From this vantage point, you can see where Charley dug drain ditches in the 1860s or 1870s. Charley, known at the time as Siwash Charley, is one of the few Indigenous men on island we have record of. (Siwash, from Chinook Jargon, is considered a derogatory term to refer to an Indigenous person. The Chinook Jargon word comes from the French "sauvage" or savage/wild). Charley worked for Hiram Hutchinson for many years, and we have records of the kinds of purchases he made at Hutch's store from an 1873 ledger. On the 4th of July that year, Charley bought a bat and ball and 2 bunches of firecrackers. Other than these few notes and recollections, we have not found records of Charley, no photos, licenses, or even last name.
Weeks family history attests that Charley, hired by Hiram, dug the ditches to drain the Weeks wetland marsh. The family history describes that he did this by cutting long slabs of cedar (4 or 5 feet long) and driving them into the ground leaving about 2 feet sticking up to form the sides of the drawing way. He shoved mud and dirt between two rows of these cedar slabs to just outside, forming drain-ways with reinforced walls so they would not wash out or collapse. The drain went far into the bay side of the point. Click on the 1889 "T-Sheet" map to see the line where the ditch was made.
The Weeks family also built a tide gate, draining the marshy area so they could pasture animals here. If you look closely, you can still see many of the old fence posts.
Today, the San Juan County Land Bank has worked to revitalize the wetland area and support wildlife habitat. You are welcome to walk the boardwalk on the Week’s Wetland Preserve for new perspectives of the Village. In the springtime, keep an eye out for geese, migratory waterfowl, killdeer, and bald eagles.
Stop to look up at the village too — there’s a great perspective of the Homestead House (Walking Tour Stop 7), Lopez Island Community Church, the Library (Walking Tour Stop 8), and the Weeks Family garage.