Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Traffic control in early Sumas...our short lived traffic circle.

Picture 1
looking N on Cherry Street towards the Canadian border.  The flagpole is mounted at the intersection of Cherry Street and Garfield Avenue.
posted with permission from the Bob Bromley collection
We have all heard many opinions, pro and con, regarding the use of Traffic Circles that are now coming into use around the county in the last few of years to ease traffic flow and reduce violent accidents at intersections.  However, one of the first uses of the Circle in the county was here in Sumas and was installed just 3 blocks S of the International Boundary on our main thoroughfare of Cherry Street early in the 20th century.    
From stories I heard from interviews with the late Al Baker, an early Sumas resident, our Traffic Circle existed for only a few years and was removed after too many drunk drivers ran into it.  The dating is not certain, however it was not in place for very long.  The circle was not shown on the historic Sandborn Fire Insurance map of 1914 in my collection. 
The hardware store on the left of picture 1, with the horse and wagon tethered in front, was built in 1907.  In later years, the building became known as West's Groceries.  To the right on the S side of the intersection we can see the Grand Hotel.  The roads ware still unpaved with boardwalks in front of the buildings.  By looking at the automobile parked on the right side of the road it looks as if the picture was taken in the teens. 
The Circle was an interesting feature of our community while it lasted.  See you next posting.  Thanks for visiting Nooksack Valley Nostalgia!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The incredible moving Mt. Baker!

You will recognize picture 1 from my posting, 'Floods of Sumas - Part 1 of 1- featuring  early floods' which I posted 27 January, 2015.  The view is a classic, looking SE from the top of Moe Hill on the W side of Sumas down onto the early (flooded) city.  Mr. John Linn, an observant reader, pointed out a very interesting feature in the photograph.   He reminded me that we can not see Mt. Baker from Sumas on a cloudy day.  Picture 1 shows Sumas on a cloudy day, yet, we can see Mt. Baker! So, as it turns out, the photographer not only added it into the photograph (in the wrong location!), but felt that he needed to improve the mountain by making it pointy.  Perhaps he had never seen the mountain to know where it was located or he wanted to compose the picture better.  We may never know.

Picture 1
Posted with permission from the Gannaway Collection
 A photograph with Mt. Baker cleverly painted where the artist wanted to place it.

Picture 2
Posted with permission of Mr. John Linn
 Due to creative computer work, Mr. John Linn was able to superimposed Google Earth over the vintage photograph from 1917. You will see that Mt. Baker is really on the far left side of the picture and not nestled in the saddle, artistically centered, as the original photographer wanted his viewer to think.
Thank you, Mr. Linn for your observations and your keen eyes! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

History presentation at the Sumas Senior Center

I invite everyone to come to my presentation about the history of the Sumas Roundup next Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at the Sumas Senior Center. 
I look forward to seeing you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Historic Trial of early Sumas saloonkeeper is a milestone for the ladies of Whatcom County!

In 1911, after suffrage, the Washington State legislature changed the jury statutes so that men And women could be placed on the list of potential jurors. Washington was the first state in the U.S. to allow women to serve as jurors. 
 picture 1
picture credited to the Whatcom Museum, Photo Archives, Bellingham, WA
pictured is the first Superior Court jury in the state that included women.  The six men and six women were sworn in by Judge John A. Kellogg on 5 September, 1911.
picture taken at the Whatcom County Courthouse, Bellingham, WA. Originally the photograph was published in the Bellingham newspaper "The Morning Reveille"...7 September, 1911.
The jurors pictured:  left to right, 
Front Row: C. L. Thomas, Mrs.  S. Philbrick, Mrs. Clara C. Cline, Mrs. F. A. Rogers     (Foreman), Mrs. Laura Higgerson, Mrs. M. Crane. 
Back Row:  P.C. Valde,  C.K. Smith,  A.S. Hardenbrook, Sam Larson, L. Olson, and Mrs. Beth Purnell.
The case to be decided was regarding Sumas saloon owner Thomas Stambaugh and whether he was guilty of selling liquor to a Native American man, Dick Harry.
Thomas Stambaugh was born in Indiana about 1876 and settled in Sumas with his wife, Theresa.  According to the 1910 census they were raising two young children, Thomas and Mary.  He owned and operated the Eagle Bar in Sumas.  
The jury was split.  The men were all convinced of Mr. Stambaugh's innocence in the matter, while all the women decided he was guilty.  The jury couldn't come to an agreement and they had to set a new trial. 
picture 2
A token from the Eagle Bar in Sumas as owned by Thomas Stambaugh.
Posted with permission from the Cregan Marmont collection.
Thanks for visiting Nooksack Valley Nostalgia!  See you next time...

