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Philip A. Woolley & his company town
Part Two of Two

By Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal, ©2002
(Woolley mill 1890)
Woolley mill 1890
From Graphic magazine

(Woolley mill 1892)
Woolley mill 1892
(Woolley mill 1898)
Woolley mill ca. 1898
By Darius Kinsey

These are photos of P.A. Woolley's mill from three different angles. Left: various observers believe that this photo was taken the earliest, in about 1890, showing many details of the main building and equipment. Center: This photo is a mystery because we do not know who took it or exactly when, maybe in about 1892. This angle and perspective is unusual for photos of the period. The building to the left behind the mill has a sign on the front and the first letter may begin with an "h" that could stand for hotel. Could it be the Hotel Alexandria that burned in about 1893? Right: in this Darius Kinsey photo or 1898, we believe we are looking northeast and that the train in the center is the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern. Notice the cluster of buildings that would have been north of Northern avenue, if we have our directions correct. Click on these thumbnails for full-sized photos.

Woolley's company town, "the hub of Skagit county"
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      Once P.A. hired local men to construct the mill and begin sawing lumber for cross ties, he hired Kelley's surveyor/engineer, Albert G. Mosier, to survey his own town plat just south of where the three rail lines would cross. The rest of the civilized world was fascinated in February of 1890 with the resignation of Prince Bismarck in Europe, but Woolley and most capitalists in the Northwest focused on only two things: where the next transcontinental railroad terminus would be and helping their own town boom and grow. The first reference to P.A.'s new town was noted in the fine 1906 book, The Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties:
      But while all these developments were in progress in Sedro, a rival for the trade of the surrounding country had been springing up, one destined to handicap for a time the development of the pioneer town, but later to join with it in the outworking of a nobler destiny than either could hope to have achieved alone. This was Woolley. Probably the first public mention of it was a reference in the Skagit County Logger of April 24, 1890, in which the paper stated that a new town was starting at the junction of the railroads, which would, presumably, be named Hilltown. However, its founder, Philip A. Woolley, says that his plans had been shaping themselves for months before that.
      In September 1889, shortly after coming to the sound, Mr. Woolley purchased from Ole (Borseth) and George Nelson a timber claim, which they in turn had purchased from Chris Olson, the tract consisting of forty-four acres. Of a man named Moore, he purchased forty more, all of which he platted June 3, 1890, as the town site of Woolley.

