Skagit River Journal
(Hamel Pontiac)

    This photo of the old Hamel Pontiac Garage was taken in December 1957. Joe Hamel, former manager of the Piggly Wiggly Grocery store downtown, bought the Pontiac dealership from Jake Cully in 1952. It was located at the northwest corner of Haines and State streets in Sedro-Woolley, approximately where Sedro-Woolley Glass is located today. Just to the west was Johnson’s Cannery and Feed and Seed, where many of we young pups delivered the blackberries, cascara bark and strawberries we had harvested. And on the diagonal alongside the cannery ran the final section of track remaining from the 1889 Fairhaven & Southern Railway. Hamel moved his dealership to Highway 20 in 1973. This is just one of the newest-page edition of the growing special Journal section of 1950s and ‘60s photos of Sedro-Woolley people and businesses, part of Issue 61 of our optional subscribers magazine, which will be posted in April 2015. Click on photo for complete version.
of History & Folklore
(bullet) Covering from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Washington counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, focusing on Sedro-Woolley and Skagit Valley.
(bullet) This page originated in our free pages

(bullet) An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness (bullet) The home pages remain free of any charge. We need donations or subscriptions to continue. (bullet) Please pass on this website link to your family, relatives, friends and clients.
(bullet) Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. Passed 7.5 million page views, November 2014; passed 800 stories in 2012 — Mailing: (bullet) Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284 — where Mortimer Cook started a town & named it Bug
Journal co-awarded 2014 Award, Skagit County Historical Society

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R.I.P. Jim Walker, 1941-2015
    Many of you will remember Jim for his 16 years of being a broadcast newsman for KVOS-TV in Bellingham in the 1970s and ‘80s with the late John Stolpe, Al Swift and Andy Anderson. You might remember him as one of the finest dramatic actors at Western Washington University; in 1962 he directed Of Mice and Men, in which your editor acted. He also was a newsman for KOMO-TV and for nearly 20 years he was a photo and video specialist for the Forestry Service. He is survived by his wife, Ann, and five children; they lived in Bellingham for many years and most recently lived neared near Snohomish in an idyllic country setting.
For the rest of 2015 this site is dedicated to Roger Peterson, who for 22 years was our dogged researcher, a friend and a brother in discovering local history. R.I.P.
(bullet) Update December 2014 — Sedro-Woolley Cubs win first state football championship: 42-13 steamrolling Lynden
(bullet) Please send us calendar items for any history-related or community events in your area scheduled for the rest of 2015.
(bullet) The new Woolley Market, at the site of the old Bus Jungquist Furniture store at State and Metcalf, made its mark soon after rising on July 26, 2014. It was just named Best New Business of 2014 by the Skagit Valley Herald. Weekly highlight: Music and Beer, 5 p.m. Thursdays; Hottest act in town.
(bullet) Three rounds of unexpected chemo delayed our progress a bit this summer but we are back at work, preparing to launch a very extensive new Genealogy Section in Issue 61 of the Subscribers Online Magazine, which will then be shared here on the free site this fall. We may have dodged another bullet. Now, what do we do with the 1,600 emails that have piled up in the meantime?

We're back!
so far, Thank you
Take a peek at our most recent issue,
#60 of our online Subscribers Magazine, now in our 15th year
— and a gift for new and renewing subscribers.

(bullet) May 31: Only four more days to see the lovely paintings by Mark Iverson, the late director of the Historical Society museum. R.I.P., a great loss to the Society. See his work through this weekend at the museum.
(bullet) June 5-7: Sedro-Woolley is putting on its best face for the annual Blast From the Past, which has some surprises ready for what is predicted to be fine weather. And we quilt lovers are very excited about the Woolley quilters display this year.
(bullet) June 28: Gardens of note. Tour six fine gardens located in and around Mount Vernon, with a special treat of Live Music at every garden. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $25 tickets. (360) 848-0336.
(bullet) July 17-19: Darrington Bluegrass festival. Schedule and details at (360) 428-1006. The really fine Birdsview Bluegrass band will be a headliner.
(bullet) Sept. 19: Annual Genealogy Seminar for novices as well as veteran researchers. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring two professional genealogists. $40 for members of the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society, or $45 for non-members.
(bullet) And Thursday evenings now have an institution with many followers: Bands and Brew from 5 p.m. on at the Woolley Market.
. (bullet) Do you have calendar items for us about events with a historical flair? If so, please share.

