Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, WA

Saint Edward State Park is an enormous park located in Kenmore, WA, but also kind of Kirkland as well. With this being a state park, visitors must pay a $10/day parking fee to even visit the grounds, so I recommend taking advantage of one of the free park days throughout the year, or use the Discover Pass that you purchased with your annual fishing license. 😉

This informational sign placed near the front entrance of the building does a nice job of summarizing the history of the place, so just zoom in on the photo and I won’t need to rehash it all for you:

The most impressive part of this park is the old Seminary, built in 1930.  The building is rich with detail and personality, and it is really a shame that the interior it is not currently open to the public.  The building has many great examples of Romanesque architecture, such as the semicircular arches over the doorways and windows and the bell tower. The window pairs with the pilar in between was also a common feature.Look at this detail work on the second story of the dining hall. (You’ll need to zoom in on the photo to appreciate it.)  In the center of each window pair, on top of each capitol (the fancy part at the top of the pillar) there appears to be…is that the pope? Founder Bishop Edward John O’Dea perhaps?  I’m always amazed at second-story-and-above details like this. So few people will ever even notice them, but they were worth the price to someone.

Saint Edward’s Seminary Main Entry

Another feature of Romanesque architecture was the elaborate portals, or main entries to a building, and this building is a great example!  Above the main entrance door for Saint Edwards, the inscription reads, “spes messis in semine,” which I believe is the motto for the papacy  It roughly translates to, “the hope of the harvest is in the seed.”  I have kept the resolution relatively high on this image so readers can zoom in on the details. The artistry in the architecture here is amazing! Over the other door, the inscription reads “omnibus omnia facts sum”, which is a Latin quote from I Corinthians 9. This one roughly translates to mean “I become all things.”

View of the back of the Seminary from the playground area.

Now for the playground. Located very near the seminary, this playground (the largest in the state, according to the Seattle Times) was built in 2003, and it is still awesome today. It is completely fenced in , which is a blessing for many parents, but the interesting part here is that the fence rails have donors inscribed on them.  Here are a few of them (please forgive any transcription errors as my eyes are beginning to age):
Logan Heine
Jon Heine
Julie Heine
The Heines
The Sise Family
Myerchin Family
Pinczower Family
The Kayes Family
Peter Griffis
Rubin Maidan
The plaque at the entrance to the playground says that it was designed by the children of the community and built by “over 2,000 community volunteers.”  It also lists several key donors, such as:
Bald Eagle Tower donated in memory of Bill H Newman
Spiral Tube Slide donated by Marcie & Mike Rodgers
Climbing Wall donated by Haley Ashland & Art Turock
Perimeter Benches donated by the McAlister Families.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Historic Churches of Monroe, WA

Monroe has a number of historic churches that still stand today. Let’s start with Monroe United Methodist Church, pictured above. This brick beauty was the city’s first church, organized in 1896, with the current building being built in 1924. Here’s a postcard featuring the church from the 1950’s.

monroe methodist episcopal churchThe Monroe Congregational Church is just down Lewis Street, First Congregational Church of Monroeand it was the 5th church to be built in Monroe, in 1907. From the churches archives, “in 1907 the church lots cost $470.00 and the erection of the building $3,000.00.” The stained glass windows in this church are beautiful even to passersby on the outside, and breathtaking inside! I was unable to find any information about when these windows were installed, but they appear to reflect the local setting of Monroe, tucked in at the foot of the mountains, with the valley spreading out wide on the other side. The windows are done in twi-panel style, with the center panel of each being the largest. This is a popular design style for religious art.Stained Glass from First Congregational Church of Monroe


Stained Glass from First Congregational Church of Monroe

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Queen Anne House – Snohomish, WA

After writing a post about the Southernmost House in the United States, I began to pay a little bit more attention to the architectural styles of the homes I was seeing on my travels.

Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.
Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.

I have always found the “Queen Anne House” in Snohomish to be beautiful, but it has no signage (it is a private residence, after all), and if there’s no Wikipedia page on it, I’m clueless! That is, until now. I did some research on Queen Anne Style victorian buildings in the United States, and I ran across the book Beautiful America’s Northwest Victorians, which mentions this home. It says it was built in 1887 (which fits for the neighborhood), and “has a shingle-clad, centrally-placed tower, faux quoins, and an explosion of cut-out ornament in the front gable.” I would say that is a fairly accurate description of this home!

For those of you wondering what a “quoin” is, I googled it, and says: Some quoins are decorative features, providing variety and pattern to the corner where two exterior walls meet. Others have an important structural job, strengthening buildings by reinforcing the corners. Quoin was originally an alternative way to spell coin, and was used to mean “cornerstone” or “wedge.”

It is also pictured on the front of the visitors brochure for Snohomish, but the woman at the Visitor’s Bureau knew nothing about it when my dad asked her. P.S. The Visitor’s Bureau is only several blocks from this home.

