Bair Bistro

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Former spectral owners are a handful for the living!

 

DESCRIPTION

The Bair Drug and Hardware building has been restored and is owned by The Steilacoom Historical Museum Association. They leased the structure to folks who established in this building a commercial business, which brings in funds to help fund the museum and the maintenance needs of this old, historic structure. A wonderful restaurant, called The Bair Bistro, is operating here.

On their website, The Bair Bistro owners call themselves a “Comfort Food” restaurant. “We focus on preserving our museum, hand-making our food and keeping good conversation.”

Besides being able to socialize with friends, consume wonderful comfort food and ice cream sodas, The Bair Bistro is located inside the restored historical Bair Drug and Hardware building, that looks much like it did both inside and outside when it was a drug and hardware store for many years; except for the outside eating area located at the side of the original white clapboard building.

Stepping inside this long and narrow rectangular structure is like stepping back into time, with the wooden floors and walls and the original 1908 soda fountain bar. The original 1895 shelving is still here. “Our walls are lined with relics and photos from the early 1900s – our shelves hold remedies from the early drugstore.”

The Steilacoom Historical Society states on their website, “There is a fine collection of molding planes, scales, mortar and pestles, tobacco tins, medicines, and many other items that might be found” in the Bair Family’s drug and hardware store from its opening as a business, and through the early years when it served the people of Steilacoom.

Other historical items of interest include pictures from the early 1900s and certificates of appointments signed by several presidents. Some post office brass and glass mailboxes from when the drug store served as the town’s first post office were put back in as well to represent the post office that existed here.

 

 

 

HISTORY

In 1895, Warren L. Bair opened his modern pharmacy, the Bair Drug and Hardware Store; a business endeavor that he dearly loved! Blair was a meticulous person, and made sure everything was exactly right for his customers. The pot belly stove was always stoked, to provide a warm atmosphere on a chilly day.

People could pick up their prescriptions and mail, or send letters and packages at the post office in the back of the store, buy a needed piece of hardware, or a soda at the soda fountain that was added in 1908. It became a popular place to socialize, especially for the retired folks who played checkers with their friends.

Bair’s daughter and son-in-law, Eudocia, and her husband, William Leach, were in charge of the post office. When Bair died in 1930, Eudocia and her husband, William, inherited the business and post office. They continued for years, but shut down at some point, leaving the building empty and forlorn, to be ravaged by time. Looking at the pictures on the Steilacoom Historical Society website, the building was in pretty sad shape by 1973.

In 1973, Warren Bair’s son, Godfrey “Cub” Bair, and Eudocia donated the structure to the Steilacoom Historical Society, which did several restorations in 1976, 1997 and 2008, bringing it back to productive, commercial life.

In 1977, the newly restored structure became “a full service restaurant” in order to bring in money from the tenant operators to help in the upkeep of the restored building. Much later, the museum was added.

In 2008 the restaurant was closed, so that more “repairs, renovations and upgrades” could be made to give the old structure a face-lift and become a more modern facility.

In March of 2010, a new tenant, Sarah Cannon, opened up her restaurant, The Bair Bistro, in the Bair Drug and Hardware Museum. Like W.L. Blair’s business, The Bair Bistro is a popular local hang-out. It has also become a draw for visitors to Steilacoom because of the museum inside as well as the food and sodas.

Apparently, visitors and local citizens aren’t the only ones who enjoy this new establishment. It seems that male and female spirits have been active here for a long time, trying to continue to be active despite all the new equipment, wanting to be involved despite being in spirit form.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

When a structure is saved and brought back to a useful condition through restoration and/or renovation, this can act as an environmental trigger and draw back into this world spirits who loved the structure.

The Bair Drug and Hardware structure was a pretty run down eye-sore before it was restored to its 1895 glory days. Two spirits were delighted at the saving of their beloved structure.

People who find meaning in performing in their their jobs and duties sometimes want to continue to do them in spirit form.

Warren L. Bair loved working in his business. A female entity seems to be keeping him company.

