Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. We passed 2 million page views on Oct. 4, 2007
The home pages remain free of any charge. We need donations or subscriptions to continue.
Please pass on this website link to your family, relatives, friends and clients.

(S and N Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition
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

(Click to send email)

Condy Jeweler here 40 years

Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Aug. 15, 1940
(Helen and Horace)
Helen and Horace Condy, circa late 1930s. All photos courtesy of Marilee Davis Thompson

      Horace Condy, Sedro-Woolley's pioneer jeweler and optometrist, is celebrating his fortieth anniversary in business in Sedro-Woolley this week. As a special anniversary offer, Condy is giving a baby spoon free to every child born during the month of August, within the trading radius of Sedro-Woolley. All that Mr. Condy asks is that the mother or dad drop in the store and ask for the gift. And for the balance of the month, special prices will be offered on many of the items carried in the store.
      Mr. Condy came to Sedro-Woolley from Seattle in August 1900, and from the humble quarters occupied at that time in the old Mott Drug store, gradually expanded until he now is located in his handsome brick building, which he has occupied for a number of years. A few years ago Mr. Condy went out of the musical instrument business and enlarge his optometry department, now having one of the finest equipped optometric offices in the Northwest. He prides himself with the knowledge that he also operates one of the most modern and up-to-date jewelry establishments in the state, in a town the size of Sedro-Woolley. Condy is the oldest established jeweler in Skagit County, and is known among jewelers in all parts of the state. He built up his business from a repair bench and no stock of goods, to its present size and importance, with a big stock of jewelry.
      Condy enjoys looking back over the intervening years, especially to the time when Sedro-Woolley was in its infancy. When going was tough and men had to be men to survive. He has seen the town grow from a few hundred people to its present size and importance. Condy sadly relates that none of the men who were in business here when he started his store are now living. He enjoys telling of the time when Sedro-Woolley had no pavement, no graded streets, no lights, no water system, no sewage system and no brick stores. When it rained a big pond formed in front of the John Munro shingle office and Charley Wicker, who had the same tendencies as he has now, used to put up signs, "no fishing allowed," and "boats for hire." Mr. Condy says that he does not notice the years that have elapsed since first locating in Sedro-Woolley, and gives us his recipe for feeling as he does, his general attitude toward life and business in general. He believes that if business is slow one day, it will be better the next. He says that his philosophy for keeping young.

(Condy and Jewelers)
Condy and the Washington State Jewelers Association. He was elected president of the group twice.

      Condy is a member of the American Optometric Association as well as being a member of the state jewelers association and the national jewelers' group. He served as regional vice-president in northwestern states for the National Jewelers' Association.
      Mr. Condy owns his home in Sedro-Woolley and lives with his daughter, Miss Helen Condy. His son, Tom, is now superintendent of production for the Baltoc Mining Company in the Philippine Islands. Condy is recognized as one of the town's substantial businessmen.

1. John's Munro's shingle business
      This memory of Condy's referred back to the first decade of the 20th century when John Munro, a Michigan native, owned the Grand Rapids Shingle Mill at the foot of Third Street at the river, where Art's Wrecking Yard has stood for many years. John was the oldest of five Munro brothers. John and at least two other brothers moved to Sedro in 1889 to aid P.A. Woolley in building his sawmill on his proposed townsite of Woolley. They may have been related to Woolley but we have not yet established that. The mill, named for their hometown, burned in 1914, but it was soon rebuilt. He still had a shingle company here in 1940 because it is mentioned in a newspaper article. James Cornelius Munro was the marshal in Sedro-Woolley in 1905 and the brothers also owned a shoe store in the 800 block of Metcalf street. Their building was purchased by publisher Frank Evans sometime after 1920 and that is now the location of the Courier-Times newspaper. That is where the "pond" formed that Condy recalled. Charles J. Wicker was his next door neighbor, a partner with Harry Devin in Skagit Realty, which was then housed in a woodframe building just south of the shoe store, on the site where the R&E Engineering building stands today. [Return]

2. Horace Condy . . .
      . . . died on Feb. 17, 1942, two years after this article was published. You can read his obituary at this Journal website and you will find Helen Condy's obituary there, too. In 1941, his nephew, Glenn Allen Sr., left Condy's business and started his own jewelry a block south on Metcalf Street. Allen, the son of Condy's sister from Canada, came to Sedro-Woolley in 1919 as a jewelry repairman for Condy. Harry Ingham, a son of Chan Ingham, the original Sedro constable, also joined Allen's new business. Glenn Allen Jr. continued in the business, as did his son, Glenn Allen III, who sold the business and building on Dec. 1, 2007. See this Journal website). [Return]

We learn about Condy's early life
(Horace as a boy in Guelph, Ontario)
Horace as a young boy in Guelph

      In the summer of 2007 we received an email from Marilee Davis Thompson, Horace Condy's granddaughter who lives in Troutdale, Oregon. Her mother was Helen Condy Davis, Horace's daughter who graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1928. Helen lived for years in East Wenatchee but after her husband, Robert Davis, died in 2005, her children observed that she was suffering from memory loss and decided to move Helen to an assisted living home near Marilee's family. Marilee wrote to us because her mother's long-term memory was revealing facts about the family that Marilee and her sister did not know before. She also informed us that she and her sister, Esther Davis, found a trunk full of items after their father's death that might produce documents and photos about Sedro-Woolley.
      Helen died on Sept. 10, 2007, at age 97, and you can read her obituary at this Journal site. Over the last few months, the sisters have been sharing photos and documents that contributed to this article. Helen was born April 22, 1910, to Horace and Esther Condy and she worked part-time at her father's store while attending high school. Afterwards she attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and there she met Bob Davis. When graduation time neared, Davis proposed to her but Helen was called home during the nationwide Depression years to work at the jewelry store and their marriage was postponed for several years as was her graduation. In 1939 she moved to the San Francisco Bay area and worked there until she returned here at the time of her father's death. Bob Davis was persistent, however, and the couple married November 21, 1943, and then settled on a ranch in remote Palisades, Washington, about halfway between Wenatchee and Grand Coulee Dam.
      Helen and Bob lived there for more than 50 years and Helen was noted for entertaining her rural neighbors with her skills on the piano, the result of her Condy musical genes and piano practice throughout her school years here. They raised three children, including Dan Davis, a schoolteacher who lives in Federal Way, Washington, and Esther Davis, who now lives in Salem, Virginia.