      As we look at that original plat, we can almost imagine a flourish of trumpets as we read its title, Woolley, the Hub of Skagit County. The city fathers of Mount Vernon might have blanched at that effrontery, but the truth was that Woolley was indeed the hub at that point in time, with its three dueling railroads and its embarrassment of riches all around. That would all change with the Depression that would set in just three years later, but for the time being, the competing towns of Sedro and Woolley roared just as the mountain lions did every night in the woods all around. But this was truly a company town, in the classic sense of the word, and remained so until businesses began relocating there during the Depression of the mid-90s to cluster around the Union depot in the triangle between the three rail lines. For the meantime, business houses remained on four blocks of Third street in new Sedro, Kelley's town, and the first grand hotel of the area — the Hotel Sedro, opened down there on Nov. 15, 1890, where the high school gymnasium stands in 2003. The original hotel owners were apparently overextended since they went bankrupt within months of opening, but they rebuilt and struggled along even after major fires. Eventually, the hotels in Woolley became dominant as the country pulled out of the Depression of the '90s.
      Some of the very earliest businessmen to build crude buildings in early Woolley town included the brothers-in-law — Frank A. Douglass, the druggist, and Norris Ormsby, the dray or freight man, who arrived in Woolley town in September 1890, and the Fritsch brothers, who opened their hardware store not long afterwards after initially settling at old Sauk City. The first business building constructed after those of Woolley's was the ubiquitous saloon, this one opened by J.W. Peake in May 1890. Others were William Doherty's Woolley Meat Market and the Keystone Hotel, managed by Eddie Carr, both located on Northern avenue, south of the S&N tracks and across from the depot. The first S&N train chugged into Woolley in April of 1890 and the first SLS&E train arrived at its depot in Sedro, west of the hotel, on November 25, on its way to a grand celebration that evening in Anacortes, which was also booming at a fever pitch. Both trains had spurs leading to Woolley's mill. By that time, the mill had a capacity of 60,000 feet of finished lumber per day, and P.A. Woolley & Sons contracted to supply 11 million feet of lumber to various projects for Great Northern, mostly for cross ties. The shingle mill turned out 300,000 per day, running night and day.
      Woolley town was originally platted three blocks wide and six and two-thirds block long; we will explain the fraction block below. The western border was Rita street, named for P.A.'s first granddaughter, Rita Pinhey, who was born in Canada on May 1888. The northern border was Moore street, named for pioneer David Moore, mentioned in the excerpt above. The next street south was named for C.W. Waldron, a banker from St. Clair, Michigan, who was the largest landholder in the booming new town of Fairhaven, 25 miles to the Northwest. We have discovered in the old register of the Vendome Hotel in Fairhaven that P.A. stayed there while conducting business on Bellingham bay. The Vendome sat on the block now occupied by the Thriftway store, kitty-cornered from Waldron's Bank of Fairhaven. That building still stands. In 1891, Waldron would build Woolley's first hotel, the St. Clair, on the site of the present Gateway Hotel. The next street to the south in the Woolley plat was Munro, named for J.C. Munro, Woolley's relative. The next street south was named Gibson. J.C. LaPlant is often the quoted source for street names since he lived in the area from the late 1880s, but his description notes only that Gibson was a family friend of the Woolleys. We have never found that name in the slim file of family records. Gibson also marked the north end of Woolley's mill, which he named the Skagit River Lumber & Shingle Mill.
      The next street to the south is Northern Avenue, which runs north of the S&N tracks to Metcalf street, and then runs south of the tracks over to Rita. The block of Northern just west of the tracks was the first site of hotels, saloons and businesses, and then they slowly spread down Metcalf. The tracks also mark the southern end of the mill site, which was still just a boggy swamp that was dammed up to create a mill pond for the raw logs. Much land on those blocks north of the tracks were still dense forest by the time of the plat. During that time he also platted the town of Woolley. Mosier recalled in a 1950 interview that "running east from P.A. Woolley's mill, for more than a mile, stood the finest stand of pile and tie timber that I have ever seen or heard of. In running subdivision lines we had to use candles for setting points and getting backsites, since so little light filtered down through the tall thick trees." The first street east of Rita was just west of the SLS&E tracks and was named for the town that the Woolleys left. They never seemed to look back, however, leaving the site of the Maud sadness far behind. Metcalf street ran east of the tracks forming wide blocks at the south and a small wedge at the north because the SLS&E rails ran at a slight angle to the northeast. All records of those days disappeared in various fires but we hope to determine some day if the rail bed was elevated from the beginning to form an overpass over Moore street such as the one that exists today.
