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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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What's new in Sedro-Woolley? Summer 2009

(Nick Vigarino)
Boondocks Bar & Grill closed on New Year's Eve 2009 and is apparently relocating in Mount Vernon. Sedro-Woolley folk were introduced to first-class entertainment on the evening of May 18, 2007, when Boondocks staged their grand opening with the band of Nick Vigarino and company (on the right). Their venue led to other nightspots featuring great music, including Just Moe's, next door on Metcalf Street, with weekly bands and Gary B's Church of the Blues jam session at 6 p.m. every Sunday.
Oliver Hammer moves; Bus Jungquist store gets a facelift
      Downtown Sedro-Woolley is buzzing as three historic buildings are the scene of several changes projected for summer 2010. The Valley Hardware store is finishing its closeout sale in preparation for being remodeled entirely inside to be the new location of Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop, which has been next door in the same location for nearly 52 years.
      And three doors south, at the northeast corner of State and Metcalf streets, Pat Farrell is busy revamping the old Bus Jungquist/Penney's story in hopes of developing an antique mall, a business that has been near the top of everyone's wish list. Farrell proved his mettle with his new-and-used store in Burlington for many years and hopes to have the building ready for retail by this summer. If you are interested in leasing space for your business, email Pat at or telephone (360) 856-1294.

The Roost Books and Things opened in May 2008
      Steven and Mary O'Neill have come home to Sedro-Woolley and they opened a new store, The Roost-Books and Things, at 408B Metcalf Street, across the street from the new Sedro-Woolley City Hall. They offer more than 10,000 used books, espresso drinks and a small coffee area in the front, along with prospecting supplies for gold panners.
      Steven graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1968 and Mary (Carnahan) attended Cascade Junior High in 1957-58, the year it opened. Her mother, Lucille Carnahan, taught at Mary Purcell and at Big Lake elementary school in the 1950s. She also helped organize the books before the opening. The O'Neills will offer the only assortment of gold-panning and other mining supplies in the area. They plan to credit customers for selected books they bring in for trade and they will also offer customers display shelves that they can rent to display their own books and goods.

New Sporting Goods store
      Mark Morgan, who opened Cascade Mountain Loans at 820 Metcalf Street in 1993, has opened a new sporting goods store next door at 822 Metcalf and is fully open for business in the summer of 2009. That was the original location of the Piggly Wiggly Grocery in the 1920s. In the 1960s it was the original location of Greer Drummond's Valley Hardware and Morgan is buying the building from Drummond. Most recently it housed Bill's Framing Shop. This will be the first sporting goods store in town since Don Ostrom closed his store in the 800 block of Metcalf, where Just Moe's is now located.

Mestizo Mexican Family Restaurant
      Raul and Norma Guitron have opened the Mestizo Mexican Family Restaurant in the building at the far northern end of the east side of the 600 block of Metcalf Street. They occupy the space of another Mexican restaurant that was located there for several years. The biggest difference is that they have taken over the space of the Schooner Tavern and transformed it into their own bar. The Schooner failed a few months ago over non-payment of taxes. No, the figurehead and the model schooners did not survive.

Janicki Industries buys old city hall,
new city hall opens on Metcalf Street

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      The old 1930 Sedro-Woolley City Hall was empty and officially on the market for barely a week in April 2008 when Sedro-Woolley Heritage Properties, LLC, a Janicki company bought the structure for $500,000.
      Spokesman Rob Janicki said that in the short term, employees from Janicki Industries will use part of the building for office space, but retail and office tenants are being sought. The family corporation purchased the building specifically to guarantee local ownership.
      "That's one of the reasons we bought the building," Janicki told the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times. "The building's warmth anc charm prevent it from looking cold as some corporate offices do. Character cannot be built using today's cheaper materials."
      Meanwhile, the remaining city offices and staff moved into the new city hall on Metcalf Street late in March 2008. That new building adjoins the police station and fire hall, which has functioned on the eastern half of the block, south of the baseball field, for the past four years.

