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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
600 of 700 total Free Home Page Stories & Photos
(Also see our Subscribers Magazine Sample)
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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Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. We passed 5 million page views on June 6, 2011
The home pages remain free of any charge. We need donations or subscriptions to continue.
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Portal to the beautiful Skagit River
Skagit county, Washington state

Gravity ferry, northwest rivers, circa 1900-20
(Gravity ferry)
      Several sources and individuals have sworn that this photo was taken on either the Skagit river or the Sauk. But we knew that we had seen it someplace else. The mystery was solved on page 208 of Percival R. Jeffcott's fine history of Whatcom county, Nooksack Tales and Trails. The photo is of the Harkness Ferry on the Nooksack river in Whatcom county at a famous place west of Everson called "The Crossing." Woolley pioneer Susie Alverson would have known the ferry well because her father served as telegrapher there before the family moved to Woolley in 1895 to manage the old St. Clair Hotel. We share the photo because this was a gravity ferry — with a winch-like attachment at both ends, attached to a cable above that was chained to trees on both shores, which used the strong current of the river for power. Nowadays we would call it "environment-friendly." That is the type of ferry that crossed the Skagit in at least 12 different places from Fir on the South fork to Marblemount in the foothills of the Cascades.

      Below we provide links to other stories on the website that profile the river in the past, present and future. And then we provide links to other stories about the river that you can access on the Internet. Because the river is the web that ties our entire project together, we encourage you to share any information or sources that we can share with other readers. We will talk about the history of the river, its different channels, the famous floods that have occurred, the fish, birds and animals that make this their home, the rich soil of its bottomlands, the hills that were formed by volcanic and glacial action, the gorges in the Cascades and anything you request to read. Your feedback is encouraged, either by email or via the Guestbook below. Click the underlined links to read the pages:

      This information comes from the Skagit Watershed Education Project by permission of the North Cascades Institute. Contact the institute about their many classes: North Cascades Institute, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1239. phone: 360-856-5700 ext. 213. www.ncascades.org

Handmade cedar canoe, Skagit River, 1880s
(Dugout Canoe)
      This was the main mode of travel on the Skagit river for the first few decades. Men would split a cedar log lengthwise, burn out the center and then scrape away the residue until they had a sturdy craft, just as the Indians had done it for eons. As you can see, several people could board. Such canoes were often lashed together to carry goods and ore weighing a ton or more. This photo was taken by the early Anacortes photographers Booen and Ewing. One conclusion is that a group of Indians from the Sauk River region were being transported to the new reservation at Swinomish, near LaConner.

Links to stories on our site:

Links to more information about the mighty Skagit River

Story posted on Jan. 4, 2002, last updated Oct. 29, 2011
Please report any broken links so we can update them

Getting lost trying to navigate
or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 700-plus stories.

See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
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Our monthly column, Puget Sound Mail (but don't call it a blog)
debuted on Aug. 9, 2009. Check it out.
(bullet) Remember; we welcome correction & criticism.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 700 features, we depend on your report. Thank you. And do not give up if you find a link that seems to be closed. Just put the subject in the search box below. The story may have been moved to our new domain. Or just ask us and we will guide you to it.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues until we eventually compile a book about Northwest history. Can you help with copies or scans of documents or photos? We never ask for your originals.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first ten years of our Subscribers-paid online magazine. Perfect for gifts. Although it was delayed by our illness, it is due for completion in 2012.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2010, with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe.

You can read the history websites about our prime sponsors
Would you like information about how to join them in advertising?

(bullet) Our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds andduvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing. Park your RV or pitch a tent — for as little as $5 per night — by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley. Alpine is doubling in capacity for RVs and camping in 2011.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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