Stanwood/Camano Area Oral History Project
Project Kick-Off Event
Wednesday, January 31
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Where: Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center (across from the Stanwood Library)
This event is a partnership between the library, the Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center, and the Stanwood Area Historical Society.
We want to hear your stories! Join us to learn more about an upcoming oral history project partnership between the Stanwood Library, the Stanwood Camano Resource Center, and the Stanwood Area Historical Society. The project will be based off of the StoryCorps model and interviews will be uploaded to the StoryCorps archives. Further details on how you can participate will be shared at the event, and you can also sit in and observe as former WA state senator Mary Margaret Haugen gives the first interview and tells some of her own stories! January 31st, 6-7:30pm, across the street from the library at the Stanwood Camano Resource Center 9612 271st Street NW Stanwood, WA.
Farm fields in the foreground were once a boggy wetland in the early days and the barn in the distance originally belonged to Mr. Terry. This local landmark was located on the west side of Sunrise Drive and collapsed in 1978. Photograph taken in 1974 by Howard Hansen, Stanwood News photographer
The commercial triangle of land bordered by North Camano Drive, Sunrise Drive, and S. R. 532 became known as Terry’s Corner for William Terry. Terry owned the farm at the intersection of North Camano Drive and Sunrise Drive since 1929. Prior to that it was known as MacEacheran’s Corner. MacEacheran was the local doctor who owned the farm there in 1912 on North Camano Drive. (In the map below, this was the Fay Miller property just out of the photo in the aerial view.)
According to early accounts the lowland farm fields south of Terry’s Corner had once been a peat bog of cranberries with a small slough draining into it. It was diked by early homesteaders. Wagon roads replaced the skid roads as the surrounding area was cleared of trees in hopes that could eventually be farmed. Early accounts also said the bog was burned and stumps dynamited to create the farm fields that are still productively cultivated.
In 1918 Aubrey Nelson bought the land that is still cultivated south of S. R. 532. It had been an early logging camp employing 40-50 men operated by Alfred Leque. The farm fields on had to be cleared of the peat bogs that were said to have cranberries. Eventually after years of burning and removal of the peat and stumps, the fields were cleared and workable.
S. R. 532 was dedicated in October 1969 bypassing many indirect curves and intersections from I – 5 through Stanwood ending at Terry’s Corner. This bypass created a more direct access to the south part of the Island. It had to cross the bog that was probably pretty impassable so a significant berm or levee was built to raise it across the wetland. For those us who drive past this view every day, we still can note the wild rose, cherry, salmonberry and thicket of other native plants that now include the blackberry and other invasives, but so far we have not found cranberries.
An Internet search for cranberry bog pictures (Vaccinum oxycoccos) what this area might have looked like originally.
By B.Lezius – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8798492
Stay tuned for part 2
Early accounts of the history of this area were published in our newsletter Stanwood Area Echoes no. 18: “LIvingston Bay, Camano Island 1862 – 1920” and “Profile of an Early Settler on Camano Island” by Elizabeth Nelson. Copies are available by request, click Contact Us.
Line art by Peter Beaulieu capturing the historical details of the house in in the 1990s.
On Tuesday Nov 28 the Stanwood Camano community is participating in a collective day of giving. One of the recipients is the Stanwood Area Historical Society. We are asking for funds to supplement our budget for repairs and rehabilitation of the D. O. Pearson House Museum windows and other general maintenance historical repairs. The repair project plan is described on this link: https://www.scgive.org/sahs_project
The photo below depicts the Pearson in the 1920s or 30s, sometime before the wooden sidewalks were replaced by concrete. The photographer of the day is unknown
Happy Thanksgiving !
Sixty years ago, the Williams Turkey Farm was among the few agricultural businesses on the Island. It is remembered by many local residents, please send us your stories of this or any local Camano Island or Stanwood business!
100 years ago (1917) young local resident Edward S. Christiansen, a resourceful young techie of his day, was discovered eavesdropping on official radio messages using a wireless [radio]. This was near the end of World War I and the military was understandably concerned.