Floods of Sumas - part 1 of 1 - featuring early floods

Those who have lived in Sumas for any length of time are familiar with the flooding risks.  It is not
"if" the flooding is going to happen, but "when"...
 picture 1
   illustration from the Geologic Survey of Canada
As can be seen from picture 1, "...the Fraser River to the north in Canada had at one time spread into a large delta, south of Sumas Mountain, that fed into the Salish Sea to the west, through what is today the area between Vancouver, B.C. and Bellingham, WA."...the Geologic Survey of Canada.
It is believed that the Fraser River had possibly changed courses numerous times and ran into Bellingham Bay.  This, combined with glacial activities leaving depressions and moraine deposits formed what we know today as Nooksack Valley.  Moe Hill on the west side of Sumas, is a classic example of a glacial moraine deposit.  The geological activities also created Sumas Lake which we discussed in an earlier posting,http://nooksackvalleynostalgia.blogspot.com/2014/02/sumas-lake.html. from 18, February, 2014. 
Before the draining of Sumas Lake, flooding was a major source of difficulties.  The Spring rain and snow melt would cause the Fraser River the raise 10 to 12 feet and caused the local streams and rivers to overflow their banks causing much community and farmland damage both the United States and Canada.  There was simply no where else for the water to go quickly. 
The draining of the Sumas Lake and the building of the Vedder Canal helped improve the flooding situation in Sumas however our community is still prone to flooding.
picture 2

picture 2 shows Sumas Lake before 1924.  The dotted  boundary shows where the lake flooded during the high water season.  The pink arrow points to the approximate eastern edge of modern Sumas at the International Boundary.
illustration credited to Yarrow Pioneer and Settlers website.

picture 3
picture 3 looking N towards the International Boundary on a soggy Cherry Street, Sumas.
written on the back of the photograph..."Photo taken 10:30 A.M. Monday 31st Dec 1917".
picture posted with permission from the Morgan family collection

Picture 4
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 26 January, 2015
picture taken at the same location as picture 3.  Looking north to the International Boundary, the yellow lines points to the red-orange Canadian Immigration Building. The blue building on the left is visible in the old photograph with a large Z painted on the side.  The bright green 24/7 Parcel building (arrow A) is barely visible in picture 3.
 picture 5
a vintage flood view looking S down Cherry Street in Sumas, date unknown.
Notice the building on the right side of the picture (seen in picture 6 as arrow A), through the years it has housed many businesses: today it is the home of 24/7 Parcels.
picture 5 credited to the Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, British Columbia
Picture 6 
 Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 26 January, 2015.
picture taken at the same location as picture 5.  Both the current Wow Hair Salon (arrow 1) and 24/7 Parcel (arrow A) buildings are visible in  picture 5.

 picture 7
 picture 7 shows another vintage flood view, looking N, up Cherry Street, from a position just S of Second Street, Sumas, date unknown.  The brick building to the far left is currently the Wow Hair Salon, (originally was the Bank of Sumas and then later the Seafirst Bank).
Notice the 'FURNITURE' sign on the right side of the picture, see the same sign in picture 9.
posted with permission from the Gannaway family collection
Picture 8
Picture taken by Deborah Morgan, 26 January,  2015.
picture taken at the same location as picture 7.  Again, the Wow Hair Salon (arrow 1) and the 24/7 Parcel (arrow A) can be seen in picture 7.

picture 9
another vintage picture looking S, down Cherry Street from a position just N of Second Street, Sumas, date unknown. 
Notice the 'FURNITURE' sign on the left side of the picture, see the same sign in picture 7. 
 posted with permission from the Gannaway family collection 

picture 10

vintage flood view looking SE (towards Mount Baker) with Vedder Mountain strung out in the background, from the classic vantage point on Moe Hill (early 20th C).  In the center background, you can see Central School (featured in my posting 23 January, 2014... http://nooksackvalleynostalgia.blogspot.com/2014/01/central-school-sumas-wa.html. )
posted with permission from the Gannaway family collection.
Watch for more postings on the Floods of Sumas!  Thanks for visiting. 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Historic Homes of Sumas, WA. part 2 of 2...featuring the Linn House

About 1/4 mile east of Sumas on the N side of Kneuman Road, in the midst of a tangle of brambles and tall grass, is a fairy tale cottage.  As a child I was transfixed by this picturesque house and often wondered who lived there.  Now, thanks to Mr. John Linn, I have learned the story of his childhood home.  The house belonged to Johns parents, Vernon and Ora Linn.  It was their first home and they raised their family there.
picture 1
Vintage photograph of the Linn family house looking NE from Kneuman Road (circa July, 1938).
Photograph posted with permission from the Linn collection
According to communications from Mr. John Linn, the little house was built in 1933 by his father Vernon Linn.  Vernon was proprietor of Linn's Hardware store (on Cherry Street in Sumas) a business which was originally established by his father, Art Linn. The family was known for their skill as carpenters.  Vernon's paternal uncle Elmer Linn and maternal uncle Carl Holmberg were responsible for building several houses around Sumas and the region. Elmer Linn later relocated to los Angeles and was a Set Carpenter for RKO Studio and worked on the giant mechanical hand that was used in the 1933 version of the movie " King Kong". 
Vernon built the house featured in this posting with many features to accommodate his wife's garden and bedding flower business. The property was given many architectural and landscaped features that gave it a unique charm and fairy tale look.
picture 2

