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A few historic gifts from Edmonds’ past | History Files


Last updated 4/24/2019 at Noon

People give me things because they know that I am interested in history.

Some of the things are given to me as gifts for me, such as a set of photos of cabooses, or books about ghost towns or railroads or the Interurban. But some things are given to me place in appropriate locations where they will be preserved.

In the last month, I have been trying to place some quilts in the largest quilt museum in the world. I don’t know how that is going to turn out. I have also been given items that were found by the owner of a house under consideration for inclusion in the Edmonds Register of Historic Places.

In that little treasure trove were items such as tide tables for 1942 and the pay scale for the maritime industry during World War II. While investigating that same house a photo turned up of it in about 1912.

The house itself is interesting, but it is the background that has the real interest. Where the civic campus is today were false fronts, obviously commercial buildings.

Visual evidence that the commercial district of Edmonds extended to more than Main Street.

I was also given a trove of photos and other items from a long-time Edmonds resident. These will go to several different organizations.

There were two photos of the founding members of the Peter Puget chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). They were participating in the Edmonds July 4 parade in 1964, the year the chapter was founded. A scan of those photos went to the Edmonds Museum. The originals went to the DAR for their museum.

In the same group of historic items is a Cub Scout scrapbook from 1959-1961. The Edmonds Museum will scan that, but my hope is that the original will go to the Mount Baker Council of the Boys Scouts of America.

And there are photos. Special photos because they have information attached about who is in the photos and where the photos were taken. Almost all the photos are taken in Edmonds, so the reasonable location for safekeeping is the Edmonds Museum.

Of special interest to me are a set of photos taken in 1963, and another set taken in the late 1980s. The photos are taken from the same location at Seventh and Walnut. It is interesting to see what Edmonds looked like in 1963.

Then it is interesting to compare the photos from about 25 years later. Many of the houses are the same, but some are gone or significantly changed. It is easy to forget how neighborhoods change unless you have these, literally, little snapshots in time as reminders.

In the items given to me also is a transcript of a diary that I believe will be of interest to a museum that specializes in Japanese history. I haven’t yet placed that item.

This is always a responsibility to place items in the most suitable location. It a responsibility and it takes time to do the job right. But it is a job I enjoy, and I often learn about things of which I had not knowledge.

And that is the fascinating thing about learning history.

I find that I never know what it is that I don’t know. History is supposed to be settled, but often, significant events have been forgotten or marginalized or twisted in remembrance.

Thus, history is always changing to the chagrin of those who want it to stay as what they remember being taught in kindergarten.


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