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Skagit River Journal

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Sedro-Woolley businesses and buildings, Part Two

(Bingham woodframe building)
This is the woodframe building where Charlie Bingham and Albert Holland first located their businesses when they moved to the southwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets in downtown Woolley in 1896. That is where William T. West went to work at the bank at the turn of the 20th century (see story below). The owners replaced the earlier structure in 1905 with the present stone building. The photo is courtesy of the book, Skagit Memories, which is still for sale at the Skagit County Historical Museum in LaConner. The captions said that at far right is C.E. Bingham, and from left to right are his sons Q. A. and C. But the writer apparently did not notice the time paradox with this photo. We know that the woodframe building was moved aside to where Skagit Surveyors stands today, while the new building was erected. In the photo, A. or Albert, — the youngest son, looks to be at least 14, which would mean this photo was taken in at least 1909, four years after the new brick building was constructed. There are two possible answers. Either those are three other employers and the photo was taken before 1905. Or the alternative is that Bingham moved the bank back into the old building while the stone building was being rebuilt after the fire of Jan. 14, 1909. We need very much to locate photos of the west and east sides of Metcalf Street between 1900-1930..

      We continue our Odds and Ends section with small articles culled from issues of various newspapers, especially the Skagit County Times of Sedro-Woolley and the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times. We were aided in this section 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 resident, Pat Hegg Brown, 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 some of the photos. Many are from Xeroxed copies of the original newspaper.
      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.

Will T. West in Bingham Bank 37 years
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 13, 1937

(Bingham bank interior)
      This photo is of the interior of Bingham Bank circa 1920, when Will was working there; that may be him in the teller's cage to the left. Note the beautiful marble, the wrought iron and the ornate hammered-tin ceiling. We are sad that all of this disappeared in one of the remodels between 1935 and 1950. Does any reader know what happened to those materials? Photo loaned by Judy Bingham Jones.

      William T. West, cashier of the C.E. Bingham & Company bank of this city, completed his thirty-seventh year in the bank on May 10. Thirty-seven years ago, as a freshman in high school, Bill West went to work at the Bingham bank, sweeping out the bank and running errands. The bank at that time was located in a frame building on the same site as at present [southwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets, the site of the Dollar Store in 2006].
      In reminiscing about the early days, West recalls that C.E. Bingharn, plus a cashier and a bookkeeper and himself constituted the bank force. At this time the wonderful new invention, the telephone, was just [starting to be] used. The bank also had one of the new-fangled writing machines known as a typewriter. The building was lighted by an acetylene gas system. Everything was done by hand including copying letters on the old letter press.
      At that time, people did not want paper money, and large quantities of gold were in circulation, West has worked in every department of the bank, up to his present position as cashier, and during his years of service has made a name for himself as a banker, and hosts of friends among the patrons of the bank, who wish him another thirty-seven years of active service.
      [Journal Ed. note: you can read both a biography and obituary about William T. West at this Journal website: You can also read several other anecdotes about him in our exclusive four-part profile of the Bingham family and bank at this Journal website: You can also read more details about West and the details of the early bank at this Journal website about James B. Hamilton, the son of the original homesteaders at the site of Concrete: ]

Free tubs and soap at Johnson's shop
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Nov. 4, 1937
      Two wash tubs worth $12 and $2.40 worth of laundry soap will be :given away free of charge by [Charles] Johnson's Radio Shop of this city, with every A.B.C. washing machine sold during the next ten days. This offer was originally announced last month, but the factory extended it for another ten days at the request of the local shop, to care for the demand. The washers are sold on easy terms.