A model constructed by Vernon Linn before building the real house in the early 1930's.
picture posted with permission from the Linn collection
picture 3
Looking N at the garage that matches the little house with John Linn's brother, Lawrence "Elbert" in front.
picture posted with permission from the Linn collection
 picture 4
a delightful snow scene, January 1937, looking NW with Lawrence "Elbert" at the little house with the S slope of Moe Hill in back. 
 Notice the icicles hanging off the siding of the house. 
picture posted with permission from the Linn collection.
picture 5
Looking NE towards the Linn House and greenhouse, circa 1949
picture posted with permission from the Linn collection.
Vernon added a greenhouse to nurture the plants they were known for, a garage, a playhouse in the back (on the S slope of Moe Hill) as well as a barn, all of which matched the style of the house.
picture 6
Plants growing inside of the greenhouse seen in picture 5, circa 1949.
picture posted with permission from the Linn Collection
picture 7
The garden shop (May, 1941) in Lynden, WA that sold the bedding plants raised by Ora Linn in their greenhouse shown in picture 5.  The lady in the picture is an unidentified employee of the shop.  picture posted with permission from the Linn Collection
picture 8
picture taken looking E along Kneuman Road towards Sumas, circa 1949.
Vernon Linn posed with his son, John, on the little bridge Vernon had built over Van Valkenburg creek, in front of their house. 
Later in the 1960s..." the creek was diverted to a culvert on the other side of the road."...J. Linn. 
Today, Kneuman Road is paved and the beautiful little bridge is no longer there.
picture posted with permission from the Linn collection
picture 9
Photograph taken 9 January 2015 by Deborah Morgan
Looking NW from Kneuman Road at the house and garage. The house is still standing and is charming in spite of the disrepair.
 picture 10
picture taken 9 January 2015 by Deborah Morgan
looking E along Kneuman Road towards Sumas
The road is no longer the gravel road shown in picture 8. 
picture 11

 detail of picture 10, taken 9 January 2015 by Deborah Morgan
looking NE
In the recent years the house has been used as a rental.  Someone is keeping the grass mowed and seems to be maintaining the property, but otherwise the house is currently vacant.  Apparently according to community rumors, the current owners intended to level the site and place a business at the location. I haven't been able to confirm this one way or the other.
Thanks for visiting Nooksack Valley Nostalgia! 
My next posting will start a new series...the Historic Floods of Sumas! 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Historic Homes of Sumas, WA. part 1 of 2...featuring the Parkinson House

This is a new series that will feature local historical homes and share their fascinating stores.  If you know a local home of historical significant  that you would like to have featured please contact me.  I will start with the beautiful Parkinson House. 

We are familiar with Moe Hill which stands watch over our little town.  It was known in the earliest days of Sumas as Barker Hill after a local investor who intended to cash in on the railroad coming to town.   Mr. George Parkinson built a lovely home on the south slope of Moe Hill just south of the International Boundary sometime between 1890 and 1892.

Mr. Parkinson was a local businessman who successfully started a dry good store on Railroad Street here in town. The dry good store is pictured on my post from 4 March, 2014... http://nooksackvalleynostalgia.blogspot.com/2014/03/sumas-street-scene-in-1898.html.   
He had immigrated from England leaving his actress wife to follow him with their young daughter.  George built this home and had it waiting for the family when they arrived.

picture 1

photograph looking E at the Parkinson House, circa 1920's?
photograph posted with permission from the Brock collection

