Category Archives: Times & Places

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

Historic view of Leque Island which is now flooded

Leque Island from bridge to Camano Island over the Ovenell Farm. Snow geese are in the distance. circa 2003

Until the last few weeks if you looked south while driving over the bridge from Stanwood to Leque Island you saw what were once the farms of the Eide, Leque and Smith families.  The island was formed when these farmers came to Stanwood in the late 19th century.  They created the island by diking the wetlands at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River where it forked towards Port Susan to the south and Skagit Bay to the West.  Diking created farmland to grow their hay, oats and wheat.

This view looked over West Pass of the Stillaguamish River toward what was Leque Island.  Dikes that surrounded the “island” were removed this month. Now the island is flooded and there is a raised dike on the North side recently reinforced to protect Stanwood from high tides. The Eide House was still there at the time of the photograph (2003) with snow geese in the background.  Farming became impractical and in the 1990s the families sold their farms to the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.  For a history of Leque Island read here.

Once a town – East Stanwood, 1922-1960

East Stanwood 1909

Stanwood was once two towns.  The original pre-1890s riverfront “town” grew during the 1870s and 1880s at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River.  Then when the railroad went through a mile east, a new commercial district formed around the depot referred to as “East Stanwood.”  The photos are then and now views of East Stanwood before the commercial buildings were built.

East Stanwood was platted in 1906 but not incorporated until 1922.  In the meantime the commercial area we now know grew as the railroad provided more direct transportation than the steamboats that served the original Stanwood near the Twin City Foods area.  In the top photo the H&H railroad tracks are visible on the left.

The two story building on the left still exists but was moved to 27122 88th Ave. N.W. It was known as the Peterson Apartments.

“East Stanwood” 2018

The early buildings in the top photo seem much closer to the tracks than they appear in this contemporary view.

Visit the museum for more of the story.  See also other articles  East Stanwood businesses , Historic city hall,

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Irvine, Thompson, Sons of Norway Hall History

Sons of Norway Hall 2018.

Sonner Av Norge or Sons of Norway Hall 2018; Fritjov Lodge, #17 – Organized April 24th, 1910. Building dedicated in 1914.

Sons of Norway Hall, dedicated in 1914.

Cropped from a street view of Main Street in 1917 showing the two story Thompson Hall moved across the street by the Sons of Norway and converted to their hall.

Cropped from a street view of Main Street in 1917 the two story Thompson Hall has been moved across the street by the Sons of Norway and converted to their hall.

The Sons of Norway Hall has a long history in Stanwood. Its members were vital to the local culture as singers, musicians as well as business and religious leaders and Stillaguamish Valley farmers.

The hall building was originally located across the street west of the “Stanwood House” which was Thompson’s residence.
According to Gustav Joergenson (in his “History of the Twin Cities” article series)  “Mr. Irvine’s new hall and warehouse was built on the North side of Irvine Slough during 1889-90” and used by the Masons until they built their own in 1895. J.  H. Irvine sold the business and hall to Norwegian immigrants Thompson, Alfred Ryan and Carl Ryan in 1903 according to Grace Ryan Cornwell.   In 1914 The Sons of Norway bought the hall from S.A. Thompson and moved it over to its present location where they rebuilt the hall in 1934 (see Twin City News April 8, 1937)

The Sons of Norway Hall and the Stanwood House are on the Stanwood Historic Sites Walking Tour and will be open April 7 (in conjunction with the Camano Historic Sites Tour. They are both recognized as one of the historic places in Stanwood’s Historic Plaque program.

The store itself remained where it was evolving into the Hitching Post/Thriftmart IGA which burned in February 1978. Its location is now an empty lot  (scroll down).

For more of the story—-

Original the Irvine store business was establish in about 1878 near the waterfront, was sold to S.A. Thompson. Circa 1903 which is possibly the occasion of the photograph.

Original the Irvine store business was establish in about 1878 near the waterfront, was sold to S.A. Thompson. Circa 1903 which is possibly the occasion of the photograph.

The “modernized” Hitching Post, formerly the Thompson Store in Stanwood, burned in February 1978. At that time is was known as the Thriftmart IGA.

(Refer Stanwood Story, v.1, p63(il.),80, v.2, p103(il.); hall, v.2, p89; v. 3 p. 48)