Friday, January 31, 2014

United States Customs Office - Sumas, WA - 1915

Photograph  scanned with permission from original in private collection.
Notice  the "Indian" Motorcycle was used for patrol between Sumas and Lynden . Since Burl Beane wrote the Custom's history this building was torn down to make room for the truck crossing lane sometimes after 1990.
The following is an excerpt of the writings of Burl B. Beane regarding the history the United States Customs: 
    The relocation of the road through Huntington, B.C. and construction by the Canada Customs placed the rented building which the U.S. Customs had occupied since 1907, in a poor location to serve the highway  traffic.  In 1913 John C. Gillies submitted two proposals to the customs.
                   1. Was to move the existing building to a more suitable location.
                   2.  To build a new building which would suit the needs of the service.           
January 20, 1914, Collector Harper wrote to Deputy Collector Dam, and informed him that the service had approved the Design and Space of a Brick Veneer Building, including one telephone line, lights and water , at the rental of $300. per annum.  Since the south half of the building would be occupied by a business firm, a partition of brick veneer, plastered on the inside, would be required.
April 1, 1914, the new quarters were occupied.  The foundation had been poured previous to the approval of the final details, on January 20.  The brick building which is still occupied by a business in 1975, was erected on that foundation in 70 days.
An "Indian" motorcycle was received, July 30, 1912, to patrol the Sumas and Lynden area.  Night Inspector Paul O. Dolstad was assigned to this duty and for a number of years his seizures were very impressive. 
In 1914 , Deputy Collector, Oscar Dam informed the Collector  that the motorcycle was in need of a complete overhauling.  He suggested , however, that the mud roads in the area were such that a horse would be more suitable for patrol purposes.  After the purchase of a horse and "outfit" the local liveryman would keep the animal and feed it hay for $15. per month or if grain was desired , $20. per month.  He noted that Mr. Campbell, the Canadian Customs Officer at Aldergrove, stated that he had heard our machine several miles away and that it would be difficult to patrol the roads around his station to the best advantage with such a vehicle.  The recommendation that the motorcycle be discontinued was not accepted at that time.
 An item which Paul Dolstad was to relate many times when visiting the area after his retirement ....during the period in which he patrolled, the traffic was made up of both horse drawn rigs and motor vehicles.  As a result of this, the town of Sumas enforced a speed limit of 5 MPH.  This proved a serious problem for Paul who pursued the occasional border runner through town.   It was standard practice for the Town Marshall to write a speeding ticket for him when he returned with the violator. The U.S. Attorney persuaded the city that the practice should be discontinued."
Another great post tomorrow!  Learn about the "great shingles capers".

Thursday, January 30, 2014

United State Customs Station and the O.K. Garage - Sumas, WA

Scanned from an original photograph with permission from a private collection.
The O.K. Garage was an early mechanic shop that operated during the same as the Highway Garage.  The corner office was rented and used as the  U.S. Border Station from 1914-1932.  This building was located on the east side of Cherry Street at the Canadian border. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sumas, WA - 1908

Scanned with permission from an original photograph in a private collection.
A picture of Sumas, WA looking south east.  The photograph was taken from Moe's hill. It is easy to see the beautiful Mt. Baker Hotel.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Highway Garage listing in the 1921-1922 business journal

Pictures and documentations posted with permission of contributor Don Kohler.
The 1921 - 1922 business directory listing the Highway Garage in Sumas, WA.  It lists the proprietors as being Frank Kohler and J. A. Bussert.   Does anyone knows where their competitor, O.K. Garage was located in Sumas? 

According to Mr. Donald Kohler,  James Ashbury Bussert was Frank Kohler's father-in-law.  According the gravestone at the Woodlawn Cemetery south of Ferndale,  James Ashbury Bussert was born October 7, 1847 and died July 19, 1916.  James' wife.  Laura Jane Bussert  was born October 26, 1856 and died May 25, 1944.


Monday, January 27, 2014

More about the Highway Garage in Sumas, WA

Photograph provided with permission from the private collection of Mr. Donald Kohler.
This is believed to be the office of the Highway Garage.  Standing behind the counter is Franklin Pierce Kohler and his wife, Winifred Maude (Bussert) Kohler.  According to Don Kohler, Franklin and Winifred Kohler left Sumas around 1931 when their son was 12 years old.

Highway Garage - Circa 1915 - 1922

Photographs provided with permission from the private collection of Donald Kohler.
This is a wonderful photograph of the Highway Garage in Sumas, WA.  According to the contributor of this photograph, the business was owned and operated by Franklin Pierce Kohler and his father-in-law, James Ashbury Bussert.  Mr.  Donald Kohler was wondering if this business was somehow connected to the Highway Garage that was in Ferndale, WA.
 It looks as if there was a church behind the garage. Could that be the old Methodist Church?

The inside of the Highway Garage in Sumas, WA. The two men at the left are identified a owner,  Franklin Pierce Kohler and his father-in-law, James Ashbury Bussert  It appears that James Ashbury Bussert died July 19, 1916, so this dates the interior picture before then.
Thank you Mr. Don Kohler for sharing this phenomenal bit of family history.  This is much appreciated. 


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sumas, WA - date unknown

Scanned with permission from an original photograph in a private collection.
Another old photo of Sumas, WA, facing east towards the mountains.  Notice the Canadian border has been marked on the photograph.   I do not know the date of this picture.  Maybe someone can help me figure estimate when this was taken.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Old United State Border Station- early 1970s

A snowbound picture of the old United State Border Station taken by port director, Burl Brooks Beane  The picture is taken facing south towards United States.

