‘South Whidbey Backroads’ meeting Sunday at Bayview Hall

Learn about the lore behind the landscape

Brian Grimm is ready to take another Sunday family stroll down South Whidbey roads.

He’s looking for some help, however, from locals who may be familiar with the people and stories behind Heggenes and Anderson Roads.

Grimm is the “South Whidbey Backroads” guy who’s been researching how South Whidbey roads got their names. He’s also associated with historic Bayview Hall and says it’s the perfect community gathering spot to talk to locals about local history.

Grimm invites all Heggenes and Anderson family members and friends to the free potluck gathering, starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Bayview Hall at Bayview Corner. All interested people are welcome to attend.

“We had our last meeting three months ago and anywhere from 20 to 40 people usually show up,” said Grimm, whose own name lives on at Grimm Road near Bayview Corner. His great uncle moved to Whidbey in 1912.

The program, known as “South Whidbey Backroads,” has been an on-going project of Grimm and the Island County Historical Society and Museum for several years. Swapping stories and learning about the people behind local lore and landscape is the goal of the informal gatherings.

“I’ve identified 90 roads named after families and compiled history on 30 so far,” said Grimm, a 1974 graduate of Coupeville High School.

The 90 roads stretch from Clinton to Classic Road in Greenbank. When he first started researching, Grimm assigned interested volunteers, called captains, to gather information about particular roads; oftentimes they had a family connection.

Grimm’s great-uncle Fred owned the gas station across the street from the Cash Store in Bayview, while his grandfather, Sammuel Grimm, ran one of the first island taxis and owned a chicken-and-egg farm where Double R Rentals and Sales now sits. Grimm Road was named after Sammuel in the 1940s.

His grandfather, Sammuel Grimm, used to show movies in Bayview Hall. Grimm serves on the board of the nonprofit organization overseeing the hall and he’s also served as board president.

Families and roads Grimm has researched so far, and discussed at past potlucks, include the Gabeleins, Campbells, Beckers, Camerons, Brighton Beach Road and Bell’s Beach Road.

Wilkinson Road, he learned, was not named after a family who settled there but after the first person to get a right away across the land.

Grimm said he’d like to compile his South Whidbey research into a book, but there’s still a long road ahead — 60 roads, actually.

“I don’t have time to do all the footwork on all the roads so I invite anyone who had ancestors to come and chat,” Grimm said.

When he first made that offer awhile back, the meeting at Bayview Hall lasted a little longer than expected.

“In 2009, we invited people from all the roads,” he recalled. “Everyone wanted to tell their story, it lasted seven hours.

“We learned two Campbell brothers married two Porter sisters and that Honeymoon Bay Road was once called Dodgefish Road. But then the Camerons’ grandparents went out there for their honeymoon and it became Honeymoon Bay Road.”

South Whidbey Backroads; 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 at Bayview Hall, Langley. Bring a favorite potluck snack. For more information, call Island County Museum, 360-678-3310.

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