A+ A A-

Locational vs historical name chosen for Pocket Park

Friday Harbor Town Council's preference for names that highlight local history didn't extend to their choice for the new Pocket Park on Spring Street. Instead of Middleton Place, the small park being constructed on Spring Street will be called Breezeway Park.

Later in the same meeting, the Town Council decided to suggest to the San Juan County Council that the proposed road that will connect Turn Point and Pear Point Roads be named Missing Mountain Road rather than the county's suggestion of Connector Road. The connector road goes through the former gravel pit area.  Missing Mountain Road is a reference to Mount Baldy which was removed barge load by barge load when  Lafarge Corporation's gravel pit operated. 

The Town Council discussed the names during their April 6, 2017 evening meeting. At the request of Town Administrator Duncan Wilson, Town Historical Preservation Coordinator Sandy Strehlou had provided a history-related suggestion - Middleton Place.

Alfred and Vivian (Bell) Middleton built the Fribor Theatre - today's Palace Theatre - in 1915. Alfred ran the projector while Vivian played the piano for the silent movies.

They couple also owned and ran Bell Middleton Market for decades before selling to the Kings. Alfred served in the U.S. Army in WWI, was the town's fire chief from 1930 to 1941 and was a master in the Masonic Lodge in 1932. Vivian was active in local theater, Women's Study Group and taught piano lessons for years.

Both of their families were living in the San Juan Islands in the 1890s. According to Strehlou, it is believed that Vivian's grandfather was Peter Kirk who owned 1200 acres at Mitchell Bay.

Council member Barbara Starr asked if  Pocket Park really qualified as a park that would need a name.

Mayor Carrie Lacher also wondered if the park needed to be named and if it did the name "Nash" for the former owner of Friday Harbor Drugstore or "Buck" for the Buck family made more sense to her since no one knows about the Middletons. She preferred a name that highlighted the location of the Pocket Park and suggested Breezeway Park.

Wilson said people would be referring to the park by some label and thought it made sense for the town to chose one. He noted it would be part of the Town's park system and taken care of by the park staff. 

The Council followed Lacher's suggestion and the new Pocket Park which is scheduled to be opened next month, will be called Breezeway Park.


Leave a comment

Comments are welcome as long as they are civil, do not include personal attacks, and pertain to the subject. In order to avoid being overrun by spam, comments are reviewed before they are posted.