Bill Traylor is shown in front of Traylor’s Drive-In just outside of Port Angeles in the 1960s. (Julie Traylor Price)

Bill Traylor is shown in front of Traylor’s Drive-In just outside of Port Angeles in the 1960s. (Julie Traylor Price)

BACK WHEN: Traylor’s Drive-In fondly remembered by readers

SEVERAL PEOPLE RECOGNIZED June’s picture from the past as Traylor’s Restaurant on East U.S. Highway 101.

The photo was taken sometime after 1960.

Brenda Mast wrote that her Aunt Maxine Decker sold the Flying Saucer restaurant to Bill Traylor.

Karen Durham Munro said that Maxine had built the “Flying Saucer and it was just a drive-in, with hamburgers and french fries. Decker lived across the highway from the drive-in with her two children, Thelma and Keith Lemley.

“She and her husband Andy Decker built the drive-in the first part of the 1950s. In the early 1950s, she sold to Alfred Ramsdale, who was Shirley Traylor’s father.

“Ramsdale lived in a house next to the drive-in at the time. His little house is still standing.”

Shirley Coker commented that she had been a friend of Decker’s.

Dean Reed, who lived across the highway from Traylor’s, said that after Decker sold, Alfred Ramsdale purchased the Flying Saucer, but he only kept it for a year or so and sold it to his daughter, Shirley, and her husband, Bill Traylor.

1958 directory

The 1958 Port Angeles directory lists Ramsdale’s Flying Saucer and the 1960 directory lists Traylor’s Flying Saucer.

Reed remembered Ramsdale had a fireworks stand and also sold crab in a stand in the front.

His nickname was Crabby Al.

Reed said he didn’t suppose Ramsdale made much money off the fireworks as he fired off as many as he sold.

Reed and his sister were quite young but he remembered sitting on a rock wall in front of their house watching the events across the street.

He also remembered when he was finally old enough to cross the highway by himself and get the wonderful ice cream cones and shakes.

The cones were 10 cents each and the shakes were 35 cents.

Vera Lemley Phillips, daughter of Keith Lemley, remembered visiting her grandma Iretha (Maxine) Decker when she was young.

She and her grandma would go to Traylor’s and he would give the children free appetizer plates and Shirley Temples.

In 1961, Colleen Huckins Bretches and her girlfriend often stopped at the Flying Saucer for a hamburger after riding horses at the Four Seasons Ranch.

They usually only had change for one hamburger, which they would share.

Idah Smith wrote that her grandpa Reed, who lived in a house he had built across the highway from the Flying Saucer, would cross the street to get chicken for her grandma.

Her cousin Dean Reed grew up in a house to the east of the present coffee stand.

Smith’s grandpa’s house was to the west of the coffee stand.

In 1955, Traylor purchased the drive-in from Ramsdale for $500 and married Shirley the same year.

He kept the Ramsdale Flying Saucer name and the original building until a fire in 1961 partially burned the restaurant.

Rebuilt after fire

Julie Traylor Price said that after the fire they rebuilt and made many changes.

Traylor’s Drive-In became the name.

After the drive-in section was taken out fairly early, the Gallery Room, which was the bar, was added in May 1970.

The library and the atrium sunroom at the front of the building were added sometime in the late 1970s.

The bar was most likely enlarged at this time.

Traylor took the little drive-in with six stools and two tables and with a lot of hard work turned it into a $1.5 million business by 1994, according to a new article in the Clallam County Historical Society’s archives. Price confirmed the amount.

Dean Reed commented that about the time of the Traylor’s fire, the Deckers also had a fire in their house.

The two fires generated a fear of fire for the young boy.

Patty Bretches Edwards said she worked for Bill sometime in the 1960s when she graduated from high school and was in Peninsula College.

She liked working there but left when she married and moved to Port Townsend.

A 1965 menu lists Bill’s Famous Delux Hamburger as 60 cents with 10 cents more for cheese.

Fish and chips were $1. Coffee was 10 cents a cup and soft drinks were 15 cents.

Prices went up

By 1974, the fish and chips had risen to $2.85 and coffee was 35 cents a cup.

Price said that her father owned A&W in addition to Traylor’s but she couldn’t remember the year he purchased it.

However, it was listed in the 1969 Port Angeles directory with Traylor as the owner.

He had also owned Traylor’s in Sequim and it was listed in the 1978 Port Angeles directory.

According to a Peninsula Daily News article in November 1989, Traylor had sold the Sequim Traylor’s earlier that year.

In the 1980s, Price said that her father semi-retired and the family moved out of the area, leaving managers to run the restaurant.

Traylor came back on a regular basis until in 1994 he decided to come back full time.

He asked Julie and her husband to come and help him, which they did.

His plan was to make it a family restaurant and he served what the customers wanted.

Eventually Julie became full owner.

In 1986, Ramsdale died and Traylor’s closed for the day in his honor.

Kathy Backes wrote that she loved the previous month’s story about Birney’s, although she was forbidden to go there because “that’s where the ‘fast crowd went.’ ”

She doesn’t know if that was actually true or something her parents told her when she was a child.

She didn’t move here until just 10 years ago, but her grandparents and parents lived here so she was often in Port Angeles.

She considered Port Angeles her home and recognized the photo as the Flying Saucer and Bill Traylor as the man in the photo.

Julie Price also identified the man in the photo as her father, probably taken before she was born in 1962.

Backes shared the story of her grandparents and parents owning McIntosh Grocery (also known as Red/White) on the corner of First and Eunice streets.

Her grandpa’s name was Lawrence Robert McIntosh and he died in the 1930s.

Her father’s name was also Lawrence and he and his mother kept the store going until Linkletter purchased it sometime between 1946 and 1950, and later on built the Humdinger Drive-In.

Jerry Weiler recognized the photo as Traylor’s.

Others knew what the photo was but didn’t share memories.

Don Durham, brother of Karen Durham Munro, graduated in 1955 and said that the The Flying Saucer was the “place to go.”

Traylor’s is a very popular restaurant now and it is my personal favorite.

My husband likes the kabobs and I like steak and prawns. Several people have commented that they serve the best fish and chips in the area.

Thank you, Julie, for keeping up your dad’s great traditions.

________

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.

July photo of the month
                                Here is another drive-in in our area. Do you recognize this one and can you share your memories? Write to Alice Alexander, 204 W. Fourth St., Apt 14, Port Angeles, WA 98362 or email her at bretches1942@gmail.com and she will include your comments in her column Aug. 5.

July photo of the month Here is another drive-in in our area. Do you recognize this one and can you share your memories? Write to Alice Alexander, 204 W. Fourth St., Apt 14, Port Angeles, WA 98362 or email her at [email protected] and she will include your comments in her column Aug. 5.

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