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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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Rebuilding Sedro-Woolley after
the Great Fire of July 1911

(Hoehn Livery)
(Post-Fire Ferry Street)
      This photo on the upper left was of the Hoehn Livery in 1909, which stood on the now-empty lots on the south side of Ferry Street across from the Wixson Hotel — now the Gateway. It burned to the ground on July 24, 1911, and nothing has ever been rebuilt on the site in the last 95 years. Click on this cropped photo to see the complete livery. There you will see the Ratchford blacksmith shop on the left, or east. At the west end, you will see Dr. Menzo B. Mattice's Winton Six automobile, which sold for just under $4,000 new that year, one of the most expensive automobiles in the state. The photo on the right was taken of the rubble of the livery, the day after the fire, looking southwest from the middle of Ferry Street. The only building left standing on that side of the block was the shell of a fire wall. We think that was the building that became the Townshend Hall in the 1920s and was most recently the northern extension of the Liberty Cafe.

The business district of Sedro-Woolley at the time of the fire was roughly laid out with the following boundaries. Downtown was bordered by Northern Avenue on the north; Murdock street on the east, the Northern Pacific (north-south) railroad tracks on the west and Warner Street on the south. Businesses were also located on Third Street, south from State to Nelson, which was part of the town of new Sedro; and West Ferry Street from the NP tracks to Rita Street. The blocks most affected by the fire were bordered on the west by the present alley west of Metcalf Street; on the north by Ferry Street; on the east by the alley east of Metcalf; and on the south by Woodworth Street. There was some slight damage to the Seidell Block building at the northwest corner of Metcalf and Ferry streets. The new Wixson Hotel (later renamed the Gateway) was saved from fire damage by boys who were dispatched to the roof with buckets and water and gunny sacks, to snuff out any embers blowing that way.
Skagit River Journal research, 1911-13
      On the evening of July 24, 1911, fire broke out in a barrel in a small wooden building behind Fritsch Hardware on the alley that now runs between Woodworth and Ferry streets, across the street from the present Sedro-Woolley post office. By the time the fire burned out around midnight that night, 25 businesses and their buildings had either burned to the ground or had been severely damaged. Yet by December that year, about 80 percent of the businesses and buildings were replaced by brick structures that would withstand future fires.
      In fact, within hours of the blaze, some businesses either reopened in temporary locations or moved temporary wooden structures onto the vacant lots that were empty and scraped clean of all the debris. The Skagit County Times, was then published in Sedro-Woolley in a building far south of the fire, where the Mission Market later rose. Its competitor, the Skagit County Courier, had lost its plant on Metcalf Street in the fire. Below we transcribe the Times story of Dec. 21, 1911, that describes the rebuilding process, with material in brackets [ ] that clarifies or supplies background to the Times story. The tale it tells lives out the prediction made in the Times edition of July 27, 1911, which reported the fire:

      In all, 25 firms were rousted from their business habitations. They watched the going up into the air of their worldly goods, but never a one of them lost his or her grip on the Sedro-Woolley spirit, and while the flames were mounting high and the wrack and ruin lay in a seething, blistering mass of heat about them, every one joined in a hustle for places in which to continue business. Before many of the losers went to bed, contracts were made for the immediate construction of both permanent and temporary business structures.
      Why was that fire so important that we have spent months, over the past 14 years, researching it? Well, first it may seem relatively insignificant when you discover that only two blocks of old Woolley were affected, but those were the heart of the original downtown section of P.A. Woolley's company town. His mansion just barely escaped the fire, and 15 years later, it, too, burned. The historical importance lies in the fire's role as a wake-up call. The insurance companies as a whole pulled the plug, or at least hiked their rates dramatically, unless Sedro-Woolley businesses rebuilt in brick and stone. A few woodframe buildings remained but most were replaced over the next decade. Below we take an article from the Skagit County Times that appeared five months after the fire and we annotate it with our own research. The years leading up to 1912 marked a growing economy that would peak after World War I.
      As part of this complex project, we also consulted the Polk Skagit County Directory of 1913-14, and we cross-checked our information with Sedro-Woolley's ace researcher, Roger Peterson. We also cross-checked with our own extensive database of information from hundreds of sources, which we started compiling in 1995, and we researching our interviews with many old-timers who are no longer living, and descendants of pioneers — such as Greer Drummond, who grew up in Sedro-Woolley after the fire. As with all our stories, we hope that readers who have family memories, articles, documents or photos, will consider sharing copies with us. The original article(s) are set off in blocks, followed by our annotation. This story will be supplemented by a review of all the other businesses in town so that the reader can determine their locations on various streets.

