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Skagit River Journal

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Loggerodeo 4: The first 1948 Loggerodeo parade

Part four of our exclusive Loggerodeo story: photos of the original 1948 Loggerodeo Grand Parade. Continued from the main Loggerodeo story

(Loggerodeo Parade 1948-Murdock)
      This photo was taken during the first Loggerodeo parade by Bert Webber, a professional photographer who had his office in the building that formerly stood across from the post office, where the Doorn building is now. We are looking northwest up Murdock street from the intersection at Woodworth. Just beyond the city hall, which dominates the center of the photo, you can see the front of James and Blanche Gray's house at the southwest corner of Ferry. Many old timers remember the house well because of those huge chestnut trees all around. Gray came here from The house was razed and replaced in 1953 by the Hunter Clinic. Just beyond, you can see the 2-story forestry building that stood where Bank of America is today in 2003. That was the original site of the Shrewsbury mill and clothespin factory and the country's first Laundromat. In 1899, you could bring your wash and a lot of elbow grease and use the laundry tubs and get hot water from the tap. Why are all these parade photos centered on Murdock street instead of Metcalf? Because, for the first ten years or so, Metcalf was filled with the carnival rides and booths. In those same years, the parade wound all the up the hill on Fruitdale road so that patients at Northern State Hospital could enjoy the sights and sounds and the sweet smells of everything that horses bring us.

(Loggerodeo Parade 1948)
      This photo was taken by Bert Webber as he stood in James Gray's yard and looked across Murdock street. Can you identify which intersection this is? How about the house behind it to the left and the railroad tracks that cross the intersection? Both are gone now. If you want to guess at all or any of these or if you have more information, please log in our Guestbook and note: "1948 Loggerodeo Parade."

(Loggerodeo Parade 1948-Woodworth)
      I've saved this photo for a celebratory time. It's one of my favorites of all time. Bert Webber photographed the staging area for the Grand Parade. Fred Slipper, Fred Vochatzer and returning veterans, who were active in the American Legion, spearheaded a drive to unite the traditional loggers' shows and the rodeo to create a celebration that would make Sedro-Woolley famous throughout the state. Local historian John Conrad, who owned the Chevron station on the Burlington highway, suggested the name, Loggerodeo, in a city contest and won $25. Little did he know that the name would become recognized around the country.
      Webber was standing in front of what was then Sig Berglund's Ford Garage on Murdock street, the building that now houses the Sedro-Woolley Museum. Berglund bought the business from the earlier Ford dealer Emil Jech, who erected the building as the Universal Motor Co. garage in 1924. Webber was looking west up Woodworth street on a most historic scene. Stan Nelson's Chevrolet Garage was to the left. Imagine how families celebrated after church by strolling over to the garages that were only an intersection apart and seeing the spiffy new autos. Just a year later the Nelson building burned and was replaced by the one that Countryside Chevrolet is in today.
      To the near right on the corner is the city hall, which was built in 1930 on land donated by the estate of P.A. Woolley. Just west from it is Emil Runck's bicycle shop. And beyond that is the Dream Theatre, the temple of my youth. Built as a vaudeville theatre by Ben Abbott in time for Christmas 1913, it was still operated as a movie theatre in 1948 by his father, Dad Abbott. Dad built the Chevrolet dealership in 1919 and sold it to Nelson in 1938; he was honored by Chevrolet in 1949 as their first dealer in Washington state. Dad lost both his wife and Ben in the influenza epidemic that swept America in 1918. His daughter, the late Emma Abbott Ridgway, became famous in Democratic circles during the Roosevelt years and her son, the late Hugh Ridgway, was one of our most beloved attorneys and judges.
      If you search really hard, you will find six-year old Carolyn Freeman in one of those cute little dresses. Do you think she was eyeing Berglund's and dreaming of a museum she could help get started some day?

(Loggerodeo Parade 1948-Metcalf and Ferry Street)
      Webber took this photo from the top of a building that burned to the ground in 1949. He was two stories above the present gazebo at Hammer Square, at the northwest corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets. He looked east on Ferry Street, and the buildings there are largely unchanged, except that the house in the background was razed in 1953 to make room for the new Hunter Clinic on Murdock Street. We can see that the parade route did not turn onto Ferry Street in those early years. It continued north on Metcalf Street and eventually wound up at Northern State Hospital so that patients could enjoy seeing the parade. The building on which he stood the Arthur C. Seidell building, which burned to the ground in 1949, which was soon replaced by a service station for many years and in 2007 became the site of Hammer Square, the downtown park.

(Loggerodeo Parade 1948-Murdock)
      Webber stood on Murdock Street to take this photo, looking southeast from the corner of Ferry Street. The float, apparently based on a World War II "Duck" aluminum amphibious boat, was decorated by Tom Black's Quality Shop, which once stood on the east side of the 700 block of Metcalf Street. Joe Fisher, the chief associate of the shop, was president of the first Loggerodeo in 1948. Behind the flat you can see a two-story woodframe building. It was the original home of the IOOF (Odd Fellows), constructed in about 1892 in P.A. Woolley's original company town. Like the Seidell Building on Ferry, it burned to the ground in 1949. The Eagles fraternal organization was using the building as its headquarters at the time. They soon replaced it with a brick front building, which in 2001 became the American Legion Club and Lounge.

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