Interview with Lloyd Chalcraft
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Northwest Public Television | Chalcraft_Lloyd
Chalcraft: Does this station go into Seattle?
Camera man: No.
Bauman: No. This is in Eastern Washington, I guess.
Camera man: Yeah. This will get to--
Chalcraft: Why I asked that of which it's in, my brother lives in Seattle.
Camera man: It will all be available online.
Bauman: Yeah. And we can get you a copy.
Camera man: I'm recording.
Bauman: OK. We're going to go ahead and get started. Can you hear me OK?
Chalcraft: I'm ready, just as long as I can hear you. What you're asking, see.
Bauman: OK. Let's start by having you say your name, and if you could spell it also.
Chalcraft: Lloyd-- OK. Lloyd Robert Chalcraft.
Bauman: OK, great. And my name is Robert Bauman, and today's date is August 20, right, of 2013.
Chalcraft: My hearing is a little holding me back. I can hear you, but you're a real quiet voice.
Bauman: OK. And we're conducting this interview on the campus of Washington State University, Tri-Cities.
Chalcraft: Yeah, that's correct. I mean, do I got to OK that?
Bauman: No, that's OK. Well. Let's start if you could, by having you--
Bauman: Could you tell us about your family and how your family--
Chalcraft: Got here? My family came to Richand, Washington in 1910 from Idaho. My granddad homesteaded in Idaho, and they came into Richland in 1910. And I can go into quite a little history there.
My family, my uncle, my mother's brother was the first boy to die in World War I in the war. He was the first one to die in Richland in World War I.
And I got a great grandmother buried down in this cemetery. She was buried there in 1917. Well, I got a lot a relatives between here and Kennewick.
Bauman: What brought them to Richland? What brought your family to Richland?
Chalcraft: What brought them to Richland? My granddad was up in Rexburg, Idaho on a farm, and they still got the land. My mother couldn't breath and they came down for a dry climate for my mother. And they came down here in a covered wagon from Idaho in 1910.
And what do want? You want to continue on? Then, my mother graduated from Richland high school in 1918. She played basketball there, and then there was Uncle Frank.
Bauman: And what was your mother's name and your grandparent's name?
Bauman: What was your mother's name and your grandparent's name.
Chalcraft: Her maiden name?
Chalcraft: Jamison. Her grandmother's buried down here across from Hapo. Her grandma Davidson, and well, I got a lot of relatives buried and kept between here and Kennewick.
Bauman: Did her family have a farm here, then?
Chalcraft: Did what?
Bauman: Did they have a farm?
Chalcraft: In Richland?
Chalcraft: Yes. Well, my grandparents had a farm here. We had a farm here, and my uncle had a farm here. We had four different farms. Granddad had a big cherry orchard. Where his orchard was is where that locksmith is on Van Giesen. That was a part of their orchard. That was a prune orchard only it had cherries there.
I went to school myself. I went to school here eight years, where now that little grade school is here. It used be called Richland Grade School, but it's not what's out down there south of Richland. Later in life, my boy played basketball for Richland.
My boy, he was on the Richland State Basketball Champion when they beat Pasco. Do you remember that? For the state basketball. My boy, he played football and basketball for Richland High School.
I graduated from Kennewick High School. See, we moved out. The government come in and took all this land over, and we moved to Kennewick.
Bauman: And how old were you then?
Chalcraft: I was about eighth grade.
Bauman: And what do you remember about that time?
Bauman: What do you remember about that when you first heard that the government was going to come in 1943?
Chalcraft: People were pissed. People were mad cause they come in here and took this land over. They practically stole the land. I mean, people were really shook up. Do you know I mean? They didn't know what was going on. It was like an invasion.
You seen army trucks, the DuPont surveyors. I saw the plane that I think this guy-- they flew over this big scientist to pick this area out. I don't know if I would guarantee it, but they were looking for a place of vacant land. And that Columbia River is the key.
I remember that plane flew over. There was a Navy base in Pasco, but this plane was a big transport plane. These scientist were looking over that area.
Bauman: And do you know how much money you're family got for land?
Chalcraft: For the place?
