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Skagit River Journal

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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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Odds and Ends, Sedro-Woolley, Chapter 1

This is a photo of the original FOE Eagles officers from an undated issue of the Courier-Times close to 1900. See the Eagles story below.

      This is the first in our series of five collections of old newspapers clippings about people and businesses of Sedro-Woolley throughout its first hundred years. Our impetus at this time is the research of county newspapers by Larry and Josef Kunzler and their loan of clippings to us. And we can now add photo scans quickly, due to the kindness and generosity of Dan and Maureen Royal. Other clippings, stories and photos came from former Sedro-Woolley residents, Pat Hegg Brown and Berniece Hoyt Leaf and from our own painstaking research of microfilm and copies of old newspapers.
      These stories are short and to the point and may be expanded in the future as we do more research. We also hope that readers will share family memories and copies of documents and photos that will supplement the basic stories or explain more about the individuals who are mentioned. We apologize for the condition of the photos. Many are from Xeroxed copies of the original newspaper and the Union Mercantile photo is from an original whose silver nitrate has almost disintegrated.
      In future issues, we will add more stories about the Sedro-Woolley area and also feature the upriver district, western Skagit County, LaConner, Mount Vernon, Samish Island north through Whatcom County, and short stories about neighboring counties and all over Washington state. We want to remind you that we very much enjoy copies of stories from any old newspapers, especially those before 1910, including but not only the early Mount Vernon newspapers; the Skagit County Times, Skagit County Courier and Sedro Press of Sedro-Woolley; the Edison Phonograph; the Puget Sound Mail and its "Pioneer editions" of the 1940s-70s, and various early, short-lived newspapers of the upriver boom days.. Many of those papers have burned up in various fires and those stories have not been seen by anyone for decades.

Governor Henry McBride recalls early days
in LaConner and old Sedro,
along with a short biography

Unknown newspaper, undated 1936
      Ex-Governor Henry McBride, a former Skagit County resident, is shown above with his collies as he appeared on his 80th birthday. During an interview, he recalled campaigning back in 1884. He said:
      "I was a member o the Republican central committee back in 1884. LaConner, where I lived, and Mount Vernon were fighting over the location of the county seat of Skagit County. Both of them wanted it, and it came up for an election.
      "I heard that about a hundred persons in Sedro-Woolley, who hadn't been in the district long enough to vote, were going to vote anyhow — for Mount Vernon. So I saddled up a horse and rode over on Election Day and challenged their votes. They didn't vote.
      "But when the polls closed and I went outside to ride home, my horse was gone. His saddle and bridle were on the steps outside the door. There was nothing for me to do but pick them up and walk ten miles to Mount Vernon and get another horse.
      "I served as judge of the superior court for Whatcom and Island counties from 1890 to 1895 and by that time, the bicycle had come in and I used to pedal from town to town on a bicycle when I campaigned. I used to recess court at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and ride 50 miles before dinner. Dr. F.B. West and I used to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning, ride out to a stream, catch a basket of trout and get back in time to open court.
      "I was defeated when I ran for judge in 1896 'Bryanism' swept everything before it, just like the New Deal did. But I was elected lieutenant governor in 1900 again. The pendulum swings back."
      Mr. McBride became governor in 1901 at the death of Governor [John R.] Rogers. After his term expired he entered the lumber business in Snohomish County. He has lived in virtual retirement for the last nine years. The above picture appears through courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Short biography based on Journal editor's research
(Henry McBride)
Henry McBride and his canine friends, 1936

      Henry McBride was born in Farmington, Utah, on Feb. 7, 1856, and after earning degrees from Hobart College in New York and Trinity College in Connecticut, he moved to California for two years and then moved to Washington Territory in 1882. He taught school for two years at Oak Harbor, operated the telegraph office there and studied law in his spare time. He was admitted to the bar in LaConner in the spring of 1884, soon after Skagit County split off from Whatcom County.
      After he was elected Skagit County prosecuting attorney in 1888, in 1890 he joined a law firm based in Seattle that became known as McBride Preston Carr & Preston. He staffed the Mount Vernon office and decades later the firm evolved into Preston Gates, a Washington partnership that exerted considerable political influence in Washington, D.C. Besides practicing law and acting as judge, McBride published two newspapers, one upriver and one in LaConner.
      After he helped reenergize the Republican Party statewide in 1898, Gov. John R. Rogers tapped him as lieutenant governor in 1900. Rogers died the day after Christmas, 1901, and McBride assumed the office of governor, the first man in that office, who was born in the West. By the time he campaigned for reelection in 1904, he had become the leader of the railroad forces and a campaign against the railroads endangered chances for victory. Republicans east of the Cascades galvanized around another Republican candidate, John D. Atkinson. The state Republican convention refused to back McBride and chose instead to nominate Albert E. Mead for governor. That 1904 convention was the last one in the state that nominated officers in the days before primaries. Mead won in the general election.
      McBride died in Seattle in 1937, a year after the photograph with this story was taken. We discovered the newspaper story above when we read the research papers compiled from 1936-38 for the WPA project books, As told by the Pioneers, volumes 1-3.

