Thursday, January 15, 2015

Historic Homes of Sumas, WA. part 2 of 4...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! 


  1. Yep, you're still digging into history. I know you love checking out museums, but I get a feeling you like discovering history on your own even more.

  2. Your photos are excellent. Thank you Deborah.

  3. Thanks for your kind comments. I am hoping to feature other homes soon.