(click to enlarge photos)
Five years ago when Jean and I were gathering images for our book “Washington Then and Now,” he headed out on Highway 2 for Stevens Pass carrying a handful of historical views of towns – like Sultan, Startup, Gold Bar and Skykomish – along the way. He intended to repeat them for the book; this “now” of Startup is among them. We have been instructed by no less an authority than Snohomish County historian Louise Lindgren that “the blue paint on the steps to the century-old German Baptist church has faded but otherwise not much has changed since then.”
It was Louise who also introduced us to this fine Lee Pickett photo, most likely taken in 1911. It was Louise who help organized Pickett’s photographs and direct them into the University of Washington’s Northwest Collection, where many more examples of his Skykomish River valley work can be enjoyed on the library’s website.
In 1990 the Startup Baptists moved three miles down the highway to Sultan and sold their old sanctuary to arts and crafts professionals Toni Makinaw and Bill Schlicker, who then ran a gallery in the sanctuary while raising several children in the living quarters arranged in the rear. I was introduced to Toni through the regional historian and publisher, Buddie Williams. Williams has known the couple at least from the day they moved into the church twenty years past, and were then promptly sprayed with mace by a local sheriff who mistook them for invading foreigners, perhaps from Canada or Seattle.
Don Keck lives across 364th Ave. SE (on the left) from Toni and Bill. A long-time Baptist and church member, Keck tells us that this sanctuary was built in 1903-4, and typically it was church members who held the saws and hammers.
The climb to Stevens Pass can be said to start up at Startup, but it was not named so for that reason. Rather a local lumberman, George G. Startup, was given the honor. The town was first platted as Wallace in 1894 but the federal postal authorities soon nixed the name. Mail to Wallace, Idaho too often wound up in the valley of the Skykomish. It might have been renamed Sparling, for it was Francis Sparling who first settled here. The lonely bachelor soon got a wife. Ohioan Eva Helmic answered his advertisement in Heart and Hand Magazine with an energetic yes. My Startup advisor Buddie Williams says that Eva was escaping from a spouse intended for her by devout parents. Eva and Francis lived happily ever after.
Hey Paul, I’ve got a slew of Now and Then photos from Highway 2 starting in Everett and ending up in Wenatchee. Shall I post them?
Hey Jean, I’d say yes but it is a getting late and we both know what a week you have had. It is now a better time perhaps for you to retire knowing that another hour of rest will surely be given to you thru-the-night as we stop saving daylight. Tomorrow you will be refreshed and ready to return to or repeat your tour across Stevens Past and along Highway #2 five years past for our book “Washington Then and Now,” the “slew” you refer to.
Meanwhile I’ll look through my things and pull out a few more photos along the Stevens Pass way, most of them real photo postcards by the likes of Pickett and Ellis. I’ll be ready to interject them tomorrow following you like the truck with rock salt follows the plow. The reader, then, is asked to visit the site again Sunday evening before their own “nightybears” to see what we have come up with. And in preparation, I’ll now put up two photographs that prepare the way.
One is a state map from 1855 with markings that are sometimes accurate – taking into consideration the work of the earliest surveyors – and other times wildly off the mark. This I’ll follow with a photograph of a van outfitted to install highway signs. Putting up signs was then not so much the work of the state’s department of highways as of the Washington Chapter of the AAA or American Auto Association. This “signage photo” comes with a challenge to the readers. Where it is? There surely are plenty of clues: all those signs pointing to Snohomish County communities and the number of highway miles required to get to them.
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Readers who read comments will find Arthur Allen’s hunch (resting on evidence) that the above photo was taken at Cavalero Corner. It is there that one can follow the sign both ways and get to Lake Stevens in about the same amount of time. (It is a big lake, but I’d suggest taking the way to the left if you want to get around it’s north end while on our way to the Stillaquamish River with innertubes – our frequent intentions years ago.) Below I have crudely merged three Google Earth street views to show – and Arthur will correct me if I am wrong – Cavalero Corner “today.” The last time I approached it at the east end of the roughly 2&1/2 miles trestle across the flood plain from Interstate-5 there were no flyovers like those you see in the pan. (Click to Enlarge the Pan Below.)