Margaret Hammer named
Cinderella Queen at U. of W.
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, March 14, 1940
(Margaret Hammer)
      Fifteen hundred people walked out of Meany Hall at the University of Washington one night last week murmuring about a demure sophomore blonde from Sedro-Woolley named Margaret "Marnie" Hammer. Miss Hammer had just been selected as the campus "Cinderella Girl" after nearly a half-hour of shoe-fitting in typical fairy-tale style among sixteen previously selected campus beauties.
      Margaret Hammer's selection as Campus Cinderella Girl Wednesday night automatically made her the University of Washington's representative in a nationwide contest for the All-American College Queen being conducted jointly by Movie and Radio Guide magazine and Paramount Pictures.
      Twelve national winners in the All-American College Queen competition will be given a free trip to Hollywood, all expenses and entertainment provided for. They will meet and associate with stars and be given screen tests with every chance to make good in pictures.
      Mrs. Hammer's laughing eyes, wispy brown hair and infectious smile will be featured on a special page of Tyee campus yearbook, according to editor Wally Reid. Miss Hammer, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Hammer of this city, a freshman at the University of Washington, is a member of Chi Omega.
      Ed. note: The caption for her photo noted that she was one of seven girls with a size triple-A shoe. We researched to discover who won the nationwide competition that year. It was Mary Lou Ballard Moore from West Virginia University, who was also selected the first homecoming queen at the school that year. Margaret was a descendant of the famous pioneer families, the Hammers and Greens, who came to Skagit County from Lincoln Center, Kansas, in the 18890s. You can read more about them at this Journal website:

Two 40-pound cakes ordered from bakery
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, January 12, 1928
      Orders have been taken this week by the Leeman Bakery for two large cakes, one for the Union Mercantile to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary and the other for the Castrilli-Pizzuto wedding dinner. The Union Mercantile cake will be twelve layers high, or about fourteen inches high and about sixteen inches in diameter at the base, while the Castrilli cake will be fifteen layers high or about sixteen inches, and about fourteen inches at the base.
      According to Russell Leeman, chief baker, the cakes will each use about five dozen eggs, ten pounds of sugar, three pounds of butter, twelve pounds of flour, four quarts of milk, fifteen pounds of icing, and weigh about forty pounds apiece. The Castrilli cake will also be topped by an emblem of good luck, and the Union Mercantile cake will have 25 candles.
      Ed. note: Pasquale Castrilli, son of Louis Castrilli — of the Hamilton and Sedro-Woolley cheese company married Frances Pizzuto of the Pizzuto family of the Prairie district. Lois Pinelli Theodoratus, who has researched these families that emigrated to Hamilton, explains that they all came from Castelpizzuto, the neighboring commune (village or hamlet) to the Roccamandolfi/Isernia district area of Italy. The Leeman bakery was located at that time, during nationwide Prohibition, in the building on the west side of Metcalf Street, just north of the alley, which later housed the Castle Tavern for 70 years and now houses the Cues and Brews lounge. In 1940 the bakery moved a block south to the present location of Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery.

(Union Mercantile)
      This photo, courtesy of pioneer descendants Joyce Bergman Rickman and Berniece Leaf, shows the historic Union Mercantile building in downtown Woolley. The woodframe structure was erected in 1897 and the company was named in honor of the merger of the two towns in December 1898. The "Merc," as it was usually called, was originally housed in this building on the southwest corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets, which was the heart of downtown Woolley, P.A. Woolley's original company town. The business began as Green Shingle Co., founded by George Green, a native of Kansas. The building to the right is Charles Villeneuve's Hotel Royal. The building to the left is F.A. Hegg's grocery. The Merc and the grocery operated jointly when the partners launched the Merc in January 1903.

