Preview the Early Snohomish Heritage Trail

You are invited to an impromptu preview of all nine signs designed for the heritage trail on Sunday, October 13th, from 4 to 6p. at the AngelArmsWorks Studio, 230 Avenue B in Snohomish.

Inexpensive full-size prints of the signs are on display for a week while we fine-tune the designs. The image above is from our first preview on Sunday the 6th. The purpose of the preview is to receive feedback on the readability of the stories, and our first preview was very encouraging.

The sub-title of the project, or the tag-line if you will is, “Short Stories of Those Who Came Before Us.” My intention is for visitors to be drawn into the signs but stay to read the story and learn about the people who made Snohomish.

All good stories go with a glass of wine which I’m happy to provide.

Hope to see you on Sunday the 13th, around 4p.
(Karen’s handmade tote bags will be hanging around too.)


Thanks to all who showed up to preview the signs — got lots of useful suggestions, and thanks to Karen for the delicious lasagne supper!

Retelling the Story of Early Snohomish

heritage sign city hall

It’s been a dozen years since Early Snohomish was published by Arcadia Publishers, which means that for over a decade, I’ve been promoting the idea of a heritage trail along First Street — and now it’s happening!

So happy to report that I’ve signed a contract with the City of Snohomish to create the content and design of nine interpretative signs that will tell the story of early Snohomish along First Street and beyond.

The city was awarded a grant from the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Program to create our first heritage trail. As you can see by the featured image above, a mockup shot with Karen’s help, work has begun.

Click to download pdf
Proposed interpretative sign for the first stop at Snohomish City Hall on Union Avenue featuring the portrait of E.C. Ferguson that hangs in city hall. The title “Rumors of a Ferry Crossing” is also the title of Chapter One in “Early Snohomish” which tells the story of how Ferguson came to be referred to as the “Founding Father of Snohomish.” [Click to download pdf]

 

. . .

heritage trail signPhotoshop mockup of the proposed interpretative sign for Trail Stop #3 that will be located at Union and First telling the story of the Ferguson Family. [Click to Enlarge]

 

trail sign #3 preview
The bottom third is the boiler plate for all signs that will include titles of the trail stops, the map (detail views below) and credits. Six of the heritage signs will fit inside the existing display cases which measure two by three feet but will not be covered by plastc. [Click the image to download a pdf file]

 
 
titles detail
 
 
 
Several of the trail stop titles are lovingly lifted from my book “Early Snohomish”.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

trail map version aTrail Map version A showing a photo of the river and the trail masthead.

trail map verson BTrail Map version B showing a photo of only the River Front Trail, (masthead excluded for clarity). The goal of the map is to encourge visitors to walk the trail as a loop between First Street and the River Front Trail. Let me know which version you prefer.

The long wait for this project to meet reality has only multiplied my excitement by 10 and hope you will share that excitement by adding comments and suggestions below — you are the public in this public project made possible by funds administered by Snohomish County — I encourage and welcome your participation.

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. . .

Ann Tuohy Likes to Solve Puzzles: Where Was J.S. White Born and What Was Name?

Ann Tuohy

Within weeks after mailing a donation of our book, J.S. White Our First Architect, to the Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth, NH, White’s birthplace, I received a complimentary thank you email from Chris Clyne, the local history librarian. However, the second paragraph read in part: “but found no record of his family in Tamworth.” Further, he was “wondering how [do] you know he was born here?”

Responding immediately, I told him our source was William Whitfield’s 1926 History of Snohomish County, Vol. 2, p. 343-4; John S. White:

“He was born in Tamworth, Carroll County, New Hampshire, on the 13th of July, 1845, a son of Isaac White, and was reared at home, attending the public schools of his community. At the age of eighteen years, he learned the trade of a carpenter, which vocation he followed in his native state for about fifteen years.”

And closed with the fact that Whitfield was one of the pallbearers at White’s funeral in 1920. (Always impresses me.) Then I sent the chain of emails to Ann Tuohy.

Ann Tuohy is a long-time volunteer genealogist with the Snohomish Historical Society, and big-time helper putting my two books together. But long before I started the book on White, Ann had completed a genealogical workup of him and it was Ann who located the source of his birth in Whitfield’s book — so for sure, she would want to know about this curious development.

It didn’t take but a week for Ann to write:

Guess what?

I think John S. White was actually John Mudgett, son of Isaac and Mercy (Hobbs) Mudgett, and brother of Isaac Newton Mudgett. 🙂

I had never seen an emoticon in any of Ann’s emails — come to learn she had found Isaac White’s will, dated 1871, where it seems the father, Isaac, had changed his name to White as well.

willIsaac White of Andover, wrote his will on 4 Jan. 1871, which was probated in Merrimack County, New Hampshire on 24 Jan. 1871. He named his daughter Leonora S. Stillinge, daughter Eliza A. Crosby, daughter Mary E. Stackpole, my two sons Isaac N. Mudgett and Jacob H. Mudgett, daughter Mercy J. Sampson, son John S. White, and wife Hannah White. (Hannah was Hannah Rollins whom Isaac had married 18 Jan. 1865.)

The son, Isaac Newton Mudgett and his wife, Ellen, built their home on Avenue H around the time White arrived with his family and who immediately purchased four lots on Block One in the Clay Addition. Eventually, White built his family home on Avenue H as well, just a few doors south from the Mudgett’s.

From the start, I imagined a connection between Mudgett and White in order for both families to end up in Snohomish … and now we learn, thanks to Ann’s imaginative discovery, they may have been brothers!

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We met in the Snohomish Library where I had the opportunity to introduce Ann to the director, Jude, as he passed by our table — as a “treasure” for her genealogical research and documentation. “I’m curious about people,” is all Ann will say. As long as I have known her, Ann shies away from talking about herself, but her contribution to the history of Snohomish is immense.

Born in Snohomish to two journalism majors, the Dobbs, her father Tom was the publisher of the Snohomish County Tribune for many years until his death in 1955. A long marriage to the popular Dr. Cedric Tuohy produced a family of two sons and a daughter. Ann and Cedric lost their son Tom in 2007 and Cedric passed two years later.

“I like solving puzzles,” Ann told me, then added, “This is a good one, I am still working on it.”

. . .

Visiting Bradley, Maine

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The town Bradley was named to honor Bradley Blackman, the patriarch of the Blackman Brothers who drove the economic engine with their logging and lumber operations of early Snohomish.

This is where it began. The Blackman family took over Leonard Mills operation on Nicholas Stream following Leonard’s death 1828 and continued for 50 years, even the stream was renamed after the Blackmans.

Around 1870, the Blackman brothers, Alanson, the eldest, along with his wife, Eliza; middle son, Elhanan, his wife, Frances, and the babe-in-arms, Edith; the youngest Hyrcanus and his wife Ella, all migrated to the Pacific Northwest. The story is that the brothers’ operation went belly up in Bradley, but I could find nothing about this story during my visit.

It’s enough for me that the original Blackman operation is now the Maine Forest and Logging Museum.

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View from upstream.

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The back side of the mill.

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Pit Saw for manual “up-and-down” sawing, used since the middle ages.


Museum Director Sherry Davis preparing the ‘Beans Pit!”.

Director Sherry Davis explained that when this site of “Leonard’s Mills” was discovered, archaeologists found evidence of five sawmills that were once located on Blackman Stream. A plan to create a “living history site” was first spoken of in the 1950s and ten years later the Penobscot Experimental Forest donated land to the newly incorporated museum. The water-powered mill in operation today was begun in the 1980s and its first plank was cut in 1991.

