Finding the Story Stones

Save the Stone Cottage

In a race to beat the wrecking ball, throughout January 2021 the “Save the Stone Cottage” committee is putting on a series of educational, entertaining, and inspiring events called “Finding the Story Stones,” to raise awareness about our fundraising drive.

Four fun activities will be held over the course of the next 30-day period in which individuals, virtual teams of friends, and families with children all can participate. Finding the four “Story Stones” will unlock elements of the unusual stories surrounding the Stone Cottage, Eva Falk, and the early history of Seattle and Alki.

Help support the cause to “Save the Stone Cottage” by providing your tax-deductible support at our GoFundMe Charity campaign.

Finding Story Stone #2: ‘Search for the Lost Stone’ was played on Saturday, January 16, 2021 (completed)

We Have a Winner!

West Seattleite Keefe Leung found the second lost Story Stone hidden in the bow of the Sasha Eli boat situated “frozen in time” in Whale Tail Park adjacent to Alki Elementary in West Seattle.

Here’s a short video of Keefe telling his story of finding the coveted “Story Stone.”

Keefe can now prize his carved soapstone reward (donated in part by Northwest Art and Frame), as well as a gift certificate to a local restaurant and, of course, bragging rights.

Over the weekend, the organizers of the “Search for the Lost Stone” event will reveal some of the hints riddles hidden within the six “Story Stone” clues. Those answers will be tweeted out to “Save the Stone Cottage”Twitter followers here:

There are still two more “Story Stones” to be found. To learn more about the remained two stones, and the events surrounding them, at the contest page of the “Save the Stone Cottage” website here:

For those who wish to support the rescue efforts, the donation link and social media connections can be found on the home page of the same website, or directly at the donation page for the “Save the Stone Cottage” GoFundMe Charity page:

The campaign is well past the halfway point in fundraising efforts to “Save the Stone Cottage,” but the need is still great to reach the project’s $110,000 goal by the end of January.

Here’s some background about intent behind each of the six clues in the the “Search for the Lost Stone” event…

This second contest is a clue-based Twitter search in which clues to the whereabouts of the second Story Stone will be tweeted out over six hours, beginning with the first tweet at 9 am. Finding this Story Stone will unlock stories and secrets about the Stone Cottage itself. Be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Clue Schedule for Saturday, January 16, 2021 (Tweeted on the hour and posted here 15 minutes later):

9 amClue #1

As you venture to seek the starry black stone
Enjoy your search, but search not alone
You’ll find your prize neither too low nor too high
And you’ll not need to dig, damage, climb, or pry
This clue is basically a scene-setter and ‘explainer’ for how the Story Stone would be easy and safe to attain once you figured out where it was. It also described the stone itself.
10 amClue #2

Long before the high bridge broke
Eight millennia of Duwamish tales still evoke
We can embrace lessons of sand, rock, salt, and seas
And even wise ancestor’s DNA in the trees!
Here we wanted to honor that the Duwamish people were here long before the descendants white European descendants ever arrived on Alki in 1851.

The DNA of the Duwamish elders—who were often buried in wooded areas along the Duwamish waterways—through cycles of water runoff into sacred ground and being taken up into the trees themselves for sustenance, is literally in the trees around us and the wood in the houses we live in. Credit goes to Ken Workman, fourth great grandson of Chief Seattle, who tells this story much better than us puzzle-creators can!
11 amClue #3

Eva Falk lived in quite a creative dwelling
Which makes for a story well worth the telling
West Seattle beach stones cover the façade
Collected from where the Duwamish have trod
This is the start of telling Eva Falk’s story. She wanted to express herself through the very house she lived in, as an independent, creative, and industrious person.  Eva’s mother Helen had the idea to clad the house in beach stones and Eva and her daughter Carmecita collected the stones from the beaches. Those stones are on the shores where they Duwamish too have lived, fished, and walked for thousands of year before Eva had.
12 pmClue #4

Eva said, “A plain house in the flatlands seems elementary,”
“We’ll adorn it ourselves, as we’re not landed gentry!”
’Round to the lighthouse they towed their wagons empty 
Collecting beach stones, and coming home full-a-plenty
Eva and her mother Helen wanted to find a way to personalize the house. The family was frugal and determined. With red wagon in tow, Eva, a friend and her young daughter Carmecita would walk all the way to the lighthouse and back weighed down with smooth stones. They walked everywhere, even though the streetcar went along the same path. 

This clue also hints that the Story Stone might be somewhere in the direction of Alki and the lighthouse. We also refer to “elementary,” implying that it could relate to a school as well.
1 pmClue #5

Near rocky shores of the sweet “by and by”
Eva’s children studied ’til evening grew nigh
They would enter this place through the eastern most gate
Flying like Thunder Birds (on this rhyming date)

Follow us on Twitter for faster access to the clues!
In this clue we are giving much bigger hints about “Al-ki” (a Salish word meaning by and by, or eventually referring to eventually being a big city like New York). Eva’s kids really did go to an earlier version of Alki Elementary as well. If you were to already be thinking about Alki Elementary as the location to search more intently, then we wanted to orient you to the “eastern” side or entrance to Alki Park.

