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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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Rare early Sedro-Woolley newspaper
Skagit County Times, Sedro, May 2, 1896

(Sedro Board of Trade)
      This was the Board of Trade building in new Sedro. New Sedro rose a half mile northwest of old Sedro by the Skagit river in the years 1888-89. New Sedro was centered on the block where the high school now stands. Businesses were clustered from the north-south Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern railroad tracks east to about Seventh street, and from Fidalgo street to Nelson street. There was still a dense forest between Nelson and the new town of Woolley to the north. All the newspapers before 1899 burned in various fires, so we have had to depend on the few rare copies like this one that surface. This drawing is from an 1890 issue of Washington magazine. We will soon be sharing a series of articles that the magazine featured about Sedro and Woolley in that year. You can find a bound volume of those magazine issues at the Allen wing of the Suzallo Library at the University of Washington campus.

May 2, 1896
      We have transcribed notes from this issue, in toto for some entries, summarizing others. Historian Deanna Ammons has shared copies of newspapers found by an unnamed source when he was remodeling his house locally. We are transcribing many more issues that you can see as we add at least one per week at our website for newspapers logs. We have added parenthetical notes in [ ] to clarify, provide brief biographies or add emphasis.       The masthead of this issue of the Skagit County Times lists the Gillis brothers as editors and publishers. Sometime in the mid-1890s, Junius B. Alexander — one of the promoters of the town of new Sedro in 1890, recruited two brothers, Walter and Albert Gillis, to run the day-to-day operations of the Times and they eventually bought into the company. The Gillis brothers were also known for their thespian roles in county plays, including productions at the Bowery Square or Opera House, which stood just across the alley from behind the present Jungquist Furniture. The Times was moved from an undisclosed location to the present location of the Mission Market building at the southeast corner of State and Third streets sometime in 1899. Walter and Albert Gillis were also partners with some of their other brothers in a local construction firm. This company built many local homes and businesses and the Presbyterian church, which stood in the 300 block of Talcott until it burned in the 1970s. They were also the prime contractors for William Murdock, who platted the Grand Junction addition east of the street that is now named for him. Sometime in the summer before Sedro and Woolley merged in December 1898, Walter and Albert opened a newspaper in Issaquah.
      One of the brand new details we learned from this masthead is that there were two offices for the newspaper since the towns of Sedro and Woolley both still had separate municipal governments. The Sedro office was in the Pioneer block at the northeast corner of Third and Bennett streets, where the administrative offices of the high school now stand. The Woolley office was in an interesting location at the corner of Northern avenue and Murdock street. That general area was also occupied by the Skagit Steam Laundry and later by the Shrewsbury Mill and clothespin factory. The paper was still published each Saturday and we suspect that the Sedro location was the main office because it was mailed from the Sedro post office as second-class matter. Subscriptions cost $1 per year or 50¢ for six months.
      Another tantalizing tidbit is the numbering of the issue as Volume 6, number 15. By counting back, we are able to peg the first issue as appearing on Saturday, Jan. 24, 1891. Up until now, we have all quoted the 1906 Illustrated History book, which stated that the Times began publication in February that year. The "flag" at the top of the first page lists both Sedro and Woolley as the place of publication, with Sedro listed first.

Local and personal, page 1

Government officials, page 2

Government officials, page 2

(Fritsch Bros Hardware)
Fritsch Bros Hardware, Woolley, circa 1892


Burlington Babble

Sterling Nuggets


Lodge meetings

Legal notices

Notice of Final Proof

Separate sites for stories from this issue
      There were three short features in this issue that we are sharing at other sites, in our Odds and Ends section and our Obituaries section. These stories will be posted later this week:

      Historian Deanna Ammons has shared these copies of newspapers found by an unnamed source when he was remodeling his house locally. You can see a list at this website. Each of these newspapers has supplied information about people, places and events that we did not know before and details that had not been noted in earlier histories. Well over half of the local newspapers published before 1915 were either burned in fires or lost long ago. This is why it is so important for our readers to share photo copies of any old newspapers that they have in their family collections, especially those before 1920. Please email if you can help.

Story posted on Jan. 4, 2004
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