The brothers landed in Port Gamble where a logging and lumber operation had been underway since 1885, founded by men from the Penobscot area of Maine. How the Blackmans’ found their way to Snohomish might be best answered with a novel.

The local newspapers reported the doings of the Snohomish Blackmans, especially with death, for example, Hyrcanus’ notice in the Old Town Enterprise reported: “Mr. Blackman died in his palatial home on Avenue B ….”

Keep this in mind the next time you visit the Blackman House Museum on Avenue B.

Follow this link to learn more about the Blackmans and Avenue B.

. . .

Featured Image: The Maine Forest and Logging Museum’s reconstruction of a working water-powered mill began cutting lumber in 1991.

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Return to Road Trip June 2019.

The Founder Who Disappeared

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The lead character in Act One, Scene iii of our proposed “Birthplace of the County Heritage Trail” is Edson T. Cady, pictured here in an undated daguerreotype courtesy of the Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room.
 
 
 

People living on the Snohomish River could hear Ed Cady long before they would see him chugging up the river in his flat-bottom scow outfitted with a small, boisterous steam engine.

Christened The Minnehaha, it was the first steam-powered boat on the river that would eventually grow in number to 67 and a variety of sizes and styles. By that time, however, Edson T. Cady had moved on to parts unknown — he disappeared from the pages of history.

. . .

Edson T. Cady was born in 1828 in upstate New York, as was his co-founder E.C. Ferguson. They found each other in Steilacoom, Washington Territory, in a group of frontier businessmen scheming to invest in a ferry service across the Snohomish River — a vital link in a proposed military road from Fort Steilacoom to Fort Bellingham — a project the U.S. Army abandoned when called to serve in the Civil War.

Only three men of the original military road group staked claims near where the Pilchuck River empties into the Snohomish. Besides Cady and Ferguson, there was Egbert Tucker who staked a claim on the south bank.

With the road project abandoned, a new opportunity arose with the gold rush to the Similkameen and Kettle Rivers on the eastern side of the Cascade Range. Cady, Ferguson and a man named Parsons set out to establish a trans-Cascade pack trail to the goldfields. Again, by the time the trail was established, the gold rush petered out and this project was abandoned as well.

Yet, the route they discovered is called Cady Pass to this day.

Around this time, he came into possession of the Minnehaha and “Cady made a living by freighting supplies up and down the river for the few settlers along the river and logging camps near its mouth, and by bringing supplies from Port Gamble,” wrote William Whitfield, in his 1926 history of Snohomish County.

On February 28, 1861, Edson T. Cady was appointed the first postmaster for the settlement he named Cadyville. His post office was his scow, the Minnehaha. Cady held the post for two years when he sold his eastern claim of the future Snohomish City to Mary Low and Woodbury Sinclair.

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Western and Eastern Plats of Snohomish City.

. . .

Featured Image above: Photograph of Snohomish City by Gilbert Horton, ca.1885, picturing Ferguson’s Cottage and Eagle Saloon on the left, Sinclair store and home on the right, and the Riverside Hotel in the center. Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society.

. . .

Thanks for the genealogical workup by Ann Tuohy who notes that Edson T. Cady could be the “E.T. Cady” listed on the census of 1880 in Township 3, Mariposa County, California. This man’s birthplace was given as Connecticut rather than New York, but he was a miner, married, but living alone.

Act I, Scene i: The Founder Who Stayed

ferguson

Following up on last month’s post proposing a heritage trail for Snohomish, we are going to take a closer look at what the content might be for this trail in the next several posts.

To review, the proposal is to re-purpose the three-pole wayfinder clusters on First Street which will display three interpretive signs. Each wayfinder cluster will be considered an Act in the story of Snohomish’s founding, and each sign will be a Scene.
wayfinder cluster

 
 
 
View of the existing wayfinder custer on First Street at Union Avenue, showing the location of the west facing interpretative sign.
Click image to enlarge
 
 
 

For example, this month we will use the wayfinder cluster at Union Street, it will be called Act One. The first Scene will be the sign facing west which will include the content outlined in this post titled The Founder Who Stayed.

Emory Canada Ferguson never returned to his home town in upstate New York after leaving at the age of 21 to find gold in California. He found instead a town in Washington Territory that he and his wife Lucetta gave the Indian name of the river that runs through it.

“Here he served as postmaster, mayor, realtor, saloon keeper, store proprietor, legislator — even justice of the peace — and was on hand to give birth to Snohomish County when it was formed in January of 1861.

A well-loved pioneer figure in his senior years, “Old Ferg” helped to humorously craft his own image through his writings and after-dinner speeches in which he depicted himself as a rugged pioneer once living alone in the wilderness.”

ferguson familyThe Ferguson Family Portrait, c.1890, the year Snohomish Incorporated. From the left: Ivy Maude, born in 1875; Lucetta, married to E.C. in 1868; Sylvia M., the first born in 1869; Emory Canda, with son Cecil sitting on his lap, born in 1881.
Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society; click image to enlarge

The Snohomish Daily Sun reported this talk before the Wranglers organization on December 19, 1889:

Ladies and Gentlemen — I have had very little time to prepare, or think over this subject so I will have to tell it just as it comes to mind. Snohomish County was up to about the year 1860 a part of Island County. At about that time it was separated from Island and the present county of Snohomish was created. I don’t know there was any reason for doing so unless there were more politicians than counties and the matter was adjusted by making another county rather than killing some of the politicians.

Ferguson familyA vital photograph of three generations of Snohomish’s Leading Family and it’s undated, but we can make a good guess based on guessing the age of the toddler Norman Lenfest, seated and dressed like a gentleman in the first row, who was born in 1893; behind him, seated in a neat row of chairs are his grand and great-grandparents, on the left is Lucetta (Morgan) Ferguson, (1849-1907); Mary Trout Morgan (1829-1903); Hiram Morgan (1822-1906); and E.C.Ferguson (1833-1911); finally, standing are Norman’s parents Sylvia (Ferguson) Lenfest (1869-1952), and Elmer Lenfest (1864-1938) who were married in the Ferguson home in 1891. As to guessing the date, some say 1897, but the museum label would read circa 1900, which means around that time.
Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society; click image to enlarge

The first election, I think was held in June for the purpose of deciding whether the county seat should remain at Mukilteo, then the largest town in the county. The election was a very hot one and owing to the large settlement which had located up on the Snohomish River they succeeded in moving the county seat from the metropolis to its present location. The vote after a long and tedious count was determined to be ten for Mukilteo and eleven for Snohomish.

The First ResidenceThis was Ferguson’s first residence, referred to as a cottage, which he built in Steilacoom then disassembled it inorder to ship the modest structure north. This was his favorite home he once said and it’s the only one of his three homes that is still standing and privately owned. Its location is indicated by a stone marker on the River Front Trail. It’s where Ferguson celebrated his first Fourth of July in Snohomish.
Courtesy Everett Public Library, Northwest Room; click to enlarge

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I remember well the first Fourth of July celebration in Snohomish. It was in ’61 and on the day, without following any preliminary or elaborate program, I took the old Yeger musket that the government furnished in those days to its frontier army — and going outside, blazed away volley after volley till I thought the day had been suitably observed, and then returned the old musket to its accustomed corner. It was a patriotic observance of the day, though there was no one present or within hearing but myself, to participate.

