SEQUIM — What do you get at a venue that’s turning 85 and has been a gymnasium, a dance hall, an event center and storage for the season’s hay harvest?
A cake and some friendly visitors, of course.
Rick and Mary Beth Holladay, newest owners of the iconic Cline Barn in Dungeness, welcomed neighbors and a number of descendants of former barn and property owners July 6 as they celebrated a bit of history while looking toward the building’s future use.
William Henry and Laura Irene Evans Cline originally built the bow-truss barn for use on their dairy farm in 1934, but it was used in that capacity for only about five years. It saw a number of uses throughout the years, particularly after the couple passed the farm on to their daughter Margaret, who was married to Ernest Bigelow.
“This place was full of hay every summer; it’s a little different today,” Hank Bigelow said July 6.
He and cousin Bob Clark detailed several stories about the barn to a crowd of about 30 inside the structure, now lined with art and artifacts of its bygone dairy farm life.
Clark recalled playing basketball here, with hoops on either side of the structure.
“Our parents always knew where we kids were,” Clark said.
Just before his uncle Henry put hay in the barn, Clark said, he’d invite neighbors for a big dance and could pack at least 200 people inside.
“Lot of memories in this barn,” Clark said.
While “most of the time it was filled with hay,” the barn also held everything from tulip bulbs to boats, noted Kathryn Owens, a great-granddaughter of William Henry Cline.
By day’s end, more than 70 family and visitors had signed the guest book.
See more photos from the event at tinyurl.com/PDN-Cline-Barn.
The property is replete with history as well. Cline’s father, Elliott Henry Cline — who would go on to be elected representative to the Territorial Legislature in 1860 — settled family on the land about eight years prior. (He died on the same piece of property, Clark noted, at age 66.)
The Clallam County seat — briefly — was on this property before being moved to Port Angeles in 1890.
When William Henry Cline died in 1956, the Sequim Press noted, Clallam County Pioneers’ Association records listed him as the oldest native born white resident of Clallam County.
In the mid-1960s, family members said, the family donated Cline Spit for use as a county park.
Since her grandmother Margaret Cline Bigelow sold the last 5 acres of the property (with barn) in 1973, Owens said, and it has since had several owners, including furniture-makers Don and Penny Wolf.
The barn has seen necessary renovations and other improvements, notably by Charles Steel of Huntington Beach, Calif. Steel added inner walkways, new sliding barn doors, copulas and exterior windows and a weather vane, and in 2012 renovated all 10,000 square feet of the barn’s roof.
Owens penned a piece about the historic structure that was printed in Country magazine and later in a book, “This Old Barn.”
“We’ve always been welcome here by each [of the] owners, to relive our childhood memories,” Owens said.
Both artists, the Holladays said they are considering hosting some art events in the Cline Barn.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.