    We are planning two extensive research journeys, to California and Oregon and to the Midwest in 2015, to complete the research for the book-in-progress, "Humbug!" — said Mortimer Cook. We need to raise $2,000 over this spring so we are seeking 50 or more subscribers, which will make the trip complete. As a special reward for donating to our project, we will email a gift subscription in your name. One gift subscription for each year you subscribe. Thank you very much for those who donated to our 2014 research fund, when we came within $1,000 of our goal.
    If you have ever been tempted to donate a bit in an hour of our genuine need. Without your help, we will have to severely curtail our upcoming research trip and that would be a shame since the discoveries at various libraries and societies will reveal much information about our pioneer families and we have only shot at it this year. Thanks to the four folks who recently donated multiple-year subscriptions. That confidence means a lot to us.
1 year, $20.00 . . . 2 years, $37.50 . . . 3 years, $45.00 . . . "Lifetime" 10-years, $125.00

Two requests from our Wish List section, which details all the gaps we face in research.
    1) We have nearly exhausted our attempts to research the old town of Wilburton, which was just a crossroads between Hamilton and Lyman on Cockreham island in the 1870s and 1880s, with a very small village clustered around John Wilbur's store. We have only a handful of references to it. Do you maybe have something in your family collection that could help?
    And one special need, which would not cost you a cent, we need someone to loan us their access to Email if you have ancestry and we will tell you what we need.

    Thinking about gifts for your history-loving friends, family and clients? Once you subscribe, you can order a gift subscription for $10 and as many gifts as you want, after that, for $5 apiece. See details of how to subscribe.

New in-depth features shared from our
Subscribers Magazine archives

Pioneer biographies:
(Joseph F. Dwelley)
Joseph Dwelley

  • Joseph F. Dwelley, 1870 Puget sound pioneer and his daughter Kate Maloy of LaConner
  • Eugenia Clinchard, child star of silent-movies, the earliest Western picture shows and her Sedro-Woolley family. New
  • 1915 UW Graduates who were Skagit movers and shakers: Frank Evans, Sid McIntyre, Art Ward and Herman Anderson
  • "Whatever happened to Lyman Cutler?" Lucille McDonald's history of the Pig War principal
  • Forest M. Elwell, sternwheeler builder
  • Frank Bradsberry, the whimsical logger and politician of Sedro-Woolley
  • Lavina Gates Chapman's 19th-century memoir of bloody Kansas, including the bravery there of future-Sedro pioneer Lewis Kirkby during the civil war. Special section shared from our Subscribers Magazine.
(Hub stained glass)
The photo at the left is by our newest photographer, Talula. She snapped it at the Northern State Hospital Centennial in September. This is a smaller version of her lovely photo that we will feature on an upcoming photography page in the Northern State Hospital section, which passed 50,000 readers quite a while ago. She is a blonde bundle of dynamite and I wonder if, by the time she graduates from grade school, she will have her own website and following, just like her very proud parents. You'll see all their work soon.
Recent and archival sites posted
(Twisted tree trunk)
One of a couple dozen spectacular views of Gilbert Landre's cabin/hotel site.