Bauman: Yeah, how much money your family got?
Chalcraft: They had a farm there with cherries. My family, we had three or four families. My granddad had that big orchard.
They gave him $13,000 for a whole complete cherry orchard. They literary stole the land, which is here or there.
We got $7,000 for our little place. It's on the corner-- we lived on the corner of Sanford and Van Giesen.
Bauman: And how big was your place? How many acres?
Chalcraft: It was 10 acres. My granddad, I think, was-- I've forgotten now exactly. 25 or 30 acres.
Bauman: And what was his name?
Chalcraft: TJ Chalcraft. Thomas Chalcraft. That was my dad's father. Then my granddad lived here. When they come down from Rexburg's, he opened a blacksmith's shop in 1910. Jamison, Hershel Jamison.
Bauman: Oh, OK. Uh-huh. And so did your farm also have cherries on your farm?
Bauman: Did you grow cherries?
Chalcraft: Yeah. We had cherries and asparagus. I've cut the damn asparagus.
Bauman: Hard work.
Chalcraft: Yeah. It kept me from dilly dallying. I was just a kid in school. Yeah. A lot of things-- my dad went to a federal land bank meeting in Prosser that night. And he come back to Mary and says, our government is going to take this property over and nobody believed him.
About February 1st, or the approximate time, well, everybody started getting letters from the government. This property is under eminent domain, or whatever. There's another wording for it, but they're going to take all this property.
By the way, in that school down here, that little grade school, they closed that. I got out of school a month early because the government took it over to make office space for it. And there was a schoolhouse where Carnation used to be, two story. I watched three years and they built that. This in before Hanford.
There was a two story school there. There was a duplicate out here at White Bluffs Hanford. Everything and the toilets were outside.
Bauman: So when did you move off the land then? What time in 1940?
Chalcraft: Well, we moved off right away. We moved to Kennewick, my folks did. Let's see. We moved right away. They had to move because the government started moving them.
You know, you don't understand. That's been 65 years ago. I get a little bit-- those numbers don't quite-- well, it was in '43 or '45. Well, hell no. The bomb was out here. [INAUDIBLE] is the one who built the Hiroshima bomb. So they dropped that bomb in '45, didn't they? So we moved out before that period.
Well, we had to. About '43, I can't remember the dates. We moved out probably-- we'd haul over to Kennewick--my folks bought property on Kennewick Avenue. Are you acquainted with Kennewick?
See, I own that Jiffy car wash. That's what's some of our land is when we move from Richland to Kennewick.
Maybe you've had a car washed. It's isn't like-- I own the land or the building. I don't own the car wash. Hulberts have that.
Bauman: Did you go to school in Kennewick?
Chalcraft: No, I didn't.
Which is immaterial. See, I went to school in Richland for eight years, and then I went to school in Kennewick for four years.
Bauman: What do you remember about going to school in Richland? Do you remember any of the teachers, or how big--
Chalcraft: I had good teachers. I actually learned more from Mrs. Randolph in reading than most of these kids. Some of these kids go to school and they can't even read now. She was a little crippled lady named Randolph. And she taught us first grade.
They had pretty good schools here. Actually, they did. And they told us you had to be a citizen in the United States before you could vote.
Bauman: Did you walk to school or was there a school bus?
Chalcraft: We had a bus. We had a bus. See, I lived about two miles down to Richland on Van Giesen down to Richland. We had a school bus. Yeah. They had three or four school buses.
Bauman: And do you remember any of your neighbors?
Chalcraft: Oh, yeah. Carlsons and Ericksons and Rudes. There was a lot of Ericksons. I think there was more Swedish people that lived in Richland than any other relative. Some of their homes-- My grandad helped build some homes here in 1918 that are still standing. Then, all the Swede's had pretty nice homes here.
Maybe you're Swede. Are you a Swede?
Chalcraft: But anyway, the Swede's are a real progressive type people. OK, a little deal here. The boy, this cook, this vet's place down here, this cook Erickson, the name of the veterans' and Erickson was one of the sons of one of the people that lived here. And he went into the service, and he got shot down over the Mediterranean sea during the war.