“He smiled as he recalled this reminiscence of early days in Snohomish, reported the Everett Daily Herald, February 6, 1902. “The audience was anxious for Mr. Ferguson to go on, but he said it would take all night to tell a small part of the story of the early life in Snohomish and that he might as well quit where he was.”

ferguson obit
 
Ferguson died on October 7, 1911, and is buried in Snohomish’s Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, as are the family members pictured in this post. Several descendants still live in the Snohomish area.

 

. . . .

Featured Image above: A crayon portrait of town founder E. C. Ferguson, ca.1890. Removed from its frame for preservation, replaced with a digital copy and returned to its place in today’s city hall.

. . . .

“Emory C. Ferguson Recalls Early Days in Snohomish County,” accessed March 17, 2019,
https://www.historylink.org/File/8492

Why Not a Heritage Trail for Snohomish?

interpretative sign

Have you ever visited a city and found yourself on a Heritage Trail? Without a brochure or even intention, you were following informative, eye-catching interpretative signs that took you back to the origin of the place where you were walking and so you continued to walk from sign to sign?

This happened to me in my hometown of Minneapolis when we returned for a family reunion and our mother wanted to visit the church of her childhood located where Minneapolis/St. Paul began — the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.

“Minneapolis’ once thriving lumber and flour milling industries began at the St. Anthony Falls — the only major falls along the Mississippi River. This industrial history is on display along the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, a 1.8-mile loop around the city’s riverfront within the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Zone.” (p.68 “Hitting the Trail, Twelve Urban Historic Trails Where You Can Explore a City’s Past and Present,” Preservation Winter 2019.)

Upon my return to Snohomish, I began talking up the establishment of a heritage trail to anyone who would listen. Before that, while still a weekend resident, I led my first walking tour of the First Street/Riverfront Trail loop that shows-and-tells the story of early Snohomish.

. . . .

The renovation of the former St. Michael Catholic Church into our home and studio would begin on Fridays when we drove up from Seattle to touch base with, Roland, our carpenter/confessor, before he headed back to Seattle until Monday morning.

The place was ours for the weekend.

We walked around inspecting/admiring the new framing … then began loading our white Astro cargo van with Roland’s outtakes, many times a pile waist high. We had to make the dump-run before it closes, and we were looking forward to our reward of an Indian dinner out. It was a hole-in-the-wall place on lower Hewitt that we loved as an instant tradition begun on our first date. Always ordered the large bottle of Kingfisher Premium and together we’d wait for our food to arrive.

We were weekend residents until the turn of the millennium, living in a 300 square foot addition built over a carport on the south end of the church structure, vintage 1960s. No oven, but everything else and best of all, it had a private entrance. Karen worked on her garden and her thoughts of running for a city council seat; I joined the historical society.

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mary low sinclair banner“Snohomish is old enough for its own heritage trail,” I remember writing somewhere. My pitch for a trail was always enthusiastically received but never funded. In 2011, inspired by the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Snohomish led to the proposal for lamp post banners marking the event which was funded by the Historic Downtown Snohomish organization. Banners with the faces of the city’s founders hung from every lamppost up and down First Street for five years or so.

Working with Wendy, the city’s economic director, we have submitted a grant to the 2019 Historical Preservation Grant Program administered by the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission to establish the first trail for the City of Snohomish.

Its proposed name is Snohomish Heritage Trail #1. Birthplace of the County in Three-Acts.

The intention is to create interpretative signs that will lead visitors on a Heritage Trail loop of Snohomish’s downtown business district, including the River Front Trail, that shows and tells the highlights of the city’s 19th-century heritage, with emphasis on the people.

The plan is to repurpose the three, three-pole Wayfinder clusters installed on the south side of 1st Street at the former Visitor Center, Avenue D; Avenue B street end, near the public restroom facility and stairs to the River Front Trail; where Union Avenue also ends – and where our story begins.

interpretative sign
Mock-up of proposed interpretative sign at Union and First Street –a new use for the existing wayfinder infrastructure.

. . . .

“Walking around Snohomish is enjoyable and educational. Because so much of its historical fabric remains, it is a place where one can experience (at least in moments of reverie) what our region’s towns were like more than a century ago. Although there are other places that offer similar experiences, Snohomish is conveniently close to Seattle.”

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, UW Professor, Department of Architecture

. . . .

Featured Image above: An example of an interpretative sign, on the left, outlines a brief history the former St. Michael Catholic Church and the establishment of AngelArmsWorks Studio in 1993 which may be viewed at 230 Avenue B.

St. Michael Catholic Church (1888-1986);
AngelArmsWorks Studio Est. 1993

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Excerpts from the Journal of Father Tryphon F. Van DeWalle;
(b.1896 Belgium –
d.1948 Snohomish);
Served as pastor from
1906 to 1947.

 
 
In August 1883 a movement was organized for the construction of Catholic church in Snohomish. A Protestant gentleman, Mr. E. C. Ferguson, first County Commissioner, first Justice of the Peace, and first Postmaster, all three at the same time, was the donor of the parcel of land on which the church was to be erected. Wrangling, however, among the members of the Catholic community halted the impetus given.

In 1886, Rev. Father M. McCauley was appointed and came to Snohomish as the first resident parish priest. He was possessed of unusually great zeal and determination; and having a certain amount of financial means of his own, he went ahead brushing all opposition aside and began at once to execute the plans Father Kuster had delineated before him. An old skating rink was acquired and dismantled, and the lumber there from was used in the construction of the new church, which measured 28 feet in width, 55 feet in length, and had a spire that towered 80 feet up in the air. One of the two Boyce brothers was the architect and H. A. Eddy the builder. The structure was dedicated in 1889 to the Bl. Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. How and when the title of the church came to be changed to that of St. Michael, is unknown to me.

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The present pastor is the 6th at St. Michael’s. He took office on Sunday, the second day of February 1906, the feast of the Purification of the Bl. Virgin Mary. The parishioners impressed him very favorably and showed him unmistakable signs of kindness, respect, and goodwill. The rectory in which he was to reside was in a dilapidated condition and it needed immediate repairs. The pastor, therefore, called his trustees in consultation and spoke of an effort to be made to raise some 5 or 6 hundred dollars to provide for the most pressing needs. $600 sounded like an exceedingly big sum of money to them, and they shook their heads. The following Sunday the congregation was told that no trustees were further needed, that the pastor would henceforth look after the necessary work himself and try with their kind and sustained cooperation to defray the cost of it. In three months, new rooms were built onto the house, and from the top to bottom it was an almost new construction.

snohomish stories imagesA 19th-century lawn party from the DeLoy Album.

In 1920, the pastor suggested that the old church should be torn down in part, remodeled, and rebuilt; that a concrete basement should be built under it and another one under the rectory, too; that separate heating plants should be installed; and that every member do his bit to shoulder, and in the little time as reasonable, to liquidate the huge debt to be contracted. Everyone responded, and the pastor and flock have repaid the debt incurred; not only have they paid that debt, but to further obtain God’s blessing upon them, they have liquidated the debt that had long ago been outlawed, some of them dating back to the time the first church was built in 1888.

snohomishstories imagesAngelArmsWorks Studio winter 2010.

Today, St. Michaels’s with hardly 35 families left, some of them destitute, all of the poor, without industry of commerce to help them, many forced to commute, find help in neighboring towns or in logging camps, when in operation, unaided by agriculture or dairying, which is in the hands mostly of Scandinavians and Germans of the Lutheran faith, — St. Michael’s, I’d say, is still the sweet, peaceful, church it has ever been – ever since that eventful day, 20 years ago.

Truly the little parish in the valley where the Snohomish River flows is a little Paradise on earth; and the pastor may well exclaim with the sainted abbot de Clairvaux: “O beata solitudo, sola beatitudo.” (Oh blessed solitude, my happiness.”)

