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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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1909 selection of Northern State Hospital site
and how Hansen creek was named

H.L. Devin tells of hospital site
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Northern State special edition, Feb. 29, 1940
Harry Lincoln Devin
      Harry Devin, well-known local realtor, was a member of the Sedro-Woolley committee named to aid in the selection of a site for the Northern State Hospital. He says there was keen competition among various communities to secure the institution and that Sedro-Woolley was often told it was too small or had too little political influence to secure it.
      However, the committee went ahead and its members, Emerson Hammer, Dave Donnelly, Frank Bradsberry [also spelled Bradsbury], William Coleman, C.P. Galbe and Devin, secured options on 800 acres of land suitable for the purpose. The governor's commission, comprising A.E. Cagwin, E.D. Cowen, H.T. Jones and David Zerwkh, agreed with the Sedro-Woolley committee on its choice and on Sept. 13, 1909, wired their acceptance of the site. The wisdom of their choice has never been questioned.

How Hansen creek was named
      This is a good place to explain the naming of Hansen creek, which we found in the May 20, 1921, Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times. In that issue we learned of the death of a Mr. T. Hansen, who died in Puyallup. His death was reported to the newspaper by Mrs. John Rowland, wife of a local pioneer and one of the founders of the local Seventh Day Adventist church. She said that Hansen came to the area in the early 1880s and soon homesteaded most of the land that later became the Northern State Hospital campus.
      Hansen creek was originally named Benson creek for Captain Dan Benson, an early steamboat pilot who made his home a quarter mile upstream from where the creek emptied into the Skagit river, about where the Stan Nelson farm was later located and where the bridge now crosses the creek. A civil war veteran from Michigan, Benson moved to the Puget sound in 1871 and he moved from the Skagit back to the Seattle area in the early 1890s during the financial depression. That is apparently when the creek was renamed for Mr. Hansen. Mrs. Rowland recalled how Hansen planted the black walnut trees that still dot the Northern State campus. Hansen moved to the Puyallup area in about 1913. Benson died in a freak accident at the Treadwell mine on Douglas island in Alaska.

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Story posted on June 25, 2003, moved to this domain Nov. 11, 2011
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