Mary Lou Strickland Bingham – phone interview 1/7/2006
Floyd and Mandy Strickland moved to Coyle in 1956 or 1957 after visiting the area over several years. Their daughter Mary Lou was married in 1958 and left the area until she and her husband moved back there in the 1980s to live permanently. Mary Lou’s brother Jim stayed with his parents and graduated from Quilcene High School.
When the Strickland family moved to Coyle in the late 1950s there was no electricity or indoor plumbing. Kerosene lamps lit the house. Very few people were living in the area. There were a few fisherman still there, lots of open land, and lots of places to camp. Jim Strickland always loved to ride his horse all around because he could go just about anywhere and everywhere and not see anyone.
Before the family moved to Coyle, they often came over from Kent to stay, taking two ferries to get there. It was a long trip, starting out on the Seattle ferry then taking the Lofall-South point ferry. Once they got that far, they still had to drive to Dabob before the long adventure of navigating the long Dabob-Coyle gravel road. It took its travelers around stumps and in and out of gullies before arriving at Fish Harbor where they lived. Sometimes they chose to drive around through Tacoma, but the trip was just as long.
The old school house located on the Bergerson property was no longer in use. Floyd wanted to purchase it to preserve it as a historical structure, although is was in very poor condition at the time. Mr. Bergerson didn’t want to sell it, and it was eventually torn down. The bell tower itself was hauled over to the Strickland property at the head of the harbor. It served the Strickland grandchildren well as a playhouse until it finally fell apart with age.
The old farmhouse that the Strickland’s lived in was thought to be about 100 years old. Currently the Crawford family owns the farm.