Officials from the Puget Sound Navy shipyard sent the Snohomish County Sheriff to Camano Island to investigate. They found Edward’s wireless radio set and antenna in a tree near Triangle Cove. Read the article below for more details.
Edward lived to the age of 92 as a farmer, plumber and mechanic on Camano Island. He left school after the 6th grade. He apparently never married and lived his whole life on Camano Island. His name was actually spelled “Christiansen” according to records. He was born in September 1897 in Ballard, WA and died April 1989 on Camano Island.
And if anyone has anything to add to this please contact SAHS.
Seattle Times article retrieved using Seattle Public Library cardholder access to the Historical Seattle Times Database – sincere thanks to SPL.org for this service!
Join us for this Sunday’s (9/17) H & H Program featuring the life story of the intrepid Swedish American pioneer, Peter Henning.
Henning (1868-1955) was one of our colorful and influencial pioneers who settled in and helped develop the community known as East Stanwood. His career included experience as a Yukon Gold Rush entrepreneur, railroad and road builder, logger, farmer, and millworker. He was influential in the development of the East Stanwood school district of the day, the early banks, the Snohomish County Roads Commision and the Stevens Pass Highway Assn.
Enduring many hardships and setbacks he still led a life of hard work with many more successful accomplishments.
The program features a DVD presentation highlighting the story told in the book.
Refreshments include appetizers and desserts served with coffee, tea, and sparkling juice and wine. Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center.
The Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company (built in 1914), later known as the Carnation Milk (1916) was a major employer in East Stanwood and the surrounding area. It was later a vegetable cannery with a succession of owners and operators. This photograph and others like it made popular postcards featuring the attractions and the economic viability of the Stanwood and East Stanwood area.
We had hoped to get a now photograph from the hillside to repeat it more effectively but it wasn’t possible.
But this shows the building now from across the street. It is not clear exactly what changes were made but we think the building on the left is now gone and the North Star Cold Storage now occupies a remodeled facility in the same footprint. See the aerial below. (If you click on the images they will enlarge for a closer view.) Later occupied by Bozeman Canning (about 1933) followed by Stokely Van Camp PIctsweet vegetable processing.
The two views below of the D. O. Pearson House backyard were taken between 80 – 100 years apart. The pear tree in the lower contemporary (July 2017) view is the same tree as the one in the historical (circa 1929) photograph. This comparison reveals to us also how little about the house has changed. The porch window has been closed in and it appears there were two back doors.
The building behind the back section is long gone. See previous post for info on the repair of these 100+ year windows and history of the house in newsletter Echoes no. 21
This digital image was donated by a Pearson Family descendant who owns the rest of collection.
If you’ve driven by the D. O. Pearson House recently you might have noticed some of the windows boarded up. Thanks to 2016 Giving Tuesday donations and a Snohomish County Community Heritage Grant this year we are able to repair or “refurbish” the leaking old Pearson House windows to avoid costly replacement. This helps us retain the character of the historic building which has now survived over a century.
The twelve windows were made of cedar and they have withstood a century of weather and not rotted. But old putty was replaced where necessary to seal them and they have been repainted. To do the job correctly, they must be removed, repaired off-site and re-installed.
They return secure and cleaner brightening up the rooms with light. And once again they can slide up and down to open.
They can be held open with pins in hot weather. They slide much better now even without pulleys, ropes and sash weights that provide a smooth sliding counter balance in later double hung windows. Some of them also have unusual interesting decorative locks and catches.
Repairing wood windows can be cost effective and energy efficient so if you are considering replacing old wood windows, consider repairing them. For more information on how to proceed, click here. And here “Top Ten Reasons to Restore or Repair Wood Windows.
The windows are original to the house. We are lucky to find someone with the special skills and patience to work with the windows so we didn’t have to replace them. The Window King company, specifically, Jeff Zoloth, has 20+ years of experience refurbishing historic windows currently including the Macy’s building in Seattle. See his website for more examples of historic preservation projects he has worked on throughout Western Washington.