Johnson Appliance to Open in New Location
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Sept. 10, 1951
      Johnson Appliance Company will be open for business in their new store, September 10. Charles Johnson, manager, announced that the new store will be known as Johnson Appliance and Furniture Company.
      The new store has had extensive remodeling, including new lighting and a freight hoist in the back. It is in the building next to the Holland Drug Co., formerly occupied by the Ely Co. The grand opening party will he given Friday evening September 21.
      [Journal Ed. note: Roger Peterson of Sedro-Woolley was again our source of information about Charles Johnson, because he was related to him. He started an appliance company in the Schneider Building on Metcalf [most recently the bowling alley] and in about 1930, his business grew and he moved a block south and took over half the ground floor in the Baldridge-Seidell building, the brick structure just north of the present Chamber of Commerce office, sharing it with Reg Simmonds's Glass Co. When the new post office building was opened on Woodworth Street in 1939, Charles Johnson and Simmonds both moved their stores into the former post office location at 826 Metcalf, which old timers will recall for later being the home of Chuck Wicker's and Merle Niece's Skagit Realty. The new Johnson location in 1951 was the old Holland Drugs extension, which now houses the Skagit Surveyors business.]

Deveners to make home in Seattle
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Jan. 12, 1939
      Mr. and Mrs. E.B. (Tim) Devener, well-known local residents, have moved their household furnishings to Seattle, where they will establish their home in the Sir Galahad apartments, 903 Bellevue Place. For the next several weeks, however, they expect to spend as much time in this city as in Seattle because Mr. Devener is still busy settling the affairs of his business, the Devener Lumber company, which was destroyed by fire several months ago. He will maintain his office at The Courier-Times and be here three days a week to handle collections. The Deveners sold their attractive home on Haines avenue to E. G. Abbott and Mrs. H. R. Ridgway and it is now being occupied by the George Hurd family
      [Journal Ed. note: E.B. "Tim" Devener was the son of August M. Devener, the first undertaker in old Woolley. We have found advertisements for his father dating back as far as 1891. At that time, he sold furniture, wallpaper and upholstery for the growing town. In the frontier days, the furniture maker or seller in town often built coffins and doubled as the undertaker. In an 1899 advertisement, he began including "undertaking a specialty" as one of the features of his business. In about 1903, his furniture store burned at the northwest corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets and he moved to a woodframe building that stood on the east side of 800 block of Metcalf [number 823] where Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery is today. Devener died in about 1908 and George Vogel erected a stone building there. J.H. Everett and Edgar Green temporarily took over as undertakers, and in 1909, Arthur Baker took over the business. (See the Journal history of Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery at this website: )
      We are unaware of his son Tim's business activities before he bought the old Massar Lumber Co. in 1937. The lumber yard stood at the present Marketplace Foods location on State Street. From reading various obituaries of the 1930s, we know that Tim was well regarded in town. We have no information about his life in Seattle and we have no information on his father's death or about his family life. His sister Stella was a popular girl in town. A Shirley Louise Devener died here in 1923. She may have been Tim's mother. We hope that a reader will have more information about these important pioneers.
      This reminds us of an old story that the city morgue was once located in a concrete building that is now a residence on the north side of Ferry Street, just west of Township. We have never substantiated this story. We hope that a reader will have documented details if that story is true.]

Hardware store moving by degrees
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Jan. 12, 1939
      The Mt. Baker Hardware company is moving more of its stock each day to its new location at Metcalf and Woodworth streets, formerly occupied by the Fritsch Hardware Co., and later the Skagit Hardware Co.
      [Journal Ed. note: before the move, Ed Gruver's Mt. Baker Hardware business was located at the northeast corner of State and Metcalf streets in what is now the Bus Jungquist Furniture building. That building was erected in 1923 and originally housed the Ludwick-Wuest Hardware business, which failed during the nationwide Depression of the 1930s. Gruver moved his business to the original Fritsch Hardware building, at the northwest corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets, which was erected in 1897.
      The J.C. Penney store moved into the building that now houses Jungquist Furniture. Penney's was formerly half a block north on Metcalf in the brick building that now houses Skagit Surveyors [number 806].