      Murdock street formed the eastern boundary of Woolley town. Apparently there was no rivalry between Messrs. Woolley and Murdock. We note in a separate Murdock biography that Murdock tended bar at his Washington hotel up until his move here in 1891. That was the watering hole in the early day for area politicians so he could have overheard Woolley's plans in November 1889 when P.A. was buying his initial land, and then skedaddled quickly over to the courthouse to check the records for available land to the east of Woolley's. The first street south of the S&N tracks was Ferry street, named for his daughter Kate's middle name, which could have also been a related family's name. Wags in the early days often made jokes that a ferry was required during the rainy months because the swamp from Reed street to Ball street often became a lake that was impassable either on foot or by wagon. The next street south was Woodworth, whose name is another mystery. J.C. LaPlant explains it quizzically as "named for a pioneer sweetheart." Whose sweetheart was it — Bill's? or Bert's? Even our beloved historian Ray Jordan never explained that one. We hope that a reader who is a descendant will have a clue. Finally, we come to the "two-thirds" block at the very south of Woolley's plat. The uninitiated reader might assume that State street was the dividing line but no. When Mosier was conducting his original survey, he discovered that the original surveyors had misplaced a section corner marker down in the swamp along the river and the corresponding east-west section lines to the north were all skewed on a shallow angle to the northwest. The original towns of Sedro were planned with Township road running true south to north to split ranges 4 and 5, and the planned road that would become State street was planned to coincide with the section line. But because of the angle, by the time that the section line reached Metcalf street, it was several dozen yards north of the section and Kelley owned the land to the south. Therefore, the town of Woolley officially began slightly north of State street. We attempt to explain the very confusing anomaly of the Kelley Strip. This problem was exacerbated when Kelley died of acute alcoholism on Feb. 11, 1894. His father did not care to venture west to our jungle and he withstood all attempts to reconcile the problem, even after the merger of the towns in December 1898. Wise men finally straightened out the mess in 1906, but until then that triangle of property from Central Avenue west to the SLS&E railroad tracks was no-man's land.
      Woolley was incorporated as a City of the Fourth Class on May 11, 1891, and Murdock was immediately elected the first mayor, just two months after the combined Sedros incorporated. Murdock was just warming up the mayor's seat because P.A. was elected to succeed him in the first regular election that fall. Meanwhile, Sedro retained almost all the institutions. Thanks to researcher Roger Peterson, we have a sole issue of the Skagit County Times dated Nov. 19, 1896, which places the Sedro town hall at the corner of Jameson Avenue and 7th street. We also know from the late Howard Miller that the old Sedro marshal Chauncey Ingham told him that the only early day fire apparatus, a hand-pumper, was located there. As we noted before, the early business houses, including the bank, were also located in that town, as was the first county hospital. Mortimer Cook did show some contempt for the newcomers in one aspect, which could have been basis for the legend that he and Woolley held a grudge against each other. Pioneer Frank Douglass recalled years later that although Woolley was successful in obtaining a post office in May 1890, the mail was not delivered directly to the actual premises, which were then located in a store his sons operated at the southeast corner of Metcalf and Woodworth streets. Bert and Bill had to either walk down to the old-Sedro post office, which was located in Cook's general store by the river. He invariably made them cool their heels while he sorted the Sedro mail first. Other than that, we have not discovered other rivalry between the two men. We also have not found when the mail was delivered directly to Woolley as well as Sedro, but it could have been seven years later when Sedro postmaster Harry Devin left for the Klondike and resigned his duties in favor of the Woolley postmaster.
      P.A. is a hard person to profile because aspects of his character and personal life were rarely recorded. He encouraged the formation of lodges of Masons and Odd Fellows in his town and joined them but does not appear to have proceeded up the officer chairs in the lodges. His business affairs required him to be absent much of the time, so that may explain his lack of community involvement, but we suspect that he pulled many strings from behind his company curtain. P.A.'s most obvious character trait is his leadership in both business and growth of his town and industry. In 1893 he became president of the newly formed association of 25 shingle mills in Skagit county. After Mortimer Cook's old mill burned in 1889, Woolley's mill cornered the cedar shingles market, shipping to Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and other eastern states. He soon established Eastern agencies with S.K. Martin Lumber Co. of Chicago, and Wood, Jenks & Co. of Cleveland. According to the 1891 Graphic Magazine, Washington Special, in those early years Woolley business property sold for $3 to 8 per front foot; residence property sold for $1 to 3; and raw quarter sections (160 acres) sold for an average of $3,000. Payback time finally arrived for the homesteaders who had persevered during the 1880s. The total taxable property shows the phenomenal growth spurt from 1889 to 1890. By the end of 1889, taxable property in the area that became Woolley totaled $100. A year later it totaled $433,000. The county's taxable property for the same years totaled $1,833,030 and $5,936,340. The magazine called him Colonel Woolley, an honorary title that often had no relation to military rank during those times after the Civil War. Much of P.A.'s effort in the very early years was to keep the town from burning down. On May 26, 1891, a fire leveled the Hotel Alexandria, which stood between Ferry and Northern. Two years later, on April 26, 1893, a mysterious fire that started in Joseph Matthews's saloon leveled almost all the business buildings south of the depot, including other saloons, the meat market, the Douglass drug store, a restaurant, barber shop and many others. That was followed by the nationwide Depression that started in 1893, so P.A. spent the next three years treading water.

