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 
somehow.
 
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...



Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year's Eve, 1961. "Another quiet night at the Border"

 
 May everyone have a safe and Happy New Year! 
 
picture 1
An advertisement from the Nooksack Valley Farm Review, January 1, 1942
Posted with permission from the Morgan family collection.
 
 
New Years eve 1961, was an important one to my family, the community and was nearly tragic.  My father, Burl Brooks Beane was the new Port Director at the U.S. Customs office on the border.  In those days it was usual for an officer to work alone on a shift at the border during the quiet times.   Burl decided to work the holiday night shift to allow the other men to be with their families.  It promised to be an uneventful and quiet night.  However, as outlined in the article below, there was a surprise in store for him in the early hours of the new year...
 Picture 2
Everson News, January 4, 1962
Posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 
The transcription of the above article for easier reading is as following:
 
"There is more to inspection of cars than meets the eye at a border station,  Burl Beane, deputy collector of customs at Sumas, holds the rifles that were uncovered early Monday morning during an inspection and which led to the apprehension of three Canadian youths who later admitted being involved in a robbery of a store in New Westminster, B.C. New Year's Eve.  Besides the Enfield and Higgins rifles were a Burgo revolver, 100 rounds of ammunition and two hunting knives.  Driver of the car held the revolver on Beane after he ordered them out of the vehicle to explain the rifles.  Beane said, "You stay put when you have a revolver pointed at you."
 
Three Canadian youths who confessed to their part in a robbery of a paint store in New Westminster, B.C. New Years Eve, were caught in Sumas Monday at 2 a.m. after holding a revolver on Burl Beane, deputy collector of customs. 
 
Beane, who was working alone on the graveyard shift made an inspection of the 1955 Mercury and found two rifles concealed under a tarp in the back seat.  He ordered the youths to get out of the car and come into the station.  Beane reported they all got out of the car and stood for a moment, then one pulled a gun on him and said "stay right here". 
 
Beane said that the youth holding the revolver backed away like he was playing a role in a Western movie and kept him covered as they all got into the car and headed south.
 
And like a scene in Western Movie, Town Marshal LeRoy Witman was nearby.  Suspicious of the group as he drove by, he parked his car and walked to the station, noticing as he passed, the revolver in the pocket of the youth, the Canadian disregarding Witman, who was in plain clothes.  Witman was unarmed and as he entered the door of the immigration office he ducked behind the counter to search the drawers for arms kept at the station.  
 
As the youth drove away Beane got a revolver for Witman, who raced after the car which failed to negotiate a turn at the Milwaukee crossing a mile away and went off the road.  
 
Witman got to the car in seconds and ordered the youths out at gun point.  In the meantime Beane was on the radio alerting Deputy Howard Bowen, who was east of town, also the Border Patrol, the Sheriff's department and the Lynden police.
 
Deputy Bowen arrived on the scene and assisted Witman who had the youths "spread eagled" on the ground.  One of them remarked  "If we had the rifles you would never have taken us". 
 
Russell Bruce Vogler, 20, South Burnaby, B.C., Clifford George Foreman, 18, Rt. 3 Cloverdale, B.C., and Steven  A. Gilbert, 17, Langley, B.C., were brought back to the Border Station where Vogler confessed robbing the paint store where he had been employed  stating he divided some $200 with the other youths and said he had planned the "job" for weeks. 
 
They appeared before the U.S. Commissioner Richard Fleeson in Bellingham, Tuesday.  $5,000 bail on each for an assault charge was set by Fleeson.  The Canadians will be taken to Seattle by U.S. Marshall where they will await further action.
 
Witman and Bowen reported New Year's in Sumas was orderly, the party crowd was well behaved, just a little noise and cheer at midnight.  Another routine report.
 
This was before 2 a.m.!"
 
