(Girl Undercut)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition, where 450 of 700 stories originate
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

(Click to send email)
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.
Please pass on this website link to your family, relatives, friends and clients.

List of exclusive Journal stories
about Stone & Webster's Interurban
and Dollar Way in Sedro-Woolley

(Burlington Interurban)
This photograph of the Burlington Interurban depot shows a typical car of the period.

Skagit River Journal, ©2005
      The Interurban train/trolley that transported both passengers and freight between Bellingham and Mount Vernon, and between Burlington and Sedro-Woolley from 1912-30 was part of a system that covered Puget sound cities in an early version of mass transit. We explore the background and operation of the system and present the results of our research as well as transcripts of features from newspapers, magazines and books of the day, as well as interviews of some of the principals. Part of the plan for the company was their construction of Dollar Way, a concrete highway from Sterling to Sedro-Woolley, the first paved highway in Skagit county.
We are searching for photos to accompany these articles. Do you have photos? We can use either scans or photocopies. We do not need your originals.

      Some of the sources quoted are careful to not over-romanticize the Interurban ear. We want to avoid the Disneyfication of still one more beloved icon of those years before almost all of us were born. Although some competitors certainly did use devious methods to supplant the Interurbans, we all need to realize that the principal reason why the Interurbans ultimately failed: people stopped riding on them and that decision was not due to a gun placed at their heads. William D. Middleton became the dean of the Traction historians with the 1961 publication of his comprehensive book, The Interurban Era He put his finger on why the Interurbans are so beloved in the past tense, as explained on the dust jacket of the book:
    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2011, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Because of our recent illness, our research fund is completely bare. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. And subscriptions to our optional Subscribers Online Magazine (launched 2000) by donation too. Thank you.

We recently visited our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, which is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down bedding. See our Journal feature on this local business and learn more details and how to order items at their website.

      In that happy American interlude between the brass bands of the Nineties and the trenches of World War I, when Tom Swift was every boy's hero and the Wrights were simply bicycle-shop tinkerers, there blossomed the interurban. The big yellow arch-windowed cars alternately rocked along beside dusty rural lanes at a mile a minute and inched around courthouse squares, and in their wake, America found a new mobility. For this purely American invention ushered in an era of cheap, fast, frequent transportation that broke the isolation of the farm, proved a boon to the salesman and created suburbia.
      Traction, as the craze was known, came about overnight; the first true interurban was built in Oregon in 1893, yet by 1917 nearly 10,000 cars rode more than 18,000 miles of intercity electric railways in virtually every state of the Union. And then, after only three decades of usefulness, traction vanished — a victim of the Model T and the paved highway. William D. Middleton has re-created this electric phenomena in The Interurban Era, a splendid 560-photo, 55,000 word, 432-page tribute to an American age that identified the hoot of the interurban's horn and the zing of its trolley pole with all the good things that lay just beyond the next curve.

We are still seeking photographs of the trains, rail tracks and depots. Can you help?

Further reading and links to all stories
      If you are a subscriber, you will find links below to all six exclusive Journal stories about the Interurban, original features, transcripts and compilations that you will find nowhere else. Thank you for your support.
Further reading

Story posted on June 12, 2005, moved to this domain Sept. 29, 2011
Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 28 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

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.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
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.

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, so 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?
Please sign our guestbook so our readers will know where you found out about us, or share something you know about the Skagit River or your memories or those of your family. Share your reactions or suggestions or comment on our Journal. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit our site.

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Email us at: skagitriverjournal@gmail.com
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal, 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284.