(Skagit Commission)
      The July 24, 1911, fire started just north of Woodworth Street and burned through most of the two main downtown business blocks. The wind was predominantly from the southwest, so most of the buildings outside the core escaped damage or destruction. This Skagit Commission complex, west of the Northern Pacific depot, was two blocks away from the fire and they constructed a new building during the construction boom. At least three new businesses were spun off from this plant during that decade. See the links at the bottom to read more about the fire itself.
The Town's Progress for the Year 1911
Many Permanent Buildings Erected as Well
as Other Good and Substantial Improvements

Skagit County Times, Dec. 27, 1911
      The industrial progress of Sedro-Woolley for the year 1911, while not extraordinary, has been substantial and progressive to permanence. While few new industries have been acquired, material additions to those already existing have made up for deficiency otherwise, and while these have more than held the town well up in the march of progress, in comparison with other cities in this and adjoining counties, its opportunities have perhaps, been further advanced by settlement of the country immediately contiguous, than any other place in the county.
      In an industrial way, Sedro-Woolley and its immediate vicinity has, within the year now drawing to a close, been a scene of greater activity than all the other cities in the county combined, the aggregate of the expenditures made and being made will considerably exceed the half-million mark.
      While it is true that within the year apparent misfortune in the form of devastating fires has fallen to our lot, that misfortune only served to develop the steadfastness of purpose and universal loyalty to that purpose of men who do not know the meaning of failure, of men who look fate straight in the face, defy its adversities, and face and strive for that success which indomitable energy unfailingly compels. Fire undoubtedly resulted in material and financial loss to those who were its victims, but the Sedro-Woolley spirit is Phoenix, and the town's physical gain is of that substantial character which compels admiration, respect and universal confide
      The commercial success of Sedro-Woolley has always depended greatly upon the ability and willingness of its businessmen to supply the necessities of life in any quantity and quality destruction wrought in the business district, the interruption was scarcely noticeable. The embers from the great conflagration had scarcely lost their glow when temporary structures were begun and stocks of goods began to accumulate and but for the long scene of rebuilding there was little to indicate interruption to the town's business.
      In turn the temporary structures have given way to permanent, handsome and commodious brick buildings containing, besides largely increased stocks of merchandise, every convenience essential to the comfort of a vast and continuously increasing patronage.

New buildings on Metcalf Street, west Side
      Of business buildings constructed within the year, is numbered the replacement in brick of the former frame building to Bingham & Holland, adjoining the C.E. Bingham & Co. bank building on the south on Metcalf Street The building comprises two commodious store rooms. [806 Metcalf]
(Fritsch new)
(Fritsch old)
      The photo on the above left is of the original Fritsch Bros. Hardware store, a woodframe building at the northwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets, which was erected in 1897 after an early burned down the original 1892 structure. The fire started in a small shack to the left, behind the building. The photo at the right is from the post-1911 fire newspaper and shows the brick structure still standing there today, which now houses a floral shop and pizza parlor and the chamber of commerce. Some of these photos on this page that are from that issue are not in very good condition. They are taken from a Xeroxed copy of the Dec. 27, 1911, newspaper that a local resident found and loaned to historian Deanna Ammons, so please pardon the quality.

      806 Metcalf. Skagit Surveyors now occupy that building in 2005. Charles E. Bingham and Albert E. Holland moved together from new Sedro to the southwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets in 1895 and they reopened in a new brick-and-stone building on the same site on the Fourth of July weekend of 1905. A fire gutted the building on Jan. 10, 1909, but they soon rebuilt. The 1911 fire spared the building because winds were blowing from the southwest. The new building replaced the old woodframe building, which housed the two businesses from 1895-1905 and was moved to the side when the brick building was erected. Old-timers recalled that the old wooden building was moved to where the parking lot for Marketplace Foods is located today, sometime following the erection of Holland's 806 Metcalf addition.
      To the north [from the bank building], across Woodworth Street and fronting on Metcalf Street, is the splendid new brick business habitation of Fritsch Bros., covering a ground space of 100x120 feet, and constituting use of the largest salesrooms in Northwest Washington. Commensurate with the room are the vast stocks of hardware, furniture, chinaware, mill supplies, building supplies, paints, oils, farm implements and machinery in the state.
      Fritsch Bros. are of Sedro-Woolley's pioneer business men, and are far and favorably known as one of the progressive firms in the town and county. Their dealings with the public have always been based upon the fair rules of trade and friendship and they are subjects of universal confidence and esteem. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]