Catherine Woolley's impact
      Journalists before and after the turn of the century sadly neglected the role of women in building pioneer communities and often patronized them by pigeon-holing their accomplishments and influence as "women's work." A handful of women, however, made such an impact that they could not be ignored: Georgiana Batey as the first university-trained doctor in the territory; Wilhelmina von Pressentin for her leadership upriver; Eliza Van Fleet for her role as the first woman homesteader in the future-Sedro area; and Catherine Woolley for civilizing a very rough logging and railroad town. The home she mentioned in her diary was located at the northwest corner of Murdock and Gibson streets, where an apartment house stands today. We do not know who owned the house before the Woolleys, but it was probably one of a mere handful north of the S&N tracks. Then again, in her 1924 obituary, the reporter stated that the Woolleys built the house right after arriving here. We do know that across the street to the south was butcher William Doherty's house, which is still standing to the north of the Ronk Brothers business in 2002. The nucleus of that house was apparently built in 1884. In records of later years, we found that there was a carriage house behind the Woolley home, probably added by them. They lived in that home until sometime in 1900-01 when they built their mansion on the south side of Woodworth street, set back from where the Countryside Chevrolet dealership is today. P.A. was quite taken with banker C.E. Bingham's expanded mansion on Talcott and hired the same contractor. Dominating downtown, the house was set way back on the lots with a large lawn around it and a fruit orchard that spread west to Metcalf street.
      In the spring of 1890, Mrs. Woolley taught the first school for town children in part of the cookhouse on the Woolley mill property and her parlor was used when there was an overflow. She also conducted Sunday school in her parlor, which was opened wide to people of all denominations who wanted to worship. Her first enterprise was known as the House of Hope. Located in her parlor, it would be spiritual home for anyone in the community. In a 1953 interview, pioneer Catholics recalled that, even though she was Presbyterian, Catherine even taught catechism classes when a priest was not here or could not ride over from Edison during inclement weather. The Methodist Episcopal (ME) church also conducted services there before moving to Sedro in 1893. The Woolleys provided most of the funds to hire teacher George Raymond for the fall term of 1890. School District 45 was formed in 1891 and a schoolhouse was erected on the northwest corner of Northern and Puget on land donated by William Murdock's Grand Junction Land Co., which he formed to sell lots on his acreage. Funds at that point were raised by popular subscription and donations by Woolley's mill and that of Davison and Millett, a mile north of town. Men of Woolley town cleared the land and erected a one-room building, which was soon enlarged with a large northern wing.
      Perhaps the happiest moment for Catherine was in 1895 when she was able to decorate her home for another wedding for a daughter. The handsome Charles Carleton Harbaugh arrived in town this year and Woolley town snared their first doctor, partly because he noticed the beautiful, 22-year-old Kate Woolley. The first major social celebration in town was conducted in the Woolley family parlor on Sept. 17, 1895 and Harbaugh built a house at the corner of Eastern and Southern avenues next to his office. That was within shouting distance of the Woolley mill and near the Grays Harbor boarding house. Their first child, Charles Woolley Harbaugh (Jean Austin's father), was born in Woolley on Sept. 14, 1896.
      By 1896, businessmen in both towns formed the Twin-Cities Business League to campaign for a merger of the towns, which would save money by cutting redundant city government offices. But each time a referendum was conducted, there were more votes to affix the name Sedro to the new town and each time P.A. Woolley vetoed that proposal. Stubborn holdouts on both sides stalled and finally the cooler heads and more progressive leaders realized that the only way to achieve their goal was to merge the towns equal and connect the town names with a hyphen. Some claimed that a vote was held at a neutral building and when the vote wound up with Sedro ahead by one vote, either Bert or Bill ate one of the ballots to force a tie. That story seems rather apocryphal, however, because we have copies of the petitions to the county commissioners from both towns and the list shows 81 Sedro signers to 75 from Woolley. Regardless, a majority apparently voted in November to authorize incorporation of the merged towns as a City of the Fourth Class and the county commissioners accepted the vote on Dec. 8, 1899. Even though Sedro got first billing in the name, the business leaders of Woolley held the power in the first combined council as Norris Ormsby was elected mayor and the council was composed of all Woolley men except for Menzo B. Mattice of Sedro. That election also represented the last hurrah for the Sedro business district because most of the original buildings there had been burned or damaged by fire, including the Hotel Sedro, which burned the last time in 1897.

