(SLSE 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
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Rev. J.F. Devore'a 1873 tour of Skagit Valley

(Cauliflower farm)
This was Hiram A. March's cauliflower farm on Fidalgo island. Courtesy of 1902 magazine, Sebring's Skagit County Illustrated

Bellingham Bay Mail, Aug. 16, 1873
      Rev. J.F. Devore has been taking a trip up the Skagit, and in a very interesting letter to the press graphically but briefly describes what he had observed there. Mr. Devore travels a good deal and, being of an observing turn of mind, when he meets with a section of country which offers more than ordinary inducements to settlers he makes the fact known to the public. He regards the Skagit River country, which, by the way, is within the limits of this county, one of the richest and, prospectively, most promising valley in the Northwest. It suggests itself to our mind that our Skagit friends ought to be "up and at it," and hammer away at the jam until it is removed.
      As this is a national enterprise which involves the opening to commerce and navigation one of the finest rivers in the country, and the settlement of the rich and fertile valley through which it runs, our legislature, at its session next winter, should petition Congress, praying for an appropriation for the removal of the jam. Let our Skagit neighbors see to it that the proper influence be brought to bear on the legislature to act in this matter, and we entertain no doubt of its good results. The following is what Mr. Devore says of the Skagit:

      The Skagit River is about the size of the Willamette River in Oregon. It rises at the foot of Mount Baker and empties its waters into the Sound through two channels. Just above the forks, ten miles from the Sound, there is a jam or drift which obstructs navigation, but with this obstruction removed it is thought that steamers can run up some eighty miles.
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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.

(Celery Farm)
Hutchinson Celery Farm, near Mount Vernon. Courtesy of 1902 magazine, Sebring's Skagit County Illustrated

      The valley is said to be from five to sixteen miles wide, covered mostly with balm and black alder, both of which are easily removed. The products are wheat; 40 bushels per acre; oats, 75 to 100 bushels per acre; potatoes, 300 bushels per acre; hay, 2 tons per acre; also cattle and hogs are abundant. There is also wild game, such as elk, deer, bear, cougar, wild cat, grouse, and the river abounds with a splendid article of salmon, which will justify, as I think, the establishment of fisheries as on the Columbia River.
      The settlers are as yet below the jam on the North and South channel, and number about seventy five farms already opened. Indications are that in a very few years, with the jam removed, there must be a very large business carried on in this part of the country. There is certainly room for twenty five thousand people on the river; then, with this region settled and steamers plying up and down it will become one of the very desirable portions of the great Northwest. This part of the country is far more beautiful and fertile than I expected to find; indeed I think that those who want homes can be accommodated in this part of the world. I find the people very hospitable and kind throughout these settlements, doing all they can to make strangers feel at home when in their midst."

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Story posted Aug. 15, 2011
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This article originally appeared in Issue 56 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine

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