      728 Metcalf. Franz von Fritsch (Americanized to Frank) moved his family from Prussia to Germany, and then they emigrated to Texas in 1871, entering the country in New Orleans. They moved north to Whatcom County in 1882 and then later in the decade to Sauk City on the south shore of the Skagit River. They owned businesses there until the fire of 1889 and the floods of the early 1890s convinced them to move further down the valley. Father Frank started businesses in Burlington and in 1892 his sons Joe and Frank Jr. bought out the Herman Waltz hardware in old-Sedro by the river. At first they sold hardware and implements out of a store on Jameson Avenue in new Sedro, but then they moved to the present location in an unknown year. After a fire in 1897 they built a new woodframe store with a firewall between two parts to protect paint storage in case of fire. That woodframe building was destroyed in the 1911 fire and only the firewall survived. The new building referred to above is now the site of Johnson's Sedro-Woolley Floral & Gifts, Pizza Factory and the Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce, on the west side of the street. We are corresponding with Fritsch descendants and we will present a biography of the family in 2007.
      Next to Fritsch's on the north is the new Seidell building of brick, composing two handsome business rooms. One of those is the Vienna bakery and confectionery, conducted by A.B. Campbell & Son, and the other by the handsomely equipped tonsorial parlor, conducted by Marion B. Cox. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      708 Metcalf. This is the building north of the alley, on the west side of the 700 block of Metcalf, which housed the Castle Tavern for nearly 70 years until early 2005, when the business changed to Cues & Brews. Arthur C. Seidell was a civil war veteran who moved to Woolley in the 1890s to mill grain and by the time of the fire he and his sons were trading furs, probably in conjunction with barber Jack Ames. Back in 1905, Seidell erected the two-story building that originally housed the First National Bank [628 Metcalf]. That stood on the south half of the site of today's Hammer Heritage Square; it burned to the ground in December 1949. In the 1913 Polk directory, Campbell's bakery business was listed as bakers Carl Breivig and John Sandvig.
(Green Shingle)
This photo was taken by an unnamed photographer who stood in the intersection of Metcalf and Ferry streets, looking southwest, sometime between 1897 and 1911. The building on the left was F.A. Hegg's Grocery. On the right is the Union Mercantile, Sedro-Woolley's first department, which began as Green's Shingle Co. office in 1897. Both wooden buildings burned in the 1911 fire. Photo courtesy of Sue Swetman, a granddaughter of the company's founder, George Green.
      Next, and adjoining the Seidell building on the north and extending to Ferry Street is the splendid and commodious new brick store building of the Union Mercantile Co., covering a ground space of 80 by 120 feet along Metcalf and Ferry streets. The building in appointment is strictly modern in every respect, being heated by steam, and containing toilets, rest rooms and private office. In point of quantity and quality of stocks and details of finishing, arrangement of store furniture, and division into departments there is nothing of a like kind in Skagit County to compare with and none to excel the new habitation of the Union Mercantile Co., which became known as The Merc. Together with the W.C. Coddington Co., the Mercantile Co. has made Sedro-Woolley famous as the one place in Skagit County where any and everything in the lines of general merchandise may be obtained. Nowhere on the coast are the stocks of these firms greatly exceeded in quality and variety, and never in quality. Both firms deservedly enjoy enviable reputations for liberality and reliability. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
(The Merc store)
The new Merc, post fire. Note the streets are still not paved. The original caption points out: "Mrs. Herron's building at the rear on Ferry Street." That is the side of the building to the far right, which you can barely see across from the empty lot.
      702 Metcalf. The Union Mercantile department store — soon known as the Merc — was an outgrowth of Green Cedar Co., a partnership between George Green and his son-in-law Emerson Hammer. The Mercantile store opened on Jan. 10, 1903. Green and Hammer originally owned mercantile and mill businesses in Burlington but by the turn of the century they had moved most of their operation to old Woolley. They and other partners owned mill and mining operations at Sauk, Cokedale Junction, old Sedro and other locations. The Merc's articles of incorporation indicate that the new company included all those businesses. Green and Hammer led an amazing emigration of nearly 100 pioneers and their descendants from the town of Lincoln Center, Kansas, the town that Green founded in 1870 and whose "metropolitan area" had a population of not much over 100.
      While their new brick building was erected on the site of their burned buildings, the owners had a temporary building rolled onto the empty lot next to the Vendome Hotel, at the far western end of the block, and they shared it with Karl Rings the tailor until the new stone building was ready.
New buildings on Ferry Street, south side
      Adjoining the Union Mercantile's new occupied store at the rear (west) and fronting on Ferry Street is another new brick building belonging to the company. This building covers 40x80 feet of ground and when, shortly, it is completed, will be divided into two storerooms. Fronting on Ferry Street and adjoining the above building on the west, is the new brick building belonging to Mrs. Herron, containing two storerooms. One room in each of these buildings will soon be occupied, while there will be little difficulty in finding tenants for the other two. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      115 Ferry. That building is long gone, razed decades ago and replaced by an alley that continues through from Ferry to Woodworth. The new Ferry Street Garage opened at that site in 1917 and the 1952 Wells Directory lists the Washington State Liquor Store in the building.
      109 Ferry. The fire also leveled the building adjacent to the west and was replaced by the Anna Herron was a milliner and the wife of Frank Herron, who opened the Grand Rapid Furniture Co. in the 800 block of Metcalf Street in about 1900. Her husband died sometime in that decade and William Harvey Curry bought the furniture business after working as an employee there since 1901. Anna continued her business on Ferry Street across from the Osterman House/Gateway Hotel until the fire of July 1911 gutted her building. Then she moved to the 109 building.
      Mrs. Herron rented one of her storerooms to Linstrom and Jebens, tailors. Greer Drummond, who owns the present Valley Hardware store at 819 Metcalf, recalls the tailors making alterations to clothes when he worked at the J.C. Penney store in the 1930s. Her building later housed the Four Aces Tavern (now The Overflow Bar) and Burmaster's Shoe Repair. Before the fire, Ad Davidson's bowling alley was on the site. By 1913, John C. Ebbeson owned the bowling alley.

