Christmas Greetings from 1901

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A newsprint copy of this rare historic photograph of a church service in progress was found in the Methodist church folder on file in the Snohomish Historical Society Archives, with the caption: “1901 was a good year to hold a Christmas pageant. This one at the First Methodist Church in Snohomish came complete with all the trimmings including ten angels on front stage. Photo, courtesy Everett Library Historical Collection.”

Please follow this link to read more.

Season’s Greetings

This Christmas card, signed by Mary Ursula Lenfest, the eldest sibling of the Blackman brothers, was left behind when the Blackman family heirs sold the home and most of its contents to the Society, over 40 years ago.

Mary was born in 1837, of Adam and Mary Blackman, in Bradley, Maine. She married John Lenfest in 1863 and the union gave birth to their only child, Elmer, a year later. Mary and John waited to join her brothers living in Snohomish until after Elmer received his degree in civil engineering. The family arrived in town in 1889, where Elmer landed a job with the newly incorporated city as its engineer. He married Sylvia Ferguson in 1891 and their only child, Norman, was born two years later. Mary lived to reach 90 years of age, passing on in 1927, the same year that our Ella Blackman also died.

Please allow us to add our sincere wishes to Mary’s for every happiness for you and yours in the New Year!

Trudy Stack, Friend of the Society, Passed Away May 19, 2013

Trudy Stack

Trudy Stack with one of her paintings.

Trudy (Wood) Stack (1916-2013) was born in Snohomish,  in the front bedroom of the home her father built at 404 Avenue C.  The family moved to Seattle a couple years later, but Trudy continued to visit since her sister Ruth taught at Snohomish High School for many years.

Married to Harold Stack, who survives her, 70 years ago, they would often make the trip to Snohomish to visit Trudy’s birth place.  A few years before Trudy was born, her father, William, was a three term Mayor of Snohomish, winning in the 1911 election with 343 votes of the 366 cast.

The Stack Family Foundation made an unsolicited donation to our Historical Society in the generous amount of $6000 in 2008.  It was used to purchase museum software for cataloging our photo collection, and the hiring of an museum studies intern to help us get started.

As the president of the society at the time, I continued to stay in touch with Trudy and Harold, as have the new owners of the grand home, Joelle and Andy Blair.  Just the other day, I came across a short story in a 1910 issue of the Tribune about her father taking the family of eight children to the new beach home at Moclips. I planed on sending it to her.

Trudy was the ninth child, but I can’t imagine how any of the others could have loved Snohomish more than she.

Thirty-Four Years of Memories

Eleanor Leight at the Blackman House Museum
Eleanor Leight with the second Chinese Dragon puppet head

The first puppet head wore out. So Bill Jack built another one, now on exhibit at the Blackman House Museum’s Gallery — along with costumes, props and photos galore!

Besides, the first one was to big. Eleanor tells the hysterical story of her oldest son, Steven, who was wearing the puppet head in one of the early shows and couldn’t get through a door. The dragon puppet glows wen lit with only black-light and is an audience favorite.

Eleanor led the Leight Fantastics dance troupe along with a variety of talent through 34 years of shows that came to end this past Mother’s Day weekend.

It all began when the first president of the Society, Everett Olsen asked Eleanor if she might put a show together as a fundraiser for the new historical society — never thinking it would turn into an annual event.

(Scroll down for a documentary excerpt of Everett.)

But Eleanor, who celebrated her nineth birthday this year, will continue on with rehearsals for smaller shows at the Evergreen Fair and other venues. So, it’s still not too late to learn tap.

You can join Eleanor and the gang on Monday evening’s at St Michael’s Hall, and on Thursdays at the Snohomish Center Center; which is a good place to contact Eleanor for more information. “No one is turned away,” she emphasized.

The Blackman House is open Saturday and Sunday afternoons from noon until 3 o’clock, and by appointment — call 425.315.2256 to make arrangements.

You may read more about Eleanor on the web at The Women’s Legacy Project.

Blackman House Museum Goes Hollywood

Blackman House Museum
For the past week the interior of our house museum has been cast in the role of a brothel.

The independent feature, “You Can’t Win” is based on the book of the same name published in 1926. Black’s autobiographical novel tracks his life on the road freight-hopping across the western United States and Canada, and his experiences with the Yegg Brotherhood of hobos, bums, tramps and criminals who rode the rails in turn-of-the-century America. In the movie treatment, Jack finds redemption from his wild ways in the love of a prostitue — hence a brothel.

