Archives featuring St. Helens exhibit

Archives featuring St. Helens exhibit

clip_image001With Tuesday being the 30th anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ big eruption, the State Archives is featuring an exhibit on what the mountain and Spirit Lake looked like BEFORE St. Helens literally blew its top on that fateful Sunday morning in 1980.

The free exhibit is in the front lobby of the State Archives Building (1129 Washington St. SE) on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. It will be on display through the end of summer. The State Archives is open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The State Archives and its regional branches have several record series related to Mount St. Helens. Just click here and then type in “Helens” as the keyword for more records and details.

Some of the series shed light on:

  • what the city of Castle Rock and Cowlitz County dealt with in terms of disaster recovery following the devastating eruption;
  •  Gov. Dixy Lee Ray’s files on various state agencies in relation to the mountain’s eruptions in 1980;
  •  the State Military Department’s records documenting its response to the eruption and its response afterward;
  •  the State Patrol’s files and maps dealing with the eruption and its aftermath, including area closure maps, contingency plans and other documents; and
  •  files compiled by joint and select legislative committees that focus on eruptions, mud flows, Corps of Engineer projects, long-term hazards and recovery, and tourism.
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7 thoughts on “Archives featuring St. Helens exhibit

  1. When the mountain blew I was living out in the country – and my father had me outside painting a white wooden fence that went around 7 acres. I remember it being hot. I have pictures somewhere that I took – I was 15.

    A few days later – I was somehow voted the most likely not to fall off the roof – so I was face down on the roof – holding a bucket in one hand – scooping ash out of the gutter with the other hand.

    The ash was so heavy that we were afraid it would make the gutters fall off. I grew up with a jar of ash in the cupboard… not sure if my mom still has it….


  2. My Great Uncle and Great Aunt were killed in the blast.

    Merlin James (Jim) Pluard and Ruth Kathleen Pluard – Toledo, WA.
    Kathleen was my grandpa’s sister.

    Teresa explained above how Weyerhauser was granted permission to continue working. Jim drove the logging roads every day to check the gates. His wife Kathleen always rode with him. That day was no exception. They were never recovered.

    They had 12 children – some still in high school. My family would take food to them. They were always in the middle of a new search effort – one last hope was that they would be found on Goat Mountain because my grandma had a dream about that.

    Kathleen and Jim had their 12 children – and my grandma and grandpa had 10 children – so the summer picnics are very large – and lots of fun. I will try to post some pictures – I have some great old pictures of the Pluards and my grandparents when they all lived together in Big Hanford.


  3. I love the exhibit, I also call the mountains home. They will never recover and there are painful memories but I guess time heals all

  4. Wow Brenda. I knew the Pluards. I went to school with some of their kids (Jim and Marlena?). They were good people. I also knew a girl named Chrisy and her husband…they were camping at Fawn Lake (more political “safe zone”). They were never recovered either.

    I still have a bitter taste in my mouth because of Weyerhaueser and the politicking…and I’m still thankful that it happened on Sunday and not on Monday.

  5. It was early Sunday morning as I rounded a corner going from my house to the store in Rainier, WA. I saw the column of ash shooting straight up, and being a new Christian, thought it was the end and I had just made it. Like I said, I was a NEW Christian…

    Anyway, we got a dusting of ash, which I had read could be kept out of my car’s engine by putting a nylon stocking over the air intake. It seemed to work, but not having first checked with my wife (as to whether or not it was a new pair of nylons I used) was an issue.

    I still remember the news interviews with Harry Truman. I like to think he may still be up there, but under a couple hundred feet of ash, in his living room, complaining about his TV reception.

  6. I was ten years old when the mountain blew. I was camping with my family in the Capital Forest at the Margaret McKinney campground. We woke to the park ranger speaking from his loud speaker in his truck saying that the mountain had blew and that we needed to evacuate the area. We got out of the tent to ash falling around us like snow. We threw everything together and left for home. When we got home we unloaded our stuff and went to Cattin’s (or whatever it was at that time) to have lunch. Then we went to the Olympia Airport where we could see the huge plume of ash. Needless to say, I will remember that camping trip for as long as I will live!!

  7. Granted I was only 10 months old when the blast happened but I was living in Cispus, only about 30 miles (as the crow flies) away from the mountain. My mother kept us all inside until it was safe to leave and she loaded me and my brothers up and took us to stay at the beach for the Summer!
    My Summer job in high school was working at the Visitors Center on the Windy Ridge side, so if you want facts about Mt St Helens I’m full of them.

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