A cedar stump house.
Photo courtesy of Oscar Roloff.
by Oscar Roloff
Thirty years ago, historian Ralph Taylor, now deceased, took me out into the hinterlands above Duvall to show me an old cedar tree stump house in which one oldtimer had once lived in peace and solitude.
En route, the former mayor and councilman said others had told him the man's name was Coyote, but that was probably a coined name.
The fellow had a number of hollow cedar stumps he'd created and used as storage rooms for vegetables and such items. He'd dug down into the stump's inside, put doors on and roofs. There he stashed all his gleanings free of all interferences by others.
The old cedar stump itself was huge and he literally created a home with a high roof, a wooden door, five windows and such. Inside, he had a small bed, table, chairs, clothes rack, and whatever else he needed. Quite comfortable. A small stove was on the right and a chimney edged its way upward and outward. Pipes were missing, too.
We arrived and looked at the unusualness of the scene. My camera failed to function and thus I had no photos.
I'd always wanted to go back to the scene and write about it and take photos. But by now, I became uncertain as to its location. I asked Dave Harder of Duvall for help. He got ahold of Helen Lashway of the Duvall Police Department who lives across the street from the old Cedar Tree Stump House.
She drew me a map and told property owner Nan Mueller of my plans. She'd recently lost her husband, a longtime well driller in the area.
Using the map, I followed her directions and arrived at the site where I met Nan Mueller. We sat at her table, sipped coffee, and I interviewed her. Later we'd have lunch there. Soon, Nan's Navy veteran brother Alfred Dickey would arrive and we casually walked over to the stump house.
It had changed. More delapidated. We walked around to see the other tree stumps. They, too, had caved in a little, but with a little effort, they could be used as previously.
Someone had stolen the stove. About all that was lacking was a small bed. There was sufficient room inside for a man or even a couple to live. One of the storage tree stumps, somewhat behind the tree house, couldn't be seen due to the brush.
As I stood there, I thought to myself that this site, if put back into shape, could become an excellent tourist attraction. I'm sure some retired man could be pursuaded to live there to greet visitors and show them around the place.
As I stepped outside of the tree house, I looked around and thought, "Shucks, though ill, in four days, I could clear the area around the stump house itself and create a path toward the other attractions. I enjoy such undertakings."
Possibly a Boy Scout group and leader could undertake such a venture to clear the area of brush and debris and make it an attraction. I would defer to them to undertake the venture.
While in front of the tree house, Alfred pointed down and said, "See the cougar and deer tracks?" We did.
Not put off by that, I said, "Shucks, the tree house man could have things to sell to the visiting public such as 'The Original Tree House Popcorn' and other similar selling items."
Nan said that the man had left his tree home over 30 years ago. At one time, however, he became ill and asked a neighbor to take him to the doctor. He told his friend to go over to that small stump, dig down for his can of money, and bring back some for him to pay the doctor.
On the other end was a small house. Once, a blind man had lived there. He'd tied white string from his door to the places where he wanted to go such as the outhouse and woodshed. He, too, is gone.
I'm going out again to that unusual scene. One must first arrange for permission from the owner to see the tourist attraction.
In closing, I wonder if that nearby hidden cedar stump storage site would interfere with the Stump House ever becoming a place for a honeymoon couple to spend the night in peace and quietness? Possibly in the middle of the night both the pair and the wandering cougar would end up shrieking to the High Heavens.
I'd like to add this in my foray into the hinterlands of yesteryear. I'm happy when...
Oft at night when near sleep
I think of the nice people I meet
Then when early dawn does come
I can the same writer become.