New buildings on Metcalf Street, East Side
      On the east side of Metcalf Street, [facing] the Union Mercantile and Seidell buildings and siding east along Ferry Street is the new brick Swastika Block, erected by Bingham & Holland, on the site of the burned Donnelly Block. This building fronts 100 feet on Metcalf Street and extends east 70 feet. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
(Swastika Building)
This was the Swastika building, a new brick building erected on the site of David Donnelly's former woodframe building that housed his harness business before the fire. If you have ever noticed the white squares along the top quarter of the present building at the southeast corner of Metcalf and Ferry streets, those contained the swastika that you can barely see in this photo. The Swastika was an Indian good-luck symbol. In a 1992 interview, I asked Bob Parker, who owned the Parker's Dependable grocery there during World War II, if he painted over the symbols. He said that people knew he was a patriot and he didn't have to prove it by painting over the swastikas. We hope a reader knows when they were finally covered. Although some look at the building today and think that it is in two parts, they are apparently mistaken. The caption for the photo states: "Swastika Block, built by Bingham & Holland and Commissioner W.J. Thompson on the site of the old Donnelly and Nye buildings."
      That building is now empty at the end of 2006. The first tenants in 1912 included, from the northern end to the south:
      701 Metcalf. 2006: Norm Strode's barbershop. 1911-2: Joe Mott's Drugstore. J.F. Mott & Co. illustrated the rapid response to the fire. Joe and Paul Rhodius came to Sedro-Woolley from St. Louis in 1900. Joe ran another drugstore with his father in Seattle. Rhodius managed the store in Sedro-Woolley. The July 27 Times article noted that they suffered a "loss of $5,000, insurance of $3,500." Within hours after the fire, they set up business with what stock they saved at the Opera House, two blocks south on State Street. They announced that they would move a vacant building on log rollers to a location south of the alley on the eastern side of Metcalf. The August 10 issue noted the temporary move: "J.F. Mott Co., ready for business two doors south of our old stand." According to this quoted article in the Dec. 14, 1911, Times, they were already in the new store.

Mott Drug Company moving
      The Mott Drug Co. are beginning to move stock into their new store room in the Swastika Building. Certainly they have one of the more elaborately outfitted rooms to be found anywhere in this section. All the interior, or "fixture" wood and glass work has been finished and done by the Shrewsbury Manufacturing Co. of this city, and is not only a credit to the firm but to the town. But the $1,175 soda fountain being installed is a feature worthy of a metropolis, and would be an attractive ornament to any store anywhere. it might be described but a look at it will be far more appreciable, and the store will open in a few days and the Christmas stock on display, everybody had better go in and admire the fountain themselves. [Dec. 14, 1911, Skagit County Times]
      701 Metcalf. A photo of that spectacular soda fountain has never surfaced. We hope that a reader will have one in their collection. Surely a postcard was published. In an article in the Jan. 8, 1914, Times, the reporter announced that Rhodius had left Mott and bought out the old Douglass Drug Store a half-block north, after F.A. Douglass retired. The Mott store ran into some financial difficulties and Joe Mott sold out in June 1915 to Milton Moeser and George Shearer, who called their business the Moeser-Shearer Drug Co. Rhodius moved into the old Mott location in 1920 and opened Paul's Corner Drug Store. He sold it in September 1922 and opened a nursery business at 401 Reed Avenue, which later became the Sedro-Woolley Greenhouse, owned by Harry Moritz. In 1933, Rhodius became the Sedro-Woolley postmaster.
      Moeser and Shearer also opened a branch in Clearlake in 1915. In October 1921, Moeser sold the Clearlake store to J.R. Leeper and F.H. Adams and sold the Sedro-Woolley store to E.A. King and Max Grieff, who renamed it Rex Drug Co. In late 1923, Rex Drug became one of the anchor tenants in the new IOOF Building at the southeast corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets. In 1945, Rex Drug hired a new manager, Carl Buhler, a war vet, and he became sole owner in 1956. He renamed the store, Buhler's Rexall Drug, and remained in business at that location until 1974. Sometime after his sale, Joe Mott moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he operated a drug store. He died in Phoenix in April 1928.

