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.
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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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 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.
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)
Brick buildings on the brick street, circa 2004; Both buildings are recognized in our Historic Plaque Program.
The photo above shows two of Stanwood’s historic buildings on Main Street.
Main Street is one of the few brick streets left in Snohomish County and the street itself is historic!
The “First National Bank” building on the right was built in 1930 when the original brick Bank of Stanwood outgrew its original location. It had several owners since 1967 when it moved again and is now the First National Professional Center.
The Antique store (brick building on the left) was long known as Hartney’s Style Shop. The building was built by Jeremiah Hartney in 1925. He came to Stanwood in 1906 as a tailor and had a shop on Market Street in his early business years. Hartney died in 1945. Clyde Tolin managed the shop until his death in 1948 and according to the Stanwood Story (v.3 p. 31) it was sold to George Hammer and operated by Bill Bradford. Women’s wear was brought to store in the 1960s Bradford sold it to Ken and Audrey Carlson in 1974. It went out of business in October of 1997 after Ken Carlson died.
Circa 1904 view of Stanwood’s Historic Banking corner – Was Market Street and Broadway and is now 102nd Ave and S. R. 532.
1995 View of Stanwood’s 100 year banking corner.
In 1967 the National Bank of Stanwood moved back to its original corner and merged with the Bank of Stanwood. Through a series of mergers and owner changes, the Bank of Stanwood and the National Bank of Stanwood became part of Seafirst Bank which was ultimately (in 1998) acquired by Bank of America. Along this timeline, the National Bank of East Stanwood was also part of the complicated series of mergers and acquisitions of the local banks.
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.