Union Mercantile in business for 25 years
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, January 12, 1928
      The Union Mercantile Co. will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary of existence with a big sale, starting on Saturday of this week, January 14, and lasting for one week. Every one entering the Union Mercantile Co. store on Saturday of this week will be served free with coffee and cake.
      Twenty-five years ago, January 10, 1903, as told in the Courier of that date, the Union Mercantile Co. was formed, replacing the old Green Shingle Co. The Union Mercantile was capitalized at $50,000 with four men holding equal shares, W.W. Caskey, A.W. Davison, F.A. Hegg and Emerson Hammer. The store was located at the same place as the present building [at the southwest corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets.]

Thousands of Eagles coming
here Sunday for convention
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Oct. 22, 1925
(IOOF hall)
      We found this photograph years ago in the Oct. 11, 1923, issue of the Courier-Times when we studied the economic boom of Sedro-Woolley in 1923. That issue featured new buildings downtown and new houses in the hot new residential district of Talcott Street. Located at the southeast corner of Woodworth and Metcalf streets, the brick building was built to house the Rex Drug Co. and Skaggs Grocery on the ground floor and the club buildings of the IOOF on the upper floor. Today, the only remnant of the Odd Fellows is a beautiful mural on the inner south wall.
      The Odd Fellows was chartered in old Woolley in the early 1890s and their building was located on Murdock Street. Sometime in the 1930s, the Eagles Aerie moved from Metcalf Street to the old Odd Fellows Hall. That hall burned to the ground in 1949. The Eagles soon rebuilt and in 1953 they connected their building to the American Legion building to the north with a common brick front. In the late 1990s the Eagles opened a new meeting room and private club at the southwest corner of Warner and Metcalf streets and in December 2001 the American Legion opened their new private club in the former Eagles hall.

      Some 2,000 members of the Eagles lodge will be in Sedro-Woolley, Sunday, October 25, at a special meeting to greet John S. Party, grand worthy secretary of the lodge in the United States. A large class of candidates will be initiated by a team consisting of the past worthy presidents of the Ballard and Everett aeries.
      The meeting will be held in the new Odd Fellows hall, for as many of the visitors as the room can accommodate. At 10:30 there will be a business meeting and preparation of candidates. At 1 p.m. will be the grand Eagles parade, which will include several hundred eagles and three or four bands. The parade will march east on Ferry Street to Township, south on Township to State Street, west on State to Metcalf, north on Metcalf to Northern Avenue, west on Northern to the Northern Pacific tracks and south on Eastern Avenue to State Street, and on down to Metcalf. "Dutch" Miller, captain of the local drill team, is marshal in charge of the parade.
      Lodges numbering several thousand members will be represented at this big conclave of Eagles to greet their national officer. Among the aeries which are sending big delegations are the following: Ballard, Renton, Everett, Snohomish, Anacortes, Concrete, Bellingham, Blaine, New Westminster, Victoria, Vancouver and several others. The Bellingham and Ballard drum corps will be here, in addition to the Sedro-Woolley Eagles band.
      Following the parade there will be a meeting of secretaries, which will be followed at 2:30 by the initiation of the class of candidates. At 4 p.m. there will be a public meeting addressed by Mayor Wyman Kirby, W.E. Berry and other local men, and John S. Parry, the Eagles national secretary.
      Sunday evening will be spent in dancing at the Darrell and Billy Boy pavilion at West Big Lake. The visiting ladies will have headquarters in the Commercial Club rooms during the day. E.W. Bigelow, head of the local aerie and also state president of the order, has made elaborate preparation to handle the big crowd, and expects this to be the largest meeting Sedro-Woolley ahs ever had.
      Ed. note: We especially thank the Kunzlers for this clipping because it addresses a subject about which we have been curious for 13 years. The Eagles Lodge, which began in Seattle in 1898, granted a charter to Sedro-Woolley sometime around the turn of the 20th century. But then the charter apparently expired because a new charter was granted in 1923. We have sought clarification of this from the national lodge and we hope a reader will have a family member about this mystery. The meeting place was the nearly new IOOF/Odd Fellows hall at the southeast corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets, which — until about 1922, had been the site of the fruit orchard of Woolley's town founder, P.A. Woolley, whose mansion stood east, facing Woodworth. That building now houses a video store and the Odd Fellows hall upstairs sits empty because the building has no fire escape. The IOOF lodge disbanded here in the early 1990s. At the time of this story, the Eagles met in the building opposite the Gateway Hotel block that most recently housed the Bowling Alley (see below).

