Cadyville, 1866-2007

County Seat 1866

We inaugurate this weblog with the first article of the column published in the Snohomish County Tribune, January 17, 2007. It’s the oldest image of our collection, dated 1866, which makes it a fitting choice to also mark the city’s 150th Anniversary of it’s founding in 1859.

Reverse of County Seat 1866

The inscription in graceful period handwriting on the reverse reads:

The County Seat in 1866. The Eagle Saloon conducted by E. C. Ferguson on the left of the picture, Sinclair and Clendenning Store on the right. [And on Wm. Whitfield stationary glued to the back] Snohomish in 1866. Taken from south bank of Snohomish River.

Wm. Whitfield was a pioneer businessman and historian who wrote a comprehensive history of Snohomish County published in 1926, and I would like to believe that this photograph hung in his office at 138 Maple Street offering inspiration, as it does for me.

David Dilgard, history specialist with the Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room, has done some digging into who might have been the photographer of this unaccredited image; and in collaboration with the University of Washington Special Collections, he is reasonably certain that it was taken by E. M. Sammis on his way to photograph “The Falls of the Snoqualmie,” as they were referred to at the time. Sammis, from New York, had a studio in Seattle from 1861 to 1866, during which time he captured the only studio photograph of Chief Seattle.

Of particular interest is the dramatic change in vegetation and the complete absence of the giant firs that greeted our first residents.

— Warner

The historic image is courtesy of the Snohomish Historical Society’s archives. Following the travels of E. M. Sammis in local news accounts, researchers have established that Sammis photographed “The Falls of the Snoqualmie” in 1865, which means that he had to pass through Snohomish traveling upstream, when he could have captured this image. Since this story was published, the author has come across accounts that the man posing for the camera may be Woodbury Sinclair who operated a store in the small structure on the right.

The Now image is a self-portrait where I am standing in the same spot as Mr. Sinclair(?) in the historic image. Of course, this is the boat launch called Cady Landing today; and in fact, this clearing on the north bank of the river was first called Cadyville, named by Edson Cady, the first claim holder who has disappeared from the pages of history.

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