T. F. Van de Walle (circa 1925)

. . . .

FEATURED IMAGES ABOVE: Father A. T. Bourke with the First Communion Celebration, 1905, photographed by the Rigby Sisters Photo Studio, (courtesy Northwest Room, EPL); and Jami Sieber Concert in the studio, 2018.

Karen and I renovated the rectory building in 1993 and rented it until we could renovate, then move into the church building in 2000. We are very grateful for Maurie DeLoy sharing the album his mother put together of her days working as a housekeeper under the direction of her sister who had moved with Father Van from New York State in 1906 when he was assigned to the first Catholic Church of Snohomish County.

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We plan on installing this 18×24″ interpretive sign in the approximate location of the lawn party pictured above before the New Year 2019! Both structures are indentified and located in the Historic District of Snohomish.

. . . .

#5. The Election: Going Down to Camp

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snohomish stories imageCast of Imaginary Characters:
John T. Hardwick
Missus Nightingale
Billy Bottom
Ivy Williams-Bottom

The open caucus held by the people at Odd Fellows’ Hall nominated the successful ticket, and not the convention ‘held last week’– in the saloons.
The Eye, June 28, 1890

The city manager is out, and Snohomish’s ‘strong’ mayor is in. Daily Herald, November 29, 2017

. . . .

The steamer Nellie carried a party of excursionists, numbering in all twenty-five persons to a point on Whidby island a short distance south of Holmes’ Harbor, where they have been enjoying themselves camping out, hunting, fishing, etc. The Eye, August 30, 1884.

The talk of Mayor Hardwick’s rescue, or ascension as it’s mockingly called, began while waiting for the tide to recede and take the giddy passengers downriver to camp. Steamship Nellie was filling up with the usual characters and their bulky camping gear. Their destination was a strip of beach a short distance across Possession Sound at the base of a steep bluff.

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Edith Blackman, arrived in Puget Sound country with the Blackman families’ migration from Maine in 1872, as a babe in arms. (Snohomish Historical Society)
 
 
 
 

Young Edith Blackman held the rapt attention of a cluster of young women leaning in to hear her undercover eye-witness account of the action. From time to time, Edith would wear pants, which gave her access to public events without drawing attention to her gender. Following every word was Sylvia Ferguson, the first child of E. C. and Lucita; it was her father who lost the election to Reverend Hardwick. Her bright eyes seemed stuck open as she listened to Edith’s vivid telling of the newly elected, nearly naked mayor rising up in the excavation basket.

“What happened to his clothes?” she asked.

“This woman they call Missus Something-or-other removed his trousers and they were coated with mud and his leg was broken or something and she tore his shirt to make a splint – he was pushed from the sidewalk, you know,” explained Edith, pantomiming a pushing gesture and looking down. “My father told me that,” she said, looking up to see her father, Elhanon.

“Yes, our boy mayor got thrown out of the Palace Saloon for ranting in people’s faces, again! Yelling how they were all sinners and the whole lot of ‘em were going to hell!” Elhanon Blackman paused, staring into the eyes of each listener, playing the part a bit. “Finally this big guy says: How about you go to hell right now, and hits Hardwick square in the jaw, down he goes, one punch, while others drag him out onto the sidewalk.”

Mr. Blackman was on a roll: “A well juiced-up group followed the hapless Hardwick being dragged outside with their eyes on the deep, dark excavation pit for White’s foundation that was right next door to the Palace and,” pausing for maximum effect, “over the edge he went with barely a second thought or squeak from anyone. That’s when it started raining.”

Rousing cheers rose from the passengers sparked by the three sharp blasts of Nellie’s horn and she was set free. It was a bright, sunny day on the Snohomish River. It was full, bank to bank, yet very still, reflecting the blue sky and turning the tall cedars upside down in the slow current disturbed only by Nellie’s shallow wake.

Elhanon Blackman had taken over telling the story begun by his daughter. His wife, Frances, joined the group gathered at the bow of Nellie. She was tired of the story, as her daughter, Edith, told it to her over and over again, but she wanted to take in the mirror-like reflections of the water before “Nellie ran over them,” as she would say.

Elhanon and his brothers were lumbermen from Maine who quickly established a logging camp and mill in Snohomish and were rightly revered as the economic power of the community.

“This so-called Reverend Hardwick, with his crazy talk of some Jesus character sent here to save us, wouldn’t have gotten to first base without this Billy Bottom lowlife getting in everybody’s face,” Elhanon said. (Snohomish was a baseball town and its team, the Pacifics, was doing quite well.)

Young Jenny Durham jumped in. “He would make up a list of young women’s names in town that he accused of being witches, pagans, then post it at the Sisters of Mercy church … I, ah … I was horrified to find my name on that list,” she confessed to the group. Tears touched with rage filled her eyes.

“Me too!” claimed Frannie Churchill, suddenly, and all turned toward her as if rehearsed.

“And me!” confessed Sylvia, Frannie’s best friend. They were about to begin their first year at the University of Washington together. “A group of us would mock his rantings on the street corner; men did too, but only women’s names are on his list.” Sylvia continued, “It’s truly troubling how many people were intimidated by his crazy thinking.”

“What happened to Hardwick and his position as mayor?” Jenny asked.

“It was fascinating!” said Blackman with a loud sigh. “Our rabid mayor returned to council meetings a changed being – he would stare into space with a faraway look and spooky smile on his face. He couldn’t or wouldn’t talk, instead kept trying to say Je-sus!”

The conversation fell silent as Nellie passed Lowell on the port side. A group on the dock watched, then waved as the sternwheeler chugged slowly on, not stopping to pick up campers this year.

“And that Billy Bottom character, I tell you, he pestered White and the council members to the point of exhaustion until they finally passed an ordinance that prohibited shooting galleries in Snohomish just to shut him up. But White had already given up his original plan for one in the basement — that’s why the foundation pit was so deep – for headroom,” explained Blackman. “I could have told White that it was going to be tough to keep it dry because of the high water table.”

“But Bottom told anyone who would listen,” interrupted Edith, “that there will always be a puddle of water in that basement to mark the spot where his brother-in-arms, John Hardwick, fell to earth on that bright, Sunday, June morning!”

“Does anyone know what happened to this Bottom fellow?” asked Mary Low Sinclair, who was standing next to Charles Missimer, the founder of Lake Stevens. “We’ve been spared his ugliness around town for months, it seems.”

“Don’t know for sure, but heard that he and his wife moved to the brand new state of Montana … if so, good riddance!” said Blackman in a manner that brought the conversation to an end.

Shortly afterward, Nellie reached the mouth of the Snohomish River to a great cheer as she bravely entered the choppy expanse of Possession Sound, headed for Hat Island where they would stop for lunch. The wind picked up, but it was to their back, so all remained watching the horizon to the west – who would be the first to spot a tell-tale sign of their beach?

Come November there would be the regular election with the expectation that the civic life of Snohomish would return to its normal ups and downs; for now, thoughts were of sunshine, swimming, and clams — they were going down to camp.

. . . .

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This story is inspired by the wonderful book Down to Camp: A History of Summer Folk on Whidbey Island by Frances L. Wood and available from Blue Heron Press. The featured image is from the Ferguson Album held by the Snohomish Historical Society. Postscript: To this day the basement of the White Building, 924 1st Street, is not open to the public.

. . . .