      705 Metcalf: 2006: vacant, most recently a canned-foods store, prior to that a sporting goods shop for 30 years. Before the fire the building also included tenants Earl Dennison, a barber, and A.J. Cramer, a jeweler, and D.A. Muirhead had a dime store in the two-story woodframe building, which was originally built by David M. Donnelly for his butcher and harness business and covered the lots for 701 and 705. Len Livermore and Dale Tresner managed the harness business for him. When Donnelly sold the lots to Bingham and Holland, Livermore and Tresner moved the harness shop to 815 Metcalf and in 1915, Livermore built the Ford Garage at that new site.
      After the fire, the main storerooms at 705 were taken over by J.A. "Jack" Dahl and Carlos Cox, who combined two rooms in the southern half and started a pool hall that was still listed in the 1913 Polk Directory. By 1915, Coddington's dry goods store was the tenant and he sold out to O.D. Thygeson in 1917. William C. Coddington was a New York native. According to the same directory, his dry-goods store was located on "Metcalf near State" in 1913. In a 1908 advertisement, he had a partner named McGowan, who apparently left before 1911. Sometime before the First National Bank Robbery in October 1914, Coddington moved his store into the Swastika Building. Back to the original Dec. 27, 1911, story:

      Immediately adjoining the Swastika on its south side and fronting on Metcalf is the new building of brick, owned by W.J. Thompson, occupying the lot formerly owned by Charles Nye. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      707 Metcalf. 2006: that site is vacant, most recently a steakhouse after a series of restaurants. In the Teen years and the 1920s it housed the Swastika cafe (later renamed The Met or Metcalf Cafe) and Shrewsbury's Hardware, and then Earl "Fuzz" Hegg's Fuzzy Wuzzy Grocery among other owners. Then from 1929 until the late 1990s it was the home of the Liberty Cafe, with Fred Bryant's barber shop in the cubbyhole on the corner north of the alley (709 Metcalf). George Bellos Sr. moved from Everett in 1929 and established the Liberty. After World War II and the 1947 Washington election that legalized serving "liquor by the drink," he expanded into the southern half of the building and opened the Bell Room, a longtime fixture on Metcalf Street.
      The fire likely had a tobacco smell to it because Del Hayes's Plantio Cigar factory was originally located at 707 Metcalf. According to the 1913 Polk Directory, Hayes reopened in another unnamed location on "Metcalf Street near Woodworth."

      At the rear of the Swastika Building and fronting on Ferry Street is the reconstituted brick building belonging to Bingham & Holland. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      207 Ferry. 2006: vacant. This building on two lots was also completely gutted by the fire of July 1911. Before the fire, it was occupied by a tailor, Karl Rings, and milliner J.E. Bobbitt, who presumably moved back into the new building. By the 1920s, it housed the Townshend Club Hall. Attorney Howard Seabury had his office at 211 Ferry and he rebuilt before moving to Bellingham. In the mid-1930s the West Coast Telephone Company erected the brick building that still stands further to the east and is now numbered 209.
      The back [eastern] end of the Swastika Building, in between the Metcalf-front storerooms and the tailor shop, was remodeled in the 1940s to become the depot for the Affleck Bros. Stage/Bus Company. Later, in the early 1970s, it became the repair shop for boat motors for the sporting goods store at 705 Metcalf.