Mayor Karen Guzak (L), Michael Pitt and unidentified cast memberStaring in and producing is Michael Pitt, recently appearing in “Boardwalk” an HBO production. He is pictured here with Mayor Karen Guzak (and a Society super supporter), with an unidentified cast member.

Mayor Karen joining the cast and crew for "lunch" in the Waltz Building Mayor Karen was invited to join the cast and crew for their “lunch” break. The Waltz Building played the role of lunch room for the cast and crew of close to 100 people.

Shooting in Snohomish ended on May 14th.

The Last Mother’s Day Show

The first show in the new Snohomish High Performing Arts Center for Eleanor and her troupe of tap dancers, comedians, even one opera singer, will be her last.

Follow this link to the story in the Daily Herald.

And follow this link to the learn more about the documentary.

The Snohomish Historical Society’s 34th annual variety show, “Memories,” is scheduled for 7 p.m., May 10, 11 and 12, with an additional 2 p.m. presentation set for May 12 and 13, at the Snohomish High School Performing Arts Center, 1316 Fifth St.

Tickets cost $7.25 for seniors and students, and $9.75 for adults.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 1-800-838-3006.

Tickets also can be purchased at the door.

2011 Snohomish Parlour Tour

The annual Snohomish Historical Society Parlour Tour will be held Sunday, December 11th from noon to 4pm. General admission tickets cost $15.00.  Adults over 62 and children under 12 receive a discounted rate of $12.00.

Tickets are now available for purchase at Kusler’s Pharmacy and Gifts, Annie’s on First, McDaniel’s Do-it Center, Speckeled Hen and Joyworks. Tickets on the day of the tour will be available at the Waltz Building at 116 avenue B. For further infomation please call 360-568-5235 or e-mail

Walter P. Bell, (1856-1934)

Ed Anderson, left, with David Dilgard


As Ed tells the story, it was a rainy evening, when he received five dirty dusty cardboard boxes, from his mother. She had been storing them in the crawl space of the family home — an inheritance from her Mother’s sister — the family pack-rat.

That was nearly ten years ago. It has taken Ed this long to sort through all 5 boxes with the discipline of his training as a civil engineer, currently employed with Boeing.

Walter P. Bell

Walter P. Bell, c.1888

His great-grandfather, Walter P. Bell was born in Iowa in 1856. He came to Washington 23 years later, working as a cowboy by day and reading law in the evening.

He began practicing law in Port Townsend, was engaged in the mail service on the steamships, and finally opening a law office on the second floor of Wilbur’s Drug Store on First Street, downtown Snohomish. Attorney Bell was instrumental in forming the articles of city’s first incorporation in 1888, and was elected to serve as the city’s first attorney.

It was around this time that Walter met and eventually married Lillian Blackman who had followed her father Almon to Snohomish from Maine. They were cousins to the well known Blackman Brothers who settle here in 1872.

The couple gave birth to four children, Harold, Mary, Doris and Winifred. Mary was Ed’s grandmother and Doris is the heroine of this story for saving everything — papers, letters, photographs, even diaries kept by her great grandmother back in Maine who never made the journey west, yet recorded the ups and downs of the clan so far away.

Doris, Walter Bell

Doris with her father Walter, 1923

Walter P. Bell moved his office to Everett after Snohomish lost the county seat in 1897. He was elected attorney general of Washington in 1908, serving for three years, when he was appointed judge of the superior court.

Included in this generous and significant donation is a statement from the Claim Department of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, dated July 9, 1934, notifying Mrs. Lillian Bell of a $2,000 payment upon the death of her husband, (in the same year).

All materials donated to the Historical Society are processed under the supervision of Kathleen Lince, the Society’s paid archivist. Your membership makes this vital community service available — please consider joining today.

General Membership Meeting

Wednesday, March 16th | 7p  | Waltz Building

This meeting is for You!  Please join fellow Snohomish Historical Society members for a presentation on the historic Carnegie Library project.  Come hear about the current plans and future use of Snohomish’s own gem presented by Melody Clemons, president of the Snohomish Carnegie Education Center.  You won’t want to miss this one!

Refreshments will be served.