Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Town On Stilts & Someone Making a Difference

"What is going on with this town?" is a question commonly asked at the Historical Society in the small town of Skykomish, WA. Patiently answering this and other questions is Bill Atkinson, who moved to the community following his retirement as a manager for a boat retailer in Seattle.

Interested in becoming involved in the tiny community of about 200 people, Bill joined the Historical Society and serves on the school board, with plans to see the school evolve from a learning center for their 50 students, into an educational and community cultural center. Plans for the school? Expand the opportunities to students and adults through classes in everything from photography, CPR, and auto mechanics. Since they have the facilities, he hopes to see community nights featuring story telling, board games, Wii bowling, and more.

In answer to the question, "What is going on Here?", Skykomish was a railroad maintenance center beginning in the 1890's. For 80 years, oil leaked into the ground which contaminated the community and finally the river. When the EPA became involved, the railroad was forced to step in and clean up the community.

Businesses and homes have been lifted and moved and the soil sent away for cleaning. When the soil is replaced, the buildings are returned to new foundations. 4 years of clean-up have taken place with another estimated 2 years to go. (To read more, visit

Bill is just one of the people we'll be featuring on our journey across America. He is making a difference in his community by giving of his time, his energies and his ideas!

Photo: Bill Atkinson and his father rebuilt this 1931 Model A when he was in High School. She's a beauty!


  1. I agree- a great shot of a beautiful vehicle.
    I could not imagine going to school with only 50 students. I enjoy small town living, but that's almost too small for me.
    Interesting that some people, like Bill, would choose to move to a small community in their retirement years.
    He sounds like a man who enjoys being involved and making a positive difference.

  2. My immediate reaction to this little town was "I could LIVE here!" But, I'd be out floating the river every day......

  3. I could live there. I mean in terms of the size.
    My community here has under two thousand people in it and my Newfs and I are attempting to know them all. One thing about having Newfs, people want to come meet you. (In truth it's the dogs.)