Ski bus planned by Affleck brothers
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Jan. 12, 1939
      A ski bus will leave the Sedro-Woolley stage depot on Sunday, January 22, at 8:15 a.m., according to an announcement today by Dave Affleck. Lars Harang, local ski expert, will go on the trip and will help any skiers who wish assistance. If this trip is successful, Affleck stated that other ski bus trips will be arranged. Journal research about the Affleck brothers
      The Affleck brothers ran this bus stage company, which covered at different times various routes between Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and points upriver as far as Rockport. We are still looking for additional details of both the company and the family and we hope that a reader can help.
      In 2005, researcher Lee Goodwin shared these details about the company: "I stumbled onto your site while doing a periodic web search for a company I've long tried to find info on the, which operated a public bus service from Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley to Seattle via Anacortes, Whidbey and the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry from roughly 1940 to 1963. It was owned by the Affleck Brothers of Sedro-Woolley, and was the first state-certified motor bus line in Washington. They had a fleet of about 12 buses, and was the main source of public transit for NAS Whidbey-Ault Field during the War. As a fan of the operation during those years, commuting from Coupeville to Seattle, I've tried vainly to find any photographs or news articles about them, always totally striking out. I see you're experts on the Skagit railways, so I thought maybe you might have seen or unearthed info on this bus company. The main base terminal was in downtown Mount Vernon right next to Bert Robinson's Farm Implement store at corner of Riverside Drive. The vacant lot is still there. I know they also had regular scheduled service Sedro-Woolley (and maybe Concrete) to MV that connected with their line-haul buses to Seattle. Period I'm talking of is 1941-1964. Around 1962 the company was sold/renamed "Island Empire Lines," which ran the same buses up til about 1966, then it was sold to Trailways and the route was eventually terminated."
      We do know from the late Lloyd Palmer's memoir that the company began at least limited service as early as the early 1930s, based in Lloyd Palmer Sr.'s garage at the northeast corner of Murdock and Ferry streets. Later, the buses were parked across the street from the Gateway Hotel and maintenance was performed from the narrow shop portion of the Swastika building which housed for many years the various sporting goods businesses. Old timers recall that the brothers lived in Sedro-Woolley. And in an 1892 newspaper from New Whatcom, we find that Frank Affleck was an English immigrant who was an agent at New Whatcom for the Fairhaven Land Company, which boomed old Sedro by the river

Black Alley Cat Feasts on Chicks In Store Window
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, April 6, 1939
      Henny, Penny and Lucky, three of the finest little chicks in McClintock's Drug Store window are dead today, victims of a perfidious black alley cat named "Romeo." Muke Lay, famous Seattle sleuth, called to investigate the crime, stated that it was a clear case of premeditated murder.
      Romeo watched the store and the chicks carefully for several days, studying the layout and planning his course, then on Tuesday, slipped in the back door of the store and hid himself. Later, in the still, dark hours of the night, he sneaked into the window and picked his victims, one by one, the fattest of the lot, and killed them. [The paragraph about the subsequent trial and sentencing were unfortunately cut off from the bottom of this clipping.]
      [Journal Ed. note: old timers will recall that Wyman McClintock's drug store was located at 821 Metcalf, on the east side of the street, in what is now the south half of Greer Drummond's Valley Hardware — the W.J. Thompson building. McClintock married Catherine McIntyre, daughter of the Skagit Steel owner, David G. McIntyre, and they moved back to Sedro-Woolley in 1925 to open the business. McClintock grew up in the upper Skagit River region. McClintock's closed in about 1965, last managed by Robert Allen, who took over from Wyman when he retired in the early 1960s. Wyman died on Nov. 15, 1964, at age 75.]

Ed Bigelow named for state office on security board
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, April 6, 1939
      Edgar W. Bigelow, popularly known as 'Ed" in Sedro-Woolley where he resided for many years, has been appointed a member of the social security committee to serve with Governor Clarence D. Martin and Olaf Olsen, director of budget, business and finance. This important committee, authorized by the 1939 legislature, will control administration of the social security act and decide questions of policy under it.
      Commenting upon his appointment, Bigelow says: "My appointment was a compliment to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, instead of a tribute to me. The Eagles pioneered for the principle of old age-pensions for fifteen years before the act of 1938 was passed. With the improvements made at three succeeding sessions, Washington now has the best old age assistance law in the United States."
      Bigelow is a deputy auditor for the Grand Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and a deputy organizer [statewide].
      [Journal Ed. note: Bigelow was originally a butcher. Greer Drummond, who owns Valley Hardware on Metcalf Street [number 821] and will turn 90 in 2006, remembers Bigelow well: "When I was in Sedro-Woolley High School, I remember Ed Bigelow delivering an inspirational speech at the auditorium and he was the most inspiring orator I ever heard." The Bigelow family also owned one of the bowling alleys in town through the years, in an unknown location. That alley was named in an Oct. 22, 1925 Courier-Times clipping as the "Bigelow Alleys." Bigelow was certainly "Mr. Eagle" in town during the Depression years of the 1930s. After Bigelow moved away, Jess Sapp took that title, holding high offices on both state and federal levels.]

