Bill Moeller Commentary: How to Spend a Fortune Pleasantly


Last Thursday’s edition of The Chronicle started wheels spinning in this old writer’s brain about dreams for our future. 

The article was about the sale of a property oldtimers still call “the old golf course.”

I had, not too long ago, mentioned what I’d do with that property if I won a substantial amount in a lottery. 

However, the first thing I’d do is make sure that Centralia’s outdoor swimming pool opened no later than the last day of school next year. There’s something about an open pool that you never see or hear in an indoor pool — laughing and splashing and having a great time. 

Oh, our covered pool is great, and if you are “of a certain age,” you may remember that I was mayor when we built it. In fact, I was mayor when a lot of things got done. 

It’s also when we built the Sixth Street viaduct, ensuring that no matter if every track crossing is tied up with stalled trains, emergency vehicles will always be able to cross over to the other side if needed. 

Johnson Road was made ready for the many trucks that were expected to use that street (and which they now do) while curbs, gutters and sidewalks were installed along Buckner and Diamond streets.

We finished work on what is now Centralia College Boulevard in case it would be needed for possible one way streets in the future. And don’t forget, we had to deal with the second eruption of Mount St. Helens when everything in the Twin Cities was covered by approximately 2 inches of pulverized rock! 

We concluded the building or improvement of water reservoirs on every hill surrounding Centralia to ensure that, if one was damaged, others could take up the slack. 

The only thing I regret is no longer being able to continue using the mountain stream water from the north fork of the Newaukum River. That 40-mile long wood pipe was just showing too much of its age. 

But I’ll never stop insisting that it tasted better back then. 

Finally, I’m never going to skip over the fact that it’s my name at the bottom line of the document creating the Seminary Hill Natural Area.

Where was I?

Oh, that’s right — getting back to my initial thought. 

I wish that property that was mentioned at the beginning of this column could, some day, be converted into many levels of seating facing an eventual performance stage as close as possible to the Hollywood Bowl where — without any electronic assistance — the slightest, quietest bits of music can be heard. 

It would entail a lot of study to determine if the setting would be right for such a facility as I’m suggesting, or if the new owner(s) have other ideas for development of the property, which is most likely. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been there so perhaps the rise of the land — while it was suitable for golf when played in a back and forth manner — might be too steep for adequate concert seating.

And this isn’t Southern California, so plans might have to be developed for use when liquid sunshine abounds.

All of the above would tie in with what I consider to be my fondest dream — the resurrection of the local youth orchestra that was developing into a classification of “really good” when unfortunate circumstances caused its dispersal. 

I remember a town in Oregon, just a few miles north of Ashland (was it Applegate? I can’t remember) where youthful music students drew large crowds all summer long. 

The students were lodged with local families and that whole procedure could easily happen here as well. 

I’ve made it clear over the years that I oppose growth for the sake of growth but the nice thing about creating such an arena is that it’s not a year around event. 

Help! The ancient dreamer is loose again.


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at