(bullet) The obituary and the life story of Norm Lisherness, Sedro-Woolley's beloved police chief, during Loggerodeo of 1967.
(bullet) If you have any photos, articles or documents about Northern State's long history, please email Judy Torfin, who has begun a museum on the NSH premises to honor the history of the institution and its employees.
(bullet) See this photo feature with nearly two dozen photos of Gilbert Landre's cabin/hotel, built in the 1892 era, which still stands near Cascade Pass.
(bullet) Read the story behind the Plumeria Bay bedding company in Birdsview, our latest sponsor
(bullet) The two most humorous stories of our 800. Otto Klement's tale of his Lyman trading post, in 1881, and the mixture of liquor and the good ole boys and the pig. And Frank Wilkeson's 1890 New York Times column about the two rapscallion hobos of old Sedro, who took the Swedes for a ride.

Were you aware that it's possible to view your home's Surveillance Cameras from a PC located anywhere in the world via an internet connection? Well you can! Check out this sites Wireless Surveillance Cameras.

(bullet) And see our special new portal section of links about Mortimer Cook's original towns of Bug and Sedro and the very early days of the little village that was located where Riverfront Park stands today.
    (bullet) Important: This is our Free Home Page. If you are currently subscribed and looking for the full Contents Links for our Subscribers Magazine, check the current-issue link in your email or email us for it. Also note: some stories still have a Stumpranchonline prefix because we originally partnered with Dan Royal's fine website and we have not finished moving them.
(bullet) How to Navigate the Journal. Or use one or all of these routes below:

Follow these links below to portal sections
of the areas and subjects that interest you:

Here is the first page that started it all for the Journal in 2000, page one, updated, an introduction to the upper valley history, from Sterling to the Cascades.. Click on the underscored Sedro-Woolley link above for an interactive map showing the location of Skagit County at the far northwest corner of Washington and the United States.
(Dance on stump)
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First
(bullet) Bug through Sedro-Woolley (bullet) Reader questions answered
(bullet) Early timeline (bullet) Founders Mortimer CookP.A. Woolley4 British bachelors.

Areas surrounding Sedro-Woolley in all 4 directions
(bullet) includes: Prairies, Duke's Hill, Northern State Hospital, Sterling, Skiyou, South of Skagit; Clearlake, Biglake, McMurray
Our monthly and occasional column: the Puget Sound Mail
Upper Skagit River: Utopia to Cascades
(bullet) includes: north of Skagit from Utopia to the dams and Cascades, Sauk River-Illabot Creek area, and the creeks of Skagit's south shore
West Skagit County: Hwy 99 to Sound
(bullet) includes: Mount Vernon to Belfast, west to Fidalgo, south to LaConner/Fir Island/Conway, north to Burlington, Blanchard, Edison, Alger & Samish
(Steam donkey in woods)
Logging Section
(bullet) includes: mills, donkey engines, equipment and logging railroads
(bullet) Washington & other counties
Whatcom, the mother county 'til 1883
County, home of early Skagit pioneers
The trains of the Northwest
(bullet) includes: Fairhaven & Southern; Seattle & Northern; Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern
(bullet) Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Puget Sound & Baker River, and more . . . Interurban

(Railroad trestle)
Skagit County stories that are countywide, that involve more than one town or more than one family and town or that do not fit in any other county portal . . . Transcribed County Histories . . . Stories about the Skagit River     Floods history
(Von Pressentin home)
Bios and obits, men and women, pioneers and descendants . . . 36 Ray Jordan Yarns stories . . . Memoirs by pioneers & descendants
(Covered wagon women)
Frontier Women
(bullet) includes: Territorial Daughters, and biographies of and by pioneer women
Food & Wine . . . Prohibition, liquor . . . Very short stories in Odds and Ends Portal
(Whidbey Museum)
Suggested reading and museums
(bullet) Library: Recommended reading, bibliography
(bullet) Transcriptions old newspapers
(bullet) Regional Museums

