RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Geri and Heather Beals sorted homemade candles, soaps and scented sugar scrubs as the outdoor market began taking shape across from the Ridgefield community center.
Julie and Rick Huffman displayed aromatically pleasing artisan cheese bread, baguettes and pastries at the Bakerchic’s station to tempt passers-by. Kaylor Auger, a charismatic French Canadian teenager, arranged crates of juicy tomatoes and other organic produce at the Coyote Ridge Ranch stand.
About a dozen vendors, primarily Ridgefield residents and locals within an hour’s drive, pitched tents and staged tables while the morning dew was still glistening on the Davis Park lawn.
Steps away, U-Haul Team Members put the finishing touches on their indoor exhibit for Ridgefield Heritage Day, the highlight of which would be a presentation from the homegrown do-it-yourself moving and self-storage institution commemorating its 70th anniversary.
“When I looked at the town when we first started coming here, I found out that (U-Haul originated in Ridgefield),” said Heather, who along with fellow stay-at-home-mom Geri operates Beals Sisters Home & Body in nearby Vancouver, Wash. “Yeah, it’s kind of neat, a company that big coming from a small town.”
U-Haul Company’s link to the Sept. 12 festivities was known to most but news to a few who weren’t yet acquainted with Ridgefield’s history.
“I don’t know if we were aware, but a U-Haul sign used to be up in front of a house – the first house off the freeway,” said Julie, whose bakery business is based in Ridgefield.
James Carty settled in Ridgefield in 1840 just north of downtown, filing the first land donation claim in the area. A milk house was later built on Carty property that served as home to the first U-Haul trailers made. L.S. “Sam” Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, started the Company in 1945.
One of the wooden U-Haul trailers constructed in 1946 was displayed on the Davis Park grounds next to where the vendors set up shop.
“Really? Wow!” Kaylor responded when told about the genesis of U-Haul. “Wow! That is so funny. It’s good to know where you came from. This is a cute little town. I like it here.”
Thanks Kaylor. So do we.
Also pictured: Kaylor Auger of Coyote Ridge Ranch in the featured image and Geri and Heather Beals of Beals Sisters Home & Body in the thumbnail image.
Did you know the history of U-Haul could be traced to a small town in southern Washington? Click here to read more about Ridgefield Heritage Day and U-Haul Company’s presentation.