Author Archives: Warner

Brunswick Building

Bob Bickford had this month’s historical photograph, labeled on its face “Bobo Studio, Snohomish, 1935,” in a folder of old pictures of the family business. It’s a revelatory image that has been added to the Society’s digitized collection of historic images, just in time to share with you as we celebrate our annual festival this weekend, currently called, “Kla Ha Ya Days.”
In 1935, Snohomish celebrated the 12th Annual Garden City Grange Fair. A banner headline for the September 5, 1935, issue of this paper, shouted across the entire page: “3 BANDS, 42 FLOATS, WILL PARADE HERE. The gathering of women and girls on and around the black convertible is Queen Irma Salvadalena and her entourage. The parade, boasted as the largest in years, is scheduled to “move off promptly at 2:30 [Friday], the line of march will carry the entrants down First and Second Streets, past the Grange Hall and through the business district. A newsreel cameraman will be in the city to take pictures of the parade and will be stationed on an especially constructed platform at the corner of First Street and Avenue B.”

You may have noticed by now that the name of the company is Reed & Bickford Motors listed on all three sides of the stylish portico. The partners began the firm in a small building on Maple a few years earlier, quickly outgrew it and moved into the east half of new Brunswick Building in 1934, when they also acquired the local Ford agency. Effective July 1, 1936, Lawrence Bickford became the sole owner by buying out his partner Paul Reed, who was the repair shop foreman, overseeing some half dozen mechanics. Just up First Street was the Chevrolet dealership owned by Charles Poier, which also became a family operation just as Bickford Motors, now located north of downtown on an avenue bearing the family name. Mike Bickford said that his Sunday school teacher was Art Poier, one of Charles’ sons that took over the business, then relocated to Second Avenue when it was sold and eventually closed in the 1970s.

Beginning on Saturday, August 21, 1937, the first annual Kla Ha Ya Days celebration was held. It featured the early morning arrival of the “Northwest’s finest yachts from boat clubs in Everett, Bellingham, Seattle and other towns.” Besides the parade that afternoon, there was a street dance in front of the library on Cedar, and a wedding was held on a platform erected near the First National Bank (now John Scott Real Estate office) where a mystery couple, “well known in the community, will exchange vows.”

For history fans, the Society is hosting a two-week exhibition in the Waltz Building, 116 Avenue B, to celebrate along with the city its 150th and our 40th anniversaries. Admission is free to the extensive exhibition, which will be open to visitors daily, 11 a.m. to 3p.m. The exhibition runs July 11-25. Wish we had a pristine 1935 Ford V-8 Sedan on display, but the bidding often exceeds $50,000 these days!


Then: Brunswick Building, 1935
Once called Reed & Bickford Motors, the family firm was first located on First Street in the Brunswick Building. Lining up for the 12th Annual Garden City Grange Fair parade are sparkling new 1935 Ford Sedans, festively decorated to carry Queen Irma and her Maids of Honor. Note the corner building that was home to Snohomish’s own Moehring Shoe Company; and how handsome the transom windows are above the entrance, which are now buried in years of stucco.

Photo courtesy the Bickford Family

Now: Brunswick Building, 2009
Part of the Brunswick Building as it appears today, and the former Moehring Shoe Store on the corner. The service entrance for the Ford dealership was where the stripped awning is now.

This article was first published in the Snohomish County Tribune on July 15, 2009.

Girls’ Basketball Teams: 1909-2009

Girls' BBall Teams, 100 years apart!

LET’S BEGIN WITH A CHEER OF THANKS to the 2009 Snohomish High School Girls Basketball Team and their coach Ken Roberts for making time during a busy graduation week to step back a hundred years by repeating the charming pose of the 1909 team.