The “Thunder Bird” part of the clue is a bit more obtuse than most of our hints. If anyone got it, hats off to you! The phrase is meant to both refer to the bird’s eye view (of the park), the spirit of kids playing, and further reference to nature, and the spirit of those who have come before us. More down-to-earth, you may have picked up a secondary hint in reference to the famed Thunderbird automobile which—if you decoded the date—had a major refresh in ’58, which could also place you at the SW 58th St side of Alki Park.
2 pmClue #6 (the last clue)

From Palmer’s crab under ‘Grandfather Tree’
Follow a mosaic path to the playful sea
Frozen in time in Eli’s craft
Is the lost black stone, near the fore or the aft
At this point if you happened to place yourself about mid-way in Alki Park, at the east entrance on SW 58th St, you’d see a huge amazing old tree. At its ‘feet,’ you could look down and see mosaic paver with a beautiful image of a crab. On the paver is a dedication to someone with the last name of Palmer (hence “Palmer‘s Crab”). From there you could literally follow the pathway of artistic, mosaic pavers, leading you to Whale Tail Park where the metal whale’s tail rises out of the “sea-colored” playground surface.

Next to the whale’s tale is a craft—a Coast Guard “dory” to be exact, that is now floating in a “frozen sea” of colorful blue playground padding. What is that boat called? The “Sasha Eli.” At this point, even if you fast-forward past some of the other previous hints, you might find yourself circling the boat, climbing onto its deck, and looking in and around the bow and the stern (fore and aft).

What’s this? Taped up underneath the bow is a clear plastic envelope with the beautiful black “Story Stone” with instructions to call the puzzle-masters and let us know you found it!

Once you have solved enough of the clues to narrow down where to find the Story Stone, it will become obvious.

The Story Stone will be hidden someplace reachable in public. You will not need to climb, dig, reach, pry, or damage anything to acquire the stone from where it is placed. It will not be in a place that is dangerous or precarious to reach. You should not enter any prohibited areas or onto private property.

Please be careful, COVID-safe, and be sure to have fun solving the clues!

Step 1: Follow us on Twitter to receive the clues!

You are welcomed to play solo, but we recommend playing the game as a family or a team of friends, neighbors, or colleagues to be able to brainstorm and share in the fun!

Step 2: Watch for the hashtags: #storystones and #savethestonecottage

Step 3: As soon as you find “Story Stone #2,” please let us know

If you are the lucky one(s) to have found it, tweet a picture of yourself holding the heart-shaped stone with evidence that you (and your team) are at the location where it is hidden.

Step 4: Please call the number

You will find a cell phone number attached to the stone. Please call to let us know as soon as you have found it.

Step 5: Celebrate your win!

You and your team will win a gift certificate to one of West Seattle’s wonderful restaurants, the Story Stone itself, and bragging rights!

Happy Hunting!

Story Stone #1: Counting the Stones (completed — please see below)

How many stones cover the front façade of the Stone Cottage?

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Tanya Johnson from the Lake Stevens area, the winner of our first event ‘Count the Stones’. Tanya’s guess was just 274 stones shy of the actual number of stones on the front facade of the Stone Cottage, which is 3,774. Tanya says “I think it’s magical that you are working to save this cottage.”

By completing the “Count The Stones” challenge, Tanya has unlocked the “Story of Eva,” the free spirit who built the Stone Cottage. We will post that in-depth story, as well as a picture of the first “Story Stone,” on this page next week.

The rules for counting the stones were simple:

You and/or your team can be one of the first to “Count the Stones” on the front façade of the Stone Cottage at 1123 Harbor Ave SW.

Participants who correctly guess the number of stones (within a 50-stone range) will earn bragging rights and help unlock the “Story of Eva,” the free spirit who built the Stone Cottage. If more than one team guesses within that range, we will randomly select one team to receive the first Story Stone for its collection.

Contest date(s): Friday, Jan. 1st through Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021; Winners will be announced by Thursday, January 7, 2021 by 2 pm.
Contest location: at the Stone Cottage, 1123 Harbor Ave. SW, and online.
Contest details: Anyone can participate. You can count the stones by looking at pictures of the Stone Cottage or visiting the cottage in person and counting the stones.
Contest details: Anyone can participate. You can count the stones by looking at pictures of the Stone Cottage or visiting the cottage in person and counting the stones. Count only the stones of the front façade (not the entire building). Count corner to corner, including the edge stones. You will see that some of the façade stones are covered with strapping boards in preparation for the building to be moved in late January 2021, so you will need to do some math to estimate the number of stones behind the boards. You also may be able to sleuth some photographic clues online to help you gain more confidence in your educated guess!

Submit your team’s name, contact information, and single best guess using the form below once you are ready to submit. Only one entry per individual or team name.

Note: This first contest has concluded. Please scroll down to read about our next one!

Here’s a sneak peek at the next two contests that are coming up in January!

Finding Story Stone #3: ‘Walking in Eva’s Shoes’ January 23, 2021

This third contest highlights the story of Eva Falk when, during the early 1930s, she enlisted the help of her children to tow wagon loads of beach stones from the Alki Lighthouse to where the house was being built on Harbor Avenue more than two miles away. Participants will be encouraged to complete the trip from the Alki Lighthouse to the Stone Cottage and symbolically re-enacting the journey of Eva and her children. Finding this third Story Stone will unlock the story of “Building the Stone Cottage.”

Finding Story Stone #4: ‘Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert’ January 30, 2021

We will hold a live “Stone Cottage Karaoke Rock Concert” in which participants can choose from a list of songs to perform. Songs can be performed as an individual or a team. The winning Karaoke performer will receive the final Story Stone and unlock the “Story of the Duwamish.”

Details about these next three upcoming events will be posted and published as we get closer to each event. Please check back here periodically to learn more.