Mel Stone sells his barber shop
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Sept. 18, 1941
      Melvin G. Stone, proprietor for several years of the DeLuxe barber shop across from the Gateway Hotel, has sold his shop to Emil A. Kuest, who is now operating the shop. Stone has accepted a job in Seattle, but will return here Saturdays for awhile to help him get acquainted with customers. He urges his customers to continue to patronize the shop. Stone was president of the local Eagles lodge last year.
      [Journal Ed. note: That west side of the 600 block of Metcalf has gone through total change in the past 60 years, especially in the last ten. In 1941, that area was dominated by two bookend buildings. At the far southern end, Arthur C. Seidell's two-story building, erected in 1905, stood where the gazebo of Hammer Heritage Square park is today. The ground floor was originally home to the First National Bank but in 1941 housed a number of businesses, including the State liquor store and a sporting goods shop. Next was a building with a tavern [either Ed's or B&K] and the Square Deal Exchange, where F.O. Douglass's drug store stood in the pioneer days of Woolley. On the south side of the alley was another old building from pioneer days with a cigar store, that would share the space with a bowling alley in 1946. In a future story, we will outline all the bowling alleys from 1898 to 1998. After the Eagles moved from the old Schneider Building in 1947 or '48, the bowling alley moved north across the alley. North of the alley, the DeLuxe barber shop was in the Schneider Building, in the southern part where the bowling alleys still are. We are mapping that section right now, so we hope that a reader will share memories of any of the businesses in that block, and we especially hope that someone will have a photo.]

Side Glances — Oliver-Hammer
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Jan. 29, 1943
      [We noticed] tall and luxuriant tomato plants in George Hammer's garden at the rear of his store.
      [Journal Ed. note: George Hammer was a partner in the original Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop. At the time of this story, it was located on its original lot, 805 Metcalf Street, on the east side of the block between the L& M (Leber and Martindale) grocery and the Courier-Times, in the building that two gift shops occupy today. That building is not as deep on its lot as the other neighbors, so Hammer had plenty of room out back to grow a small garden, with eastern exposure, where cars are parked today. Hammer sold the business in 1958 to Pinky Robinson and Greer Drummond, who had been associated with him for two decades.]

Royce Crossman leaves his market
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, July 8, 1943
      Royce Crossman is taking a temporary leave from his Crossman's Market in the Tradewell building because of ill health. Bob Mahaffie, owner of Mahaffie's Market, has purchased the stock and will take care of Crossman's business while he is away. The same high-grade service and meats which have for years made Cross- man's Market so popular, will be furnished in the absence of Mr. Crossman. Pete Kilgo will continue at the market and Mr. Crossman expects to be back in a few months
      [Journal Ed. note: the address of the Tradewell Market was then 212 State Street, in a 40x120-foot building that is no longer there. At that time through 1965, Metcalf Street dead-ended at State Street. In the late 1950s Tradewell moved to the old Jech Universal Motors buildings on Murdock Street, which is now the home of the Sedro-Woolley Museum. Mahaffie's Market was at 823 Metcalf Street, the southern half of what is now Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery.]

Bob Mahaffie's shops stay open
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, July 29, 1943
      Bob Mahaffie, proprietor of Mahaffie's Meat Market, has arranged to turn his market over to John Pittington of Mount Vernon, when he leaves in a few days to join the army. Pittington is at present manager of the meat market at the Safeway store in Mount Vernon.
      He will take over the Mahaffie shop for the duration of the war, and will also supervise the Crossman Market at the Tradewell store, which Mahaffie took over recently from Royce Crossman.