Woolleys focus their business elsewhere in P.A.'s last years

(Elgin, Illinois)
(Seaboard Air Line)
Far left: Elgin in the 1880s had far more amenities than the wilderness the Woolleys moved to.
Center left: The Seaboard air line controlled three of the South's major railroads. Photo courtesy of Dennis Blake.
Click on these thumbnails for full-sized photos

      By that time, Woolley was ready to relinquish control over his company town anyway because he had bigger fish to fry as the national economy roared back into high gear after the beginning of the Klondike gold rush. On Jan. 26, 1899, ownership of his mill passed on to a new group called the Sedro Mill Co. From that time on, P.A. and his sons looked more far afield for business opportunities, dabbling some in mining but mainly obtaining contracts with rail lines. After James J. Hill completed his Great Northern construction, however, there was little new trackage to be built, so P.A. explored the rest of the country to find rail lines that needed rebuilding, especially those that suffered from neglect during the Depression. One such line was the Seaboard Air Line (SAL), which operated three railroads out of Savannah, Georgia. That company was both repairing and replacing track and building new road beds in the Carolinas. At age 70, P.A. was once again marketing cross ties and railroad timbers, but this time he took along his younger son, 30-year-old Bert. Bill was 38 by then and had developed other business interests in Sedro-Woolley, but soon he was also summoned as business mushroomed in the South. Over the next nine years they built up a substantial business and made a lot of money as SAL became a major player in the region. Before P.A. moved down to Savannah for several months a year, he contracted with the builder of C.E. Bingham's and Harry Devin's mansions to build a similar mansion for Catherine on Woodworth street. An article from a Savannah newspaper in 1910 noted that Mrs. Woolley and daughters reside in S-W part of the year. While this does not make sense about her daughters, the article does hint that Catherine lived with P.A. down South in part of the year, probably during Woolley's heaviest rainy months and then returned here during Savannah's muggy months of late summer.
      All went well until 1909 when P.A. started failing physically at age 78. The contract with SAL ended in 1908 but there were other contracts down south. He delegated more and more responsibility to Bert but he still refused to retire and in July 10 he suffered a massive stroke, which paralyzed him. Bill accompanied his father home to Sedro-Woolley by a slow train and Bert stayed behind to keep up operations of their contracting company. Back in the late winter, before leaving again for Savannah the last time, P.A. staged his own last hurrah in local politics when the Sedro-Woolley school district sought a whole new site for a new high school to replace the old Irving school on Talcott. P.A. initially offered a site on Woodworth, cornering on Murdock, which was basically the side lawn of his mansion and the school board initially accepted the idea, but town leaders wanted a site with more room to grow. So an election was called for March 19, 1910. Option 1 was Block 16 of old Woolley town, except lot 13 on the corner of Murdock and Munro; $4,600 for 23 lots. Option 2 was all of Block 1 of Sedro except for a strip of land on the west side, for $5,000, which was coincidentally the nucleus of Kelley's new Sedro. A flyer donated by the late Howard Miller shows how opponents used humor to mock P.A. and belittle his offer. They pointed out that on Block 16 of Woolley, the greater portion of the block has standing water on the surface, making a basement absolutely impossible. If you want a dry, centrally located site, the opponents insisted, vote for site 2. If you prefer the "froggy orchestra," vote for site 1. The drier Sedro site won the vote, and the space around the high school has been wisely used on all sides in subsequent additions since then. The site that Woolley offered eventually became the home of the Sedro-Woolley ball field and grandstand, which is long gone, but replaced by a recreation area and more ball fields. In that same year, the original Sedro-Woolley Iron Works, located kitty-cornered across the tracks from the original Woolley school, burned to the ground. David G. McIntyre and the other owners decided to buy the northern portion of Woolley's old mill property plus more acreage to the north and Skagit Steel was thereby born, where 20 years before, firs and cedar were chockablock, 200 feet high. P.A.'s last legacy to the city occurred in October 1910 when P.A. donated an undetermined site facing Metcalf St. for the proposed $2,500 house of the new local chapter of the American Women's League.