This little town had a lot of boys. We had, I can think, Don Culp was on the Arizona. He lived. His folks, well, his aunt was engaged to my uncle. But he was on the Arizona.
Tommy Van Poulsen was on the California. This was at Pearl Harbor. The Mosier boy, he was on Guam. He got captured by the Japs. He was a prisoner of war for the total war.
But Don Culp come off the Arizona and he went back to sea on a destroyer. And a storm come off the Philippines and they drowned. And Tommy Van Poulsen used to swim that river all the time. He swam off the Californian and got out. They were there where the Walmart has gone.
This little town had a lot of people in the service compared for the population. Tom [? Handbe, ?] he lived in parts of Richland. He was killed in Normandy.
Bauman: So how many brothers and sisters did you have?
Chalcraft: I got one brother, no sisters.
Bauman: Older? Was he older or younger? Was he older than you or younger?
Chalcraft: He's 16 years younger. They thought she had a tumor. I mean, there was no kids between, you know what I mean, between-- 16 years olds, went to school. Hell, I was starting high school or last when he was born. But he lives in Seattle now.
Bauman: So were you born in Richland, then?
Chalcraft: Actually, I was born in Lady Lourdes in Pasco. I understand then there was no hospitals in Richland. And there was no hospitals in Kennewick.
Mine was born in Kennewick, but there was a midwife. The only hospital here was in Pasco, Lady Lourdes. See, I was born in '29, but that was the only-- my brother was born at the Lady Origin, Pasco.
My boy was born in Richland. I got a son that played basketball for Richland. And he was born in the Kadlec Hospital down here. He played against Pasco when they played-- I don't know if you were around here, Pasco and them played for the state championship.
Bauman: So the community of Richland, when you grew up, do you remember any of the businesses that we're here at the time or anything like that?
Bauman: Do you remember any of the businesses that we're here?
Chalcraft: Oh, yes. We had Ralton's Drugstore. John Dam had a store, and that park out there is named after John Dam. [? Yiddick ?] had a store here.
Hugh Van [? Dyne ?] had the tavern. And Rex Bell had a service station. I can remember, I could go down the street and Phil Charmin, he was a barber, and he's buried right beside my dad down this whole cemetery.
And as you go down to the park, there's a brick building sitting there. It's two story. And the bank got in trouble.
The banker went to jail in Walla Walla, because in 1930 the bank went bust. And at that time it was state controlled. See, federal took it after Roseville come in, but the banker went to jail. He went to Walla Walla.
Bauman: What was his name?
Bauman: Remember his name?
Chalcraft: Yup. Nelson. You know what I mean? I don't know if his brother's still around or not, but anyway this was back in 1930. I don't know if it was big or whatever. The bank was closed when I--
Bauman: Your father was at some point then on the board of directors--
Bauman: Your father was on the board of directors of the--
Chalcraft: He was on the--
Bauman: --federal land bank, or something like that.
Chalcraft: Yeah. If you worked-- well, he's kind of a officer with a blind bank. We had a chicken hatchery we used to hatch baby chickens to besides our farm.
Bauman: And your farm, you grew mostly cherries and asparagus?
Bauman: On your farm, you grew mostly cherries and asparagus.
Chalcraft: Yeah, we did that. I picked lots of cherries and cut asparagus. These kids nowadays would think that was torture.
Bauman: Do you remember any special community events?
Bauman: Do you remember special community events or gatherings, picnics, any of those sorts of things.
Chalcraft: Any special what?
Bauman: Special events. Community events. Any celebrations the community had or anything like that growing up.
Chalcraft: Not really. Not here. Most of the celebrations were in Kennewick. You know in this little town, small little town--
Oh, yeah. There's a boy named Shiftner. He was in the death march out at Carregador. I think it was Shiftner.
There was quite a few soldiers. I still don't remember them all that-- this Comstock, there's a street here in Richland. I don't know if that's-- I think he was from Pasco are Richland, but he died in the service I think.
See, this park is named after John Dam across from the federal building. And John Dam had a grocery store here.
There were two grocery stores here. And they had a place they made ice.
