Category Archives: Times & Places

Short historical articles about Camano-island and-Stanwood-area

Naming Terry’s Corner (Part 1)

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.
Vaccinium oxycoccos by Maseltov 1

By B.Lezius – Own work, CC BY 3.0,




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.

Turkey Farm

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!

Wireless leaks – Then and Now

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 for this service!

Efforts in collaboration

We are speculating but assume this sign probably was made for Hwy 99 promoting Stanwood and East Stanwood, [more below]

This photograph was among several photographs donated by Shirley Danielson probably used in the Stanwood NEWs.  We haven’t yet found an article documenting this effort in community development. For those new to the community, Stanwood and East Stanwood were once two towns who had a healthy rivalry but occasionally came together for a common purpose such as promotion of the area.  The name of the local food processing company, Twin City Foods references this historic era and retains its historic name.  For more on the story, find copies of the Stanwood Story by Alice Essex, check with us for copies and more information.  Click here for an online article. Please Contact us if you know more about the folks who might be in the photograph or anything about the occasion.

Update – the photograph was published in the June 3 1948 issue of the Twin City News :

“…sign personally built and painted by members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the farmhome of Arne Lervik….and erected on the west side of Highway 99 just south of the Heichel Bros garage at Davis Corner.  Photo by F. Templeton…..members shown are Bob Seabury and Lee Bloom, Dean Sill, Calvin Templeton, Oscar Hansen, Fred Tiffany, and Herman Baalson, Ray Ronnestad and Arne Lervick….”



1916 ~ One Hundred Years ago

One hundred years ago in Stanwood the “Stanwood Tidings” (the local newspaper) compiled a special Issue featuring the Achievements in this community by local businesses and institutions.  At this time the first world war was changing the face of Europe and in Everett four men died in the Everett Masscre in a labor riot blamed on the I. W.W.

Wisconsin Timber Co. that became Clough Lumber Co., 1923 the Hamilton Lumber.

Wisconsin Timber Co. that became Clough Lumber Co., 1923 then Hamilton Lumber.
Railroad tracks along the wharf to load timber & sawdust onto steamers or barges. Giant burner used to generate power for electric company in early years. It was located along Stillaguamish River waterfront  and Irvine Slough.  Photographer : John T. Wagness.  [see the book “Stanwood Story”, v. 2, p. 4, 22, 32, 38 for the rest of the story]

In Stanwood, business was booming.  Both The Stanwood Lumber Company and the Wisconsin Timber companies (opened Dec 1916) dominated the waterfront.

The community near the depot referred to as East Stanwood had formed a Commercial Club and would soon incorporate in 1922 as a separate town.  Streets were being paved with bricks and the Pacific Highway was just being built.

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.

Imagine Stanwood 1886

Imagine yourself on a slow – moving steamboat plying the waters of Puget Sound and as you are passing through the South Pass of the Stillaguamish River you look out to see the cluster of buildings in the banner photograph (above).  This photograph was adapted for our new SAHS website banner and is an edited digital copy of one of the earliest photographs of Stanwood taken by Gilbert Horton from his Palace Floating Gallery.   Horton was among a few itinerant photographers who was taking photographs in early Washington State at the time.  (Read more about Horton here on Historylink…)HortonSig

The photograph was taken in 1886 showing the waterfront and wharf with its earliest commercial buildings.   At this time the main channel of the Stillaguamish River flowed past what is now Stanwood’s historic waterfront (occupied currently by Twin City Foods and several other businesses).   This was before the railroad came through in 1891 and when almost all transportation took place by steamboats.

This view shows the Stanwood Store owned by D. O. Pearson from South Pass, a branch of the Stillaguamish River that emptied into the shallow Port Susan.   Steamboats and other shallow bottomed boats could navigate the Stillaguamish River’s West or South Passes on a high tide all the way up to Florence, another growing community upriver.  Over the last century (after cleared log jams and several floods) the main channel of the river slowly diverted itself directly south through what was historically known as Hatt Slough to Port Susan.

The photograph was later published in the 1906 “The Illustrated History Skagit and Snohomish County“, a subscription biography and history proudly honoring successful farmers and businessmen who could afford to have their biographies featured as prominent pioneers in this 1000+ page publication.

Cabinet card photograph of Stanwood when Washington was still a Territory

Cabinet card photograph of Stanwood when Washington was still a Territory. It was taken about 10 years after D.O. Pearson established his store and built the wharf. The mill at Utsalady on Camano Island was still a major economic force in the area but settlers were slowly displacing the Stillaguamish Indians who lived on this delta for centuries.

–Karen Prasse, SAHS volunteer