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".

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