From Pioneer Stock: Hans Quistorff


Colleen Slater, KP News

Hans Quistorff once lived in “a cracker box house” on the shores of Henderson Bay at Wauna.

His grandfather, a “house mechanic” in Milwaukee, Wisc., not only built houses, but repaired and remodeled, too. In the 1920s or ‘30s, the elder Quistorff sent his oldest son to Washington to buy lumber. The young man wrote his parents that he’d found the perfect place to live, and wouldn’t be going back home.

The next son came to get the lumber. He, too, decided to stay, and settled on Horsehead Bay. After the third son joined his brothers, the parents followed.

The Longbranch Improvement Club stonework looks like his grandfather’s work, Hans says, but he’s not certain if it is. Albert, Hans’ father, obtained his carpenter’s license on his first job when he helped his father build the Purdy/Wauna bridge. Hans notes the original plan was for a wider bridge, but the budget didn’t allow the extra $1,000.

Hans’ maternal grandfather, Harold Garrettson, a Tacoma city attorney, lived where the Aloha Bed & Breakfast is now. Albert sailed across the bay for a blind date with his future wife. In later years, Hans sailed and rowed many times between Horsehead Bay and Wauna.

His parents first lived in a log cabin on the beach, which his mother had helped build when she was 13. A landslide pushed it into the bay. The “cracker box house” was built near the grandparents’ home and Hans believes it is still there, completely covered with blackberries and roses.

The Quistorffs paneled the inside of the house with large pieces of cardboard, then painted over to cover the labels. At times, some labels showed through. Cristy, Hans’ sister, was born there.

Hans recalls early days of playing on the beach at Wauna. When the men dug geoducks, he was lowered by his ankles into the “digging can,” grabbed the geoducks and was pulled back out.

At age 4, Hans moved with his family to Horsehead Bay, as his father was tired of having his sailboat wash up on the shore in storms. Gas was rationed, and they were allowed one gallon to move. His father rented a barge, loaded the furniture on it, tied the sailboat beside, and motored across the bay. They were not too concerned about their one gallon of gas, as the barge carried 55 gallons.

Hans cleaned up after his father’s carpentry. Another job was cleaning the Wauna Post Office. He had a bus pass, was dropped off there, worked for an hour, then caught the next bus home.

He was a Jehovah’s Witness missionary, spending nine years in Maine, then time in California, returning in 1976 to Wauna to help his father, who was in poor health.

He started a janitorial service — Wauna Wash Services — which gave his address as well as the company name. When lifting garbage cans became too hard on his back, he became a massage therapist, working with a chiropractor. He enjoys helping people feel better.

Hans now lives at Lake of the Woods, but his ties to Wauna are never far away.