Issue 60 posted
(bullet) A peek at our book in progress: the biography of Mortimer Cook and the founding of Sedro-Woolley. An invitation for you to be a critic and help us polish part of the book.
    Draft Introduction to new book, Humbug! said Mortimer Cook
    Draft Chapter 1 Dramatized story of Cook arriving at future town site in June 1884
(bullet) Were you a current subscriber through January 2013, or if you have subscribed since then, did you get the mailer with the link to Issue 60? If not, please email us. Everyone current through January 2013 has had their subscriptions extended for the period the magazine was dormant. Thanks for your patience.
(bullet) A transcription of a 1931 article from the "Builder's Edition" of the Mount Vernon Daily Herald. It is a comprehensive history of Skagit Valley and the county, and includes dozens of names for genealogists and researchers, as well as new historical facts we discovered for the first time.
(bullet) Selucius Garfield — 4-part series on the most colorful politician of Washington Territory, the two-time Territorial delegate to Congress, and an overview of early Territorial elections
    Part 1 Youth, Kentucky, California, Washington Territory, ally of Gov. Stevens
    Part 2 1857, 1859, 1861 Delegate elections, Masonic Lodge, Garfield in Canada during civil war
    Part 3 Wins 1869 and 1870 Delegate elections, loses 1872, personal downfall and death in 1883
    Appendix: Documents about Garfield, elections, humorous incidents, obituaries
(bullet) Expanded section on Mount Vernon-area log jams on the Skagit river
    1946 article provides new information about log jams and Mame Hammack shares information about her father, Magnus Anderson
    Introduction to log jams section and articles and photos about how jams were formed and removed.
(bullet) 1882 Skagit river expedition led by Lt. Henry H. Pierce — drawings by Alfred Downing (bullet) Updated and expanded section on C.X. Larrabee, the 1890s financier behind Fairhaven, the Fairhaven & Southern Railway and the Sedro coal mines that became that became the village of Cokedale.
    Part 1: Youth, Kentucky, California, Washington Territory, ally of Gov. Stevens
    Part 2 1857, 1859, 1861 Delegate elections, Masonic Lodge, Garfield in Canada during civil war
    Documents and obituaries that supplement the Larrabee section

This photo of Safeway and Lentz Farm Supply is just one of 91 that are shared in the Tella-Pix section of the Courier-Times, in Issue 59.

Optional Subscribers Journal online. Click here for a peek at these recent issues.

You can read the history websites about our prime sponsors
Would you like information about how to join them in advertising? We cannot emphasize how we need such support for our accelerated research journeys of 13 for books and many more stories.

(bullet) We are advertising for sale by readers, two fine historical books. The first is Theodore Winthrop's The Canoe and the Saddle, NY, American Publishers (c. Ticknor & Fields, 1862), a second edition, published circa 1890. And the four-volume set of The History of Washington by Lancaster Pollard and Lloyd Spencer, 1937. Please inquire by email if you want more details or want to make an offer. Also inquire about other offerings or if you request a specific book.
(bullet)Plumeria Bay is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds, duvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 88 years.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley
(bullet) Check out Sedro-Woolley First section for links to all stories and reasons to shop here first
or make this your destination on your visit or vacation.
(bullet) Are you looking to buy or sell a historic property, business or residence?
We may be able to assist. Email us for details.

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 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?

(bullet) See this Journal Timeline website of local, state, national, international events for years of the pioneer period.
(bullet) Did you enjoy this story? Remember, as with all our features, this story is a draft and will evolve as we discover more information and photos. This process continues as we compile and collaborate on books about Northwest history. Can you help? And also remember; we welcome correction, criticism and additions to the record.
(bullet) Please report any broken links or files that do not open and we will send you the correct link. With more than 700 features, we depend on your report. Thank you.
(bullet) Read about how you can order CDs that include our photo features from the first ten years of our Subscribers Edition. Perfect for gifts. Will be completed in 2015.

You can click the donation button to contribute to the rising costs of this site. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. You can also subscribe to our optional Subscribers-Paid Journal magazine online, which has entered its 12th year with exclusive stories, in-depth research and photos that are shared with our subscribers first. You can go here to read the preview edition to see examples of our in-depth research or read how and why to subscribe. Our research trips in 2015 depend on this income.