My first blog post is going to introduce you to my idea of Small Town, America. These are the towns that didn’t make it very much further than the drawing boards. Towns that us regular farm folk know as the history of our people. Most everybody has these historical places in their lives, but they have not been told, or do not remember being told, about them. All the old stories related to us by our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are what make these so special. I can hear someone talk about a particular place and I say excitedly, “I know where that’s at! My family used to live there!
Cloverland, Washington, was started with the idea that since it was so flat on top of the hills it would be a good place to start orchards. What they did not realize was how the winds would affect the trees on these cold, flat hills. There were plat maps drawn up and parcels sold. My grandfather, Chancy Taylor, bought a parcel in Cloverland and then he moved his family there from the homestead they had on Asotin Creek outside Asotin, Washington. The photograph on the left is the plat map of Cloverland showing the Taylor plot. The photograph on the right is my grandmother, Clara Boyd Clayton Taylor, and my grandfather, Chancy Taylor, on their wedding day in 1899. Can you imagine sewing that dress completely by hand? She did!
By this time they had a few children, including my mother, Gladys Taylor. While they were living there, there was a huge flu outbreak and it affected almost everyone in the tiny town. From what the few remaining old timers say, the church and any other building available was being used as a makeshift hospital to help care for the sick. My mother was one of them. She was also one of the lucky ones who survived. She was born with a cornea that came to a point so she did not see well to begin with and the high fever she carried while she was sick added to this disability by putting scars on her eyes.
At its heyday, in 1910, Cloverland only boasted 400 residents. Still it had a church, store, hotel and blacksmith shop among other businesses. By 1918 the town was fizzling and the store wasn’t doing well, so the owner went to California and went through training in driving and auto repair. He then converted the General Store to a garage and opened the only gas station and auto dealership in the area. It is shown in the first photo below. The next photo is a peek through one of the windows at the interior of the building. The building is now on the National Registry of Historic Buildings.
Below are photographs of other historic buildings still standing, some still being used. I took these in 2011 when my cousin and I took a short trip to Cloverland to check out our families’ humble beginnings. The first photo is now a residence, but was the old Barkley Hotel. Next is the old barn, which used to be the blacksmith shop. Of course, they would house horses for travelers, too. The next is of the old church. This church is still being used so there have been some improvements and modifications to the original building, but it still stands in the original location. The fourth photo is one of the few original buildings left from Cloverland. The current residents have left it standing.
The last two photographs are of the cemeteries in Cloverland. There are two: Cloverland Cemetery and Lake Cemetery.