Days of Swauger

| July 08, 2010

There's no way of predicting when you'll find yourself watching Access Humboldt. It's not an activity one plans in advance. But on occasion, some "show" may lure in a channel surfing-passerby with the promise of giving you a "guess what I saw" conversational item to pass on at your next gathering. That's what I'm doing here.

Several times now, I've found myself on AH hypnotized by old video of a local historian who gives presentations at area retirement homes. One of his gimmicks is to quiz seniors on the former names of different Humboldt County locations. "Where was Swauger's Station?" he'll ask pointing to a list of place names written large on strips of paper taped to a larger presentation pad. Rarely does he stump his audience. "Loleta," an old-timer will respond and, like a less glamorous Vanna White, the historian will pull off the strip to reveal the correct answer. You'd be surprised how long you can actually watch this.

Is this guy still around? I have no idea. But it seems like he would be a good dude to have around at Loleta's annual Swauger's Station Day, which returns on Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Thomas Carr Park (next to Loleta Elementary School). I'm sure he could tell us all how the initial late-19th century name for the community comes from an old train depot built in 1884. Back then (way before Hank started his anti-railroad campaign) trains were the only means of reaching the town. The moniker lasted only two years when, in 1886, the citizens began calling their home by the original Wiyot word for the region "Lo-le-tah," which means "pleasant place at the end of the water." Seems appropriate.

But the spirit of the yearly event is rooted less in the community's past than in its present. Call the day whatever you like, Loleta just needed an excuse to get together. The day features live music, barbecue, Indian tacos and children's games. You know there will be some Loleta Cheese in the house. I don't know if they still do this, but when I was a lad we got to ride around on the Loleta Fire Dept. Truck every year. Just sayin'.

The day also will feature the Third Annual Jim Davy Bicycle Tour of Loleta with 28-, 44- and 74-mile races starting at 7 a.m. A 7.8-mile fun ride departs at 8 a.m. and a 7.8/2.2 mile run/walk starts at 10:30. Hardcore bikers can download a registration form at pages.suddenlink.net/loletaperfecta.

If you've been jonesin' for some community, now you know where to find it.

Now, where was Bucksport?

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