(bullet) Covering from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Washington counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, focusing on Sedro-Woolley and Skagit Valley.

(bullet) An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness (bullet)

(bullet) Publisher: Skagit County Historical Society



(bullet) The Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore website celebrates its 20th anniversary on the internet in 2020.





 Noel V. Bourasaw, founder, (bullet) Sedro-Woolley, Washington (bullet) Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug & Noel Bourasaw still haunts these pages.

Looking for something special on our site? Enter name, town or subject, then press "Find" Search this site powered by FreeFind

   Did you find what you were seeking? We have helped many people find individual names or places, email if you have any difficulty.

    Tip: Put quotation marks around a specific name or item of two words or more, and then experiment with different combinations of the words without quote marks. We are currently researching some of the names most recently searched for — check the list here. Maybe you have searched for one of them?



New, Updated and Notable



Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore

Annual 2023

 Release date August 1, 2023 at Annual Pioneer Picnic

In association with the Skagit County Historical Society and Skagit County Pioneer Association, the Publication Committee is pleased to announce that the new edition of 'Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore 2023' will be available for sale at the Skagit County Historical Museum and Seaport Books in La Conner. They can also be ordered and mailed with our order form here.  

If you would like to submit for the 2024 edition, you will be sent a submission form for consideration giving guidelines and permission. You may submit any time for the website. Visit Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore at skagitriverjournal.com, now under the direction of the Society’s Publication Committee. Dan Royal, Editor. Contact the Publications Committee at museum@co.skagit.wa.us or skagitriverjournal@gmail.com

(Click to the Skagit County website for Skagit County Historical Society)

link to museum webpage

Skagit River Journal  is published and directed by Skagit County Historical Society and its Publication Committee. Publication Chair, Editor: Dan Berentson; Webmaster: Dan Royal, Publication & Editorial Committee Members: John Kamb, Bill Reynolds, Deanna Ammons, Mari Densmore and Jo Wolfe. Contributions and submissions of the life of your pioneer or early settler families, towns, obituaries, stories and photos of Skagit County related items can be sent  by EMAIL or to the address listed here:
Skagit River Journal c/o  Skagit County Historical Society
PO Box 818, 501 S. 4th St., La Conner, WA 98257 360-466-3365
Dan Royal 360-826-6141
Hours: Tuesday thru Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM
The Museum is located  at the top of the hill in La Conner.
Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore © 2020 by Skagit County Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Skagit County Historical Museum wins state honor for exhibit,
congrats Karen Summers   July 2017 SVH

(bullet) Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. Passed 7.75 million page views, January 2017; passed 800 stories in 2013  (bullet) Noel V. Bourasaw, 1944-2015, Founder (bullet) Sedro-Woolley, Washington,— where Mortimer Cook started a town & named it Bug

 Skagit River Journal & Noel V. Bourasaw were honored with 2014 Heritage Award from Skagit County Historical Society

(Click to send email)
or Search site
We're back, 2020
Navigation and
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Calendar of Events
Need some research done?
'Colorful Lives!' Biographies
Portals, subjects & areas to explore: Below
Northwest history

Research Resources in Skagit County and surrounding counties
Enter a name or subject in our search box
Of Historical Interest in Local News
Recent and archival sites posted
How to Navigate this huge site with the search function
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Calendar of Events

Featured Exhibits

Of Historical Interest

In Local News

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Please send us calendar items for any history-related or community events in your area scheduled for the rest of 2018

We're back! Winter 2024
  • (links)Please let us know of any broken links you find on this website and where you found them, which is just as important to know.  Updating and fixing links will be an ongoing process but will be helpful to all  you researchers out there making use of this website. Email us here or below.

  • We will always welcome your suggestions on making Skagit River Journal a better website, especially making it more navigable. The fastest way to find your subject of interest  will be to use the Search Engine at the bottom of the page.

  • If a subject or a person is not found on this website, let us know. It is possible we have something on file or we can direct you to a person or an institution in the county who may have the answer for you.

(Ray Writins Book Reprint 2016)


"The late Ray Jordan was arguably the best historian of Sedro-Woolley. His book, Yarns of the Skagit Country "Ray's Writin's"  (Sedro-Woolley: self-published, 1974), was the most thorough collection of stories about the merged towns and their pioneers and the surrounding area." 
Noel V. Bourasaw

The long awaited reprint of Ray Jordan's "Yarns of the Skagit Country, Ray's Writin's" has been available and for sale  as of August 4, 2016 at  the Museum bookstore. Link to Ray Jordan web page for an introduction.


'Colorful Lives!' Biographies:

(Mollie Dowdle)

Mollie Dowdle

John Jacobin


Recent and archival sites posted

Ball House toward the end of its life

  • The Ball House in Whitney is still asked about and missed. What year did the winds finally bring the house down?

  • The Wheels of Commerce...What would transportation in Skagit County be without our filling station? "There was a time of the full service, service stations"...  Consider sending us your stories and pictures of your favorite Service Stations from around the county. In the meantime, go to this link showing service stations in Sedro-Woolley.

These days, Skagit City School and a road of the same name are all that remain of  "Skagit's Lost Communities", Skagit City. (link to Skagit Valley Herald article)  Find out "Where was Skagit City?" ...Skagit City School Grand Re-opening July 16, 2017.

(bullet)Bert Webber, photographer of the first Loggerodeo

(bullet)Howard Miller, Steelhead Fisherman and County Commissioner

(bullet) The obituary and the life story of Norm Lisherness, Sedro-Woolley's beloved police chief, during Loggerodeo of 1967.
(bullet) If you have any photos, articles or documents about Northern State's long history, please email Judy Torfin, who has begun a museum on the NSH premises to honor the history of the institution and its employees.