Work starts on Burlington Road
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, November 9, 1939
      A crew of men is now at work spreading gravel on the dirt road between Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, in preparation for the new oiled paving job to be started this spring. County Commissioner Hugo Bauman said today that the grade would be raised approximately ten inches, at a cost of several thousand dollars and that two rollers would be kept busy all winter on the road, to have it in readiness for work this spring. Barman plans to make this the best stretch of road in Skagit County, he said today. The commissioners plan to ask the state highway department for federal bureau funds to improve the Skagit highway into Newhalem.
      Ed. note: We again thank the Kunzlers for finding this tiny clipping because it dovetails with our discovery this year of the year when this road — roughly the same route as today's Hwy 20, began: 1932. We know this because of the memoir of the late Lloyd D. Palmer, whose father's trucking company was hired to prepare the roadway for what was originally a dirty and gravel road, which old-timers tell us was a mass of mud for six to eight months of the year. See this Journal website, which includes the story of the original road grading.

Plan new road on South Bank
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 18, 1939
      Immediate construction of two and a half miles of new road from the present end of the Day Creek Road, east to a point opposite Hamilton, is promised by County Commissioner Hugo Bauman. In addition to this road, another stretch of some two miles of road from the Otto Pressentin place across the river from Grassmere [west Concrete] to the Charles Pressentin place, will be built.
      The Day Creek Road extension will run to a site suitable for either a bridge or ferry, Bauman stated today. He intimated that the old-Skagit bridge, which Concrete wants for Faber, and this part of the valley wants for Hamilton, may not go to either place. Both groups claim that they have been promised the bridge.
      The oiled surfacing of the road between Sedro-Woolley and Burlington, in Bauman's district, at an estimated cost of $8,000, will cost instead some $12,500, he said today, owing to the required raising of the grade of the road, as specified by the State highway engineers. This increase will probably make it impossible to finish the road this summer, as he had planned, Bauman said. However, he believes it will fix the worst of the road, and the work will be started soon.
      Ed. note: This is another of the small clippings that answered another question. We have been studying the South Skagit Highway with Clearlake historian Deanna Ammons for many years. We know that the first very crude wagon road was commissioned by Whatcom County in late 1883 and then actually completed by Skagit County over the next five years. But we never knew exactly when the newer version of the road was launched. We assume that the two stretches above were at least graveled. The paved road south of the Skagit, however, was not laid out until 1958.

Mayor visits new Ferry Street Service Station
(Gillmore station)
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 18, 1939
      Mayor Gus Gilbertson (right in photo) and [Sedro-Woolley Police] Officer Bert Woodruff visited Greenstreet and Gribble's new station last week to have their tank filled with Gillmore Red Lion gasoline and congratulate these independent dealers on the official opening of this splendid new plant on Eastern and Ferry, which takes place Saturday. From left to right in this photo, Woodruff; George Chandler, Gilmore distributor, Oscar Greenstreet and Mayor Gus Gilbertson.
      Ed. note: That is the same service station that now stands forlorn and empty at the southeast corner of Ferry Street and Eastern Avenue, after closing in 2004 when leaks were discovered in the underground gas tanks. That was originally the site of Charles Villeneuve's Hotel Royal, which he erected in 1896, a block from the railroad depot. He sold it to Frank Bergeron of Clearlake in 1903, who renamed it the Vendome, and the hotel burned to the ground in a 1927 fire. We do not know if the site was occupied in the 12-year interim. Old-timers will remember the station as owned by Cargill and Lisherness in the 1940s and '50s. If you are younger, you will never believe this, but we paid 30 cents per gallon for gas and an attendant washed your windows and checked your oil and tire pressure while your tank was filling. Honest.

Tarheel picnic to be held here soon
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 18, 1939
      The annual Tarheel picnic will be held at Bingham Park in Sedro-Woolley on Sunday, May 28, and several hundred natives of good old North Carolina and their families are expected to attend. This gathering will be in addition to the outing held every year in Seattle. Avery Stiles, who is assisting in making arrangements, says that all Tarheels are invited. There will be some fine sports and entertainment and the largest crowd to attend yet is expected, as there has been a big influx of Tarheels to this part of the state during the last year.
      Ed. note: We hope that a reader will share family memories of this first Tarheel picnic in Sedro-Woolley and any subsequent ones. The Bingham Park is the one that lay north of Cook Road and west of Borseth Street. Cook is now closed off and Borseth is part of Hwy 20. If you have read the portal story on Northern State Hospital, you will know that, like the hospital grounds, the park was designed by the Olmstead brothers, whose father designed Central Park in New York City. It looks so forlorn nowadays. The chain saws came in during early 2005, followed by the tree-eating machines, chewing down trees that stood there for seven or more decades. The park opened in 1912 and was most recently cleaned up in 1953, when picnic facilities were erected.