This is what the Everson News reported, however there was more to the story...
"After an evening enjoying social drinks with their wives at the Wee Drop Inn on Cherry Street in Sumas, LeRoy Witman (the city Marshal) and Fred Miller (owner of the Signal Gas Station in Sumas) were in the process of taking the Witman's babysitter home, when the men noticed the situation in progress at the Customs House.  After quickly dropping the babysitter off in the street and telling her to hurry home, Leroy (leaving Fred in the car) parked behind the Customs house and entered through the back door but couldn't find any of the police firearms in the usual spot because Burl earlier in the evening had rearranged the office.  After the three fugitives fled, Burl retrieved a revolver for Leroy to use in a pursuit which was quickly joined by Deputy Howard Bowen.             
In short order, after the perpetrators car went off the road, they were caught trying to flee into a field on the south side of Sumas by John Hide's house (now the caretaker's house for the Sumas R.V.Park) and were forced to lay face down, spread eagle on the ground by Leroy, Howard and Fred.  The law enforcement officers each held a gun on a perpertrator.  Fred Miller who wasn't armed, jammed his finger (pretending it was a gun!) into the back of the third man telling him not to move.  Fred held the fugitive in place with his 'finger' until the law enforcement officers could cuff and move him to the patrol car."
pers. comm. Burl Beane and Doug Miller.
 
The incident could have been tragic but all ended well. 
 
Picture 3


Fred Miller (date unknown)
Posted from the Crouse family collection (currently archived at the Sumas Library)
 
I wish the members of the
Sumas Police Force and First Responders, and our local Border Protection and Immigration officials
a safe 2015. 
 
Happy New Year!
 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Greetings from Nooksack Valley Nostaliga!

photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 19 December, 2013
 
Nooksack Valley Nostalgia is wishing a Merry Christmas to all of our readers.   May you make many memories to share with you families and friends in the future. 
 


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas in Sumas...part 3 of 3

 
The Women's clubs of Sumas celebrate the Christmas holidays.
 
Considering the isolation of the ladies of Sumas in the early years, it was natural that numerous clubs were established to provide enrichment and socialization.  The preserved artifacts showing the planning of those social functions and the recording of those functions as they happened, are a little known but very important recording of community life in days before instant communications and blogs. Among the many organizations prevalent in Sumas were the Ladies Aid of the Methodist Church, the Double A Club and the Country Women's Club.
 
The Christmas season encouraged special social programing and the ability to plan and do charitable deeds for needy community families.
 
Picture 1
First page minutes of the Christmas meeting of the Double A Club in 1934
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family Collection
"December 18-1934 
Double A met at the home of Johanna Miller with all members present except Alice Gillies and Winnie.  The chorus opened the evening's program with some Christmas Carols.  Roll call was responded to by questions and their answers. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved as read except that it should have read "white elephant" party instead of just elephant. There was no old or new business.  The program followed:  Book review "Dusk at the Grove" by Edith. Vocal Trio, Ida Shay, Maude Lambert, Alice Tudor accompanied by Naomi sang two beautiful Christmas songs; Chimes at
Christmas and"

Picture 2
2nd page of the minutes of the Christmas meeting of the Double A Club in 1934
as written by Johanna Miller
(see The Lumber Industry-Miller and Sons Shingle Mill part 1 of 3, posted 16 Nov, 2014) 
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection
"Christmas Lullaby. The accompaniment was played just as beautifully
as the songs were sung. Vocal solo by Edna "The Consuller" which was pretty, too.  The contest of "table setting"  was won by Mamie, Eva, Edna, Edith who cut cards for the prize which went to Eva. Refreshments of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with red sugar, red coconut cakes and green cookies and coffee were served.  Santa Clause then distributed the white elephants which had been placed under the lighted tree. 
                          Johanna Miller, Secretary
Amount on hand .31, but not a word from the auditing committee."
 
 picture 3
Handmade program listing planned Double A Club social activities (Winter 1951-1952)
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.

Picture 4
  The inside of the Winter 1951- 1952 program (from picture 3)
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.
 
Picture 5
More from the inside of the Winter 1951-1952 program (from picture 3)
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.
 
Picture 6
Handmade program listing planned Double A Club social activities (Winter 1955-1956)
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.
 
Picture 7
Handmade program listing planned Double A Club social activities (Winter 1956-1957)
Notice how the  Double A's are incorporated to make Christmas trees.
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.
 
picture 8
 A clipping featuring the Country Women's Club of Sumas, planning a Christmas pot luck dinner. 
Unident. newspaper, exact date unknown (labeled in pencil...1948).
Posted with permission from the Morgan Family collection.
 
