“Crow Island”

A “crows nest” of stumps. An unidentified photographic postcard image in our collect that seemed typical of the stumps of the island described in early histories that had to be cleared for farm fields.

When I first started learning about local history here some of the elders of our group often mentioned how Camano Island used to be called “Crow Island.”  It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, we certainly had our share of treetop raucousness in our woods on the South end of Camano Island.  But I recently found an news article from a June 4, 1920 Stanwood Tidings that mentioned “Crow Island”.  The author was Mr. Gilbert Quale, a Norwegian immigrant whose name is also often spelled Qvale.  His farm was at the intersection of SR 532 and Juniper Beach Road where his historic house still stands

This map (on display at the Eldridge Center Museum – SAHS) shows the property owners of Island County including Mr Quale’s large farm. On the right is Leque Island and the mouth of the Stillaguamish River (West Pass and South Pass).

In the article he described the land clearing efforts of the local farmers: G. W. Hills, Mr. Danielson, Mr Borrison, Jorgen Anderson, Ivar Opdall, Ivan Larson , Peter Wold, Eli Myron.

They blasted the stumps, hauled them to into piles with steam donkeys and plowed the roots out of the ground to clear land for their farms.

After all of his hard work I think he was feeling a bit righteous about his land in the face of some condescension on the part of other farmers on the mainland.  His quote from the article: “Now some of you town people that make fun of “Crow Island,” as you call it, and some of you that are asleep and imagine you are dreaming about stills and moonshine when perhaps pulling crow teeth and blasting stumps, show not be so quick to throw slurs at a neighborhood just because there are a few crows on the Island?

Mr Qvale built this house in about 1923 according to County records. It is one of best preserved historic house and is eligible for the National Historic Register according to a 2006 survey of historic places on the island. It resembles a design of a Sears, Roebuck and Company house.

Gilbert was a community minded soul, he worked to actively promote their of their farm products as one of the original trustees of the Snohomish County Dairyman’s Association in 1917. He was listed as a grocer when he married his wife Amelia Land in 1900 Census and a director of the local Farmer’s Mutual Insurance Co.  He was listed as a dairy farmer at his death in 1943.

Quale Barn on Camano Island (no longer standing)
Photograph by Gerald Magelssen

Happy Holidays!

Limited hours open over Christmas at the Museum and Exhibits collections at the Floyd.
Please contact us for a special tour of the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center & Museum exhibits
27130 102nd Ave NW  Stanwood WA 98292  360-629-6110

Our Historical Parks – Hutchison Park, Camano Island

Stanwood and Camano Island have many local parks to enjoy holiday hikes. Almost all of them are historical parks and thanks to many years of interpretation projects, their stories are there to be read.
Our two State Parks plus a few little Island County Parks (Barnum Point, Iverson, English Boom, and Kayak Point on Port Susan are great places to observe wildlife, sunshine and possibly share your memories of the parks and how they were established.

Hutchison Park Camano Island

Hutchison Park, Camano Island

On the South end of Camano Island, the Walter G. Hutchison Park was established in 1979 and is used by neighbors, walkers, and bikers and those who are just on a drive around the island.   It is perhaps our smallest park with a short trail maintained by local volunteers and we know very little about it.  It is located at 3227 South East Camano Drive.

We have been looking into more information to properly document its history and will update this story when we can.  Contact us if you know more information.
Now it has a new feature, it’s own little library in a telephone booth managed by our park volunteers.

Walter G Hutchinson plaque dated 1979.

Walter G Hutchinson plaque dated 1979.

Click to see larger image

 

Little Library in the telephone booth, South End Camano Island

Little Library in the telephone booth, South End Camano Island

 

Events and Activities for Nov & Dec.

Dec 3rd is Giving Tuesday Mark your calendars for Stanwood Camano Giving Tuesday online all day on December 3rd and help support the critical repairs needed for the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center.  Please note our recent fund raising projects are well in progress:  This year so far we have refinished the floors of the Floyd; The Pearson House Kitchen have been rehabilitated with more authentic fixtures and furniture; ramps to Floyd and Tolin House have been repainted and had safety improvements made. Other projects are scheduled.

Dec 12 ~ 6 p.m SAHS Christmas Party – details to be announced.
Dec 15 ~ Annual “Jazzin’ with the Classics” with Jeffrey Cohan – details to be announced.

NEW Exhibits!

Our popular “Waistlines Hemlines” exhibit has had a major updating.  Blended with the clothing of the decades are some of the important historical events and stories of the area’s history all with amazing photographs of the eras:

 

 

WWI Homefront Fallen Heroes remembered—
Once a Milltown – Logging and Lumbering—
School consolidation—
Early Churches—
Dr. Mac – First medical man in Stanwood—
Stanwood Klondikers of 1898—
“Trees to Peas to Prosperity”—
Camano Island Resort History—

Join the Historical Society here to receive our latest newsletter.  Click here to renew and Help keep the museum open and Preserve the History of the Stanwood Camano Area – there are many projects and programs for your expertise! Training is usually provided by shadowing our current volunteers, Please let us know of your interest.  You can keep up with activities on our Facebook pagenewest Instagram account for activities and rentals at the Floyd – and at our website www.sahs-fncc.org

Our sister organization, the Camano City Schoolhouse, also has some great activities including their Christmas Tree lighting.

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.