(Stave Brothers)

Stave Brothers Service Station

(bullet) See this photo feature with nearly two dozen photos of Gilbert Landre's cabin/hotel, built in the 1892 era, which still stands near Cascade Pass.
(bullet) The two most humorous stories of our 800. Otto Klement's tale of his Lyman trading post, in 1881, and the mixture of liquor and the good ole boys and the pig. And Frank Wilkeson's 1890 New York Times column about the two rapscallion hobos of old Sedro, who took the Swedes for a ride.

Follow these links below to portal sections
of the areas and subjects that interest you:

Here is the first page that started it all, 'From Bug to the Bughouse' for the Journal in 2000, page one, updated, an introduction to the upper valley history, from Sterling to the Cascades. Click on the underscored Sedro-Woolley link above for an interactive map showing the location of Skagit County at the far northwest corner of Washington and the United States.
(Dance on stump)
(bullet) Bug through Sedro-Woolley (bullet)Reader  questions answered
(bullet) Early timeline (bullet) Founders Mortimer CookP.A. Woolley4 British bachelors.

Areas surrounding Sedro-Woolley in all four directions
(bullet) includes: Prairies, Duke's Hill, Northern State Hospital, Sterling, Skiyou, South of Skagit; Clearlake, Biglake, McMurray
Upper Skagit River: Utopia to Cascades
(bullet) includes: north of Skagit from Utopia to the dams and Cascades, Sauk River-Illabot Creek area, and the creeks of Skagit's south shore
West Skagit County: Hwy 99 to Sound
(bullet) includes: Mount Vernon to Belfast, west to Fidalgo, south to LaConner/Fir Island/Conway, north to Burlington, Blanchard, Edison, Alger & Samish


(Steam donkey in woods)
Logging Section
(bullet) includes: mills, donkey engines, equipment and logging railroads

The trains of the Northwest
(bullet) includes: Fairhaven & Southern; Seattle & Northern; Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern
(bullet) Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Puget Sound & Baker River, and more . . . Interurban

(Covered wagon women)
Valley Girls - Notable Women of the Skagit
(bullet) includes: Territorial Daughters, and biographies of and by pioneer women
Food & Wine . . . Prohibition, liquor . . .

Lost Cities of Skagit

Washington State & Surrounding Counties

Whatcom, the mother county 'til 1883; Snohomish County, home of early Skagit pioneers

Skagit County Resources for your Research
The nuts and bolts of Pioneer Life in Skagit County
Special resource features for background reading and reference
and more Transcriptions of Skagit County history
One version of the meaning of "Skagit"
(Railroad trestle)
Skagit County stories that are countywide, that involve more than one town or more than one family and town or that do not fit in any other county portal . . . Transcribed County Histories...Stories about the Skagit River...Floods history...Fishing and Hunting
(Von Pressentin home)
Bios, Obituaries of men, women, family pioneers and descendants . . .

Memories and Profiles  of Skagitonians, not necessarily here during the pioneer period...Ray Jordan Yarns  stories . . . 

(Sedro-Woolley Museum)

Museums, Genealogy, Historians, Researchers, Historical Associations, Fraternities.    Regional Museums updating

Skagit County Pioneer Association

(Whidbey Museum)
Suggested reading and Libraries
(bullet) Library: Recommended reading, bibliography
(bullet) Transcriptions old newspapers
 Very short stories in Odds and Ends Portal
An Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties

(1906 History)    You can find links to our transcriptions of this most valuable resource. An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, Washington published by Interstate Publishing Company, Chicago, IL (hereafter the 1906 History), published in 1906, is hands down the most important book on the shelf of anyone who researches, writes about or reads about our Northwest history. Out of Print for years, the original sometimes turns up on ebay, but is very expensive. The Skagit Valley Genealogical Society reprinted the hefty volume in hardbound in 2000 and it quickly sold out. At that same time the society created an All Name Index for the 1906 History, which is still available at their website.

Issue 60 posted
Noel's last subscriber edition posted free
There will no longer be a subscriber area.
R.I.P. Noel V. Bourasaw 1944-2015

Getting lost trying to navigate or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 800-plus stories.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
Looking for something special on our site? Enter name, town or subject, then press "Find" Search this site powered by FreeFind

   Did you find what you were seeking? We have helped many people find individual names or places, email if you have any difficulty.

    Tip: Put quotation marks around a specific name or item of two words or more, and then experiment with different combinations of the words without quote marks. We are currently researching some of the names most recently searched for — check the list here. Maybe you have searched for one of them?


(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy these stories and histories? The process continues as we compile and collaborate on research about Northwest history. Can you help? Remember; we welcome correction, criticism and additions to the record.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 800 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.

Skagit River Journal of History & Folklore! has been under the ownership of Skagit County Historical Society following the death of Noel Bourasaw's in 2015. SRJ is directed and maintained by the Societies' Publication Committee.

Any donations to Skagit River Journal should be given on the DONATE button here on the homepage only. There are hundreds of pages still not updated with corrections.

Donations always welcomed!

Donations make a difference. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation. Your monetary gifts are tax deductible, actively solicited, and most welcome. Unless instructed otherwise, your contribution will be kept confidential. If you would like to make a donation to contribute to any of the works of Skagit County Historical Society and Museum. From your PayPal account, consider specifying if you would like your donation restricted to a specific area of interest: General Funds, Skagit River Journal, Skagit City School, Facilities, Publication Committee, Special Events,  any upcoming Exhibit. Just add those instructions in the box provided by PayPal. If not a donation, how about a Membership? Find information at this link. Thank-you! from the Director, staff and Board of Trustees.

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