      Then to the south, in the same block, comes the Condy and Clark buildings, reconstructed after the fire, and adjoining them the new brick building belonging to and occupied by A.D. Bauer. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]

Earlier article Aug. 3, 1911
      The brick walls of the Condy and Clark buildings came through the fire without injury that in any way interfered with their immediate repair, and Frank Wilmarth, with a force of men, is busy restoring them to their condition previous to the fire. It is expected that Mr. Condy and the Courier printing office will again be installed in the brick in about forty-five days. The Courier has arranged to print in Anacortes until its room in the Condy building is ready. The proprietor, Mr. Owen, has quarters in the room with Turney, the jeweler in the Seidell building [628 Metcalf].
(Condy Building)
The new Condy Bauer and Clark building on the east side of the 700 block. Note that the Star Grocery had not yet been erected on the corner.
      711 Metcalf: In 2006 these buildings south of the alley, on the east side of the 700 block of Metcalf Street, are all part of the Cascadian Farm/Small Planet Earth complex. Horace Condy, who was born in Ontario, came to Washington from Kentucky in 1899 and moved to Washington in 1900. He set up a small jewelry repair shop in the original Mott Drug Store, located where the Seidell building was located at Hammer Heritage Square. He bought a stately street-clock in those early years and when he erected his brick building at 711 in 1906, he moved the clock there, where it still stands today. Condy was described in the 1913 Polk Directory as a jeweler. He soon became one of the leading occulists (anyone who then treated diseases of the eyes; now an ophthalmologist must qualify as a physician) in Washington State, added a large section for 78-rpm records and sheet music and then expanded with musical instruments. In an earlier incarnation, before the fire, the back room of his building was the birthplace of the Skagit County Courier newspaper in 1901. The entrance was on the alley. After the structure was rebuilt, the newspaper returned and stayed in that location until 1919, when the Courier moved to the present Courier-Times building at 811 Metcalf. A year later, Frank Evans bought it and merged it with the Skagit County Times.
      713 Metcalf: was erected for George R. Clark, the haberdasher. 715 Metcalf was the home of Adolph Bauer Shoes. 729 Metcalf was soon occupied by Theodore Bergman's Star Grocery. Bergman had owned a grocery store across Metcalf, just south of the alley, in a wooden building that quickly burned in the fire. That building also burned and Dentist Joseph S. Baldridge replaced it in 1914 with the two-story brick building that still stands there; it opened on March 20, 1912. Art Nelson, Bergman's clerk, left after the fire and opened the Standard grocery with his father, N. Peter Nelson. Bergman started the first Sanitary Market in northwestern Washington, replacing cracker barrels with display tables and introducing extensive refrigeration. Before the fire, that was the site of Mr. Levy's Red Front clothing store, also located in a woodframe building that completely burned. P.A. Woolley owned those corner lots, but after his death in 1912, the family sold the lots and the new building to Charles Nye, the confectioner whose building at 709 Metcalf Street was destroyed in the fire. He became the agent for the Pacific Northwest Traction Co. and the Interurban. After Bergman's store failed in the early Depression years, that store was owned by a succession of hardware stores, the final one being the Coast-to-Coast store. Gene Kahn's Cascadian Farm totally remodeled the building in 1993 and established their world headquarters there.

New buildings outside of downtown
      The new livery barn constructed by Frank J. Hoehn at the [northeast] corner of Ferry and Murdock streets is, perhaps, the largest, most commodious and conveniently appointed institution of the kind in the county. Its equipment is first class and covers a ground space of 90 by 114 feet. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      215 Ferry. Frank J. Hoehn was a pioneer who arrived in old Sedro in 1889 and soon brought the first teams of horses over the North Cascades from Yakima. His original livery stable was on the lots across Ferry from the Gateway Hotel that are still vacant. Built completely of wood and filled with hay and flammable materials, the two-story building went up like a torch. Nothing was ever rebuilt on the site, but the American Legion did consider erecting a building there in 1946 after vets returning from World War II wanted to expand. Hoehn continued business at the Skagit Commission site while a new two-story livery was built for him at the northeast corner of Murdock and Ferry, where the Skagit State Bank stands today. Many have asked why Hoehn did not rebuild on that site.
      219 Ferry. Next door, and just west of the present alley, George Ratchford's blacksmith shop also burned in the fire. He apparently also moved to Hoehn's new location. East of his shop was the James Gray home, on the southwest corner of Ferry and Murdock, which also survived the fire. To the south, across the alley and on the corner, were vacant lots owned by the Woolley estate, on the northwest corner of Murdock and Woodworth. That is where the old city hall was built in 1930. To the west, on the northern side of Woodworth Street (220), Ewestern Reno's bicycle shop and home also survived the fire. The Woolley mansion stood across Woodworth Street to the south and it survived the fire. Woolley's orchard was at the southeastern corner of Ferry and Woodworth. That was the site of the original post office for Woolley, located in a woodframe stationery store on the corner of the orchard. We hope that a reader has photos of that and other street scenes from the Woolley period before the fire.

