THERE WERE LOTS of responses to the November picture from the past and although two people thought it was somewhere else, most readers recognized it as the Morse Creek Valley with Dr. Hay’s ranch in the foreground.
The photo was taken in 1947 from the top of the hill on the west side by the site of the old drive-in theater.
Dr. James C. Hay and his wife, Mary, came to Port Angeles in about 1926 with their infant son, Jim.
Hay started practicing medicine with Dr. William M. Davidson and together they established the Davidson-Hay Hospital.
Another son, Don, was born and in the early 1940s, seeing World War II looming, Jim and his brother started a victory garden to help feed the patients in their father’s hospital on property Hay had purchased in the Morse Creek Valley.
The victory garden grew into the renowned Haybrook Farm.
In 1944, Hay built a large three-bedroom home and a home for the caretaker of the farm, which was a dairy farm to begin with.
He also built a large barn and a smaller milking barn.
Jim served in the Army and went on to college at Washington State University, where he majored in animal husbandry.
When he came back to Port Angeles, he and his brother started buying Hereford cattle for the Haybrook Farm.
Sometime in 1944, the Hays hired Emmett T. Walker to clear more land for cattle.
Walker cleared to the strait and on the east side of Morse Creek.
Also in the 1940s, Morse Creek flooded. (A third barn was washed away in one of the floods.)
In 1950, the brothers moved Haybrook and its cattle to a 640-acre farm in Ellensburg.
The brothers took care of their father, as he was ill by that time and unable to continue practicing medicine.
He died in 1956 in Ellensburg.
The history of Morse Creek claims the owner in 1917 of the mouth of the valley was D.W. Morse.
Mary Morse owned the east side, C.M. Morse owned the west side.
Paul Land owned the southwest side.
The north side was the railroad addition.
By 1935, the mouth was owned by George Steele.
Other owners were J.J. Hedle, Angeles Gravel Supply, the railroad and Clallam County.
In 1942, Mr. Kelsch was listed as an additional owner.
In 1955, Henry Johnson purchased land toward the strait. He was head of the Olympic Motorcyle Club.
There were about 10 or 11 years where the property owners of the valley were unknown until 1961, when Jack D. King purchased the former Hay home.
There was flooding that year.
King sold in 1985
King owned the main house until 1985, when he sold to Marc and Joan Cates.
Also in 1961, Tex Hutto lived on an adjoining farm and managed horses at the Hay barn.
Colleen Huckins Bretches remembered she and her friend, Jan Kocman Meyers, cleaned the barn and Hutto would let them ride the horses up the power lines and Deer Park Road.
The girls came out in Bretches’ Model A and always stopped by the Flying Saucer with enough change for one hamburger to share.
In 1963, the land was sub-divided to become Four Seasons Ranch, owned by Olympic Associates and American Federal Mortgage Savings.
A homeowners association was formed with a board of directors with each member responsible for certain areas of the ranch.
The barn was available for residents of the association to house their horses and other items.
There was a community garden and community chickens.
Residents took care of their own animals and shared in the work of keeping up the barn and gardens.
Approximately 65 acres
Including the community areas and the 155 private land parcels the Four Seasons amounted to approximately 65 acres.
In 1970, William Elton acquired the adjoining farm Hutto had lived on.
By December 1985, Ed Robison and his wife, Marlene, were owners of the main ranch house.
In 2017, Paul and Becky Pettigrew and their daughter, Elizabeth, purchased the house.
It had been on the market for a while so the Pettigrews faced a big challenge preparing it for residents again.
They have made huge progress in the months they have owned the property, but still have lots of plans for the future to restore the house to its original beauty.
Probably in the 1950s an addition was built onto the main house.
It added another bedroom and large den with a fireplace. There is also a garage.
The view upstairs is of the surrounding mountains with the creek in the winter when the leaves have fallen.
The house was built with red cedar tongue-and-groove materials.
There was a fish pond built in 1946 that took 22 days to complete.
In the back yard, there is tubular children’s play equipment.
No one knows just how long the equipment has been there.
Fruit trees added
The property has fruit trees in addition to the community garden.
There is an active flock of chickens owned by the residents and they have designated days to collect the eggs.
The residents keep the barn cleaned out and stacks of manure and mulch are set aside for the use of the residents in the gardens.
The barn currently has four horses and a donkey.
There also is a maintenance shop on the property.
Bruce Knight wrote that the photo looked like the creek delta where Four Seasons Ranch is located.
He noted the scarring on the east side of the bluff which could have been Goodman’s gravel pit.
He said he didn’t see the drive-in movie theater on the west side of the photo, so it must have been taken in the 1940s.
He remembered riding his bike on the Discovery Trail and he also rode in the back seat of a 1959 Studebaker Lark around the curves of U.S. Highway 101 in the early 1960s.
He was a little sad when the state redid the highway through the dip.
Kari Nielsen, Montana, Al Brannin, Fred Moritz and Norman Gallacci all recognized the photo as Morse Creek and Hay’s farm.
George Williams and Margaret Levitan also wrote.
Creta and Allie Hendricks purchased their home at Four Seasons in 2003.
The view of the straits was absolutely beautiful with many of the trees still small, but presently they can still see the ships on the water.
There were just horses in residence in 2003.
She also remembered the swinging foot bridge that crossed the creek.
After a while, the bridge was replaced with a solid bridge for safety reasons.
Creta Hendricks commented on the story of a single lady who came from Canada. She had her house barged from Canada to the beach at Four Seasons and then loaded on a truck and moved to its present location.
Otto Greshon, the housing association’s secretary was kind enough to share the acreage amount.
He commented that the residents all worked together and were a friendly bunch.
The Pettigrews fit right into this group and are a welcome addition.
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].