Hoquiam’s two new parks now have official names — one for a cannery that used to stand nearby, another for a highly-decorated Army veteran who graduated Hoquiam High School in the 1960s.
After the city’s Historic Preservation Commission considered public opinion and unanimous approval by the City Council on Monday, the new waterfront park at Fifth and Adams will be known as the Old Cannery Park. A triangle-shaped park at Emerson Avenue and N Street will be known as MG Bargewell Memorial Delta Park.
One public comment noted that the old Haines Crown Packers fish cannery used to be located at the waterfront park. Another indicated that the pilings used to support a large dock associated with the cannery are still visible from the park, which is situated on the northern edge of Grays Harbor.
Already a popular place for lunches and harbor watching, the city received grants and other funding that allowed it to recently pave the lot and do some landscaping, and future improvements like benches, a picnic area and a restroom are in the works if funding can be secured.
Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell was a 1965 graduate of Hoquiam High School, who went on to have a long and highly decorated Army career that started in 1967. Among his many commendations is the nation’s second-highest combat award, the Distinguished Service Cross, for bravery shown while repelling a force of 75-100 enemy soldiers while with a small, long range reconnaissance team deep inside enemy territory in Vietnam in September 1971.
Another Hoquiam High alum, Jay Fry, who graduated a year behind Bargewell and knew him in later years — Fry and his wife purchased a house across the alley from Bargewell’s childhood home near the park and the two would visit when Bargewell was in town — is among the group spearheading the effort for a memorial park since Bargewell’s death in April 2019.
The park will feature a bronze statue made by Rip Caswell, a Montesano High School graduate. He and his wife Alison are known worldwide for their work for National Geographic, universities and others. There will also be three plaques at the site — True Leader, describing Bargewell’s leadership role in his career from Vietnam to Iraq; True Warrior, listing all of Bargewell’s military operations; and True Hero, listing his medals for valor and an abbreviated version of his Distinguished Service Cross citation.
The group is raising $300,000 for the park. For more on the park, how to donate, or on Bargewell’s career, visit eldonbargewell.org.
There were 14 written suggestions for naming the parks, most for the waterfront park. One in particular stood out to Hoquiam Mayor Ben Winkelman.
“I was interested in all of the different names that were submitted, and did notice one in particular that … suggested a name … Isabelle Lamb Park,” he said. “And I found that one interesting because for whatever reason out of all our wonderful parks we have in town none are named after a woman.”
The suggestion noted Isabelle Lamb’s father-in-law, Frank Lamb, “was largely responsible for ports being established in the state of Washington. The Port of Grays Harbor was the second port started in the state. What makes Isabelle unique is that she was the first and only woman elected to the Port of Grays Harbor Commission. She was a commissioner from 1998 to 2004 and did an excellent job making wise decisions for the Port.”
Lamb was the Polson Museum Pioneer of the Year in 2014; she passed away in late 2017.
Winkelman commented at Monday’s meeting, “It’s something to keep in mind in the future when naming parks. It would be nice to recognize the very significant contributions made by many women in our community over the years.”