P.A. dies in 1912 as Sedro-Woolley booms
(Mr. and Mrs. Woolley)
Mr. and Mrs. Woolley, circa early 1900s

      By the time that P.A. died at his Woodworth street mansion on June 17, 1912, he had been partially paralyzed for nearly two years, but he kept his mental faculties until the end. Bill, Kate and Zada helped their mother host a funeral and memorial but Bert was unable to return in time from Savannah. The preceding year had been especially pivotal for the young town that started as an adjunct to Woolley's mill. In July 1911 the worst fire in local history leveled the two central blocks of downtown and businesses were still rebuilding with brick as P.A. died. A month later, another fire totally destroyed the Cogshall-Metzker mill on Woolley's old mill site. A sure sign of Sedro-Woolley's maturity was marked on Oct. 23, 1911, when Metcalf street was paved with concrete from the Superior Portland Cement Co. upriver. By the time of Woolley's death, 23 blocks in town were paved, to the relief of those who bought automobiles. Len Livermore was selling Ford Model-T's by the train carload and other auto dealers were opening all over town. Frank Hoehn hedged his bet, however, and rebuilt his livery stable for horses and buggies in a barn-like building at the northeast corner of Murdock and Ferry. His first tenant was Dr. G.A. Jones, a veterinarian who arrived by train from Wyoming and soon became one of the most revered town fathers. His son, Dr. "Bud" Jones, still lives in town and is equally respected.
      Although roads in and out of the town were still alternately mud or dust and the trains were still the primary mode of transportation, an event in January presaged changes that were coming. Miss Margaret Thompson, the mayor's daughter, smashed a champagne bottle over the end of a wooden bridge that opened south across the river from Third street as a route to the lakes and Mount Vernon. The Third Street bridge replaced a one-horse ferry that dated from 1886 when Mortimer Cook's clerk, Albert E. Holland started it near where Riverfront park stands today. By the time of Woolley's death, Holland was amassing one of the largest fortunes in town, investing in real estate. The rail lines were supplemented in 1912 by the new electric interurban, owned by Pacific Northwest Traction Co., a division of Stone & Webster Co. of Boston. Riders paid a nickel each way for 14 cars daily between Sedro-Woolley, Burlington and Mount Vernon, with connections for Bellingham and Everett.
      Business was booming all over the country that year and the Northwest lumber industry was never more prosperous, according to a Sept. 19, 1912 edition of the Skagit County Times, which was published in a building on the old Kelley strip, the no man's land from a decade before. Just three weeks before P.A. died, a new payroll was inaugurated near town when the new Northern Hospital for Insane (later named Northern State Hospital) opened on a 1,200-acre campus northeast of town, dedicated by Gov. M.E. Hay himself. Other than promoting his company town's interest, P.A. never showed much interest in politics, but the politics of a national issue were swirling around town as he died. Local option elections allowed communities in Washington to vote wet or dry. In 1912, 262 people signed a petition for prohibition of liquor sales, requesting an election. Ballot issues in primary elections in many county communities resulted in Mount Vernon, Hamilton, Lyman and Minkler voting dry; Anacortes, Sedro-Woolley, Concrete and McMurray voted wet. A ratification ballot in the general election resulted in all three Sedro-Woolley wards voting wet. An editorial in the Times the next week suggested: "Now for the sake of Moses, let the drys soak up a little and let the wets dry up some, and everybody else shut up." That same week, the council passed Ordinance number 114, which prohibited drinking intoxicating liquors in eating houses of the city from midnight to 6 a.m. on workdays and ruled that such places must be closed between midnight Saturday and 6 a.m. Monday. In reaction, "blind pigs appeared in many communities, after-hours clubs that served illegal liquor while patrons played cards or consorted with "loose ladies." These clubs were later called speak-easies in '20s and in Sedro-Woolley they appeared first at the old North Star hotel at the corner of Gibson and Metcalf — which later became the notorious Fern Rooms; and at the Grays Harbor boarding house next door to Dr. Harbaugh's original location.
      Many more changes abounded as P.A. was laid to rest. The Olmstead brothers of Tacoma, sons of the creator of New York City's Central Park, finished their design of Northern State Hospital and as a sideline they laid out the first city park on three acres donated by banker C.E. Bingham just west of north Borseth street, now Highway 20. F.J. Pingry, as spokesman for the Rosarian Society, contributed financially to the park and convinced Bingham to pay for the Olmstead brothers, who were creating special spaces for communities all over the state. The world was also becoming smaller as Pacific Telephone & Telegraph advertised that every Bell telephone was now a long distance station. And three months after P.A.'s death, W.R. Morgan told the city council he was turning over the whole city light plant to Stone & Webster and devote his full time to perfecting the water system and the pipe that crossed the Skagit near today's Steelhead Club. Stone & Webster would evolve into today's Puget Energy.

