Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips

Quilcene stage nearly ready for outdoor events

QUILCENE — Bob Canterbury remembers the night the Linger Longer Lodge, a historic resort on Quilcene Bay, burned down.

He was 10 years old and living with his family at the end of Linger Longer Road.

The fire occurred on Halloween, and when firefighters arrived, they were still in their costumes.

“There were clowns fighting the fire,” he said.

On Monday, Canterbury was one of more than a dozen volunteers recognized for their contributions to the new outdoor stage nearing completion between the Quilcene Historical Museum and Worthington House, the planned centerpiece of the proposed Worthington Park.

The stage has been named the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater, after the lost local landmark.

“That’s why I like the name,” Canterbury said.

Canterbury — a chain-saw woodcarver whose brother runs the family business, Canterbury Oyster Farm — carved the two 18-foot totem poles that frame the outdoor stage.

He also carved the totem pole on the Quilcene School campus and one for the city of Federal Way to present to its Japanese sister city as a gift.

Canterbury chose local symbols for the Linger Longer stage — thunderbirds, eagles, beaver, bear, whale and an owl with a owlet.

Volunteers led by Gary Phillips installed the totem poles and raised the roof beams and crossbeams made of peeled cedar logs.

“The amazing part is that last week, this was just a slab,” said Bob Rosen, Quilcene Community Center manager, who organized Monday’s preview for the press and Quilcene museum members.

Having an outdoor stage was one of two main ideas raised at a community meeting five years ago, Rosen said.

The other was remodeling the center, which has been accomplished.

After meeting Gary and Mari Phillips from the museum and seeing the Worthington property, Rosen realized it was the perfect setting for a stage and set up a meeting with architect Gene Thompson of Brinnon to share his ideas for its design.

“At the end of the meeting, he said, ‘What about this?’” Rosen said.

“It was totally different from my idea and exactly what you’re seeing here today.”

Gary Phillips took on the building project last November, Rosen said, and also donated logs from his Penny Creek property for the totem poles and roof support poles.

Jim Munn announced that the first event on the new stage will be a July 21 concert featuring Chance McKinney, a country-western singer, and Kellee Bradley, a Seattle-based songwriter/singer.

Rosen said McKinney was the winner of the 2009 CMT Music City Madness competition and was able to add the Quilcene concert to his schedule only because he already was scheduled to play concerts in Washington state, Rosen said.

“This whole process is a series of fortuitous events,” he said.

Linger Longer Productions has been formed to promote and produce events, with Bonnie Story designing the website where tickets can be purchased, Rosen said.

A second “Quilbilly” country-western concert is scheduled for Sept. 1. But different types of music, including rock ‘n’ roll and a ’60s concert, will be featured in the future, Rosen said.

For more information, visit or phone 360-765-3321.

Funding still is needed to complete the Linger Longer stage, Rosen said, which will be covered, and to build two dance floors, one on each side.

Acknowledged Monday for in-kind donations of professional time and equipment were Paul Mahan, who sawed and milled the lumber; Tom French, who donated logs for roof beams; Don Meyer of Sequim and Josh Mahan, who delivered logs and poles; and Larry Hovde, son Loren Hovde and Mike Fitzgerald for excavation services.

Ann Ricker made the “Linger Longer” sign.

Jim Hamilton, Mark Pomerinke, Doug Reeves and John Helsper put in 80 hours last week to get the stage ready for Monday’s preview, Gary Phillips said.

Tim McCoy mowed the yard, and Helsper and Stan Nealy peeled the logs for the roof supports.

Mari Phillips, who is coordinating the Worthington Park project, said Monday she was thinking of her friend Eileen Worthington, the property owner and museum supporter who died recently.

Worthington did not live to see how the stage, the first phase of the project, was turning out, Mari Phillips said, but she knew would have been happy about it.

A memorial service for Worthington will be Saturday, June 2, at 1 p.m. at the Quilcene Presbyterian Church.

Born in 1919, she died May 8, 2012, at her home.

A founding member of the Quilcene Historical Museum, she donated land for the museum at the corner of Center Road and Columbia.

In 2011, she gave permission for the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater to be built in the field between her house and the museum, and entered into an agreement for the museum to buy the house and property.

When the stage is completed, proceeds from concerts and event rentals will go to the Worthington Park campaign to buy the property, then to help maintain the house and grounds as a community asset, Mari Phillips said.

The house, the only Victorian mansion of its scale in rural Jefferson County, is on 10 acres, and has a barn, outbuildings, a pond and frontage on the Little Quilcene River.

For more information, visit


Jennifer Jackson is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend. To contact her, email

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