You know, everybody didn't have something to make ice, but they'd freeze this water and make ice. And people would get ice out of it. Ice house. And Phil Charmin, the barber, used to run that.
Bauman: What sorts of things, growing up, what sorts of things did you do for fun?
Bauman: What sorts of things did you do for fun growing up?
Chalcraft: What did we do for fun? Well, we'd swim. We'd swim in the irrigation ditch or whatever. And where uptown
Richland was right now, that was a swamp. There was mud that deep. And where uptown Richland is there was an irrigation ditch running through it. That ditch still runs.
We'd go down there. It wasn't very deep, but it was a place to go swimming. We called it swimming, because we were told not to go in the Columbia River when we was kids. Well, that river was cold then, because there was no much dams below, you understand? More free flowing. It mad a difference.
Bauman: Did you do much fishing or hunting?
Chalcraft: Yeah. Hunting pheasant here was good. It was good pheasant hunting. There was no deer here, but there used to be-- we know it well. We hunted pheasant and the ducks. Oh, yeah, a lot of that, cause this all was asparagus field and open.
People from Richland would get shook up when the people from Kennewick would come over and shoot their pheasant. [INAUDIBLE] But there was good hunting here, and everybody knew everybody and go hunting. But you'd normally need a dog. And that asparagus is tall, and you damn near needed a dog to get your pheasants.
One time an airplane landed down in that pasture. What the hell-- where the riding academy used to be. The plane landed out there. That was another, well, it wouldn't be too important, but I remember everybody went down to steal gas out of the plane. Somebody said that burnt their motors up. I don't know, that aviation gas.
Bauman: When you were growing up--
Chalcraft: I played a little basketball. Nothing big.
Bauman: When you were growing up, did the farm you grew up on, did you have electricity.
Chalcraft: Oh, yes. We had electricity. But when we first moved we had a hand pump, then we got electricity come in.
Bauman: What about a telephone? Did you have a telephone.
Chalcraft: Yeah. And the neighbors-- we had a phone, but a lot of neighbors didn't. They'd come over and borrow your phone. A lot of them wouldn't even offer to help pay the bill, but they'd use the phone.
In them days, Mrs. Meredith, you had to go through a telephone operator. And Mrs. Meredith, she was kind of the-- and she knew all the gossip. But she was pretty god darn good though for emergencies. People would call in an you know what I mean?
Then Brown Telephone in Kennewick bought them out. I guess they owned that at that--
Bauman: Now, did you also work at Hanford at some point?
Bauman: Did you work at Hanford at some point.
Chalcraft: I did, yeah, 20 years.
Bauman: Where did you work? What area?
Chalcraft: I worked in the reactors. I got cancer. I'm fighting cancer right now.
Bauman: When did you work at Hanford and which reactors did you work in?
Chalcraft: I worked at all of them.
Bauman: And what years? When did you start?
Chalcraft: I worked with the reactors. I was nothing too important out there, but I served a-- And then I got drafted in the army. I went to war. During the Korean, I got drafted. I was working though, 'til I got drafted in the army.
Bauman: And what sort of work did you do out there?
Chalcraft: Oh, different work. Handled uranium and all that. It was just, you know what I mean? I've done better investing. I wasn't an engineer type. I've done pretty well as an investor. Mostly these people sit on their butt around here, and maybe I shouldn't be saying that. That's probably getting cocky.
But anyway, these houses sold cheap around here in Richland. These duplexes are selling for $7,000. I had bought one. I sold it here a while back for $130,000. But you know, that was time goes along.
But the government practically gave these houses away. This was after Hanford produced the bomb. But these ranch houses, all of them went real-- government unloaded them pretty cheap.
I've seen a lot of changes here.
Bauman: I'm sure. What are some of the changes you've seen?
Bauman: What are some of the changes that you've seen?
Chalcraft: All these houses all over. Well, yeah, what else? More people. You understand, Richland was a very small town, and you had to count the farms. The town or Richland itself was very-- well, I better there was over 100 people here. Maybe a little bit more, but I didn't live in Richland. See, we had the farms around it.
All the Swede's had homes. They were good farmers.
