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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
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Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Chapter 1, 1937 History of Burlington

Early landmarks
By Beulah Terwilliger, Burlington High School student, 1937
      The first dwelling house was located where W.H. North now lives. It was designed and constructed by one of the earliest pioneers, Abraham Garl. David Kock was architect and builder.

(Burlington railroad crossing)
      This is a view of the buildings clustered around the railroad crossing of the S&N and Great Northern lines in Burlington at the turn of the century. Courtesy of the December 1902 edition of Sebring's Skagit County Illustrated magazine.

      The first shingle mill was located where the cannery now stands. The town hall was located where William Feathers now lives on Orange street. The first school was held in the fall of 1891 in the old town hall. This hall now stands on the northwestern corner of Anacortes and Fairhaven avenues. The teacher was Miss Clara Garl [daughter of Abraham], now Mrs. Clara Morrison of Seattle. The Methodist church [was the first house of worship and] was built in 1891.
      The first streets were Orange and Anacortes streets [and Orange was initially planned to be the main street]. At the time the streets were opened, Anacortes and Orange streets were planked. They were the main business streets.
      The first school building was located in back of the Roosevelt Grade School. It was built by an old pioneer, David Kock. A shingle mill stood where the Massar lumber yard stands on Fairhaven avenue. The first
      The first store stood on the northeastern side of Anacortes and Washington streets and is now vacated. The building was built by Walter Burton and later bought by T.G. Wilson who, together with the Cressey brothers, had the contract of clearing the townsite. In this building all the business of the town was conducted. The first post office was in this store, with T.G. Wilson, postmaster, and George G. Cressey, deputy. The first railroad ticket office was also in there. All city court proceedings were held in this building. The first saloon stood about thirty feet north of the store and post office.
      The first Great Northern depot [GN depot 1] was just a small building of rough boards standing directly just west of where our present structure stands. Before the construction o f our new and commodious depot, one of lesser proportions [GN depot 2] was located at the intersection of the main line of the Great Northern [north-south] and Anacortes-Hamilton [Seattle & Northern, east-west] lines. This depot was consumed by fire in the early part of the present century. [See a later chapter for the hilarious story of how the second depot was moved overnight from its original location in Belleville, a town to the north.]
      The first drugstore was on the corner of Anacortes and Orange streets along with the first meat market.
      Emerson's store was the second to locate in Burlington. It stood on the southern corner of Anacortes and Orange streets, where now stands the residence of Dr. Jackson. [Ed. note: actually, Emerson Hammer bought the store sometime after 1893 from the Paulson brothers, who started it as a branch of their Sedro Mercantile Co. This will be explained in a later chapter.]
      Directly west of the drugstore, F.W. Weideman established a general merchandise store. This completed all the [business] houses on Anacortes and Orange streets, which at that time were intended to be the main business center of the town until Tom Wilson and his associates conceived the idea of the town to Fairhaven avenue. At about that time [no year given] the Great Northern built its new depot at the intersection of the two railroads. Just east of the depot at the new intersection, Wilson and Shaughnessy erected a hotel and saloon, fronting on the depot platform. This platform extended about four hundred feet east and west along the [Seattle & Northern] railroad; and another platform of equal length extended along the main line of [the Great Northern Seattle-to-Vancouver] railroad.
      Here changes the topography of Burlington. The business section of the town commenced to move from the old quarters to the northwestern part of Fairhaven. First came a confectionery; then followed the post office adjoining the confectionery, also fronting on the platform. Across the street from the Wilson-Shaughnessy hotel, north where now stands the Knutzen brothers store, was built a hotel known as the Williams house.
      The first drugstore [mentioned above] was moved from the corner of Anacortes and Orange streets to just west of the Knutzen Mercantile store. It was first used as a saloon by Peter Bergman. This property was then purchased by William Ebeling, who built the sweet shop, now in charge of Duane Small.
      The little mountain standing north of the Burlington business center, prior to 1910, was covered with a beautiful stand of virgin timber. About that time it was destroyed by the ruthless logger under the name of Harpst, who built and operated the mill at the foot of the hill known to the Burlington citizens as Burlington Heights.

      Ed. note: This is chapter one of a manuscript written in 1937 about the early history of Burlington by the U.S. History and Sociology classes of Burlington High School, which was discovered in the attic of a home about ten years ago. We wish that we knew the names of the teachers whose leadership is to be commended. Maybe a reader knows more about it? More chapters are being shared first with those who are paid subscribers to our separate Subscribers Edition, in the upcoming Issue 30. These chapters include more memories of the early town and an overview of schools, churches, clubs and lodges, transportation, farming, economic progress and a review of early businesses. We are indebted to John Zimmerman of Elma, Washington, who found the manuscript and donated it to librarian Darlene Malloy at the Burlington Public Library in 2000. We thank the librarian, Christine Perkins, who succeeded Ms. Malloy not too long ago, for sharing the manuscript with us. We hope that readers will have similar manuscripts from other valley towns. And we hope that readers who have similar documents about Burlington and other Skagit valley towns, or have scanned photos of Burlington, will share copies with us. We do not need your originals.

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Story posted on March 1, 2003, and last updated on July 29, 2005
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