Most readers are familiar with the terrific season enjoyed by the 2009 team; unfortunately, there is nothing to report about the 1909 team. The reverse side of the historic photograph is blank, I could not locate a 1909 yearbook (if one was published), and most mysterious of all, there are no copies of this paper’s issues for all of 1909! Not in the boxes at our public library, nor on film. Consequently, I am sending out a plea for readers to search their family albums stored in the attic or forgotten closets, for anything that can help us learn more about the 1909 girls basketball team.

In the meantime, let’s thank photographer Dennis Bishop, who has generously shared his photographic skills with us in the past, but he has out done himself with this stunning shot.

The Society has been using the historic image on its letterhead and other promotional materials as one way to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. And on Saturday, June 20th at 6:30pm we are hosting a gala Anniversary Dinner with keynote speaker Sunny Speidel, owner of Seattle’s Underground Tour, and daughter of the Charter Night Dinner speaker, Bill Speidel, in 1969.

Plans are in the works for the Society to produce a poster using the two images as another way to mark our anniversary, and to raise awareness of the Society’s contribution to the community by asking the rhetorical question, “Are You Making History Today?”

Girls Basketball Team 1909
THEN: 1909 Snohomish High School girls basketball team. None of the members pictured have been identified; readers’ help is encouraged.

SHS Girls Basketball Team 2009
NOW: 2009 SHS girls basketball team posing as the team did 100 years ago. This team finished their season as district and league champs, and placed second in state. Pictured left to right: Corrine Wayman, Emily Guthrie, Marissa Timmerman, Karley Lampman, Katie Benson, Ally Schmitt, Joanna Balin, Jennifer Berg.
Photo by Dennis Bishop

The Maughlin House, 1900-2009

Maughlin House Animated 1900-2009

LITTLE DID REBECCA DICKINSON KNOW when she bought the Maughlin House at 707 Fourth Street in 1992, that she was purchasing river shore property, but that’s what she learned this year from the Snohomish City Engineer overseeing the replacement of her retaining wall.
Comparing our two images of the Maughlin House shows why a retaining wall was needed in the first place. Over the years the Fourth Street hill down to Maple Avenue has been lowered, isolating the grand home even more than already accomplished by its compelling site.
Joseph and Mary Maughlin came from Ohio, along with three grown children, including two daughters-in-laws, and built this home in 1886. Wasting no time, the sons established the Maughlin Brothers Mill that by 1901 employed 80 men. In June of that year work began on the Fourth Street wooden bridge as reported by Ruth Dubuque in “River Reflections” (Part 2, page 150), and which I assume is pictured in the right hand corner of our historic image. Ruth describes the gulch as 32 feet deep and carrying the overflow from Blackman Lake to the Snohomish River. It is the natural dividing line between the Ferguson and Sinclair plats talked about last month.
Rebecca is not sure when the retaining wall facing Fourth Street was built, which featured a charming set of stairs leading to her front door, but she did learn that it’s on City property. And on February 28, 2001, a deep earthquake, centered near the Nisqually Delta northwest of Olympia, cracked the wall, pushing it forward where it has rested in a threatening angle over the sidewalk until this year.
Enter Steve Schuller, our new City Engineer. “Initial testing of the soil,” Steve explains, “showed it to be alluvial – soil or sediment deposited by a river.” It seems that the Snohomish River Valley being wide and flat, created through thousands of years of glacial movement and flowing meltwater, and bounded by morainal hills with steep sides, is often described in scientific literature as a “bathtub.”
So we might say that Rebecca’s house, located on the highest hill in Snohomish, is either on an ancient river shore or on poetic bathtub ring.


The Maughlin House, 707 Fourth Street, circa 1900The Maughlin House, built in 1886, at 707 Fourth Street. The wooden bridge, partially picture on the right, was built around 1901 to cross the gulch that carried overflow water from Blackman Lake to the Snohomish River.
(Photo courtesy the Maughlin Family estate)

The Maughlin House as it appears in 2009The Maughlin House as it appears in 2009 where work has begun to replace the retaining wall along side Fourth Street, damaged in the Nisqually Quake of 2001.