Bauman: So you worked at Hanford in what, the '40s and '50s?
Bauman: You worked at Hanford in the 1940s, 1950s?
Chalcraft: I went to work there in 1950. 1950 in the fire department. I worked in the fire department for a while out there.
Then I worked in reactors.
I'll tell you a little story. Before the government-- the day the government come in and bought this property, we played ball. I was going to Richland grade school. We went out to White Bluffs and played basketball. And about a few days later, the word came down that the government was taking it over.
You understand that Hanford, Richland, one thing probably they know, but I know, there were usually cemeteries in White Bluffs and Hanford. The government dug all of those up. You understand why? You think about it?
How could they let people go there if there's top secret stuff? How could they let people go out there and wander around the cemetery. There'd be all kinds of people wandering around, wouldn't there?
The government removed all of them bodies. Some of the families got the bodies. But most of the bodies were moved to Prosser. And then they were going to dig up this cemetery in Richland but they decided they didn't need to.
I had people buried in there. My dad's buried down there in this cemetery. My mother and dad were divorced. My mother is buried on that by-pass. But anyway.
Bauman: I wonder if you have any other memories or stories from growing up in Richland that you haven't shared yet that you want to talk about.
Chalcraft: Hey, gotta go. You think of a lot this stuff after you've stopped. OK, I'll tell you a little story athletic-wise. The bombers, there was no bombers. Let's go back. When I played basketball in high school before Hanford, they called them the Bronx, The Richland Bronx. And the colors were black and red.
And now, they're green and gold. OK, I'm just telling you what happened. They were called the Richland Bronx.
Then what happened, when Richland moved in they called them the Beavers. Well, they couldn't call them bombers, you understand?
Well, it could've been done. But they call them-- that's after Hanford moved in-- they changed the colors and they called them the bombers. But their colors are green and gold. But when I was in high school, I didn't go to high school. I went up to eighth grade there. But they were the black and red.
Then Richland come in and they changed them to green and gold and they called them the beavers. Then after, well, later on, they become the bombers. They couldn't have said bomber, I don't think.
Bauman: So when, actually when the government came in 1943 and told you you had to move, did you know why? You know, what was happening?
Chalcraft: What was happening?
Chalcraft: It's a good question. No. It was rumor heaven. A lot of people thought they'd come in here for all-- well, to make toilet paper for one thing. Well, anyway. They hit a little natural gas out here on the Horse Heavens. Not Horse Heavens, out there at Bridal Snake.
They thought they'd come in, but just that people real naively, understand. You look at it. All that come in here, my god, millions of dollars.
Even the army moved trucks in here. Everybody moved in, and they sure as hell didn't bring all that in just to hit natural gas out here. Well, I didn't know until the day when they dropped the bomb. The guy that lived in White Bluffs, he come in and says, I've found out what they built Hanford for.
But what they've built is enough to burn those Jap's ass right off. That was his very words. His folks owned property at White Bluffs-- Hanford White Bluffs. And there used to be a little bus that you went from down Richland up to, there they called it, Sagebrush Annie.
I was only up there once when I lived here. Until I went to work out there. I was out there at that basketball game.
Well, I was just a kid. I didn't drive. And that's quite a ways out there.
Most of the people in White Bluffs and Hanford, they went over to Yakima to shop for groceries. There was a story out there in Hanford or White Bluffs. There was a grocery store. There was two high schools out there at that time.
Maybe you knew that.
And then they merged into one, because you know, I think, yeah. I'm trying to think of different-- I wish sitting in Richland the day they bombed Pearl Harbor, right in Richland at Thayer Drive. And it come over the news that they'd bombed Pearl Harbor.
Bauman: On the radio? Was it on the radio?
Chalcraft: Yeah, radio, we didn't have TV then. This was '41. That was quite a shock. When they said Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and I was quite of a history buff. Some of these people still don't know what happened. But I knew we was going to go to war. And they hit Pearl Harbor that day.
That's the day Culp got off the Arizona any other boy swam out from the California. Well, I'll tell you a little side story. It didn't fit into Richland. But my uncle was in Pasco, and there was a guy sitting on a bar over there.
