THERE WAS A fairly large response to the June picture from the past as readers recognized Fairmount Drive-In at the corner of Euclid Avenue and U.S. Highway 101 West.
The photo was taken around 1956 or 1957.
Cindy Bruch Schlaffman recognized the photo at once as Fairmount Drive-In west of Port Angeles, now within the city limits.
However when it was built in the late 1950s it was not in the city limits.
She grew up across the street from the Fairmount complex of gas station, store, restaurant and motel.
Schlaffman said, “I was one of the first people to have a cheese burger off the grill at Fairmount as Elmer Loghry who built and owned the complex invited all of the neighbors over as they prepared for their grand opening.
“I remember the fields with the billboards on it before they were torn down to build the drive-in.
“As I grew older in my teen years we spent many a Friday or Saturday night ‘cruising the village’ from Fairmount into town down Lincoln and up First to Birney’s.
“Fairmount Drive-in became a restaurant with a cocktail lounge in the 1970s.
“I worked there for a few years in the early ’70s.
“Later on a dining room was added as well.
“Many fond memories of the drive-in and my old neighborhood.”
Loghry built the drive-in around about 1955, a few years after he built the store and motel.
In about 1961 or 1962 he and his wife Pearl sold it to Lee Hallman who soon changed the name to Hallman’s Fairmount Restaurant.
The curb service was discontinued sometime in the late 1960s.
The name soon became Fairmount Restaurant and has remained so into the present.
Margaret Hensen commented that she was their carhop from 1957 through high school.
She wore a cute little white uniform.
She was 15 when she started working for Elmer and Pearl.
After she graduated she worked for a while for Lee.
In the 1970s, a dining room was added and a bar.
The bar was closed in 2002 when the restaurant was sold.
Hallman worked until 2002 when she sold to a corporation that bought the entire Fairmount complex.
The restaurant was purchased by another corporation last year.
The new owner made some improvements to the restaurant.
Bev Borden Lindell became a waitress for Fairmount in 1967 and worked there for 33 years.
She knew many of the regulars and they became her extended family.
She said she has fond memories of Guy Bretches and the Helpenstells.
When she left the restaurant, she went to work in the Fairmount store, but is now retired.
Dennis Pollard lived in the Fairmount area and he remembered Patrick Mathews, the present co-owner of Airport Garden Center, got his start cooking at Fairmount in the early 1960s.
Mathews then went on to work for Haguewoods as a cook for many years.
Fairmount became known for its good food and generous portions.
It was popular with the truckers as they went in and out of town.
There was room to park their trucks and they could come in for coffee or a meal and conversation.
If one wanted to know what was happening in the logging industry, it was easy to find out by stopping at Fairmount.
A happy customer, Brian Howard, said, “I just know they had the best biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak for breakfasts in town. Yum, now I am hungry.”
Others have mentioned specific good things they offered, such as onion rings, and fish and chips.
Mike Dailey of Georgia wrote, “My fondest memory of Fairmount is Jan. 2, 1960, when my best friend John Flynn and I took our dates there before the Rainbow Tolo.
“My date was Gail Bell and John’s was Bonnie Cameron.
“My dad took pictures of us all dressed up for the formal event and I still have the pictures.
“I made contact with Bonnie through facebook several years ago and she still has her Tolo dance card with our names on it and her notes of the evening.”
Jerry Weiler said he used to catch rides with the log trucks to Forks when they stopped at Fairmount for coffee.
Jenny Tucker said she has worked there for 10 years on and off.
Her mom, Kathy Tucker, worked there before she did.
Jim Hansen of California played music a couple of afternoons along with other musicians.
Hansen grew up in Indian Valley and comes back to his childhood home a few times a year.
Dick Helpenstell remembered many cups of coffee and hours of visiting friends and family.
His uncle Jack and his dad Dick spent lots of time there.
Eric Helpenstell, Dick’s son, said he remembered Lee and going with his dad to the restaurant after school.
He would hang out in the bar with his dad and grandpa.
Now, instead of log trucks, one sees pickups and four wheeled drives in front of the restaurant.
The food is still wonderful and the portions are still large.
Some things have changed throughout the years, but the friendly atmosphere is still the same.
Alice Alexander is a Clallam County historian, author, and a descendent of an Elwha Valley pioneer family. She is a recipient of a 2014 Clallam County Heritage Awards. She can be reached at [email protected].
Alice’s Clallam history column appears the first Sunday of every month, alternating with Linnea Patrick’s Jefferson County history column on the third Sunday of the month.