Ferguson Wharf, 1877 -2009

Ferguson Wharf, 1888-2009

WE CONTINUE OUR TOUR OF EARLY SNOHOMISH’S RIVERFRONT this month to the western end of town, when Avenue D was little more than a rutted dirt path.

E. C. Ferguson and his wife Lucetta, platted the town site they named
Snohomish City in 1870, which comprised of Avenues A through D, and three
or four streets. Seems that between the two of them, they couldn’t come up
with, or agree on, names for the avenues. Woodbury and Mary Low Sinclair*
on the other hand, the couple who purchased the Cady claim to the east,
named the streets after trees. Evidently, both couples agreed on naming
the shared street “Union. ”

Ferguson was serving as a territorial representative in Olympia, where he
met Lucetta Morgan and they were married in 1868. Returning to Snohomish,
the couple appears to have worked together to develop the town site,
including the wharf and warehouse pictured in this month’s historic image.
There is still much to learn about the Fergusons’s business dealings in
those early days, but we do know that by the time railroad arrived in
1888, the Bruen and Henry business had taken over the wharf location. And
Ferguson had built a handsome building at the corner of 2nd Street that
featured a large window built into the roof, which was required for a
photographer’s studio.

We have yet to learn which photographer(s) rented the studio from the
Fergusons. It could have been the one who captured this month’s image
since we have no record. So, we are left to imagine the festive scene
that brought the Nellie to town, and wonder why it was photographed at
Ferguson’s wharf rather than Jackson’s at the east end of town?

Plus, the sight of the unknown photographer setting up the large format camera
across the river didn’t go unnoticed by the workers in the warehouse who are filling very doorway, with a curiosity that is related to ours, watching back we could say, even though ours is from a viewpoint over a hundred years away.

*Follow this link to read more about Mary Low Sinclair
Ferguson Wharf, 1877
The steamship Nellie tied up at Ferguson’s Wharf. This is most likely the first photograph of the year-old steamship that grew to become very popular and essential to the everyday life of early Snohomish. Behind Ferguson’s warehouse is Isaac Cathcart’s Exchange Hotel built around 1875. On the right, looking at this image, we are treated to our first view of the muddy lane leading from the river that eventually becomes Avenue D. (Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society Archives)


North bank, west end of town

The Snohomish Riverfront at the west end of downtown as it appears today, 2009. The Snohomish Visitor Center, pictured here just west of the Avenue D Bridge, is the approximate location of the Ferguson warehouse.


Riverfront at Cady Landing: 1885, 1892 and 2009

Riverfront at Cady Landing

THE FIRST LAWYER IN TOWN, Eldridge Morse, and the first doctor, Albert Folsom, initiated the organization of the Atheneum Society, and produced a hand-written newsletter, The Shillalah, Devoted to Art, Science, Literature and General News. This effort led to their publication of our first newspaper, The Northern Star in 1876, but businesses didn’t have to wait until then to place an ad.

Shillalah cover, 1874

Shillalah cover, 1874

Thanks once again to Ann Tuohy for transcribing an ad for the Riverside Hotel (the three-story white building in the center), from a hand-written business directory issue of the Shillalah (circa 1874), which I am including in its entirety with only the spelling updated, but wtih the tongue-in-cheek firmly in place.

Riverside Hotel. By Frank Mathews, lately proprietor of the Iceburg House, North Pole. This house has been fitted up in princely style with all the modern and ancient improvements. Guests have the privilege of being eaten by the landlord or of eating themselves. A large number new 0 nails have just been purchased from John Hilton, and sincerely driven in all the rooms, so that any number of patrons can be accommodated with a place to sleep on short notice. Those preferring light airy rooms can be accommodated on the new side walk, on the west side of the hotel, lately erected by the celebrated architect and builder, Mr. Ward, of Jersey City, Forks of the Snoqualmie. There is a fine bar attached to the house, and the best evidence of the superior quality of the liquors furnished to customers may be found in the fact that the former proprietor and the present landlord are both still living, and are liable to linger along quite awhile longer. A spacious hall may be found in the 3rd story where the light-fantastic toe and ponderous heel often smite the floor at the same time. A beautiful zoological garden and pleasure ground are adjacent to the building and free to all the guests, here is the finest collection of old hens, chickens, roosters, mice, rats, hogs, pigs, puppies, dogs & bears ever before kept in any hotel in Washington Territory.