And my uncle, he was in the Navy, World War I. He thought he was Japanese, and my dad was with him. And he was going to beat the hell out of that Jap. Come to find out, he was a China man. You know what I mean? This is right after Pearl Harbor?
There's been a few other people that was picked up here. One or two guys here in this town were out hollering Hail Hitler. The United States Marshall picked one of them and shipped him back to Leavenworth.
Nobody bothered him but the day Pearl Harbor was hit, things opened up. They let him, when they were fighting Great Britain, that was a great deal. Germany was beating the hell out of Great Britain.
But the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, that changed the atmosphere. This one kid would come to high school and brag about the Germans picking the hell out of the British. But anyway, he shut up after Pearl Harbor.
Bauman: So what was Richard like as a place to grow up?
Bauman: What was Richland like as a place to grow up?
Chalcraft: What was Richland like, what?
Bauman: As a place to grow up?
Chalcraft: It was a kind of a quiet little quaint town. My uncle, he had never drove. He drove a team of horses. He drank a little beer. He trained horses.
It wasn't a regular policemen. Bill Perry had a server station here. He was the town Marshall. Things were quite quaint. You know what I mean? There was one guy that got in a fight with a guy, and I guess he died.
That was hot news in those days. This guy died from a fistfight. Actually, things were pretty quiet at that time, I guess. But we did go through World War I here. There were two or three boys that got in that one.
Bauman: You mentioned earlier some of the businesses in Richland. What about churches?
Bauman: Do you remember any churches at the time?
Chalcraft: Churches? OK there was a Methodist Church, and a holy roller. I remember they had a holy roller church right in downtown Richland, and they'd get up and role on the floor.
One guy was looking through the window, they had curtains over it and somebody pushed the barrel and he rolled right in with the holy rollers. Yeah, there was a Methodist Church right across from where the school was.
And I remember when they'd have funerals there. I remember one women died, Mrs. [? Kayler. ?] We remembered that. It was a different name. Well, my grandparents are buried out at that cemetery.
There was no Catholic church. The Catholic church was in Kennewick. They had a holy roller church. I guess a-- what's that one? I'm not a great church goer. I went to the Methodist church a little bit. Most of the churches were over in Kennewick.
Bauman: Well, is there anything else you want to share?
Bauman: Anything else you want to say about growing up in Richland?
Chalcraft: Growing up now?
Bauman: No. Anything else that you want to say about your time growing up in Richland.
Chalcraft: About what?
Bauman: About your time, your childhood.
Chalcraft: Anything else you want to say about it?
Bauman: Well, I played a little basketball here. I was no-- my peak come when my son won the-- my son, he was good enough to play. He was on the state champ. He was good enough to get a football scholarship at the University of Montana.
He wanted to go to Oregon. Oregon wanted him to go, but they wanted him to go to Columbia Basin and play a year and then go. He didn't get an offer for Washington State or Washington, but he did get an offer from all those big sky, Montana, Idaho, to play ball, football.
But in Oregon he kind of-- Oregon says, you go to Columbia Basin. Columbia Basin at that time had a football team if you remember. They wanted him to go over there for one year.
He had a chance to go back. I'm bragging a little on his college. He had a chance to go back to one of the big east schools-- they egg head schools. You know what I'm talking about.
He was pretty good in grades. But he ended up going to the University of Montana. He could've went to the University of Idaho, but then he got hurt.
Bauman: Well, I want to thank you for coming in today. And share the memories of growing up in Richland.
Chalcraft: You know, a lot I've missed or thought about. A few names you hate to bring in, you know what I mean? Now, I have to ask you guys something. Is this going to be the air?
Bauman: It could be.
Camera man: Right. Parts of it will be.
Bauman: Parts of it.
Chalcraft: What did he say?
Bauman: Parts of it probably will be.
Chalcraft: March what?
Bauman: Parts of it.
Chalcraft: Part, not all of it.
Chalcraft: Well, that's fine. You always got somebody-- You know, I've been a little-- I'm not too bragging-- but I've been a little successful. And I found out people, if you get a little successful, they'll run you down a little bit.