Mary Low Sinclair Arrives in Cadyville (future Snohomish City) on May 1, 1865.

mary low sinclair

On the last day of April 1865, Mary Low Sinclair and her one-month-old son, Alvin, board the small, unfinished steamer Mary Woodruff in Port Madison, Kitsap County, for a journey across Puget Sound and up the Snohomish River to a place called Cadyville, where her husband, Woodbury Sinclair (1825-1872), has purchased the Edson T. Cady claim that previous December. Mary remembers the day of her arrival in an article published 46 years later in the November 24, 1911, issue of the Snohomish County Tribune. She does not mention the fact that she was the first Caucasian woman to take up permanent residence in the place that was to become Snohomish City. She also fails to note that even by 1911, she is considered to be the founder of education in Snohomish by opening her home as the first classroom. Plus, she skips over the intriguing fact that by learning the native languages of the area, she served as a translator for visiting officials and journalists. The last recorded event was two years before her death, at 79 years of age, when she helps a reporter from Seattle’s Post-Intelligencer interview Snohomish’s famous Pilchuck Julia.

snohomish stories imageCadyville, 1865, the first photograph of the settlement that was renamed Snohomish by the Fergusons and Sinclairs in 1871. Ferguson’s Blue Eage saloon is pictured on the left, while the Sinclair store (and first classroom) is on the right. The structure is the center was an unnamed wharf building. Some accounts indentify the man in the foreground as Woodbury Sinclair.

A Clearing in the Woods

Born to John N. Low and Lydia (Colburn) Low in Bloomington, Illinois, on December 11, 1842, Mary and her family were members of the Denny Party that arrived at Alki Point in 1851. Many of the Denny Party became the first settlers of Seattle. The Lows, however, settled in Port Madison, Kitsap County, where Mary worked as a teacher, and ended up marrying her boss, the school district clerk, and lumberman Woodbury Sinclair, on March 4, 1862. Two years later, Woodbury found himself in Cadyville where he purchased the namesake’s claim on the north bank of the Snohomish River. The purchase included a small shack that Woodbury and a partner named William Clendenning planned to open as a store catering to the local loggers.

Mary, their infant son and the household goods arrived on May 1, 1865, which she described in her 1911 remembrance:”As the steamer landed at the gravel bank near the foot of Maple Street, a small clearing appeared in the otherwise unbroken timber. The town consisted of a rough log house on the bank in which supplies were stored. The store farther back, was a twelve by sixteen-foot shack. The old building still standing (1911) at the corner of Maple and Commercial Streets, without windows, doors, or floor, in time was used for the store, with living rooms in the back.”

The infant Alvin died 20 days after Mary’s arrival.

“There was no time to be lonesome …”

Mary’s remembrance continues: “There was much to do, but the pioneers were hustlers and could turn their hands to anything — no specialists in those days. The women, young and hopeful, fearing neither danger or privation, soon began to make things look homelike. A large fireplace assisted considerably in clearing the dooryard, in which later bloomed old-fashioned flowers — Sweet Williams, Marigolds and Hollyhocks. There was no time to be lonesome; frogs sang cheerily in the nearby marshes; mosquitoes kept the people busy building smudges. Wild game was plentiful. The Indians brought venison, wild ducks, fish and clams. Also the ranchers from Snoqualmie Prairie brought delicious hams and bacons of their own curing.”

A second son was born on November 14, 1866, who they named Clarence Wood Sinclair, and he lived to become a popular captain of the favorite steamship Nellie in the 1870s. Mary notes in her 1911 article: “For two years there was no regular steamer outside, and the only fruit available was wild berries. But living was cheap and good, and not a butcher shop in forty miles. The Indian wives of the ranchers made sociable calls on their white neighbors, conversing in mingled Boston, Chinook, and Siwash Wa Wa (talk).”

Mabel “May” H. Sinclair was born on April 28, 1869, and lived until 1935.

The First Cemetery

In 1872, Mary, age 29, with two children, lost her husband Woodbury to death from unknown causes. He was 46 years of age. Just two months earlier they had filed a plat of their claim on the east side of a growing town — now officially named Snohomish City. First, Second and Commercial Streets were parallel to the river, with cross streets named, Cedar, Maple, State, Willow, and Alder. They also sold the original store building, which they had turned into the Riverside Hotel. The hotel featured rooms surrounding a large hall on the second floor that was used by the community for meetings, dances, church services, weddings, court proceedings, and even funerals.

At Woodbury’s death, the Sinclairs were in the process of donating three acres on the eastern edge of their plat, alongside the Pilchuck River, to establish the county’s first graveyard. As the story goes, there was an accidental death of a young Caucasian woman the previous year, which left the frontier community helplessly aware that they had no burial ground — no proper place for a proper lady to rest in peace.

So negotiations with the Sinclairs were in progress when Woodbury passed away on June 5, 1872, leaving his widow — acting as guardian of her children’s estate — to successfully complete negotiations with the newly formed Snohomish Cemetery Association in 1876. (This was done just in time to bury 17 children claimed by an epidemic called “black diphtheria” the following year.)

Mary ordered a headstone of white marble, standing some three feet tall, to create a memorial for Woodbury in the new cemetery, where she also moved the remains of her infant son Alvin and added those of her second son Clarence in 1905, who died from a sudden illness. Mary died on a Sunday, June 11, 1922. She was 79 years old, still living in her home on Pearl Street and still active. She was cremated in Seattle, and, according to sketchy records dating from the 1940s, her remains were included in the family plot in Snohomish’s first cemetery.

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The Missing Memorial

The Catholic Church founded the second cemetery in 1895; but the largest cemetery today was established in 1898 by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Veteran’s group, simply referred to as the GAR — both were located outside of town. Over the years, the picturesque cemetery alongside the river, framed by a white picket fence, was no longer needed for the newly dead, and so became neglected and eventually referred to as the “Indian Cemetery.” Consequently, not enough attention was paid in the 1940s when the Washington State Department of Transportation claimed that all of the pioneer graves had been moved to other cemeteries, when they extended 2nd Street north, cutting the historic cemetery site in two. There is no record of the Sinclair remains being moved to the GAR, nor those of Mary’s parents, the Lows, who had moved to Snohomish shortly after Woodbury’s death. Only his faded white headstone, the centerpiece of the Sinclair memorial, was found in the abandoned cemetery and it was rescued by the Snohomish Historical Society, where it has held a predominant position in their display of a pioneer graveyard since the late 1980s.

. . . .

More articles commissioned by HistoryLink.org:

Snohomish — Thumbnail History

Snohomish: Historic Downtown Cybertour

Snohomish incorporates as a city of the third class on June 26, 1890.

The Eye reports Gilbert Horton’s floating photography gallery to be in Snohomish on May 29, 1886.

Eldridge Morse dedicates the Snohomish Atheneum on June 5, 1876.

Snohomish County Tribune supports demolition of the old county courthouse portion of Snohomish High School in an editorial on June 16, 1938.

. . . .

#2. The Election: John T. Hardwick

snohomish stories imageCast of Imaginary Characters:
John T. Hardwick
Missus Nightingale
Billy Bottom
Ivy Williams-Bottom

The open caucus held by the people at Odd Fellows’ Hall nominated the successful ticket, and not the convention ‘held last week’– in the saloons.
The Eye, June 28, 1890

The city manager is out, and Snohomish’s ‘strong’ mayor is in. Daily Herald, November 29, 2017

. . . .

“He was a stranger!” began Preacher Hardwick in a full, rich voice which suddenly caught in his throat. He was facing a standing-room-only crowd of the Temperance Union meeting on the first floor of the Odd Fellows Hall on 2nd Street. All of the long, narrow casement windows were open, top and bottom, but no air was moving that night; it was stuck like Hardwick’s voice in the emotion of the moment.