By 1892 Snohomish boasted of its first four-star hotel, the Penobscot, at First Street and Avenue B, so we are not sure how this building was being used when Anders Beer Wilse captured this informative image. Ads in the newspapers of the 1890s list Ferguson’s Blue Eagle Tavern, west of the hotel building, as “Ferguson’s old store,” and it seems that other merchants were using it for selling overstock.
Albert Folsom passed away in 1885 and so missed the expansion of Snohomish’s riverfront with the coming of the steamships. Morse retired to a farm outside of Snohomish to grow vegetables that he sold in town until his death in 1914.

Eastside Riverfront circa 1885. A prized image captured by Gilbert Horton, Snohomish’s own pioneer photographer. Far left is the Ferguson Cottage, built in 1859 and still standing; next in line is Ferguson’s famous Blue Eagle Tavern; then the two story Riverside Hotel and behind it is the Sinclair store and first home.
[Photo courtesy Snohomish County History Museum]
200903_1892 Another pictorial gem showing the eastern end of early Snohomish’s riverfront captured by the Norwegian photographer Anders Beer Wilse. Barely included on the left is the Ferguson Cottage next to two unidentified buildings, then the two story Blue Eagle Tavern with a new addition, and the Riverside Hotel building is still standing. The age of the steam ship is in full bloom showing two ships double parked at the Jackson Wharf, only the stern-wheeler Florence Henry is identified. And that’s Maple Street meeting the river on the right.
[Photo courtesy Museum of History and Industry, Wise No.11007]
Cady Landing, 2009. The eastern end of Snohomish’s downtown riverfront as it appears today. The Ferguson Cottage stands out on the left, sporting a recent coat of white paint, and Cady Landing at the end of Maple Street is on the right.

Ferguson Cottage, circa 1900-2007


ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO Hiel Barnes staked a claim on a gentle south facing bluff overlooking the Snohomish River, just downstream from a graceful bend that turned the flow due west, as if the river was entering stage-right, auditioning for the future settlement to be named in it’s honor.

Let’s push pause on the confetti machine long enough to consider Mr. Barnes contribution to the founding of Snohomish. After all, it was his job to assemble Ferguson’s cottage in the spring of 1859 – not far from where it still stands today as a private home. Emory C. Ferguson, who apprenticed as a carpenter in the place of his birth in Westchester County, New York, built the cottage in Steilacoom, then took it apart in order to fit it aboard the side-wheeler Ranger No 2 for shipment to Barnes. The founding father of Snohomish actually didn’t arrive until the following year, 1860, but in the spirit of the town that also survives to this day; he arrived with enough supplies to establish a store.

Hiel Barnes was also born in New York State, but he traveled the Oregon Trail west with his parents and siblings, arriving in Portland in time to be listed in the 1850 decennial census as “Hyel” and described as a “tinner” — he was 22 years old. We follow his historical paper trail next to the gold fields of British Columbia’s Fraser River, when a letter to his brother in Olympia, dated July 20, 1858, was published in the local newspaper. Hiel writes,

“You would confer a act of kindness upon all person who think of coming to these mines, by telling them not come this way […] This river is considerable of humbug.”

There is no record of Barnes and Ferguson meeting along side the Fraser River, although both were there around the same time, and both left the gold fields for the safety of Steilacoom, home to the one of the first military forts established in the Pacific Northwest in 1849. But it’s ten years later now in this story, and Hiel Barnes agrees to stake a claim for Ferguson, who was a business partner of Barnes’s brother-in-law. In the absence of any record to the contrary, let’s imagine that it was Hiel Barnes (perhaps in consultation with fellow claim holders, Edson Cady and Egbert Tucker) who was responsible for selecting the site that eventually becomes the western portion of Snohomish City.