The old building was as a border station from August 1932 until February 1990 when the current building was opened.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sumas Border Protest 1972 (Newspaper Excerpt) part 2

This is a newspaper article that was in Burl Brooks Beane research file regarding the border protest.   However I cannot find what newspaper it was or the date.  I suspect it is from the Lynden Tribune.   I also don't know who wrote the article.  Burl simply typed 1972 on the top of the article.
Transcription of the article:
    "All four border crossings from Canada to the United States in Whatcom County were blockaded at various times Friday by Canadians aroused over the planned test nuclear blast on Amchitka Island, Alaska.  
    Other than delayed traveling time, re-routed traffic, some aroused tempers and one protestor being carried backwards by a vehicle, there were no serious incidents stemming from the blockades.
    A considerable force of police officers were on both side of the border in case of any outbreak.
 Begins at Sumas
    News of the planned blockade broke Thursday, and the first actual sign of it began at Sumas about noon Friday with the arrival of four persona.

    They identified themselves to a Tribune reporter simply as concerned citizens and described there intentions to stop all vehicles with American licenses crossing the border.   Their plan were to tell their concern to the drivers and ask them to wait out the hour until 1 p.m. to cross the border if the driver was in sympathy of the protest.  
    "We're not to the point of protesting America - just the war, pollution, and the blast at Amchitka," a self-appointed spokesman said.
    Of the few cars approaching the border during the noon hour, a few did turn back.  After 1 p.m., they, by now sitting across the road in a human blockage, were asking American vehicles to stop for 10 minutes to ponder the Amchitka blast and discuss it with demonstrators.
    By 2:30, reinforcement were there by the busload and they blocked off the border completely.  Canadian Mounted Police would wait until a few vehicles had built up, and then drag the persons out of the way.
Stronger Forces at Blaine
Meanwhile, a much stronger force had arrived at Blaine and traffic both ways were closed from about 1:30 to 6:00 p.m.  Straw, barbed wire, and people were used to stop both north and southbound traffic at that point.  
    The bulk of the force at Blaine was at the Peace Arch Crossing, but about 200 persons crowded over the border at the Blaine truck crossing.  Sheriff Bernie Reynolds ordered them back to the Canadian side, and most complied.  However, a few wouldn't turn back until three deputies were called forward.  
     Most of the demonstrators arrived from Vancouver by bus.  
     The contingent left Sumas about 3:30, but soon returned and stayed until 6 p.m.  although some evidently regrouped at the port north of Lynden.
Traffic Heavy at Lynden
    The human blockade on the Canadian side of the Guide Meridian stopped traffic travelling both north and south from about 4:30 to 5:45.

    Traffic through this port was extremely heavy at that time because it has been re-routed there from the larger Blaine and Sumas ports.  It was again re-routed from the Lynden port when it was closed.  
    A few Canadians were reported to have started over the border at Lynden, but were sent back by law officers.  A few strayed over the Sumas crossing also, and were quickly shooed back by watchful American officers.  
    In the early stages of the blockade at Sumas, one young man was shoved backwards by a vehicle,  but was not seriously injured.   Later a panel pulling a camping trailer, burst through the group seated on the road without slowing up.  Again there were no injures as the demonstrators narrowly road out of the path."



Sumas Border Protest against Amchitka Nuclear Testing 1972 Part 1

Photographs taken by U.S. Port Director Burl Brooks Beane .  The picture is to the north towards the Huntington Border Station.

Who remembers the protesters that blocked the border crossing in 1972?   I seem to remember it being in the summer.   I remember my parents instructing me to stay in the house that day because there was a fear that the protest could turn violent.  My father, Burl Beane, who was Port Director at the Customs office was totally disgusted when a school teacher from Canada brought his students to the demonstration as a learning experience.  There was concern that the situation was going to be volatile and Burl felt that it was irresponsible of a school teacher to put his students in harm way.

The protesters were demonstrating against the Amchitka nuclear testing in Alaska that took place from 1971 - 1972. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Central School, Sumas, WA

Scanned with permission from an original postcard in a private collection

Central School was built in two parts.   I am not certain when the addition was built on the backside of the building.   According to some notes I found from the late Burl Beane's research, the school was operational from 1892 - 1933.  For part of the time it housed grade 1 through 12.  

Is that an outhouse behind the school?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sumas Central School - 1913

Scanned with permission  from an original photograph in a private collection.

By studying the location in the 1913 picture of the town of Sumas it appears that the tower of the Sumas Central School faced north with the picture taken facing south east.

The date on the west side of the bell tower dates the school as being built in 1892.

Sumas, WA - about 1913

Picture 1
Scanned with permission from an original postcard in a private collection. 

This is a vintage postcard of Sumas from about 1913. This is looking southeast from Moe's Hill (Which was known as Parkinson's Hill at that time.) Notice that the railroad in the foreground serves as the main street. Most of the town business took advantage of the railroad and located themselves along Railroad Avenue which ran parallel along the tracks from North to South.  Today the businesses are located along Cherry Street which is one block to the east of Railroad Avenue.  Cherry Street is the main drive through Sumas now.   

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome to Nooksack Valley Nostalgia

Welcome to Nooksack Valley Nostalgia!  I am dedicating this blog to the unique history and memories of the Nooksack Valley area in Whatcom County, Washington.  The Nooksack Valley extends from the Canadian border at Sumas south through Nooksack on to Everson at the Nooksack river. 

I am hoping to turn this blog into a virtual museum with pictures, stories and anecdotes regarding our region.  We share a rich heritage and history with our Canadian neighbors to the north.  Farming, logging, and mining also  helped create the communities that we now know.  There were numerous defunct communities in the area that also are also worthy of mention and remembering.  Surely we can find some interesting points of discussions.