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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Home Page Stories & Photos
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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Hammer Heritage Square

(Hammer Square)
      The site of Hammer Heritage Square, opened as the only downtown park in Sedro-Woolley in the fall of 2005, has long been a gathering point clear back to the beginning of P.A. Woolley's company town in 1890. F.A. Douglass and his brother-in-law Norris Ormsby built a drugstore there that September. In 1905, Art Seidell and F.A. Hegg and partners built the First National Bank on the corner and the building was a crossroads of commerce for the next 44 years. In that interim, celebrations were conducted there for the Armistice and for V-E day in World Wars I and II, respectively. After the Seidell building burned in December 1949, a gas station was built on the corner. It closed in the 1980s and it was eventually razed as was the building beside it on the alley. The site became home to the weekly Farmers Market in 2006 and continues every Wednesday from May to October.
(Hammer Square Sign)
      George Hammer, one of the partners in Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop, made the first connection with the site in the 1960s when he bought two of the lots, but his father, Senator and Mayor Emerson Hammer looked at that corner every morning. Emerson came to the area in 1889 and clerked for Mortimer Cook and then owned a general store in Burlington before opening the Union Mercantile on the southwest corner of Metcalf and Ferry in 1897. His father-in-law, George Green, was his partner there and they were in the timber business together. George's brother-in-law John Dart was one of the first settlers near present Clear Lake in 1878. Even after the Merc building was totally destroyed in the famous July 1911 downtown fire, the partners rebuilt and the store continued in business until early in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
(Clock Tower)
      Wyman Hammer, who died on April 2, 2002, contributed the lots that he inherited from his father, and after the city purchased the other lot, the park project proceeded in 2001. Although Wyman did not live in Sedro-Woolley since leaving for service in World War II and then settling in Oregon, he continued to contribute in many ways to his home town and he was a friend and a benefactor to this website, too, in its initial development. Wyman was the son of George Hammer, the original founding partner of Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop on Metcalf, 85 years ago. Ken Cornett, former director of the Chamber of Commerce, started the fund-raising drive with memorial bricks in 2001, which are now laid in place (you can still purchase them) and former Mayor Sharon Dillon and present mayor Mike Anderson has worked with various city departments to coordinate the project. The Rotary, Lions and Soroptimists clubs have donated both funding and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor. For information about how to purchase memorial paving stones in your name or your family's name, stop in at the Chamber office on Metcalf Street or phone (360) 855-1841.

Links, background reading and sources

(Aerial drawing of Hammer Heritage Square)
(Planned Square)
Far left: An aerial drawing of the layout of the proposed square
Center left: A street-level drawing compliments of artist Dick Sizemore
Click on these thumbnails for full-sized photos

Story posted on Dec. 21, 2003, last updated Aug. 2, 2007
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(bullet) Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 86 years.
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