“A stranger named Levi Bowker,” he finally continued, holding up a page from The Eye. “Did you read this?” he shouted for dramatic effect. It wasn’t necessary. The news of Levi Bowker’s suicide was the talk of the town. Hardwick made eye contact with Pherlissa Getchell sitting in the center seat of the front row. As president of the Temperance Union, it was her suggestion that he give this address — to perhaps give words to the mystery of this stranger’s death in their midst — and it sparked his political ambitions.

John T. Hardwick rarely missed an opportunity to tell people that he was born right here in Snohomish Valley, sometimes bending over and tapping the ground with the tip of his index finger. As was his father. It was his grandfather who found his way here as a circuit preacher, looking to convert Indian savages, but he met a woman and he built her a log house with his bare hands — and with hired Indian help — his wife’s brother.

Hardwick’s union produced 12 sons, who lived beyond childhood, and all were named after Christ’s Apostles. It’s not clear how many daughters lived, as they were not baptized so no records of their births exist. The dark secret of the family was that John’s father, also named John, after one of the Zebedee sons, married one of his sisters to produce a family of four sons.

Since the Hardwick homestead was remote, the arrival of a white woman into the region would have been news woven into the oral history of the family. Instead, no one talked about the dark cloud hovering over the family until it broke open with a crack of lightning, sending forth a deluge of whiskey. The memory of his father’s death haunts him; look for it in his eyes if the subject should ever come up.

John was named after John the Baptist and given the letter ‘T’ for a middle name as it was a sign of the cross. Young John was called JT while his father was alive, and it stuck. He was the youngest of the four boys and showed no interest in joining the Hardwick Bros in the growing business of installing window glass. The Seattle company was on the cutting edge of the new plate-glass window market.

JT remained on the homestead. He was close to his grandfather even though he never learned his name. He was always a formal “Grandfather” to him, something he didn’t realize until preparing words to say at the burial. Grandfather Hardwick was buried under the scrub oak tree grown from an acorn he brought from the Midwest. It grew like a weed, along with young JT, who in his sermons often embellished the story of his childhood passion for climbing that tree to see the future.

Drawn into Snohomish’s temperance movement as a young man, John T. Hardwick was handsome and easy going. His square jaw was balanced with a carefully trimmed mustache and topped by lively, dark eyes. He was quick to smile, which men were quick to mock, but the members of the temperance movement loved him. They would often meet at Joe Getchell’s two-story home on 2nd Street, next door to the Knapp and Hinkley Livery. JT was one of the few men invited to join them.

Pherlissa Getchell was a natural leader. Childless since her marriage to Joe in 1874, the daughter of a Maine farming family, and only one of a dozen white women living in the Valley at the time, Pherlissa made civilizing the frontier town where she landed her life mission. Levi Bowker’s suicide hit her hard.

Getchell House, 2nd and Avenue C, undated photograph from a glass plate negative, partial view of the livery on the right; courtesy Snohomish Historical Society.

It seems Bowker had a summer job on a hops ranch east of town and had been in Snohomish for about a week – two weeks before the special election of incorporation. He retired to his room in the Exchange Hotel between 9 and 10 Tuesday evening,“considerably under the influence of free campaign whiskey,” said JT, reading from The Eye.

“The hotel clerk found him the next morning, lying in a natural and easy position on the bed with his clothes on. A nearly empty morphine bottle and three brief, poorly written notes were found on the bedside table.” JT let the newspaper float to the floor while he paused to loudly blow his nose.

“One of the notes was addressed to an E. N. Porter, Port Ludlow,” he began again, “with the instructions: ‘Give my shotgun to my boy Harry if he ever comes to the Sound.’”

He held up a small piece of paper between the tips of his thumb and index finger, as if it were contagious. “Written on the back of this poll tax receipt,” Hardwick explained, then turned the hand holding the note to show the backside to his audience who, of course, were leaning in to read the message.

“For your kindness to me, keep my things. I will soon know the great mystery.” The Preacher returned the note to the lectern, looking down and repeating softly, “I will soon know the great mystery.”

Slowly looking up to speak, he added, “The third note was impossible to read, something to the effect that he was tired of life … but we know, don’t we? Yes! It was the influence of the free whiskey that made Jesus a stranger to young Levi — he chose a false savior!”

All sorts of “Amens!” filled the Odd Fellows Hall that night, overflowing through the wide-open windows.

“Only 38 years old, and a native of Springfield, Maine,” said the newspaper. “Let us pray for this stranger’s soul who will never see Jesus, but will wander for eternity.”

. . . .

“Amen!” said Missus Nightingale, holding Hardwick’s hands. He had been placed in the excavation basket used for hauling dirt out of the pit. It was a scene of eerie silence. Missus Nightingale had removed his wet, muddy clothes and boots and had set his broken leg with improvised splints. She was trying to keep his naked torso covered with his blousy white shirt.

She had washed his face, cleaned the dried blood caked in his overgrown mustache from a bloody nose, and slicked back his long black hair with her hands. The men quietly watching from above, like birds on a wire, were trying to hear what she was saying to him, but could only hear her “Amens!”

Modern ears accustomed to internal combustion engines don’t know the silence of 19th-century Snohomish. Coming from the east end of town was the rhythmic sound of horse hooves … no, a mule pulling a buckboard on the wooden planks of First Street. Its squeaking wheels announced: Billy Bottom was in town.

To be continued

. . . .

#1. The Election: June 1890, Snohomish

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Cast of Imaginary Characters:
John T. Hardwick
Missus Nightingale
Billy Bottom
Ivy Williams-Bottom

The open caucus held by the people at Odd Fellows’ Hall nominated the successful ticket, and not the convention ‘held last week’– in the saloons.
The Eye, June 28, 1890

The city manager is out, and Snohomish’s ‘strong’ mayor is in. Daily Herald, November 29, 2017

. . . .

It had rained hard that night. All night long, for those with nowhere to sleep. When Rev. Hardwick’s body was discovered in first light, only his nose and toes were above water. The new mayor was lying in a substantial puddle of cocoa-colored water in the deep excavation pit for J. S. White’s new building at the corner of A and Front.

“He dead?”

Vagrants or loggers without a dime for a room were the first on the scene. An assortment of men in dark, wet wool jackets, showing no signs of urgency, were gathering behind the flimsy construction site barrier of stripped fir saplings. The excavation pit was an impressive site, a draw of attention on its own. It spanned 40 feet in width and nearly twice that in length. Starting at 10-12 feet below the wooden sidewalk, it pushed even deeper as it cut into the gentle slope of Avenue A.

“Morning Mayor!” sang out a big man wearing a top-hat and a colorful blanket of dyed goat fur over his shoulders. Unbuttoning his fly, he let go a proud stream into the pit.

Snohomish was founded on a sunny day. The picturesque town is sited on the gentle slope of the north bank of the river it was named after, which in turn was named after an Indian tribe. It’s Sunday morning; otherwise many of these boys would be in the Palace Saloon playing cards with the last of their greenbacks before heading back to their respective logging camps up the Pilchuck and French creeks.