 Picture 2
photograph taken looking W, date unknown
posted with permission from the Brock collection
One amusing story about the arrival of Florence Parkinson in Sumas is as follows:
 "George Parkinson had completed the home for her and the community was eager to meet this fine English lady who was coming to their town.  Mrs. Parkinson and her daughter arrived in Fairhaven, Washington in the fall of 1890.  She was an English actress and dancer from the London theaters and supposedly had quite a presence about her.  They checked into the Fairhaven Hotel (which was newly built at the time) for the night with plans to continue to Sumas the next day.
She was allegedly dressed in a bright red bustled dress with laced mutton chop sleeves, a giant feathered hat and slippers to match carrying a parasol with a red feathered rim.  She had a red satin purse with a ten year old daughter dressed in matching red in tow. Supposedly she was not impressed with the Fairhaven Hotel.
The next day Mrs. Parkinson went to the train station to enquire about travel to Sumas.  The ticket agent told her that there was a locomotive leaving later that day but it had no passenger cars with it.  She was insistence that he would simply have to secure a passenger car for her and her daughter.   While the agent was intimidated by her mannerisms he asked her to wait while he checked with his boss.   After a while he returned to tell her that there were no passenger cars available at that time.   The only way to get on the train was to ride an empty flatcar, which was not appropriate for a lady and her child.
She simply paid for passage on the flatcar to Sumas with her trunks and luggage loaded in advance.  She and her daughter were seated on their luggage and journeyed that way to Sumas.  Notification of her arrival came by telegraph and the town folks eagerly awaited her arrival at the railroad station. 
The locomotive blasted the whistle and slowed to a stop with Lady Parkinson seated in the middle of the flatcar as if she was royalty.  Once the train stopped, a group of men pushed a series of boxes up to the car making a set of stairs.  She calmly closed her parasol and stepped down in her bright red dress.  Her daughter followed holding the trailing hem of her mother's dress.   Mrs. Florence Parkinson had arrived and made her mark on Sumas."
story posted with permission from the Brock collection
Picture 3
 Another vintage view looking SE at the Parkinson House, date unknown
picture posted with permission from the Brock collection
Picture 4
photograph taken looking SW, date unknown 
Photograph posted with permission from Brock collection

Picture 5
Photograph posted with permission from the Linn Collection
This photograph (taken February 1936) is looking NW at the Parkinson house at an earlier time when the southern slope of Moe Hill had been cleared of trees.
According to correspondence from John Linn (grandson of Arthur Linn, who owned the Linn Hardware in Sumas), the city of Sumas would hang Christmas lights on one of the two evergreen trees (the dark trees to the right of the Parkinson House) and the pleasing lights would be visible for miles across the valley. This practice continued for many years.
John Linn also shared that Roy and Alice Tudor lived in the Parkinson House for about a year from 1919 -1920. 
Quotes from the  book "A Good Life in a Good Land" by Alice Tudor describe the experience as follows:
 "We had to look for a house in Sumas now, since was out of question to move back into our small place.  Ed living with us plus our expanding family required more room.  Our best choice seemed to be the Parkinson House on the hill and that is where we moved.  The
Ford was not powerful enough to drive up the hill, but we managed 
We enjoyed living on "Parkinson's Hill" but it was very inconvenient to climb it.  We still did not have a car with enough power to drive up, which meant we had to walk, except when the store truck made deliveries.  When we took Kenneth out in the stroller, we would carry him up the hill and pull the empty cart. When I came home from the hospital, the Easterbrooks took me home with their horse and buggy.
There was much fruit on the place - prunes, cherries, apples and pears, even apricots and walnuts. I argued that it was easier to have the children away from the town, but soon found that they had plenty of visitors, children who enjoyed playing in the country -like the area around the hill."
Mr. John Linn added to the following footnote to Tudor's story regarding the Parkinson House:
 "At that time, the side of the hill was terraced, with fruit trees growing on the terraces.   One time Arthur's son, Vernon, was visiting his cousins during a "silver thaw" (ice storm) and he slipped on the top of the hill and slid down making a resounding "bump" each time his bottom hit the flat of a terrace.  Finally, he reached the bottom, just barely sliding under a barbed-wire fence before coming to a stop. 
The hill was later called "Moe's Hill" when Arthur Moe lived in the Parkinson (D.M.) house.  Vernon and Ora Linn bought about an acre of land from Arthur Moe and built a house (early 1950's...D.M.) above and to the northeast of the Parkinson House."
Picture 6

Photograph taken 9 January 2015 by Deborah Morgan
looking N at the Parkinson House (see the arrow).
This photograph taken very close to location of picture 5 just S of the intersection of Bob Mitchell Way and the Burlington Northern tracks.  The green shipping containers, N of the tracks are on the property of  Pacific Rim Reload Service.
 Picture 7
 photograph taken looking W
 12 November, 2014 by Deborah Morgan
with permission of the current property owners

The home is still standing and is currently in the stewardship of Mr. and Mrs. S. Brock. 
It's historical integrity is wonderfully preserved. 

picture 8

Photograph taken looking NW towards Moe (Barker) Hill.
13 December, 2014 by Deborah Morgan
  Notice the peak of the Parkinson House (see the arrow).  
The stop sign marks the SE corner of Railroad and Garfield Streets here in Sumas. 
This photograph was taken next to the northbound railroad tracks where Mrs. Parkinson made her grand entrance in 1890. 
picture 9

a detail of picture 8
Photograph taken 13 December, 2014 by Deborah Morgan
Looking northwest towards Moe Hill where the Parkinson House oversees our community
  Look forward to part 2 in the series of Historic Homes of Sumas.
(thank you for respecting the privacy of the current homeowners of these historic properties)
...posting updated 9 January, 2015...