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!