Barnes voted on July 9, 1860, along with 16 other men – in the Ferguson cottage he assembled — to establish the settlement site (called Cadyville at the time) as the seat of the new Snohomish County; and Barnes was elected constable. Five years later he married Mary F. McDonald in California, yet they show up in the 1871 Washington Territorial Census as residents of Thurston County, neighbors of the Morgans, parents of Ferguson’s wife, Lucetta. His paper trail ends with the 1910 census when he was counted as living in Randle, part of the Rainer National forest, aged 82, now described as a widower.

Many thanks to Ann Tuohy for her detailed genealogical work-up on the parents and siblings of Hiel Barnes – the so-called paper trail. And please join us on March 7th at the Soccer Dome (and other locations) for our citywide Birthday Bash.

The Ferguson Cottage as it appeared around 1900. Emory Ferguson is seated in the center of the image, standing to his right is M. J. McGuiness, the owner of the property at the time, who moved the cottage slightly east to its current location in order to build his home on this prime location overlooking the river. Seated on the porch is James Burton as indicated in the October 13, 1911, issue of the Snohomish County Tribune in the story of Ferguson’s death.
Photo courtesy Snohomish Historical Society Archives.

The Ferguson Cottage as it appears today. Rebecca Loveless (standing) purchased the cottage in 1997 not knowing that she had just purchased the oldest house in the county. Sheryl Maultsby (seated) has rented the home since it was renovated by Loveless.

Ferguson Cottage, 1885-2009

Ferguson Cottage (on the left)

Since the “kickoff” for Snohomish’s 150th Anniversary celebration attempted an end run around the history of Snohomish’s loss of the county seat to Everett in 1897 by asking for the county records back, I thought it would be fun to feature this historic photograph of the county’s very first “official courthouse” — which is still standing.

Mother Nature, a bit of a joker herself when it comes to upstaging history, touched us with a flood of historic proportions, forcing the kickoff organizers to huddle for reconsideration of their game plan. As has happened through out the history of our riverside town, a planned trip to Everett had to be cancelled due to flooding. Perhaps a good thing since the decision avoided any potentially loud confrontation with the team from Mukilteo demanding that the re-acquired records be turned over to them!

Mukilteo was the first home of the county seat established by the legislation signed on January 14, 1861. But it was a pro tem designation, pending official elections in July. The first meeting of the county commissioners was held in March, in Mukilteo, and it focused on the building of a road connecting Snohomish with Woods Prairie, the future site of Monroe. At the second meeting the new county was divided into two voting precincts, with voting places at Frost and Fowler’s store in Mukilteo, and Ferguson’s cottage. On July 9, 1861, voters decided 17 to 10 to establish the county seat in Snohomish; in other words, seven more men voted in Snohomish then in Mukilteo!

In a letter written by Jacob Fowler shortly after the election, lamented,

“Some of our boys did not turn out and that many was off at work. Our election is all over. It passed off very quiet, no fighting or drunkenness.”

E. C. Ferguson, on the other hand, recalled how he returned to his home, the small cottage overlooking the river, with the county records in his vest pocket. We will have more about the Ferguson cottage next month, and the move of the county records to his Blue Eagle Saloon.

Courtesy Museum of Snohomish County History, it was taken by Snohomish’s own pioneer photographer Gilbert D. Horton. The Ferguson Cottage is the one story white building on the left, Ferguson's famous Blue Eagle Saloon next in line, then we assume the Jackson Wharf building, since the title of the image is "Jackson's Wharf." The small building on the right is a store selling logging supplies opened by Woodbury Sinclair in 1864, around the same time that Ferguson opened his saloon.

Warner’s Thumbnail History of Snohomish at

Margaret Riddle’s Thumbnail History of Mukilteo