Stanwood Camano Giving Tuesday Dec 1st


Click the image for a history of the D. O. Pearson House.

The Stanwood Area Historical Society is participating in the 24-hour online Giving Tuesday event organized by the Stanwood-Camano Area Foundation and partners*.  Our project is our D. O. Pearson House window replacement project.
The south side of the D. O. Pearson House has taken over a century of wind, sun, rain and temperature fluctuations and the windows are bit worse for wear.  Unfortunately they are beyond puttying and shimming. They must be replaced but replacing historic windows is not an off-the-shelf job. We will have to have the windows custom made to match the original size and character of the house and according to the Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation guidelines. Please help if you can, we hope to have this house last another 100 years.  If you have more questions, contact us!
Click here for more information. Donations can be made by check and dropped off on the day of the event at the Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center from 7 a.m. to midnight or at Camano Community Center from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Checks should be made payable to SCAF and specify which project(s) they are for.
Thank you,
Gail Ryer,

*Thank you to our Sponsors
Thank you to our Sponsors

Thank you to our Sponsors!


Indian Canoe returns to Stillaguamish Tribe after a long journey

The shovelnose dugout Indian canoe in the photograph below was prepared for its journey upriver by truck.  But it spent many years being navigated by pole by expert canoeists of the Stillaguamish Tribe.

Shovelnose Indian canoe on a special truck for returning the canoe upriver for the last time.

Shovelnose Indian canoe on a special truck for returning the canoe upriver for the last time.

This flat bottom canoe sleekly moved across shallow waters up and down the Stillaguamish River in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  It had been found in the river possibly lost, sunken or washed away by a flood and was “rescued” by local resident in the 1960s. It was purchased by Mike and Penny Buse in an estate sale in the 1990s. Since then it was held at the Stanwood Area Historical Society, occasionally seen by visitors who had an interest, but mostly in storage.  DSC_0024IndianCanoecropt
Today, Oct 26th, 2015 Shawn Yanity accepted the return of the canoe from the Stanwood Area Historical Society for his people.  It will be be on display soon at the Tribal Administration building.  He told a story remembering observing how swiftly a woman of his tribe was able to navigate the canoe – one of the last perhaps who had such a skill.

The canoe is 28 feet long and about 26 inches at the mid gunwale.  It was made before 1900 with a few improvements, repairs as well as cracks but no recent modernizations.  It is an important cultural artifact to the Stillaguamish people who were people of the river as their name suggests.  Men and women used these canoe to carry belongings up and down river highway for their own transportation needs as well as for new settlers coming into the Stillaguamish Valley.

We are happy that it has finally found its way home.

A similar shovelnose canoe being poled by men sorting shingle bolts for transport down river. John Ellingson is the man at the top of the canoe. The bridge is thought to be the Arlington railroad bridge.

A similar shovelnose canoe being poled by men sorting shingle bolts for transport down river. John Ellingson is the man at the top of the canoe. The bridge is thought to be the Arlington railroad bridge. From the SAHS Photograph collection 2001.218.01.

Halloween Costume Party at the Floyd

Join us for a frightful and fun Halloween Costume Party Fund Raiser !
Saturday October 31, 2015
7 – 11 pm
$10.00 per person
Enjoy a Night of Games, Music and Activities.
Come dressed in Costume of the 1800s [or costume of your choice]
Appetizers, Treats and Beverages provided.
Prizes awarded throughout the night
21 and over.

Halloween Party at the Floyd

Halloween Party at the Floyd
Oct. 31 – 7 pm – 11 pm

Free Class – “Basics of History Research” at the Floyd

Teachers,  Writers, History and Genealogy Researchers, Students, Media! – Anyone interested in learning how to do basic historical research.
October is Archives month, and you are invited to attend a free workshop!

[The class is free but please register – see below for link.]

The Basics of Historical Research
Saturday, October 10
9 a.m. – Noon
at the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in Stanwood
(also in Bellevue or Bellingham October 24)

 The Basics of Historical Research is for teachers, students, beginning genealogists, and others interested in exploring the past. You’ll get practical advice and learn the basic steps for gathering the information that you will need to investigate and interpret a historical topic for a museum exhibit, class project, community celebration, curriculum enrichment, research article, History Day, a classroom based assessment (CBA), or personal historical interest.

This class will cover:

  • What primary sources are—and aren’t
  • What historical sources are—and how to use them
  • How to use the library system
  • How to use archival collections
  • How to find and use reliable online resources
  • How to properly cite your sources
  • How to use information from different sources

Seating is limited, so be sure to REGISTER NOW AT .  Scroll down to Oct 10 or Oct 24.  Select the site and click on the “Register” button.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Saunders at the Puget Sound Regional Archives.
Michael S. Saunders
Regional Archivist

1919 Crane Truck at the Fairgrounds

1919 Crane Truck on display at the Stanwood Camano Community Fairgrounds.

1919 Crane Truck on display at the Stanwood Camano Community Fairgrounds.

This rusty remnant of our machine past now has an honored resting place at the Stanwood Camano Community Fairgrounds.  According to the display caption, it was assembled in 1919 for the Washington Staet Bridge Building Union and had a role in building bridges in Western Washington.  In 1930 it was sold to Walt Garrison of Camano Island and used to log the entire south end of Camano Island.  Please see the write up below written by the fairgrounds volunteers who set up the truck for visitors.  Our Thanks to them for preserving this piece of our history!

1919 Crane Truck Story

1919 Crane Truck Story





Historical Sign at Terry’s Corner Gateway

Terry's Corner Camano Island Directory

Photographer: Charles Terry. Click the image to see a larger version.

Paul Dorpat, Seattle historical photograph expert shared this photograph with the Stanwood Area Historical Society many years ago. He is a collector of vintage photographs of places in Washington State.