Watch for another holiday posting.  
There is so much to share of this little known facet of our community from days gone by!
 

 
 
 



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas in Sumas...part 2 of 3

Celebrating Christmas in Sumas through the vintage ads and articles of Everson News.
 
Picture 1
Everson News, 21 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
 Picture 2
 An article regarding how the holidays boosted the overall flow of mail at the Sumas Post Office.  An interesting statement considering how busy the post office is today. 
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 

 

Picture 3
 Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Pattison collection
 
 
Picture  4
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 
 
Picture 5
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with Permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 
Picture 6
The smiling faces of the Bank of Sumas!
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
 
Picture 7

Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
Posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson Collection
 
Picture 8
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 

Picture 9


Scouts selling Christmas Trees
Everson News, Dec. 14, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
Picture 10
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 
Picture 11
Everson News, Dec. 21, 1961
posted from the Charlie Patterson collection
 


Tomorrow we will look back to the 1930's holiday activities of the Sumas ladies group, 'the Double A Club'.  Thanks for visiting.  See you then.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas in Sumas...part 1 of 3

This is a great time of year to remember one of the traditions familiar to local folk,
'Christmas in Sumas'...
 
picture 1

The iconic Welcome to Sumas sign, turned into a holiday hello for those entering our city, driving north on State Highway 9 where it turns into Cherry street near the Sumas Rodeo Grounds.
Photo taken by Deborah Morgan, 6 December, 2014
 
 
This is a great time of year to remember one of the traditions familiar to local folk,...Christmas in Sumas!  In my childhood years, growing up in the early 60's, it was a great delight to go to the Grange Hall on the SE corner of Cherry and First Streets, (the building was later converted into the Lone Jack Saloon and is now a shipping company, 'Ship Happens'), where the yearly Santa visit was a great source of excitement and fun for all of us children!  I remember we would first get to sit on the floor and be entertained by cartoon movies shown with a projector.  After the movies, Santa Clause himself would arrive and all the children would line up and get a paper bag of treats with assorted candies and an orange in it.  What fun!
 
picture 2
Santa Clause at the Sumas Grange Hall.
article in the Everson News, 21 December, 1961.
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection.
 
 
Today the tradition continues but has evolved.  Santa Claus stills visit the children of Sumas but with the help of the Sumas Volunteer Fire Department (Whatcom Fire District #14).  The Lions Club sponsors "Christmas in the Park" in which families gather at the utility building in the City Park along Johnson Creek in between Cherry Street and Sumas Street.  The festivities consist of hot apple cider being served, Christmas music being played.  In all types of weather (usually COLD!)  the children wait with great enthusiasm for Santa Clause to arrive in the fire engine with the siren blaring!  Santa then gets out of the fire engine and plugs in the cords to light up the Christmas tree to the cheer of the crowd. 
 
 
picture 3
Fire engine leaving the Sumas Fire Station (on Columbia Street)
 with Santa Claus headed to the City Park.
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 1 December, 2014.

 picture 4
Volunteer Fire Fighters Jessie Hoffman (left) and Will Morgan (right) of Whatcom Fire District 14 patiently waiting for Santa Claus as he visits the Children of Sumas.
looking SW on 3rd Street, photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 1 December, 2014

picture 5


Sumas Mayor (and Lions Club member) Bob Bromley and Santa Claus (Terry Bronkema)
Photograph taken by Deborah Morgan, 1 December, 2014.
 
Vintage local holiday newspaper ads from days gone by.
 picture 6
Everson News, 30 November, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
picture 7
Everson News, 30 November, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
Picture 8
Time to go to Everson to buy a new car!
Everson News, 14 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection

picture 9

Everson News, 14 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection

Picture 10
Everson News, 14 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
picture 11
 Everson News, 14 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
picture 12
Everson News, 14 December, 1961
posted with permission from the Charlie Patterson collection
 
Stay tuned for my next posting featuring more of 'Christmas in Sumas'!