The Woolleys and Harbaugh carry on
(Dr. Harbaugh)
Dr. Harbaugh, World War I
      After P.A.'s death, Catherine devoted herself to providing a spiritual home through her House of Hope, or what many called her church parlors. The Harbaughs soon became social leaders in the town. Bert fulfilled the contracts in the South and eventually wound up back in Sedro-Woolley by World War I. Bert had managed Woolley Construction Co. back here for his father in the old days and he provided the timbers and cribbing for the Cokedale mine. He continued that work when he came back home, but after a while he managed the pool hall in Frank Bergeron's Vendome hotel at the southeast corner of Ferry and Eastern, where a service station stands today, and also ran an employment bureau out of the hotel. We have not found details about Bill's life here.
      Dr. Harbaugh completed a year of post-graduate work at New York University in 1902 and studied at several major hospitals on the east coast before returning home. In the early days, he rode a bicycle to make house calls and then owned a raucous, sputtering motorcycle, according to biographer Catherine McClintock. In 1908 he bought one of first horseless carriages in town, a Mitchell that thundered along at 20 miles per hour. When his country called in 1918 for him to serve during World War I, he answered at age 49 and ran a field hospital in Oklahoma and Kate joined him there for four months. While there he met the young Phillip LaFollette, who was homesick and saw Harbaugh as father figure. After the war, LaFollette returned to Wisconsin, where he became governor and they maintained their friendship.
      Catherine finally wore down at age 81 and died on March 28, 1924. Just as with her husband, the family decided to have a private funeral with just family members and a few old friends. The leading lights of the business community were her pall bearers. The Harbaughs eventually moved into the mansion permanently with their son. By the mid-20s, the old orchard that spread over to Metcalf street was covered by the IOOF building, constructed in the fall of 1923, and the lawn facing Woodworth street was now covered partially by the Abbott Motor Co. garage. Harbaugh's office was located there but he spent most of his work time at 123 W. Ferry, where he opened Mercy Hospital with Dr. Charles M. Hunter in 1922. They had the first well-equipped operating room and surgical unit in the city and they both practiced there until Aug. 1929, when the new Memorial Hospital opened on State street.
      On June 13, 1926, Dr. Harbaugh was jolted out of a nap on a lounge in his office in the mansion by the shriek of a fire whistle. Onie Leathers turned in the alarm after he noticed smoke coming out of the second story while he was standing by the Abbott garage. Volunteer firemen from the fire station a block west soon thundered up the stairs with hose while others helped carry out all the furniture from the lower floor and equipment that included the doctor's X-ray machine. The fire consumed most of the roof and attic before being extinguished and much of our town's history went up in smoke, along with the antique furniture on the upper floors. When the Harbaughs decided to rebuild, they were shocked to find how little clout they had in their father's old town. While the embers were still being hauled away, the city council passed an ordinance to amend fire regulations to forbid repairs or rebuilding of any woodframe building when the costs would exceed 30 percent of the actual value. Businessmen in the area also hoped that the mansion would not be rebuilt since they considered it a fire hazard. Eventually the mansion was torn down and timber from it was saved to frame a residence and office for the doctor on Woodworth at the alley between Metcalf and Murdock. Kate had been ill, in the hospital, when the fire occurred, took ill again from the shock, then rallied, but finally died on April 28, 1927, at age 54. She had not been active socially for many years, even before her mother's death. Later that fall, the heirs to the Woolley estate — Dr. Harbaugh, his son and the Woolley brothers, quit-claimed the deed they owned to the two blocks at the northwest corner of Murdock and Woodworth. They signed it over to the city as land for the planned new city hall. Ewestern Reno originally owned the lots along with the bicycle and motorcycle shop beside them until 1916 when he moved away and sold the business to Emil Runck.
      After the Mercy Hospital closed, Harbaugh conducted his practice in the building by the alley and he tried to retire in the fall of 1931. But in February 1932 he lost much of his life savings when the First National Bank failed and he had to resume practice again from 1933-36. After he retired the second time, the lower portion of the building was converted to a restaurant called the Coffee Cup, run by his friend Millie Disbrow, and he lived upstairs. He once estimated that in his 40 years practice here, he presided at the birth of 1,100 babies in this district. He was the last of his generation of the extended Woolley family because Bert died in 1934 and Bill died a year later. Bill never married. Bert's wife Helen died young in 1924 and they had no children, so Charles Woolley Harbaugh was the only grandchild living in the United Sates. His daughter Jean says that she never met her uncles Bert and Will and they only traveled up here to Woolley from Seattle on rare occasions. She has made several valuable contributions to the Sedro-Woolley museum from the few remaining documents and objects of the Woolley family.