Shirley Temple is Visitor Here
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, June 9, 1938
      Shirley Temple, American's film darling, paid a surprise and secret visit to Sedro-Woolley on Monday to visit the novel garden of Dr. A.J. Dyer on State street. Shirley and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Temple of Santa Monica, Cal., signed the guest register at the Dyers, their names going there along with thousands of others from all parts of the United States.
      Dr. Dyer thought at first that the signatures were a hoax, but later read a news item stating that the Temple family were on a vacation trip to Vancouver, B.C., and the Puget Sound country, which made the visit here more credible.

Galloping Goose to run no more;
last trip Sunday
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, June 23, 1940
      Final orders have been received for the discontinuance of the Northern Pacific gas [railroad] car, which is Sedro-Woolley's last remaining passenger train. This "galloping goose" will go off the run between Seattle and Bellingham on July 1. The mail which it has been carrying will come on trucks so the service will not be injured by the change.
      Passengers can still buy tickets at the local Northern Pacific station and use them on the regular North Coast bus at Burlington or Mount Vernon. Baggage can be checked at the local station and will be handled for passengers from here, who take the bus at Burlington or Mount Vernon.
      The arrangement makes it possible for persons buying tickets over the NP to use their railroad ticket on the bus to Seattle to get their train. The passenger service on the NP here has been discontinued because it was operated for some time at a loss, according to railroad officials.
      Ed. note: Passenger service ended almost exactly 50 years after it began through Woolley. In the very early days of 1889-93, you could catch a passenger train here every couple of hours and you could make connections with any U.S. or Canadian transcontinental line any day. Just like the Interurban electric railway that ended in 1929, the passenger through here — NP and Great Northern, eventually failed because of that damnedable horseless carraige. Both cars and trucks were the death knell.

Ludwick-Wuest Co. to have
fine new store this spring
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Feb. 22, 1923
This photo is from the same issue as the one for the IOOF building above. This is the Ludwick-Wuest building at the northeastern corner of State and Metcalf, which evolved into the J.C. Penney building and today is Bus Jungquist Furniture.

      With the decision of the Masons to purchase the [northeast]corner on Metcalf and State streets from the Ludwick-Wuest Co. and to build the lower floor of their new temple as a store for this company, the problem of a location for the Ludwick-Wuest store is settled. This company's lease from the Fritsch brothers on its present building expires this summer and the Fritsch Hardware company will move across the street from the old Star Grocery building to its own building, where the Fritsch store was formerly located [northwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets].
      The building now occupied by the Fritsch store [northeast corner], is owned by Charles Nye and has not yet been rented. The Fritsch Co. will increase its stock of hardware and add more furniture, when it gets into its new location.
      The Ludwick-Wuest store, with its huge stock of goods, will occupy a big ground floor room, 70 by 104 feet, with a big basement and mezzanine floor. The mezzanine will be used as a display space for the better lines of furniture and will make it possible for this store to carry a much wider variety of high class furniture than in the past. The store's stock of hardware will also be materially increased.
      The Odd Fellows [IOOF] will start work on a three-story building on Metcalf and Woodworth streets some time in April. they will have two store rooms for rent.
      Ed. note: This building and the Odd Fellows Hall at the north end of the block were both planned and erected during the town's brief economic of 1922-25. But the plan to add another story to this building was brought crashing to the ground from 1925-26 on, as major mills in Clearlake and old Sedro burned, as Cokedale gave up its economic ghost and as local business confidence waned. Ludwick-Wuest moved into the new store at the end of 1923. It eventually failed during the nationwide Depression of the 1930s, and in 1939, the J.C. Penney store moved down the block to occupy the building in 1939. After J.C. Penney closed here in the early 1980s, Bus Jungquist moved his furniture store across the street in 1985 and has been in that location ever since.

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Story posted on Dec. 1, 2005, and last updated on March 10, 2006 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them

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