“Nah, he ain’t dead … He was preaching again at the Palace … Jabbering on-and-on until someone hits him in the face … The only way to shut em up,” claimed the man with the large belly, struggling to button his fly.

snohomish storiesThe precarious foundation of the Palace Saloon was exposed on the east side of White’s excavation. It is a two-story wooden building that was quickly built three years ago to cash in on the town’s railroad boom. Before the excavation began, White’s attorney, Mr. Hart, presented White’s claim that it encroached four inches on White’s lot to the city council. The “city dads,” as The Eye referred to the elected members — and of which J. S. White was a new member — passed the entire awkward situation on to the city engineer, Mr. Carothers, who was charged with the task: “To survey First Street from Avenues D to A and fix the corners.” Mr. Carothers’ numbers have stuck to this day.

During the excavation, large baskets loaded with dirt, dug by hand, were pulled to street level using a wooden block and tackle rig set in a tower, pulled up by horses, then dumped into Avenue A, eventually to be graded. Alerted to the commotion, business owners timidly climbed into the pit on a steep, rickety ladder to get a closer look at the new mayor — but they seemed more concerned about the Sunday shine on their boots. Shifting from foot to foot, they mumbled, mixing the sandy glacier till with water into a creamy, chocolate mud.

“Yup, it’s Hardwick again, son-of-a-bitch … thought he’d cut out the preaching now that he’d done won.”

“Heard this is going to be a shooting gallery,” claimed a short fellow looking around and then back to the passed-out Hardwick as if he could confirm his claim.

“Has anybody seen Ferg this morning?” Asked another looking down at his mud-covered boots.

“A what?”

“An indoor shooting range,” replied the man with the news, “read it in the paper.”

“The world’s upside down … amazing the river don’t just rain down and wash us all away!” The man had untrimmed mutton chops that made him look like a puppet talking.

“We done got a good cleaning last night,” said the small man who was wondering about Ferguson.

“In the basement? How does that work? Bullets bouncing off the walls all over the place,” asked another, waving his arms around, happy to have the topic as a diversion.

“Here comes the sun!” quietly exclaimed another with his back to the group; he had removed his bowler as if paying respect to the mysterious orb as it rose above the Palace Saloon.

“They got ’em on the east coast, small bore rifles that use no gunpowder, I mean, I don’t know how it works … just overheard talk in the store is all,” explained the short fellow who works in Blackman’s grocery.

“Seems out of reach for this neck of the woods,” murmured another member of the elite group, looking for something to contribute.

“I can’t believe the dumb-shit won … what does he know about running a city? He can’t even control a horse and buggy. Saw ’em last week with a rig from Elwells, Heaven help us!” It was the puppet talking to no one in particular.

“He can learn on the job – at least he ain’t no tax-dodging moss-back like Ferg!”

The short, well-dressed fellow is referring to E. C. Ferguson, who had been mayor since he founded the town, and his loss in the election for incorporation was a dramatic upset, no doubt about it. Even the Sun, Ferguson’s paper, admitted as much under its two-word headline: “Snohomish’s Democratic.” The election divided the people between those who wanted to create a larger town and those, like Ferguson, who wanted no change. He had undeveloped lots west of Avenue D that wouldn’t be taxed if the town remained a village of the fourth-class.

In the election held on June 26, 1890, incorporation as a third-class city passed, 360 to 21 votes in a town of 2,012 souls living within the contested boundaries of the larger Snohomish City.

“Someone get word to Billy,” shouted Missus Nightingale from the top of the ladder. She started down, one-handed, as the other was holding up her extra-large skirt.

The men in the pit, all wearing dark clothes with white shirts, were standing in a loose semicircle around Hardwick so that the crowd, which had grown to wrap around the corner and up Avenue A, could look down from the behind the barrier and see the passed-out preacher. Yet, their view from above was obscured by the shadows falling across the body. As the men fidgeted about, flickers of sunlight illuminated Hardwick’s face and sparkled off the undulating puddle of muddy water, as if a message from Above; but now the group stepped back as Missus made her way to the unconscious Hardwick. She checked his pulse. She tapped his submerged shoulder — muddy water splashed across his face — as she called out his name: “John!” (She was way ahead of her time with CPR training.)

He stirs, begins to move, his belly rising as Missus reverently wipes the mud covering his huge belt buckle exposing the raised letters J-E-S-U-S. A sharp sliver of sunshine strikes the golden belt buckle. The men watching from above, who had grown into a noisy, jeering crowd, fall silent. Only faint, confused murmurs of “Jesus?” ripple through the men, like a soft, natural reverb. No one, to a man (only one woman was present), had seen such a thing in this riverside town. The fellow defending Hardwick earlier leans in for a closer look, then turns, looking at Missus Nightingale, “Where are his suspenders, Missus?”

Just like in a movie, the sharp, sudden sound of the whistle announcing the morning train to Seattle dominates this dramatic scene as Mayor J. T. Hardwick opens his eyes, in a close-up shot.

To Be Continued.

. . . .

About the title image above: The Odd Fellows Hall to the right was the place for a variety of public gatherings including debating the boundaries of incorporated Snohomish in 1890. The building to the left is the Masonic Lodge which served as the county courthouse until 1897; it was destroyed in the 1980s for scrap. Photo is by Gilbert Horton taken around the time the Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1886, and published in several publications of the time.

Video: A Shooting Gallery?

Otto Greule

White’s corner lot next to the palace saloon is being graded for a shooting gallery. The Eye, December 22,1892.

Time has become years since I first saw the White Building basement — it was within days of reading the news of a “shooting gallery” in Snohomish’s 19th-century newspaper of record.

The long basement room was dark and empty except for a grease collection container. I didn’t bring a camera or a flashlight, always meant to return better prepared. So you can imagine my surprise when I finally returned and my host, the prep cook, Mitch, hit the light switch at the bottom of the stairs filling the basement with light.

The once level floor had mounds of dirt from adding footings for the posts with beams supporting the thick joists resting on the original granite foundation. Now the basement was a handy place to store a variety of restaurant supplies. There was a short row of sparkling water glasses on a plank sticking out of a scrap pile. Evidence of an interrupted story.

Speaking of which, there is no sign that the room was once a shooting gallery, even though it was certainly excavated for one as the paper reported. Plus, there is no mention of a shooting gallery in the papers, not even an advertisement.

Next month will feature the large room on the second floor intended to be a hospital! Would have been close by for shooting gallery accidents, but alas, neither came to be.

. . . .

So excited to report: July 13, 2017, is the release date for our book J. S. White Our First Architect, and the date of our Gala Garden Release Party for Angels and Publishers of the fine art book. July 13 is the 172nd anniversary of White’s birth in Tamworth, New Hampshire. White lived for 75 years, 36 of them in Snohomish.

If you would like to attend our release party but have yet to make a tax-deductible donation, this offer is for you: Contribute $75, come to the party and pick up your gift of the book personalized for you or yours! We need raise only $5,000 more to pay off the $21,000 cost of producing the book — your generous contribution will help.

Contribute online or by check, details are here.

. . . .

Video: “Disastrous Fire”

snohomish stories

Every town wishing to become a city requires a Great Fire Story in its early history and the one of 1911 is ours. Fortunately, it was documented by photographer William Douglas who was asleep in a downtown hotel room when the fire alarm sounded in the predawn hours. Backed up by his striking black-and-white photographs, it’s fun to tell the story about the fire which I have often: first here, then here. But the most rewarding telling was without the images when I led a group of Emerson third graders on a walking tour of our historic downtown and received the illustrated thank-you note pictured above.

Please enjoy this two-minute montage of Douglas’s photographs along with the story as reported in the Snohomish County Tribune on June 2, 1911.