Rear of home.
Rear of home.

P.P.S. Apparently, there is a photo of the house on Wikipedia, I just never saw it until now. Opps! It’s on the page for Snohomish, Washington, a page which lists 19 ‘notable people’ to come out of Snohomish. Only one of those 19 is a woman. Hmmm…

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Southernmost House in the United States

Casa Cayo Hueso – The Southernmost House in the United States, is located in Key West, FL (along with all of the other southernmosts). Historic Southernmost HouseOn the right is a historic photo of the house from the Historic Markers Tour website. Here is the house history in a nutshell, copied from a sign inside of the hotel.

The Southernmost House was built in 1897 by Judge Vinning Harris. Harris’s wife was the youngest daughter (Florida Curry) of Florida’s first millionaire William Curry. The house was designed as a one bedroom mansion, to only accommodate the couple themselves. The style of the house projects one of the best examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture, making it the second most reproduced image of any house in America, behind the White House. Many historical figures and celebrities have enjoyed the mansion’s elegance as well as the beautiful oceanfront setting.

Mrs. Harris engaged Thomas Edison to oversee the electrical design and installation of the house. The Harrises had invested in the Overseas Railroad to Key West, which was developed by Henry Flagler, who was a visitor to the house during the early period.

During the Prohibition period from 1919-1933, the mansion served as a “speakeasy” club. The first floor served as the restaurant, the second floor for casino gambling, and the third floor for “socializing.”

Southernmost House gate
Casa Cayo Hueso front gate

During this period, the mansion was visited by many celebrities and notorious gangsters en route to Havana. A little known secret of the house is the bullet hole in the front window of the reception salon, was said to be meant for Al Capone. The house was purchased in 1939 by the Ramos family who continued to operate it as a cafe/night club called “Cafe Cayo Hueso,” which hosted such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Louis Armstrong, Charles Lindbergh and Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor of the radio-telegraph system. Then, in 1949, the Ramos family completely renovated the mansion for use as their private residence.

The Ramos family, originally from Spain, was one of Florida’s oldest merchant families, who settled in Spanish Colonial Florida (in St. Augustine) and moved to Key West in 1819. Because of their ties to the Spanish Royal family they hosted King Juan Carlos of Spain on several occasions. In fact, a landing pad was added to the oceanfront deck to accommodate his private helicopter.

Five presidents of the United States were hosted at the Southernmost House. They were Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and James E. Carter, Jr.

The house served as the Ramos-Lopez family residence until 1996 when the mansion was completely renovated and converted into the luxury guest house as it remains today…a uniquely beautiful piece of Florida’s colonial history.

Now for the interesting stuff-Casa Cayo Hueso SignThere is a sign posted outside of the building, and it reads as follows:

Casa Cayo Hueso
The Southernmost House
in the Continental United States
Key West, Florida

1. Owned by: Ramos-Lopez Family 1939-present
Owned by: Harris Family 1900-1939
2. Judge Jeptha Harris was beloved and respected jurist.
Definitely not a party animal. A circuit judge, not a salvage judge!
3. No ballroom on second floor – never was and never will be.

Ramos-Lopez Family – One of Florida’s oldest merchant families. Established in Spanish Colonial Florida at St. Augustine and moved to Key West in 1819.

I find this to be a very intriguing sign, because if I were to list facts outside of my establishment, I would list some from the previously quoted history of the home, not the fact that there is no ballroom on the second floor. There must be more to this story…

Southernmost House side view

And by the way, do you think that Florida Curry caught any grief growing up about her name? She was born & raised in Florida, after all.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

The Ruby Theatre

Ruby Theatre PlaqueNestled in picturesque Chelan, WA, the Ruby Theatre was constructed in 1913 and still has many of the trademark playhouse features today. According to the Wikipedia article on the theatre, the theatre was “named after Ruby Potter, the daughter of its manager, Frank Potter.” It was constructed by brothers Herbert R. Kingman and Morrison M. Kingman, who also built several other locally famous buildings in town.

Initial Theatre Interior

Now, the Wikipedia article goes on to say, “Potter moved his operation from the storefront Gem Theater to the Kingman’s new Ruby when the Kingman’s purpose-built theater opened. Competition initially came from the Auditorium, which burned shortly after the Ruby opened in 1913. Potter and his wife were killed in 1918. The next year the Kingmans sold the theater to a barber named Kelsey from Omak.” The competition burned down? He and his wife were killed? This sounds like it deserves some further research…

I searched and found this newspaper article, which I confirmed through their online archives:

The Ellensburg Capital, June 19, 1919


A tragedy, the worst in local history, was enacted at Vantage ferry, on the Columbia river, Sunday night about 11 o’clock, and the survival of a witness made all facts easily obtainable in what would otherwise have been a deep mystery. This witness was Rubby (sic) Potter, adopted daughter of Mrs. F. J. Potter, whose husband has been operating the inter-county ferry at Vantage. At the hour named, Potter entered the room of his 15-year old foster daughter and attacked her with criminal intent but her resistance was so determined that his designs were thwarted and he left her and went down stairs, where he sent a bullet crashing through the head of his sleeping wife and then ended his own life by shooting himself in the temple. Death in both cases was instantaneous.

