFW and his many years as commander of the local chapter. He talks about modern problems and changes in recent years.
Gary Fudacz talks about growing up in Washington and working on farms and later in forestry. He discusses his time in the army and getting his degree at Central before working in the forest service. He also talks about starting the little league baseball in upper Kittitas county and later youth football. He continues to raise cattle with his brothers on a ranch on the Teanaway river. He mentions his family immigrated from Poland and initially worked in the coal mines of Roslyn.
Claude Montgomery talks about growing up in Eastern Washington and how things have changed over the years. He discusses his time in the army after being drafted at 24. He also talks about his career as a logger and time spent in Alaska working a cattle ranch and later a mink ranch. He discusses his personal philosophy and dedication to work.
Violet (Vi) Burke talks about growing up in a household with twelve kids and being the middle child. Her family were farmers and she learned to enjoy farm life at an early age. She also discusses finishing high school in Ellensburg after her family moved away. She became a nanny for a local family to be able to finish her senior year of high school. She discusses her love of music and singing. SHe talks about how she met her hisband and their life farming together and the people they would meet and work with. Vi was born in 1926 and has lived most of her life in the upper Kittitas county area on her farm off Teanaway road. She has three sons.
Ethel Craven tells the story of events following the funeral of her nephew Tom Craven. Tom died fighting forest fires at a young age.
Ethel discusses how she became interested in history and founded the Black Pioneers of Washington.
Shannon O'Malley interviews Frances Divelbiss Glondo. Frances discusses growing up in Roslyn and Cle Elum. She talks about her diverse ethnic background and education. She also talks about raising her family while her husband was in the navy and was away for months at a time. She later returned to Kittitas county in retirement.