      The establishment of extensive lumber and wood yards by the Clear Lake Lumber Co. are among the city's gains in new industries during the year. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      That lumber yard was at the northeast corner of Eastern and State streets, east of the Northern Pacific tracks. More than 20 years later, that was the site of Massar Lumber Co., which burned in 1938, shortly after being sold to Tim Devener. That is today the site of Marketplace Foods.
      The Skagit Commission Co. has added to its always-extensive plant a milling structure and complete equipment. The new building covers a ground space of 28x48 feet and reaches a total height of 54 feet. With its new milling equipment its daily output can be 20 tons of cracked corn, 12 tons of rolled oats, 15 tons of chop, 8 tons of ground oats or barley. It also is fitted out with fans for cleaning all kinds of grain. All this machinery can be operated to its full capacity, and prompt service is among the firm's main objects. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911] [100 block, West Ferry]
      Skagit Commission began in 1900 as a partnership between Norris Ormsby and James Holbrook. Ormsby came to Sedro-Woolley in 1890 by wagon train from Kansas with druggist Frank A. Douglass, and he became the first temporary mayor of Woolley at the incorporation election that fall. He started a drayage and transfer business that benefited from the three railroads crossing near Woolley's mill. James Holbrook came to town in 1899 to work for his brother, Merritt L. Holbrook, who was a partner with Charles E. Bingham in the bank. He soon married Norris's sister, Hallie, who was the first telephone operator in town, and he and Ormsby formed Skagit Commission to distribute hay grain, ice and Rainier beer. Eddie Carr, one of the first graduates of the high school and a son of the Keystone Hotel partner, bought the business in 1906. He soon sold it to Marcellus Bruce Holbrook, James's nephew, who arrived here in 1906. His partner was John H. Gould, but by the time of the fire, Gould had moved on to the Sedro-Woolley Hardware Co.
      By that time, the business covered what is now the car lot beside North Cascade Ford. The Cory sawmill was to the north, where P.A. Woolley's mill was originally located. The granary, probably instituted by Arthur C. Seidell, was just west of the Northern Pacific depot, which faced Eastern Avenue. Parts of the business had been sold off. Carr sold the drayage/transfer division in 1907 to the partnership of Beck & Ross, retired NP Railway employees and they soon sold out to William Bouck, one of Sedro-Woolley's most fascinating characters. Ben Murphy bought the bottling business and the Rainier distributorship in an unknown year; it was not listed in the 1913 directory.

      The Sedro Veneer Plant, always up-to-date in equipment for everything in its line of wood products, has, during the past year, installed machinery for the manufacture of Douglas fir and Cottonwood panels. The new machinery is the very latest in improvement and the best of its line in the Northwest. It consists of a 96-inch Francis hydraulic press, 49-inch Berlin triple-drum sander and necessary tables, blue corkers, spreaders, etc. This new department, added to its various others, aggregates an enormous output of the finished and raw material. Its business has so increased as to necessitate the immediate construction of six additional stock sheds. It has just completed dredging a new pond for the reception of logs, which [are] being constantly received by rail. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
(Vienna bakery)
This beautiful photo of the Vienna Bakery dates from 1912. The date on the back indicates it was taken circa 1912. This would have been the southern half of what is now the Cues and Brews bar, once the Castle. We infer from various sources that the Castle tavern took its name from the bakery once being called the Vienna Castle. We have a mea culpa: we have mislaid the original correspondence with this photo and we cannot recall who submitted it. We hope that the person will read this article and contact us. We also hope a reader knows about the Lillpop family, pioneers here from the 1890s; the girl in the photo is apparently a Lillpop
      This mill business began soon after the turn of the 20th century as an excelsior plant, which processed cottonwood trees into shavings that were used for packing material in shipping boxes. It burned to the ground in 1924, was rebuilt, burned again in 1926 and soon was rebuilt as the Royse-Hankin sawmill. We hope that a descendant of the one of the families who owned the company or worked there will share details with and copies of photos with us.
      Within the past few months, the city has expanded $48,000 for a trunk sewer. Aside from this, several thousands of dollars more are being expended for laterals upon which work is progressing. The cost of the completed system will be between eighty and ninety thousand dollars.
      A new ice plant of modern pattern and equipment is now in course of construction. The county's new steel bridge just south of the city will virtually be completed by Jan. 1 at a cost of between $56-57,000. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]