Leo's Pizza becomes Coconut Kenny's
      If you are one of those who starts dreaming each winter in Washington about pina coladas and white sandy beaches, you will be pleased to know that Leo's Pizza will become Coconut Kenny's on Feb. 29, 2008. Coconut Tan Bros Inc. is expanding from their home location on James Street in Bellingham.
      If you are a fan of Leo Hayes, however, you might be sad that he has sold his business. The popular local musician bought the former pizza business in this location at the last moment when it was going out of business, and his jam sessions have been a real highlight. Leo, whose regular trade is as a contractor, is supervising the remodel of the building, with a planned reopening date by May 1, 2008.

Just Moe's Bar & Grill
      For those of you who have been waiting for the Castle Tavern to open in its new location on Metcalf Street, well, it has and then it hasn't. Michelle "Moe" Keenan-Anderson has been preparing the new location on the east side of the 700 block for the past year and in early December 2007 she opened her new Just Moe's Bar & Grill. We will have a more extensive story on it later this year. For those of you familiar with Sedro-Woolley history, this is the Swastika Building, erected in 1911, a few months after the famous July 1911 downtown Woolley fire. Old-timers will remember the space as Parker's Dependable Market and more recently it was Cost-Plus Sporting Goods in several incarnations. It does not look like the old Castle at all. Everything is proverbially up to date in Kansas City.

A nursery rises at the old Palace Tavern location

(Old Time Saloon)
      This interior photo of the old Palace Tavern was taken sometime circa 1960 and was loaned by Deanna Ammons who obtained it from Alice's sister, Maude Wood, who is still very much alive in her 90s, in a senior home in Oak Harbor.

      Several new developments by businesses in Sedro-Woolley are on people's minds this month. One location will evoke memories of old-timers — that is, anyone who grew up here or lived here in the 1950s and '60s. Every time I ride my bicycle past the Tru-Value Hardware Store mini-nursery that has risen on Ferry Street, I smile and think about one of Sedro-Woolley's characters of the past, who was usually known as "Alice of the Palace.".
      You can read about the old Palace Tavern in our Journal feature about Jim and Blanche Gray. Jim was a Nova Scotia native who came to old Sedro in 1889 and after five years of logging, he decided there had to be a better way of making a living, so he opened the Palace Saloon facing on the planked Northern Avenue, across from the railroad depot in old Woolley. That was the first business street in P.A. Woolley's original company town, just east of his mill site, which later became part of the Skagit Steel site after several owners and various fires. The Palace eventually moved down Northern Avenue to the spot west of the Schneider building where the hardware store's open-air mini-nursery stands now. Jim's wife, Blanche, was one of the key people who kick-started a library in town.
      Alice took over the Palace in the 1950s after Jim Gray retired. The beautiful wooden backbar at the western wall of the tavern was manufactured by the Brunswick-Balke Company and shipped here by train from the Midwest in pieces, and then reassembled inside the bar. You can see a nearly identical back bar at the Schooner Tavern on Metcalf Street, which boasts the last such full-size backbar in the county. There used to be three of them in town. We hope that a reader can recall what happened to the one in the Palace and we would also like to know when the Palace was torn down, presumably in the late 1960s. The third one was in the old B&A Buffet, the old tavern that stood at the southwest corner of Metcalf and State streets, where the Wells Fargo Bank stands today.

Glenn Allen Jewelers officially closes . . . — DC's Printing and Awards opens in its place
(Glenn Allen Jewelers)
Glenn Allen Jr. in his store, circa 1960s. That may be his mother on the left. Can a reader identify both ladies? You will often find Glenn Allen III with that magnifier lens attached to his glasses.

