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First exhibits ready for Clear Creek Interprative Center

"After several years of slow-going volunteer work, the Clear Creek/Sa'qad Interpretive Center is nearly complete. The first installation - a timeline - is expected to be finished by early summer.To that end, Coreen Haydock Johnson, a member of the Clear Creek Task Force, is looking for continued funding and old chicken or dairy farming artifacts from the late 1800s to the 1930s: remnants of the area's chicken and dairy farming roots.One of the reasons in Clear Creek Valley that chicken farming took off was logging. People built chicken houses on the stumps, Johnson said.Although she's not altogether sure what sort of chicken and dairy paraphernalia is out there, Johnson said things like old egg-packing crates might be the type of thing she's looking for.The eight- to 10-foot timeline will comprise a collage of images and photographs outlining human evolution and economic development in the Clear Creek area, meandering along a subtle, background image of a stream in the 1,200-square-foot vintage barn. Text and dates will dot the way from the geologic past to the present.The focus of the center is how humans have impacted (the area) as years go by ... how we've used the stream, the valley and Dyes Inlet, Johnson said.The history of the area will be writ large along the path of the timeline, including the first naval expedition into the area led by Capt. Charles Wilkes in 1841. Although Wilkes didn't venture into the valley, members of his expedition did. Thus was the inlet named after the expedition's assistant taxidermist, John W. Dyes.Loggers and non-native settlers rambled in during the 1850s and stayed around until the 1880s, taking trees and setting up the chicken and dairy operations.Suquamish ancestors probably migrated into the area during the period from 11,000 BCE to 7,000 BCE. In 1855, Chief Sealth signed the Treaty of Point Elliott and the Suquamish moved onto a reservation.By 1890, Silverdale was named and the Silverdale Co-op established, allowing farmers to share the costs of purchasing feed and supplies. The co-op prospered into the 1930s.World War II provided rapid developments in the area, including the build-up of the shipyard. The naval subase arrived in the '70s, followed by the mall in the '80s.In addition to providing running commentary on the history of the area, the timeline will provide fodder for future exhibits, as other installations will be drawn from it. The center's scope will include native artifacts, history, salmon and basketry, among other things.An Orca whale exhibit from the Whale Museum - a five-panel depiction of the whales visiting Dyes Inlet - will also be installed in the center. Other expected exhibits might include salmon cycles and invertebrates; a native culture hunter/gatherer/fisher exhibit; an exhibit on commerce in the valley; and early transportation to current water transportation woes.One thing that's not on the timeline is how little people know about how much people travelled by water, Johnson said. Early settlers walked along the shoreline or rowed because the forests were too think to walk through, she said.Along the bottom of the timeline, Johnson may install a footprint-themed path showing the evolution of mobility in the area. Beginning with no footprints and progressing through animal prints to mocassin prints, she's not yet sure how it will end, though she supposes it might be tire tracks."

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