Sometimes spirits of former owners can’t adapt and become frustrated by the changes made to their business or structure. They find a way to express their feelings either physically or by using unseen but felt methods to get their point of view across or their presence known.

The spirit of Warren.L. Bair and perhaps his female spirit companion had issues with 21st electric restaurant machines and equipment used in the restaurants that made this building home.

Sometimes a spirit will stay in this world because a loved one chooses to stay in their favorite structure.

Apparently, the entity of Warren Bair has chosen to stay in this world, and a female entity, probably Hattie his wife or his daughter, Eudocia, has stayed too to keep him company and help out, as she did in life.

 

MANIFESTATIONS

He has not wanted to “move on” after his death, preferring instead to continue being a part of his beloved business, not letting the fact that he is now in spirit form deter him.

His female entity companion, Hattie or Eudocia, keeps him company. They both have been active.

Signs of Mr. Bair & His Assistant

People have seen floating lights.

Major appliances in the kitchen turn themselves on and off.

The oven in the kitchen gets very hot by itself, burning the food.

Doors open and close on their own.

While standing back by the post mail boxes, people feel a presence standing with them. Some folks feel breathing down their necks and then hear the sound of someone wheezing. It is thought to be Warren, though no one knows.

Female Entity

Could be his wife Hattie, who loved to cook for others; or his daughter Eudocia, who ran the store’s Post Office.

She has been seen standing by the kitchen. She calls out the names of the staff.

Perhaps it is she who likes to rearrange the utensils and cutlery and/or work the oven.

An Owner, Despite Being Dead

For many years, the spirit of W.L. Blair put in a full day of work.

He would help with the business chores the best he could in his spirit form.

He would welcome customers by slightly swaying the overhead lights.

He visits the bank next door, as he did when he was alive. His presence has been felt in there as well.

Frustrations of Being A Spectral Owner

When the structure became a restaurant, new electrical equipment caused his spirit great frustration, as he couldn’t learn to use it; it went against his need to be meticulous and perfect.

Being a trooper, Bair’s spirit continued to try to learn but couldn’t. He would try to toast the bagels but staff would find them burnt to a crisp.

The electrically powered fountain would be misused, causing it to break down temporarily.

The telephone system and the computers had odd issues both at the Bair Bistro and the bank next door.

He showed the living his frustration:

Chairs would overturn by themselves.

Items would be pushed off the table by an unseen hand.

Customers have seen coffee pots spin around on their own.

Staff members have seen a group of sauce bottles fly off a shelf and soar across the room.

STILL HAUNTED?

Probably so. Though Warren Bair has found some peace since the museum was added, with all the familiar items he used to sell, he still is present, perhaps supervising the staff in good humor, though he is still trying to understand the phone system and the computer at The Bair Bistro, and still tries to deposit money at the bank next door.

The female entity stays with him, keeping an eye on things that were her expertise, and tries to help in the kitchen.

Customers and staff have had the personal experiences throughout the years listed above.

The paranormal investigation group, AGHOST, captured hard evidence on film and on EVPs of a woman saying, “Hello” and “I’m not alone.”

 

LOCATION

1617 Lafayette Street
Steilacoom, WA 98388

The Bair Bistro can be found in the Bair Drug and Hardware Museum; located on Lafayette Street. It is a main artery that runs through the coastal town of Steilacoom that is about 30 minutes southwest of Seattle. The Bair Bistro and Museum is right across the street from the Steilacoom Post Office.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • “Tacoma’s Haunted History” By Ross Allison, Teresa Nordheim
    Arcadia Publishing
    2014
  • Steilacoom Historical Museum Association
    Bair Drug and Hardware Historical Site page
    Posting Date: Unknown
    Retrieval Date: November 11, 2018
  • “In Steilacoom, it’s out with the new, in with the old” By Craig Sailor – Staff writer
    The News Tribune
  • “Haunted Places: Steilacoom” by cleverusername2
    tacoma-by-night.livejournal.com
  • “Bair Drug & Hardware” Posted by Virginia Lamkin
    seeksghosts.blogspot.com

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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