(Girl Undercut)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
800 total Free Home Page Stories & Photos
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, founder (bullet) Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

(Click to send email)
Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. We passed 5 million page views on June 6, 2011
The home pages remain free of any charge.
Please pass on this website link to your family, relatives, friends and clients.

(Carl Strom)
Carl Strom

Carl Strom and the fatal 1933 Bingham Bank robbery

      When we think of bank robberies in Sedro-Woolley, the one that gets most attention is the First National Bank robbery in 1914. There was another robbery in 1933 of the Bingham Bank that was much more controversial and resulted in the death of policeman Carl Strom. Strom finally received honors for his death in the line of duty. He was featured in the 2002 book, Century of Honor, by Rae Anna Victor, and he received a posthumous state medal.
      Night marshal Strom was killed in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 15, 1933, after he discovered a gang of robbers who were attempting to drill open the safe of the Bingham bank in downtown Sedro-Woolley. He was fatally shot and left in a storage shed across Woodworth street. His job was described as special policeman or night watchman. He patrolled the buildings downtown and assisted the one city policeman on duty at night. Merchants underwrote the position.
      Victor's book honors policemen who fell in the line of duty all over Washington in the 20th century. Ms. Victor knows the dangers of the profession first-hand, having served as both a reserve and patrol officer and now involved in dispatch communications. She is also an adjunct professor for the Community Colleges of Spokane.
      The 1933 robbery scene was discovered hours later at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. A janitor had actually cleaned up after the burglars at 5 a.m. but did not connect the mess with a robbery. Strom was found in an oil shed behind Fritsch Brothers Hardware, across Woodworth street, two hours later. A bottle of nitroglycerine was found behind the bank and a buzzer system was found wired to a lookout station in a doctor's office above the bank. The robbers used an electric drill to drill a hole in the corner of the bank safe and were just minutes away from opening the safe, where there was about $1,000 in silver. The bank was located just one block west of the new city hall and police station, which were built in 1930.

      The sheriff's department immediately notified law enforcement all over the state. Two ex-cons were detained in Kelso after a high-speed chase following another burglary. Two other ex-con safecrackers were also detained here in Skagit County. But all were eventually let go and no one was ever prosecuted for the murder. Rumors circulated through town for decades about various theories, from cover-ups in the police department to the robbery being a put-up job. Some old-timers still can't agree on what really happened.
      Strom was buried on April 18 in the Sedro-Woolley Union cemetery. Nearly 700 attended his funeral, including police and firemen from all over the state, the largest funeral ever held in this area. The state highway patrol provided a 18-man guard of honor. He had been on the job less than a year, being appointed on January 1 that year.
      Strom was born March 28, 1899, and was the eldest son to Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm Strom in the Utopia district, five miles east of town. He lived here his whole life, working most of the time as a logger until the Great Depression of the 1930s. He was appointed night marshal on Jan. 1, 1933. He left a widow, Nan Strom. His niece now lives on the old Strom family farm about a mile east of the old Skiyou school. Old-timers will remember Carl's late brothers: Otto continued on the family farm and Harry worked for the old Stave's Service Station at the corner of Third and State streets. He was also survived by his sister, Mrs. Ellen Anderson, and his grandmother, Mrs. Matilda Olson. He was related to the Skaglund family of Darrington.
      We were proud to supply the basic information needed to honor Carl Strom in Mrs. Victor's book and for the paperwork needed to qualify him for a state medal of honor. Police Chief Dave Cooper of Sedro-Woolley sponsored the paperwork and the medal was struck in Strom's honor in the year 2000. You can order Ms. Victor's book online at www.authorhouse.com

      This is one of many stories we have researched in connection with the section we are building on Utopia, the district east of Sedro-Woolley between Skiyou and Lyman. We need your help in compiling memories, documents and scans. We are looking for information on these families: We are looking for: Betscharts, Kings, Seversons, Powells, Atwells, Leggetts, Reisches, Johnsons, Silverthorns, McDougles, Marchants, Giffords, McConnells, McCalibs, Minklers, the George Arnolds, Daesners, Behrens and any others who lived there. Please email us if you have information. Thank you.

Links, background reading and sources

Story posted on Sept. 21, 2002, and updated on August 15, 2004, updated June 2016
Please report any broken links so we can update them

Getting lost trying to navigate
or find stories on our site?
Read how to sort through our 800-plus stories.

See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
Return to the new-domain home page
Links for portals to subjects and towns
Newest photo features
Search entire site
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 o o 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: skagitriverjournal@gmail.com
(Click to send email)
Mail copies/documents to Street address: Skagit River Journal, 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284.