      Albert G. Mosier engineered the sewer and the first lines were installed in 1913 on both Metcalf and Third streets and the stretch of State street in between them. David M. Donnelly, a local developer and farmer who would later be postmaster, opened the Sedro Ice Co. plant in 1908 and by 1913, Wamac Ice Co. had bought it. In 1913, Wamac was located on the east side of the Northern Pacific railroad tracks where the espresso/film kiosk and Wood's Logging are located in 2006. The Steel bridge crossed the Skagit at the foot of Third Street. It opened with great fanfare on Jan. 27, 1912, and was originally named the Thompson Bridge in honor of William J. Thompson, who was mayor at the time. Three days later, the Livermore Apartments opened, the building that still stands at the northwestern corner of State and Metcalf streets. Eight months later, on Sept. 5, 1912, the Interurban rail trolley opened between Sedro-Woolley and Burlington, with connections to Mount Vernon on the south and Bellingham on the north
      Work progresses steadily upon buildings and ground improvements at the State's asylum for the harmless instance, situated just east of the city. During the year, thousands of dollars have been expended upon that institution and the work is just beginning. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]
      That was the birth of Northern State Hospital, which began construction in 1910 and opened in May 1912, four miles northeast of downtown Woolley.
      The milling and woods industries adjacent to the city have been more than usually active during the year, and a vast deal of land clearing and farm improvement work in the immediately surrounding country has been accomplished.
      In spite of the disastrous fire that occurred, the general trade of the town has steadily increased. All things considered, Sedro-Woolley has fared well during the year 1911, and there are no dark spots in sight as we look ahead. [Times, Dec. 27, 1911]

Dec. 21, 1911, Skagit County Times
(Swastika brand)
Skagit Commission Company
Swastika brand good — rolled oats, ground oats, cracked wheat, cracked corn, corn meal feed We do grinding and rolling

Clear Lake Lumber Co.
Lath, shingles, mouldings, sash and doors, Woodinville brick, Denny-Renton pressed brick, Orcas lime, Planer end and mill wood.
Phones: Independent 543, Sunset 37-J

D. Dalton, Contractor and builder.
Estimates furnished upon construction work of any class

Arthur F. Baker, licensed embalmer and funeral director.
Day and Night Service. Embalming for shipment and specialty. Third Street.

(Heath Auto)
This is a most puzzling ad. We find no such company listed in the 1913 Polk Directory. But the ad also answers for us who in Woolley sold the Winton Six, one of the most expensive autos of the town, which Dr. Menzo B. Mattice bought in 1909 to impress his clients.
Mrs. Doherty's Novelty Shop
20 percent off on all ladies' suits, skirts and silk waists. We have a big stock of women's and children's goods that would make excellent Christmas presents. We are going to give a premium of a fine doll to some one before Christmas. Ask us about this Big Doll.
Charlotte Doherty genealogy
      Charlotte A. Doherty was the widow of William Doherty, an early owner of the Keystone Hotel. Located on the south side of Northern Avenue — where the back of the Ace Hardware stands today, the Keystone may have been the earliest hotel in P.A. Woolley's company town. It soon became a den of iniquity and by the turn of the century, it became the symbol of deviltry during a mayoral election. See Issue 37 for the story. Charlotte sold the hotel after her husband's death and opened this ladies shop on Metcalf, probably in the Schneider building, which was a woodframe building where the old bowling alley stands today. The tax records show that she had a tidy asset that would see her through her days of widowhood.
      Her husband died at age 44 on Sept. 10, 1903. He was born in Nova Scotia in 1859 and they married in 1893, presumably in old Woolley. Charlotte has a most fascinating lineage. Records from that era are very spotty but here is what we have found. From material in her birth record, we think that she was first married to Edward C. Carr, who sold the hotel to William Doherty. Her son was Edward Carter Carr, who owned the Skagit Commission Co. at a very young age, among other businesses. Apparently she and Carr divorced because we found subsequent children of Carr, born to his second wife. Charlotte's last child with Carr, Charlotte, was born on March 26, 1898, and married millman John F. Cory. Her elder daughter with Carr was Catherine, who was born April 11, 1886, and married bartender Harry E. Mullen. Her son, William B. Doherty, served in World War I. Charlotte was the daughter of Edward McGarigle, apparently the namesake of the road north of Hwy 20. We hope a reader will know more about the McGarigle, Carr and Mullen families.

Union Mercantile Co.
      Last Call. Just two more buying days left till Christmas
      It is now too late to make up gifts yourself but still time left in which to buy gifts that require no work on your part. We have a goodly lot of Christmas novelties, both useful and practical, that are bound to please any member of the family or of your friends. Then, too, we have marked them so they are within the reach of every pocketbook.
      For the Ladies. "Dear to the Hearts" of all ladies are dainty dress accessories such as jabots, lace collars, side frills, beads, brooches, buckles, belt pins, back combs, barrettes, etc. She also likes pretty dishes, vases, etc. We have all of these and the prices are very attractive as well as the goods. Look at this line before deciding on a gift for her

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