“Disatrous Fire”

This story is included in our book about J.S. White but as a side-bar, of which there are four that use the newspaper accounts verbatim, and two of them are about fires! And speaking of our book, be sure to check out our Fun(d)raising Progress — we need your pre-order to raise the funds due when the books arrive in July.

For encouragement, I will be at the Snohomish Farmers Market on Cedar Street, every Thursday, from 3 to 7p., beginning May 4th. Every pre-order entitles you to join me for a guided Walking Tour of White’s 19th-Century Snohomish, Saturday mornings at 10a.

Questions? 206.914.4075   |   Hello@SnohomishStories.org   |   Subscribed?

Video: Elwell House, 1888

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“The river has been bank full again this week,” was noted in The Eye on December 10, 1887, and it’s one of my favorite finds in the 19th-century newspaper of record for Snohomish. Consequently, the Snohomish River is the visual theme of this month’s video.

In October 2013, I wrote an article on the Elwell House with the title: “Built 1888; Divided 1913; Renovated 2013.” It’s written as a movie pitch with the hook that a new architect comes to town, Pete Hansen, who purchases the lot that contains the southern half of White’s Elwell House which requires him to separate it. Pete does and moves his half some 100 feet away, then forward toward the street, and remodels it for his family home.

This drama is mentioned in Essay #4 of J. S White Our First Architect, but the focus is on the extended Elwell family, all of whom migrated to the Snohomish valley from Maine just in time to celebrate the nation’s centennial in 1876.  John and Eliza had nine children with Edgar being the seventh, born in 1854.

The video excerpt is the beginning of the essay, Edgar has been in the logging business for ten years and he recently married his second wife, Emma.

I appreciate hearing from you and for your support.

Color Proofs: Round One!

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On January 13 of the new year, Otto and I met with Leah Finger, Production Manager with Lucia Marquand, to go over the first round of color proofs produced by Seattle’s iocolor. Leah made precise notes on the proofs like, “make better.” I learned that iocolor was established in 2001 as a sister company with Marquand Books, and Leah has a five-year relationship working with the technician/artists at the company. Otto and I were so impressed by process that I took another picture.

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Otto with Leah Finger, Production Manager, at Lucia Marquand.

We met for two more follow-up color proof sessions, each time with a smaller pile of images as they were fixed and approved.

Follow this link to visit the iocolor website, warning: the site contains beautiful books!

Video: A. M. Blackman Store, 1889

Blackman store detail

No one today calls the Oxford Tavern, the “A. M. Blackman Store,” its original name. It would mean ignoring an oral history involving ladies-of-the-night, bar fights, and ghosts. Even the third graders from Emerson on my annual walking tour wanted to know about the ghosts. The Oxford Tavern is Snohomish’s most famous place.

blackman store Arthur M. Blackman was a young man when he built his two-story grocery store on 1st Street, considered at the time to be the largest in the county. Engaged in both wholesale and retail sales, Arthur’s operation became a victim of the national depression of 1893 and the business folded the following year.

You will learn more watching the short illustrated excerpts from Essay #6: J. S. White Our First Architect. I appreciate hearing from you and for your support.

Video: Odd Fellows Hall, 1886

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Let’s welcome the first month of the New Year with a short video clip of excerpts from our art book J. S. White, Our First Architect, featuring the second building White built in Snohomish, the Odd Fellows Hall, dedicated in 1886.

The book is in production with the Seattle company Lucia Marquand, and I had to put off writing this post until the first round of edits were complete and returned to the Editorial Director, Melissa Duffes.  It’s an exciting time learning the process of Making an Art Book that you are invited to follow on the website.

Meanwhile, check out the visual tease from the essay, about the owner’s discovery of the large plaster chandelier medallion, still attached to the original ceiling above the drop-ceiling of acoustical tiles installed in the 1950s.

Please follow this link to pre-order your copy of J. S. White Our First Architect.

Layout Design Set

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Working with our designer, Meghann, along with Otto and Susan, a layout for the book was set mid-December. Now, the process of making an art book passes to the editorial lead, Melissa Duffes, who in short order sent text proofs for editing. I’m working with a pdf copy, while editor Susan prefers a hard copy of the text. Plus, our contract with Lucia Marquand includes the services of a copy editor.

The “first text proofs” are due back to Melissa by January 12, next year!

Video: Methodist Church, 1885

We are celebrating Christmas this year in the original Methodist Church, taking us back to 1901. This is the first building J. S. White built in Snohomish, beginning in 1884, the same year he arrived with his wife and three daughters under the age of nine.

One or all of his girls could be turned toward the camera on the left, and the mustachio man on the right could be Mr. White himself? As for what’s going on on the altar, please check out this post from 2014.

This month begins a monthly video post reading from the manuscript for the J. S. White book, with cut-aways to historic images and footage of how the subject structure looks today. Perhaps we can get invited inside as we were in this case by Sharon St. Marie, owner of the Belle Chapel, its new name.

Please enjoy our first video post, your questions are welcomed in the comments below.

Please follow this link to pre-order a copy of J. S. White Our First Architect.

Over $10,000 Raised!

Karen Guzak

Karen set a beautiful table for the “Let’s Publish a Book Party” on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Helping her was Publisher Chad Alice Hagen, and it all looked good enough to eat — and it was!

Warner read two excerpts from the manuscript and his brother Pete, sister Sara, and nephew Robert began the gathering with live music.

Publisher’s contributions combined with those of the Angels pushed our total beyond the $10,000 mark, meaning that we have the down payment in hand to begin production of the art book, J. S. White: Our First Architect.

 

1899, 4th of July Celebration

Eunice Blackman is pictured above in her costume for the Illuminated Bicycle Parade, the featured event of a day-long celebration. Eunice grew up in the house that is now the Blackman House Museum with her brother, Clifford, and parents, Ella and Hyrcanus.

Snohomish no longer celebrates the Fourth with a community gathering. Over 100 years ago the city moved its community celebration to the middle of July, and it has been called KlaHaYa Days since the 1930s.

Note in the schedule below, that First Place for the “Best Decorated Wheels” in the Illuminated Bicycle Parade is awarded $10!* Wonder how many people were looking at the wheels when Eunice peddled by?

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*In 2015, the relative value of $10.00 from 1899 ranges from $248.00 to $9,110.00.(MeasuringWorth.com)

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Brief History of Our Water System

snohomish stories

Mayor Karen hosted an event called, “Coffee With the Mayor” on her birthday, May 21, just last month. The gathering was held at the local library and I brought along my new Nikon D5200. A question about water rates and its complicated answer gave me the idea to do this short history about Snohomish’s water system. I learned a lot — the central reason for doing these stories every month — and knowing the background helps to understand the Mayor’s answer. Here’s a toast to clarity!



Awonderful story from The Eye, the local newspaper in 1892, about the Snohomish Water Company competing with the new city system had to be cut from the clip. Here is the voice-over script instead:

“The story in the paper goes that the owner Mr. Allen, paddled a dugout canoe with the editor of The Eye on board out to the center of lake to show him that the water is as clear as crystal and as cold as ordinary well-water — much better than the Pilchuck water when humpy salmon go up the stream looking for a quiet spot to end their days, Mr. Allen added. The company just needed financing to extend their pipe to the center of lake. The pitch failed to sway the writer who wrote that it would be a better deal for taxpayers to purchase the company’s pipes and either collect rent or plug them up.”

Your comments are encouraged and always acknowledged.

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NOTES: Thanks to Fred Cruger with the Granite Falls Historical Society for help locating the dams.
CORRECTION: The term “water rates” was first used in 1887, not 1878 as stated in the video. Please make a note of it.