SOAP LAKE Addendum for Daily Sykes #22 – KATHY KIEFER CALLS IT!

We repeat Horace Sykes' "Daily #22" in order to elaborate on our speculation that Soap Lake was his subject.
We repeat Horace Sykes' "Daily #22" in order to elaborate on our speculation that Soap Lake was his subject. (Please Click the Images to Enlarge them.)

Soap Lake’s historian/filmmaker Kathy Kiefer confirms what we only suspected.  This is indeed Horace Sykes’ look over Soap Lake from its southwest corner. Kathy writes, “I concur that not only is that Soap Lake, I venture to say that it is one of the enclaves used by nude bathers on that southwest corner of the lake. Male sunbathers created the stone circles to alert others that they were nestled within. The women often made tent like structures – much more private. I am sure we talked at some point about the nude beach and the thriving naturist community on the southwest side of the lake?”

Jean Sherrard's 2005 panorama of Soap Lake photographed from its south shore.  This was meant to be included in our book "Washington Then and Now" but was witheld for want of room.
Jean Sherrard's 2005 panorama of Soap Lake photographed from its south shore. This was meant to be included in our book "Washington Then and Now" but was witheld for want of room.
A "then" from the south shore.  The long dock is a sign of how the lake's elevation varies depending . . .
A "then" from the south shore. The long dock is a sign of how the lake's elevation varies depending . . .

When Jean visited Soap Lake in 2005 Kathy was his guide and his “repeat model” as well.   Below you see Kathy standing in for the angel of mercy included in the historical photo below it, which dates from about 1922.  In many printings of this popular postcard, the promise “It Will Cure You” has been written over the rocks by the card’s publisher.  The white-robed angel of therapy is leading a lame and bandaged victim to the alkaline-rich waters of Soap Lake, named for the froth skimmed by the wind and deposited on the beaches.  When the lake’s popularity as a mineral-rich panacea gained momentum in the early 20th century, this southern shore was quickly stocked with hotels and all the attractions of a fetching health resort, including massage, mud baths, mineral soaks, and, of course, swimming in Soap Lake and drinking from it.  The Siloam Sanitarium, seen on the horizon just below the angel’s gesturing hand, was one of the town’s grander retreats for treating both nervous afflictions and hypochondria.

Soap Lake historian/filmmaker Kathy Keifer standing in for the Angel of Mercy.  Jean shot this in 2005.
Soap Lake historian/filmmaker Kathy Kiefer standing in for the Angel of Mercy. Jean shot this in 2005.
"It Will Cure You"
"It Will Cure You"

Kathy Kiefer wound up in Soap Lake in August 1980 and stayed.  “I rode from Kirkland over Stevens Pass right to the steps of Soap Lake’s Thorson’s Hotel where Roxie Thorson was sipping port and rocking in her steel chair. I had followed the ashen path.  It was the year St. Helens blew.”  Kathy’s admired film/video history of Soap Lake can be purchased through filmbaby.com.  She also has a Soap Lake website: www.soaplakewa.com and a Soap Lake Facebook Fan page featuring lots of historic photos – among other things.   Thanks for the help and stewardship Kathy.

This view is the best one to use for a comparison of distant landscape to that in Horace Sykes' view.
This view is the best one to use for a comparison of distant landscape to that in Horace Sykes' view.
An earlier view of Thornson's where Kathy Keifer ended her bike flight to Soap Lake in 1980.
An earlier view of Thornson's where Kathy Kiefer ended her bike flight to Soap Lake in 1980.
Same Stones even earlier.
Same Stones even earlier.
Jean's 2005 photo of the same structure
Jean's 2005 photo of the same structure, now a lovely hotel, with bathroom spigots allowing a choice of mineral water, direct from the lake, or tap water.
Close-up of the Siloam Sanitarium
Close-up of the Siloam Sanitarium
So named.
So named.
Another classic Soap Lake stone structure, snapped by Jean in 2005
Another classic stone structure, this one in nearby Ephrata and also snapped by Jean in 2005

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