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Skagit River Journal

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Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
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George Green in Sedro-Woolley

(Mae and George Green)
Mae (Jody) and George Green at their home on Warner Street in Sedro-Woolley. Parker family photo.

      Those who have read our profile of George Green know how important he is to the founding days of Sedro and Woolley. He was not only a top-flight stock raiser and businessman, but he was certainly a real leader of men, women and children. We will establish that fact next year when we list all of at least 75 people who followed him to the Skagit Valley from Lincoln Center, Kansas, the town that he founded in 1870. In the history books he is barely mentioned in comparison to his son-in-law, Emerson Hammer, namesake of Hammer Heritage Square. Deanna Ramey Ammons, class of the class of 1962 and Clear Lake historian, found these clippings from the Skagit County Times, one of the two competing newspapers in town at the time.

April 9, 1903
      Mr. and Mrs. George Green returned on Saturday from an extended trip to points of interest in Southern California. Both are much improved in health and spirits by the tour and incidental recreation. At Coronado Beach, the famous seaside resort at San Diego, most of the their pleasant holiday was spent, and there it was that Mr. Green used to get up in the middle of the night to spiel some fierce yarns about Sedro-Woolley's big trees, whopping spuds and attractive women.

(Coronado resort)
The grand Resort Hotel at Coronado opened in 1888 as the world's largest such building, a million-dollar investment. It was also the first resort to use electrical lighting. And it would have provided the finest and most curious of guests for George Green's tales, as the hotel hosted presidents, royalty and people moving up in the world, which George Green definitely was in 1903 at age 63

April 30, 1903
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We recently visited our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, which is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down bedding. See our Journal feature on this local business and learn more details and how to order items at their website.

      Hon. George Green, who has just been unanimously elected to the position of President of the Twin City Business League, of Sedro-Woolley, is a most worthy citizen for such a high honor.
      Those who know what goes to make a town must be cognizant of the fact that the man who stands at the head of the chamber of commerce of progressive city, occupies the most responsible and influential position within the gift of his fellow townsman. It is therefore timely to herewith present a photograph of the new president of our wide awake board of trade, together with a brief sketch of his career.
      Mr. Green was born in Milford, Mass., in 1840, and spent his childhood in the Bay State. In 1859 he drifted to Leavenworth, Kansas, and here, becoming identified with government transportation matters, he began a stirring life of adventure, heroism and hardship, that carried him down to Maryland and through the war with Colonel Lew Wallace, as assistant transportation master.
      Returning to Kansas after the rebellion, he was employed by the government as a scout and guard and placed in charge of the government herds in Colorado. At Fort Lyons, Colorado, he was commissioned to raise a company of scouts, and although his commission was not signed it gave him the honorary title of Captain, by which he has been more or less known to his friends since.
      Again he went back to Lincoln County, Kansas, and became actively engaged in commercial and political affairs. To Mr. Green's personal efforts and financial aid the city of Lincoln, Kan., practically owes its existence, or at least its establishment as the county seat of Lincoln county, and in gratitude for these services his fellow citizens not only made him mayor of the city three times, but with their assistance he was elected to the legislature in 1873, and also made deputy United States Marshal. Those who followed the standard and fortunes of Mr. Green through these exciting times speak of him in the most admiring terms, as a resourceful and indefatigable hustler.

To the Skagit Valley
      The restless energy of the man urged him to come further west, and in 1982 he arrived in Washington, settling in Burlington, this county, and subsequently establishing the firm of Green & Hammer. The last named member of the firm is his son-in-law and the State Senator from Skagit County. The firm moved their business to this city in 1897, and year by year it has so steadily grown that it is now known s the Union Mercantile company, the largest and wealthiest concern of the kind in this part of the country. Affiliated with the other businesses of which Mr. Green is the head and moving spirit, is the Green Shingle company, one of the flourishing industrial incorporations of the Northwest.
      Mr. Green and his good wife, who has ever been an encouraging helpmeet through the many ups and downs of their business joys and sorrow, started on their matrimonial journey in 1865. They have two daughters, Mrs. David parker and Mrs. Emerson Hammer, both at present resident with their families in this city.

(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.
      Not only has the Twin City Business League chosen for its president a man of mental force, business shrewdness and political sagacity, but for his age there is not a man in the community so full of physical energy and healthful heartiness. Several times he has been importuned to accept the nomination for different offices but on various pretexts has declined. Coming, however, as this election did spontaneously and sincerely, there was no recourse for him to accept, and he may enter upon the duties of his office with the gratifying knowledge that in all his efforts to further the interests of his town he is solidly backed by the honest goodwill and admiring support of every reputable citizen in the community.

      Journal ed. note: there should be a statue to this man someplace in or around Sedro-Woolley, preferably in a barn or overlooking a barnyard, where he loved to hang out and swap spit and whittle a lot with his peers, cowboys and stock raisers.


Twin City Business League
      This was the organization that effected the merger of Sedro and Woolley in 1898. A fully fledged Chamber of Commerce formed in 1914.[Return]

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Story posted on Dec. 28, 2011
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This article originally appeared in Issue 59 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

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