The Camano Island Chamber of Commerce recently updated its Camano Gateway sign at the fork in the road (State Route 532). But this directory shows several now historical places, businesses, resorts, beaches, etc. Note the prominent landmark location referring to Terry’s Corner. This corner used to refer to the intersection of North Camano Drive and Sunrise Blvd which is why there are so many trees in the distance on the hillside behind the sign. There was a stop sign there as there is now. The right turn takes you to Utsalady and the left turn takes you south. This photograph was taken before the fork was put in the State Highway Dept in the 1960s so the photograph would be dated some time in the 1950s or early 60s.  It was located at the time at the stop sign intersection beyond the current gateway Camano Island Chamber of Commerce building because S. R. 532 to the south end had not yet bypassed that intersection.

Terrys Corner Kroll Plat Map 1932The name of the photographer has been identified as Charles Terry, the owner of the property at the time.   The 1932 Kroll map clipping shows that at the time it belonged to William Terry, Charles father.  For more on this history, see the book Camano Island Images of America (Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

If you have information that would further date this photograph, such as the dates that Seashell Café existed, please let us know! Contact us.

Historic Old East Stanwood Building

One way to tell history is to feature historic places or buildings. Every place has a past and it is good to be reminded of it occasionally. The American Legion building on 88th Ave NW (north of Rite Aide) has an interesting story. Its unusual mission style stucco makes it very unique for the area. It was built in 1940 as the East Stanwood City Hall and civic center. It was planned with a large auditorium and annex for commercial club and smaller meetings, a council chamber, modern kitchen, fully equipped, a stage, men’s and women’s rest rooms, cloak rooms and an entrance lobby.

American Legion Post

American Legion Post

The Legion Hall (former city hall) was built under the direction of the Works Progress Administration (W. P. A.) with a government allotment of $11,775 and a 30 mill levy furnishing the balance for a total of $19,176. For those who are not aware, this part of town was then called East Stanwood and was separately incorporated from Stanwood, which was the area north of the current Twin City Foods.

uleen photograph of the East Stanwood Commercial Club

Juleen photograph of the East Stanwood Commercial Club that ran East Stanwood before it incorporated.

This building replaced the former two-story East Stanwood Commercial Club building on that site which burned in July of 1938. The fire was fought by both the East Stanwood and Stanwood fire departments. The late Harold Klett remembers being thrown from the roof of the hall when fighting the fire. The pressure of the hose he was carrying suddenly catapulted him off his feet and he was slightly injured.
This early Commercial Club building was built in 1920 to “function as a force in fostering a better and higher community spirit. It was to function as a social and recreational center to help knit the community in a more closely related spirit of cooperation. Hundreds in the community have attended dances given in the Yankee ballroom—the name given to the dance room.” (East Stanwood Sun, July 28, 1938) At that time there was much dissention in the community over the operation of the schools and other amenities and two years later East Stanwood, the area around the railroad depot, would incorporate as a separate town. Some of the early story of the Commercial Club is recounted in The Stanwood Story by Alice Essex (vol. 2, pp. 27-29, 32,44,46, 58, 60 & 84.)
In 1960, the two towns consolidated because of the need to pool funds for a sewage system and other public works. Two years later the City Hall building was sold to the American Legion for $10,500. The Hall is still an active community organization, known as the Frank Hancock Post No. 92 of the American Legion.

Updated from Stanwood Area Echoes #24 article published in 2003.

Honoring Remarkable Women in Women’s History Month – Join us for the Spring Tea

Clara J. Stanwood Pearson, 1849 - 1910

Clara J. Stanwood Pearson, 1849 – 1910

The namesake of Stanwood is Clara Stanwood Pearson, wife of D. O. Pearson, Stanwood’s founding mayor.   Clara Stanwood’s birthday was March 18th, 1849.  She was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and left her home state of Massachusetts and all she knew to join D. O. Pearson and his family on Whidbey Island.
For more of her story, click here.

To see and hear more wonderful stories, don’t miss our annual Spring Tea & Vintage Fashion Exhibit featuring many new stories of women’s remarkable contributions to our local history and community.

Seeking Photographs of Mayors

Francis Giard, First Mayor of East Stanwood, 1922 - 1931

Francis Giard, First Mayor of East Stanwood, 1922 – 1931

The City of Stanwood is planning to create a gallery of portrait type photographs of the Mayors of Stanwood and East Stanwood to be on “permanent” display at City Hall.  They have asked us for their help.  The City has some photographs of recent mayors but some past mayors are missing.  And we (SAHS collections) have a few to add.

D. O. Pearson, First Mayor of Stanwood, 1903 - 1905, 1912-1915

D. O. Pearson, First Mayor of Stanwood, 1903 – 1905, 1912-1915





But to complete the gallery, we are taking the unusual step in asking the public to help us locate copies of portrait type of photographs from this list (pdf).

Can you help?
Contact us.
Here is small group of photographs of past mayors in the SAHS collections.

Musical Traditions

The Camano Island Cornet Band was one of the popular local bands that played community even95_107_01camanoislandbandpostcardts.  Judging by the style of photo and other details, they played around 1910.

These bandsmen pictured in this special photographic postcard are Lester Nelson, Arthur Einarsen, Harold Knutsen, Oscar Bodine, Ernest Einarsen, Sophus Borreson, Levi Thompson, Olaf Knutsen, Carl Land, Pete Wold and T.W. Magelssen.  They are perhaps not unlike the current South End String Band scheduled to play Feb 7th at the Floyd.

Not much is known about them, so if you have information about them, please let us know! The names were listed in the “Stanwood Story” by Alice Essex, v. 2 p. 100