      Many local residents and old-timers were shocked in April 2006 to see the signs on the front of Glenn Allen Jewelers, 816 Metcalf Street: "Liquidation Sale . . . closing forever." Glenn Allen III, the last in a line of four generations of jewelers in the family was liquidating his stock and planned to just focus on his trophy and awards business in the future. Some people gasped: a landmark in downtown for 65 years is about to disappear. Then, shortly afterwards, Glenn reopened, after remodeling, as Glenn Allen Awards.
      Update December 2007: On December 1, however, the Allen ownership of both building and business did end. Don Coggins, a 1969 graduate of Sedro-Woolley High School, has bought the building. He and his wife, Rene, an Anacortes graduate, have taken over the awards/engraving part of the business and they are expanding their screenprinting business, which took over the front part of the building earlier in 2007.
      Don explains that he and his wife have been screen printing t-shirts and many other items — especially for school sports teams, out of their home for several years. They also offer embroidery and a process called "sublimation" for attaching logos and slogans to coffee cups, etc. They will continue to manufacture at their home office, but will retail from the store. Rene is also moving her Ponytails by Rene Hair Salon into the old back room of the building, which was erected in 1915. You may remember Don's former business, Pyramid Music, which was located from 1979-89 in the Mission Market and then on Hwy 20.

R.I.P. Glenn Allen Jewelers
      The old Glenn Allen Jewelers business all started with Horace Condy, back in 1900. We plan a feature soon on this pioneer, but here is a brief summary of his store. A native of Guelph, Ontario, Condy emigrated to the U.S. and lived briefly in Kentucky before moving to Sedro-Woolley in 1900, right after the merger of the two old towns. He arrived at the same time as St. Louis natives Joe Mott and Paul Rhodius, who opened a drug store on Metcalf Street where Hammer Heritage Square stands today, and Condy rented space in the Mott woodframe building. Condy started with a modest repair business but soon expanded to offer retail jewelry. In about 1903, he bought the stately clock that is still one of the most beloved historical landmarks on Metcalf.
      In 1906, Condy erected a brick building that still stands at 711 Metcalf Street as the downtown home of Janicki Industries. During the big July 1911 downtown Woolley fire, the structure was gutted, but he soon rebuilt and over the next three decades, Condy expanded to offer musical instruments and then established the first and most extensive optometry business in Skagit County. In 1919, Condy was joined by his nephew from Canada, Glenn Allen Sr. and in 1931, Harry Ingham joined Condy. When Condy retired and fell ill in 1940-41, Ingham moved down the street to the present location
      Allen joined Ingham and soon took over the business, establishing Glenn Allen Jewelers in 1941. When studying the business, one needs to keep the Glenns straight. Glenn Allen Sr. died in 1945, and his son, Glenn Allen Jr., took over the business when he returned from service in World War II. Glenn Sr.'s widow, Elizabeth Allen, helped staff the store for many years. Glenn Jr. ran the business for 43 years and remodeled the exterior sometime in the 1950s. His son, Glenn Allen III, is the present owner and is doubly famous for winding the Condy Clock weekly. Glenn III took over the business in 1988. His father died in 1990 and his mother, Joan Allen, still lives in Sedro-Woolley.
      Mrs. Edith Allen, now a very young 92 years, still lives in Sedro-Woolley and she recalls that her late husband, Harry Allen, came to Skagit County with another brother, the late Gordon Allen, from Ontario in 1918 to join their younger brother Glenn Allen Sr. Glenn III recalls that his grandfather came to Washington first and worked as a freehand engraver at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909.
      The store at 816 Metcalf was originally partitioned down the middle until Allen Jewelers was established. In the south half, the old pioneer Woolley barber Jack Ames had a small barber shop and he stored furs in the back. Ames had located two blocks north in P.A. Woolley's original company town in about 1890 and he branched out in the fur business after trekking up to Alaska during the Klondike gold rush. The north half of the building housed the millinery shop of the Hustead sisters. When Glenn Allen Sr. expanded his store, Flossie Hustead moved two buildings north to an old structure that was later torn down in 1957 for construction of the present Holland Drugs building.

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Story posted on Oct. 25, 2007, last updated April 30, 2010
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