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(Seattle & Northern 1890)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit.

Covers from British Columbia to Puget sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan. An evolving history dedicated to the principle of committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Introduction to Bottomless Lake

Part one of three-part series
(Mr. and Mrs. Everett)
Original caption: Mr. and Mrs. Earl K. Everett , the former Mary Fyfe of Sedro-Woolley, take a look at this life-like burl on their property at Bottomless Lake on Duke's Hill. The Everetts are building a home on the site, only the second building there in about 75 years, and are trying to maintain the lake and grounds as they were years ago when it served as a "swimmin' hole" for the youngsters.
      Two years ago, near the beginning of our web site project, we shared the story of "the Duke," namesake of Duke's Hill, north of Sedro-Woolley. We asked readers for any family members that they might have of the hill's most famous resident or of Bottomless Lake, which he called home for nearly two years. Bob Garland responded with scans of photos from an August 1958 supplement of the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times. A new photo re-creation process had been introduced and Frank Evans took advantage of it to produce tabloid "Tella-Pix" special issues about history of the area. Below we share the text and photos from that issue.
      Bob's family story is pretty interesting itself. His father moved the family to Skagit county from western North Carolina in 1940 to take a job as a crane operator for contractors and later at Skagit Steel in Sedro-Woolley. He helped build dams at Ross and Diablo and the family lived in several upriver towns, including Hamilton, where Bob attended kindergarten. Bob was born out here in 1953. They also moved back and forth between here and North Carolina a couple of times and Bob moved his own family there in 1965, where he was a radio broadcaster for 33 years. Some of you may remember when he was a jock for KAGT in Anacortes for a brief time in the mid-'70s. We are thankful that Bob has been so patient because it has taken us awhile to assemble this section.
      We also heard later from Bob Cook, who grew up here before World War II and also shared parts of that same special section, along with other photos. We thank them both for their special memories. Both of them were enchanted with Bottomless Lake, as we are sure you will be after reading our three-part section.

(Panorama of Bottomless Lake)
      This panoramic photo is of Bottomless Lake, which is invisible unless you know where to look, shows how it is framed by trees, hills and clouds. The 7 1/2-acre volcanic lake is fed by several glacial springs that originate in the glacial field at Mount Baker. A biologist, using electrical gear, determined the average depth of the lake at 350 feet. This 1958 Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times article said that it was stocked with fighting fish.

August 1958 "Tella Pix" supplement of the Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times
      In our rapidly changing world, most of us have found it was a sad thing to return to the places where we learned our lessons of life as kids. As mature grown-ups, we tell ourselves not to expect things to be the same. But when we are actually confronted with the change that has transformed our "secret places" into something else, inhabited by strangers, it's quite impossible to suppress a sinking feeling in the heart. But right here at home, just a few feet from a busy highway yet hidden by trees, is one of the few "secret places" that haven't changed, Bottomless Lake.
(Everetts' new house 1958)
Original caption: the Everetts pause on the path in front of the house they are building. He has done most of the work himself, including hand-splitting all the shakes from timber found on the property.

      The words "Bottomless Lake" will stir up a good feeling in most of the men who grew up here. For it was there that they entered a world of their own, away from the world of adults. A world that found them stripping off their clothes as they ran down the path to the beautiful, clear lake, diving off the big old log and hitting the water as naked as they day they were born.
      There has always been a bit of mystery about Bottomless for several reasons. One was the name itself. Many's the time boys have tied length after length of rope together to try to plumb the depths of the volcanic lake, with no success. The name also horrified mothers, who would never have knowingly allowed their youngsters to swim there. Yet, as far as history tells us, no one has ever drowned there. Another reason was that despite the fact that the lake and surrounding woods had many owners since it was first purchased in 1884, only four people have ever lived there: Duke Friederich George [spelled Fredrick von George on his burial papers] of Bavaria, the man for whom Duke's Hill was named, and his Japanese servant and the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Earl K. Everett (she is the former Mary Fyfe of Sedro-Woolley.)

(Dugout canoe)
Original caption: on a farm several miles away, the Everetts located the old Indian dugout canoe that used to float on Bottomless Lake. They brought it home and set in on this old wagon.

      A third reason is its seclusion. Bottomless is located about a mile north of Sedro-Woolley, just a few feet west of Highway 1A, the Wickersham road. But the trees shut it off completely and there are many people who have driven by it literally hundreds of times without ever knowing it was there.
      The first U.S. Patent grant to the 7 1/2-acre lake and the more than 30 acres that surround it was [awarded] to one Andrew Johnson, back in 1884. [Afterwards] it was owned successively Mortimer Cook, William A. McDonald [who bought Cook's Sedro mill in 1888], Alfred Mosher [another logging company owner], the Western Land & Logging Co., and the Wolverine Co. It was purchased on April 19, 1905, by the Duke, who was reputed to be a remittance man and a colorful character. The bachelor, descended from royal blood, boasted a black goatee and was quite a dandy. Old timers recall him coming into town in his surrey driven by his servant. The Duke was far from a tea-totaler and he would take a table in a [saloon], with the Japanese servant bringing his drinks to him from the bar.
      The Duke built the first home on the site and his servant developed the grounds beautifully, scouring the countryside for the best in trees and shrubs. But less than two years passed before the Duke took sick and was transferred to the old Saint Elizabeth hospital that stood at Fidalgo and Township. On the second day of the year 1907, the Duke's house burned down while he was still in the hospital. He died about a month later, Feb. 5, 1907, at the age of 32 and was buried in the Sedro-Woolley cemetery, where his huge tombstone still stands.
      For some reason, Bottomless Lake had no permanent guardian for another half century even though it changed hands many times. The Duke left the property in his will to a Paul Werner. It was sold, in turn, to Paul Pawlaski, George Fellows, Jr., I.H. Jennings, the Wickers of Skagit Realty, and Paul Lang. Finally, on April 25, 1951, it was purchased by the Everetts. The couple started to build their own home and strangely enough when they began bulldozing for the basement they found they had chosen the exact spot on which the Duke built his home. they found an old iron stove, a glass candlewick and other household things that had lain there since the fire that destroyed the Duke's home [nearly 50 years before].

(McClintock's Drug store 1940)
This is one of Bob Cook's great photos.

      The Everetts are deeply in love with Bottomless Lake and the surrounding woodlands. They have cleaned the brush away from the original path used by the kids and have found and refurbished an old Indian dugout canoe that used to float on the lake. The lake itself is volcanic and is fed by seven glacial springs supposedly originating in the Mount Baker glacial field. Out of curiosity, they asked a biologist to test the depth of the lake. Using electrical gear, he found the lake averaged 350 feet in depth.
      "But in the spots where the springs bubble up, he said the soundings got so weak he wouldn't even guess how deep it was," Everett said. Everett already has compiled a list of names of more than 150 boys, now all grown men, who used to swim there as youngsters. He would like to hear from anyone who swam there as a boy (no girls were allowed) to add it to the list.

      Ed. note: Thus far, we have been unsuccessful about finding more information about the Everetts after 1958 except that Earl died on April 11, 1974, at age 69. He was born in Utah on April 11, 1904, the son of Guy Matson Everett and Anna K. Anderson Everett. His wife, Mary Ann, has a burial stone beside him but there is no genealogical information accompanying his, other than a note that indicates "future burial." Nearby stones suggest that her parents were Peter "Scotty" Fyfe and Mary Stewart Fyfe. We hope that a reader will know more about these families.

Story posted on May 11, 2003
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