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(S and N Railroad)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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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

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Timeline for Sedro-Woolley history

(Batey family)
David and Dr. Georgianna Batey with their granddaughter Anna.

1878: Four bachelors from England and Ireland homestead the future site of the town. David Batey, Joseph Hart, William Dunlop and William Woods. More bachelors would soon follow, including Henry Holtcamp and Fred and John Kiens. Interesting contrast that most of the earliest principal settlers upriver were married.
1884: Mortimer Cook buys timber rights to cedar north of the Skagit River and forms the village of Bug on the present site of Riverfront Park, the first to kiln-dry Western Red Cedar for national shipment.
1885: December 7, Cook is granted post office under the name of Sedro. Read about how and when the village changed from Bug to Sedro, and other stories of the birth.
1889: Aug. 29, Norman R. Kelley plats Town of Sedro (known as Kelley's Town, upper-Sedro or new-Sedro), based on the block where the high school stands.
1889: Oct. 17, Nelson Bennett's Fairhaven Land Company plats The Town of Sedro, based on Cook's homesite and William Woods' and William Dunlop's homesteads.
1889: Philip A. Woolley and family arrived from Elgin, Illinois, lodge at Sedro and buy acreage of the eventual town of Woolley.
1889: Dec. 24, first Fairhaven & Southern train arrives in Sedro from Fairhaven on a diagonal route cutting through the town of Woolley and the two towns of Sedro, courtesy of Nelson Bennett,. Tracks outside of town to Fairhaven torn up 1900-02 after line absorbed by Great Northern. [Part One of our totally updated story of the Fairhaven & Southern Railway, which chugged into old Sedro on Christmas eve, 1889, as the first standard-gauge railroad in the state, north of Seattle. Includes profiles of F&S pioneers Nelson Bennett and John J. Donovan and the birth of the two Sedro towns. Shared from our optional Subscribers EditionSubscribers Edition.]
1890: Apr. 18, first issue of Sedro Press, first newspaper, George Hopp, publisher.
1890: June 13, town of Woolley, "Hub of Skagit County," platted as company town for P.A. Woolley.
1890: Aug. 5, first Seattle & Northern train arrives in Woolley (just south of Woolley's mill) from Ship's Harbor (now the state ferry landing west of Anacortes). This becomes part of James J. Hill's Great Northern.
1890: Nov. 15, Sedro Hotel opens where the high school gymnasium now stands on 3rd St. Grandest hotel between Everett and Fairhaven. Reputed to be the first public building in the county with a gravity flush-toilet. Burns partially in 1894, totally in 1897.

(Hotel Sedro)
      This is the architect's drawing of Hotel Sedro. We do not have an actual photo of it but we hope that a reader will have one in an old scrapbook. The Sedro Land & Improvement Co. partnership headed by Norman Kelley and Junius Brutus Alexander designed it as a 3-story luxury hotel, with gravity flush toilets, possibly the first ones in the county. It was located on the west side of Third street, about where the high school gymnasium stands now. The Pioneer Block of businesses stood across the street where the present high school was built in 1911. That were the nucleus of new-Sedro and businesses such as Bingham Bank and Holland Drugs burned in 1894 when the hotel was nearly destroyed by fire. Alexander donated the former hotel-lots for the site of the Carnegie Library, which opened on Oct. 28, 1915, and was torn down in 1963 for the gymnasium. That decision is still debated in hindsight as being one of the worst in Sedro-Woolley history.
      The hotel was meant to house visitors and investors to the booming town of Sedro. The depot for the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern Railway was located west from the hotel, about where the western end of the high school football field is. There were even plans afoot to compete for the county seat, but hopes were dashed for that in the election of 1892. But the real problem for the hotel was that P.A. Woolley was already building his company town ten blocks northwest and when three trains finally crossed there, both the SLS&E depot and the Hotel Sedro were doomed. The final nail in the coffin of new-Sedro and the hotel came with the nationwide financial panic of 1893, which led to a Depression that greatly reduced production and trade in most of the Northwest for the next three years. Within a year of being built in 1890 the hotel went bankrupt and in 1897 it burned to the ground.
      If you know anyone who has photos or documents of Hotel Sedro, the SLS&E depot or the new-Sedro area of the 1890s, please email us with a scanned attachment or mail copies. See below for details.

1890: Nov. 25, first Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern train arrives from Seattle, meets S&N train. This later becomes the Seattle & International and then the Northern Pacific.
1891: Feb, Skagit County Times established in old Woolley by Messrs. Henshaw & Lucas.
1891: March 4, Sedro incorporated as a city of the Fourth Class (same day as Hamilton incorporated). George Hopp, first mayor.
1891: May 11, Woolley incorporated as city of the Fourth Class. William Guse first mayor.
1892 estimate: St. Elizabeth's Hospital opens at corner of Township and Fidalgo, first county hospital.
1898: Dec. 19, after several elections over six years where the name Sedro won by popular elections, the Skagit County Commissioners settle the name problem by accepting the hyphenated name of Sedro-Woolley for the merged towns. Charles E. Bingham, the banker, first elected mayor

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Story posted on Jan. 1, 2001, last updated March 26, 2005, transferred to this domain Oct. 26, 2007
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(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 88 years.
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