Centralian Sentenced to the Insane Asylum

On Jan. 10, 1912, M.R. Eastman, an elderly Centralia resident coming from Iowa seven years before, was examined by the sanity commission composed of Drs. Bickford and Kniskern. The decision was to send him to the asylum for the insane at Steilacoom the next day.

"The examination of Eastman was held in the offices of Prosecuting Attorney Buxton immediately after the man had been taken into custody by Deputy Sheriff James and Patrolman Blackwell," The Centralia Daily Chronicle wrote.

"A half dozen witnesses testified to the fact that Eastman was mentally unbalanced and that he could never remember where he lived, and neighbors of the man told of his recent strange actions. It was originally intended to commit the aged unfortunate to the poor farm, but it was feared that he would wander away from the institution and meet his death from exposure."

‘Don't Let Them Off on a Promise!'

120 years ago, in 1887

The Lewis County Bee was adamant about liquor-imbibing individuals being held accountable.

"Two parties were arrested Monday and put in jail and kept overnight when they were released," the newspaper wrote. "They were taken on the ground of drunkenness. Why were they released without trial? If the offense is not subject to trial they do not deserve an arrest. Let something be done. The marshal has started.

"When men, from the effects of liquor, get noisy and disturb the people they should be arrested and fined. Do not let them off with a promise. Make them suffer for the violation of law. They are just as guilty as the man who sells them the liquor. Let the officers maintain law and order, or pronounce our law a failure. The law is all right, but it seems that in Chehalis it is almost impossible to enforce it."

Fire Destroys Claquato School

75 years ago, in 1937

The one-room Claquato schoolhouse was destroyed at 5 p.m.

"People living near the building were able to get most of its contents out before the flames reached them," The Centralia Daily Chronicle reported. "Chehalis Fire Chief E.C. Kuehner, who attended the blaze, said it presumably started from a defective chimney."

Mailman With 40 Years Retires

50 years ago, in 1962

Walter C. (Jack) Burlingame retired after 40 years of service with the Chehalis Post Office. He held badge No. 1.

Chehalis Steam Train Travels to Mineral

25 years ago, in 1987

The steam train locomotive, No. 15, located at Recreation Park for 30 years, was moved to Mineral for refurbishment.

Harold Borovec, Chehalis, who had 43 years of experience with steam locomotives, rode it all the way, towed by a diesel locomotive operated by Peter J. Replinger, Shelton.

"The train included the No. 15 Baldwin locomotive, two cabooses, for the crew of nine to ride in and a flat car of rail that was used to remove the steam locomotive from Recreation Park," reported The Daily Chronicle.

The route ran more than 100 miles through Centralia, Maytown, Rainier, Roy, Graham, Kapowsin and Eatonville. By 11 p.m, it reached Elbe.

The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad had the top steam locomotive repair shops in the state. (The organization also had 20 steam locomotives on display at Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C.)

The cost of refurbishment was estimated at $50,000. The Chehalis-Centralia Railroad Association planned to use the locomotive for steam train rides between Chehalis and Centralia, from Main Street to Main Street.

Toledo Superintendent Confident in Principal Reynolds

10 years ago, in 2002

Toledo School District Superintendent Tom Lahmann declared his confidence in Ron Reynolds, elementary school principal, whose wife's death on Dec. 16, 1998, was again under investigation.

"It's a concern in that I hate to see him go through that again," Lahmann said.

"Once labeled a suicide, the death of former Washington State Patrol Trooper Ronda Reynolds was reclassified by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office as unexplained," The Chronicle wrote. "Her death certificate was changed in November, with the cause of death modified from suicide to undetermined.

"According to copies of Lewis County sheriff's deputy's reports, the Toledo School District superintendent and middle school principal were among those present at the Reynolds' home at some point the morning of Dec. 16, 1998, while deputies were there in response to Reynolds' 911 call reporting he had found his wife dead."

Equestrian-Center Bill Introduced by Alexander

Five years ago, in 2007

Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia, introduced a bill for an $80 million equestrian center in Lewis County, through the formation of a public facilities district.

"This is a terrific opportunity to bring some meaningful jobs and local revenues to Southwest Washington," Alexander said in a news release. "With the recent closure of the TransAlta facilities, we sure could use this shot in the arm."

Larry Hewitt, Centralia businessman, was leading a group of private investors. The center was scheduled to open in 2008 or 2009.

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