Mystery solved: Parazada Woolley Pinhey and the family connection
(Updated Summer 2006)
      As often happens with the website, two people responded in the summer of 2006 with answers to questions that we asked in our original draft of this story. We received emails from Eve Richardson and Lynda Larsen-Baldry, who are descendants of the Canadian contingent of the Woolleys. Before that we knew the rudiments about the marriage of Parazada Woolley and Horace Pinhey. The family in Canada spelled her Christian name without the "i".
      We originally knew from the sketchy family information that Pinhey was a key official in the Ottawa government but we had no idea about his background. The family has very deep roots in Canada; they celebrated their reunion there in 1995, which celebrated 175 years in-country. Born in Plymouth, England, Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey requested and received a land grant bordering on the Ottawa River in 1820 and, as a gentleman farmer, he established an extensive farm that he named Horaceville in favor of his son, along with a grist mill, sawmill and St. Mary's Church. In 1990, Kanata — a suburb of Ottawa, purchased the surviving 88-acre estate and established Pinhey's Point Historical Site (http://www.pinheyspoint.ca/ ). Parazada's husband, Horace, was the grandson of Hamnett, who served one term as a provincial legislator.
      We learned most of the Pinhey family information from Eve Richardson, who is a descendant through Constance Elizabeth Rhynas Pinhey, a cousin of Parazada. Then we were soon rewarded when another descendant, Dyson Pinhey, urged Lynda Larsen-Baldry to email us. She is also a descendant of Parazada and Horace, a great-great-granddaughter. At last we found some descendants who could answer some of our questions. We learned that Parazada and Horace Pinhey only had one child, Florence Rita, who was born May 29, 1888, and who was the namesake for Rita Street in West Woolley. That street was in the heart of the homestead that logger Christoffer Olson [or Olsen] bought in 1884 for $200 and then sold to George Nelson and Ole Borseth two years later for $500, and then they sold it to P.A. Woolley, who added it to his original core company town as West Woolley.
      So far, we have not received any personal information about Parazada and how she connected to her Sedro-Woolley family, post-marriage, nor do we know if she visited here to attend either her sister's wedding or funeral or the funeral of her mother. An extensive genealogy/family tree book traces the lineage. Parazada and Horace had one child, daughter Florence Rita Pinhey McLachlin; who in turn had daughter Bette Angela McLachlin Larsen, who in turn had son John Daniel Larsen. We are communicating with the other surviving members of the family. Florence Rita Pinhey McLachlin died in 1966. Her mother, Parazada, died on Sept. 21, 1953, and had been a widow since 1921

Mystery still not solved: Another mystery descendant
      The whereabouts of Mrs. Woolley's early diary is the first of our concerns, but we also want to solve the mystery of the unknown Woolley descendant. On the Fourth of July, 1983, Mrs. Judy Lee Ogden visited her sister-in-law Mrs. E.A. Crosby in Sedro-Woolley. Ed Marlow, who did a terrific job for 20 years of collecting and maintaining hundreds of local photos, photographed them that day because she told him that she was the great-granddaughter of P.A. Woolley. But for some reason the Courier-Times never interviewed her, so she has disappeared. To complicate matters further, a Mrs. Eleanor Crosby died in Sedro-Woolley in 1994 and she was born in Canada. So, was Judy a descendant of the Pinhey family and Parazaida Woolley? Finally, a biography dated 1906 noted that Philip had two living sisters, Miss Margaret Woolley and Mrs. Alice Chrisler, who were residents of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but we have not been able to trace them yet We hope that a reader will have answers to these questions. Please email us if you do.

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Story posted on July 1, 2001, last updated and moved to this domain May 19, 2011
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