Mahaffie goes to army, change in market manager
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Aug. 5, 1943
      John Pittington, manager of the Safeway meat market at Mount Vernon, has taken over Bob Mahaffie's Market in the Parker Dependable Grocery building [southeast corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets, Swastika building], for the duration of the war. Mahaffie reports this week at Fort Lewis for active duty in the army. Pitting-ton will be assisted in the market by his wife.
      Shortly before being drafted, Mahaffie had arranged to take over Crossman's market at the Tradewell store, as Royce Crossman, proprietor, on account of poor health, is retiring from business for a year or two. This market will now be managed by Nels Enberg, with Pete Kilgo continuing as his associate in the business. Enberg has been employed for several months at the Mahaffie market.
      [Journal Ed. note: At that time, state law dictated that the butcher shop in any grocery store be separate from the grocery section. Most often there was a different manager who leased the butcher section. In Mahaffie's case, his shop was solely devoted to butchering and wholesale and retail sale of meat.]

Running at State Farm Insurance Co.
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, July 8, 1943
      Jac Running attended an interesting district meeting of the State Farm Insurance Company at Mount Vernon last Friday night.
      [Journal Ed. note: Jac Running (Jacob Ben) originally owned a small neighborhood grocery store at 319 Gibson street, a block north of the Great Northern tracks, in the residential district, a block away from the original P.A. Woolley mansion. Jac was born in North Dakota in 1891 and his Norwegian-immigrant parents — Martin Johan and Anna Margarethe Running, moved to Sedro-Woolley sometime in his childhood. Their address in the 1913 Polk Directory is RD1, which probably means they lived somewhere in the Skiyou-Utopia area. Running became most famous locally for his talent as a musician. Several old timers have recounted that he performed in the John Philip Sousa band. Sousa (1854-1932). Sousa was widely recognized as the "king of the American march." and a writer "for the feet instead of the head." Sousa's band performed all over the country, including many times in Seattle, but we suspect that Sousa performed with the band regionally rather than nationally because he would have been too young to march with Sousa's national band in its heyday.
      In September 1926 he organized a 21-piece Drum and Bugle Corps band for the Sedro-Woolley American Legion post #43, which consisted of ten bugles, nine sets of drums and two leaders. At that time he also sold sheet music out of his store. He married one of the pioneer debutantes of Woolley, Ruth Bovey Shrewsbury, the granddaughter of the Bovey family who owned one of the first boarding houses in old Sedro by the river in 1889, and the daughter of a Woolley pioneer and mill owner, Homer Shrewsbury. She was also an accomplished musician and dancer. In the 1920s, bands such as the one led by Running often marched in a funeral cortege with lodge dignitaries all the way from downtown to the Wicker cemetery, and on Memorial, Fourth of July and Armistice Day ceremonies. Running was a World War I veteran, but we have no details of his service. We hope that a reader who is a descendant of any of those families will share family historical details with us and especially a photo of Jac and/or Ruth.]

Income Tax service
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Dec. 2, 1943
      Walter Stephan stated today that he had received latest information on filling out the December 15 income tax forms, and was prepared' to help any citizen desiring assistance.
      [Journal Ed. note: Stephan was also a contractor and he is recorded in several articles as the builder of several buildings still standing on the north side of Woodworth Street, west of Metcalf.]

File tax returns early
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Feb. 14, 1946
      To avoid the last-minute rush on March 15, federal taxpayers are urged by Joseph D. Nunan, Jr., commissioner of internal revenue, and Collector Clark Squire to fill out their own income tax returns and file them as early as. possible.
      Squire said he joins in the advice contained in a letter addressed by Commissioner Nunan to taxpayers through the press, as follows:
      Dear Fellow Taxpayer: I wish to write you about your 1945 income tax return which is due now and must be filed not later than March 15. The law requires a return from everyone who had $500 or more income last year. In urging you to fill out your own return as far as possible, I wish to remind you that the tax blanks have been vastly simplified since 1944.
      My earnest advice is that you tackle your own tax return as soon as possible and by yourself. In at least nine cases out of ten, I am sure that you will need no assistance if you follow the simple directions on the form. However, if then you have questions or need advice, the local office of the colČlector of internal revenue will try its best to furnish you prompt, courteous and efficient service free of charge.
      Sincerely yours, Joseph D. Nunan Jr., Commissioner.

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