(click to enlarge photos)
Surely some – maybe many – PacificNW readers will remember this magazine’s predecessor, The Seattle Sunday Times Rotogravure. That weekend supplement covered regional stories that were illustrated – often lavishly – with sepia-toned photographs. For instance, on June 18, 1939, the Rotogravure accompanied members of “A Seattle Camera Club … On a Picture Hunt” north on the then freshly-paved Pacific Coast Highway. Their destination was Rosario Beach and anything picturesque along the way. This full-page feature was adorned with ten rotogravure illustrations, including one of the club members posing with their auto caravan beside this week’s subject, “the ancient, picturesque stump that has been preserved beside the highway near Arlington.”
The camera club was following in the lustrous wake of Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha of Norway, who, a few days earlier, had driven through this often sideswiped artifact without hitting it. Here, approaching the estuary of the Stillaguamish River and about mid-way on their ten-week tour of America, the attentive Royal Couple surely read the interpretive text framed in a triangle above the entrance to the tunneled trunk. It reads, “Relic of a Vanquished Forest / Western Red Cedar / (Thuja Plicata Don) /Age 1250 years / Preserved at Request of Snohomish Co. Pioneers /A.D. Arlington, Washington 1922.”
Soon after the royals and the clubbies visited the stump, Boyd Ellis, Arlington’s well-collected postcard purveyor, recorded the historical photo in 1940 and numbered it 51 at the print’s bottom-right corner. In his decades of exploring the northwest for marketable snapshots of landmarks and other roadside attractions, Ellis snapped at least a dozen exposures of this Giant Cedar Stump. Our featured “then” is one of at least two stump portraits he took, posing the same auto (perhaps his) and ascribing to it the same print number. Ellis’s work is so bountiful that it has spawned experts among his many collectors.
Jean’s late-summer visit to the Arlington stump was not intended for a feature but for a roadside pause at Interstate-5’s Smokey Point Rest Area. The highway department has the stump at “milepost 207 about eight miles north of Marysville.” More to the point of the Big Cedar Stump’s heritage, the thousand-plus-years-old artifact has been associated with Arlington since the late 19th century when that town was abuzz with mills. The Big Arlington Stump is about three and one-half miles from Arlington as the crow flies, and there are ordinarily plenty of crows hanging around highway rest areas. Jean, of course, knew about the stump from Ellis’s photographs, which date from before the highway department moved the stump to this, its last home in 1971. I will brag some by noting that I first stumbled upon the stump, and without injury, in the late 1960s when it was still beside the highway, about one mile north of the Smokey Point Rest Area where Jean found it. I was headed for Vancouver and pulled over.
Anything to add, guys? Yes Jean with examples of suburban life, mostly. We chose these, again, from past features that we have scanned. Most of them are from after 2008 when we started blogging and scanning. Since the Sunday Now and Then column began in the winter of 1982 there are many features relevant for whatever generalizations might be made for any given Sunday, we have, however not found the time to scan them all. As for stumps and, for that matter, logs too, we have gathered a few, which we hope to include here with an addendum along the way (aka down the line.)