Horace Condy's beginning
(Horace Young)
Horace as a young man in Ontario

      One of the most important documents they found was a family profile that Helen started to write a few years ago but did not finish. Until now, all we new about Horace's early life was that he was born in Guelph, Ontario, and that he moved to Kentucky sometime before moving to Sedro-Woolley. His family was from Northern Ireland and were Orange Protestants. Helen wrote that Guelph was north of London, Ontario, and that her father attended a nearby watch and repair school. For unknown reasons he moved in the early 1890s to the town of Hopkinsville, in south-central Kentucky next to the border with Tennessee, where he worked for a jeweler and eventually became a partner in the business.
      Although he moved just as the nationwide Depression was shutting down the economy, he apparently did well, possibly because customers chose to repair their watches and jewelry rather than buying them new. Regardless, he moved to Seattle in 1899 — again for unknown reasons, and worked for a jeweler there for a year before moving on to Sedro-Woolley. Marilee found a document from Condy's Presbyterian Church in Hopkinsville, signed by nearly all the congregation, that shows their esteem for him when he announced that he was moving.

(Condy home)
The Condy home in the 400 block of Talcott Street, circa 1930s, now owned by Museum President Carolyn Freeman

      At that point we can connect some dots. We know that Condy began his jewelry repair business here in a corner of Joe Mott's drugstore, which stood in 1900 at the north end of what is now Hammer Heritage Square, the downtown park. We know that Mott and his father moved from St. Louis to Seattle, along with Paul Rhodius] at about the same time that Condy moved from Kentucky. Joseph Mott Sr. opened a drugstore in Seattle and in 1900 he backed his son in a drugstore in Sedro-Woolley, with Rhodius as his assistant. We do not know if they all met back East, but we think it reasonable to assume that they met in Seattle and that they moved to Sedro-Woolley together in 1900.
      Back in Kentucky, Helen wrote, Condy met Esther Pavey (born in 1876), who attended and graduated from Kentucky College for Girls in Pewee Valley, a town about 180 miles to the northeast from Hopkinsville that is now a suburb of Louisville. Her cousin was president of the college. A year after Condy settled in Sedro-Woolley, he sent for Esther and on Aug. 29, 1901, they married in New Whatcom.

(Condy family)
Esther (Pavey) Condy in her yard with her daughter, Helen, and son, Tom, circa 1916

      According to old-timers, the famous Condy Clock that still stands on Metcalf Street in front of his old building was originally purchased by another Washington business that quickly failed and Condy bought it and installed it at the northwest corner of Ferry and Metcalf streets in about 1905, the same year that the Seidell building was erected there. A photograph from 1909 shows it in that location.
      In 1913, Condy helped found the Washington State Jewelers Association and served as the first president; in 1927, he was elected to the same post. Tom Davis was born in 1905, Mary Davis in 1909 and Helen in 1910. In 1923, Talcott Street was the most fashionable residential street at the time and the Condys built a substantial home at the southeast corner of Fourth Street, across from the Bingham mansion, that is now the home of Sedro-Woolley Museum President Carolyn Freeman.

3. Paul Rhodius and Joe Mott
      You can read about Paul Rhodius and Joe Mott at this Journal website (our old domain where some of the links may not work). Mott eventually moved back to Seattle and Rhodius took over his business. Rhodius became Sedro-Woolley postmaster, then opened a florist business and coaches the city baseball team. [Return]
(Helen obit photo)
Click for Helen's obituary

Links, background reading and sources

Story posted on Dec. 15, last updated on Dec. 29 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 41 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
(bullet) See this Journal website for a timeline of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues until we eventually compile a book about Northwest history. Can you help?
(bullet) Remember; we welcome correction & criticism.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 550 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first five years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which has entered its seventh year with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe.

You can read the history websites about our prime sponsors
Would you like information about how to join them?

(bullet) Jones and Solveig Atterberry, NorthWest Properties Aiken & Associates: . . . See our website
Please let us show you residential and commercial property in Sedro-Woolley and Skagit County 2204 Riverside Drive, Mount Vernon, Washington . . . 360 708-8935 . . . 360 708-1729
(bullet) Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 86 years.
(bullet) Joy's Sedro-Woolley Bakery-Cafe at 823 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley.
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley

Looking for something special on our site? Enter name, town or subject, then press "Find" Search this site powered by FreeFind
    Did you find what you were seeking? We have helped many people find individual names or places, so email if you have any difficulty.
    Tip: Put quotation marks around a specific name or item of two words or more, and then experiment with different combinations of the words without quote marks. We are currently researching some of the names most recently searched for — check the list here. Maybe you have searched for one of them?
Please sign our guestbook so our readers will know where you found out about us, or share something you know about the Skagit River or your memories or those of your family. Share your reactions or suggestions or comment on our Journal. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit our site.

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Email us at:
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal, 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284.