The unfortunate girl remained alone in the house with the dead until Monday morning at 9 o’clock when tourists arrived to whom she told her story and word was soon sent outside. Coroner Gregory summoned a jury and an inquest was held there. The girl gave a straight and impressive story that was entirely convincing to the jury and the verdict was in accordance with this horrible tale, the details of which would not bear printing. The bodies were brought to Ellensburg and prepared for burial by the Bridghein(?) undertaking establishment. The father of the murderer lived at Trinidad and was soon on the ground. He has brothers and sisters in different parts of the Northwest, while his victim’s parents live in Ohio.

Potter has been running the Vantage ferry across the Columbia river and the commissioners of both counties were greatly pleased with his work, as he was a mechanical genius, kept his machinery in perfect working order and always took pride in all he did. His wife and adopted daughter conducted the Vantage Inn, which they kept in a neat and attractive shape and they enjoyed a good patronage.

There seems to be no reason to try to account for the horrible crime committed by Potter; it is enough to conclude that the man was insanely infatuated with his foster daughter, which is borne out by the fact that he told his intended victim that it was useless to make an outcry, as her mother would not wake up for three hours, showing that he had given his wife a sleeping potion.

The tragedy certainly created a sensation in the entire community and was deeply regretted by every one.

So he did have a daughter named Ruby, and he and his wife were killed in 1919, but this says he worked as a ferryman on the Columbia River, and I’m assuming lived in Vantage, WA, which is almost 2 hrs away from Chelan by current transport. I’m pretty sure that the Columbia River doesn’t connect to Lake Chelan easily…whitewater rapids perhaps. Not accessible via ferry. A mystery unfolds…

Now onto that fire. Here is from an old Lake Chelan Historical Society publication:

“In addition to building the large Campbell home in Chelan in 1890, (A.F.) Cox also designed and built the Hotel Chelan in 1901 and the Chelan Auditorium in 1902.

The Auditorium was a massive building with balcony located in the general area of the present city library (in 2004 the city hall) and fire station. It seated 700 comfortably and it is recorded that another 100 crowded in for a Saturday evening Thespian play.

It was heated by one large wood fueled stove, and during winter activities there those in front would bake, and those to the rear, freeze.

It burned down one night in the late twenties, and they say it took the embers three days to cool.”

No mention was made as to the cause of the fire, but it seems awfully convenient for the Ruby to have their competition burn down so soon after they opened. Yet another mystery of the Ruby Theatre.

To see what’s playing next, visit the theatre’s website.Ruby Theatre Street View

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Snohomish Street Clock

Snohomish Street ClockI took a picture of this street clock in Snohomish, WA thinking it was pretty, and that I would get around to researching its history later. (My photo is to the left. I stole the one above off of Pinterest because it offers a much better view of the clock face.) The downtown Snohomish area is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so everything here that looks old and pretty is probably worth researching. Then my dad was showing me his photos of town, and he had photographed the same clock…and showed me that the 11 was missing! The clock has two number twelves! I went back to town and checked the other side – no 11 there either! One of the many examples in my life of how I should pay more attention to the details.

Now on with the history. Not very many companies made street clocks in the early 1900’s, and the styling of the clock is the giveaway for which company made it. This clock was made by the Brown Street Clock Company. I found this bit on a clock collectors message board:

The Brown Street Clock Company manufactured street clocks in Monessen, PA (south of Pittsburgh) from 1906 until the mid-1920’s. While not as grand as the street clocks sold by Seth Thomas and E Howard, nevertheless the Brown Street Clock company sold hundreds of street clocks to jewelers and others that perhaps could not afford the more expensive clocks offered by the competition.

I also found who estimated it was made between 1910 -1915 based on the clocks distinguishing features. The building that it sits in front of was built in 1907 and held the First National Bank of Snohomish for over 50 years (according to, the state’s nonprofit history repository), so this date makes sense. But wait! Here’s a photo of downtown Snohomish from the 1920’s (from the Centennial Trail website), and it shows the clock across the street from its current location. Hmm…Downtown Snohomish 1920ishSo when did it move? And why doesn’t it have a number eleven? This clock is much more interesting than I originally thought!

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Joseph Berg Memorial

This archway looks simple enough – a bit of art tucked away in a cute little courtyard of sleepy little Mount Vernon, Washington, but when you get closer, you can see the plaques about Joseph Berg. Here are their transcriptions:
Joseph Berg Plaque 1

Joseph Berg
Pvt. Co. F, 161st, Inf.
Sgt. Co. G, 167th, Inf. 2D, Eng. U.S.N.

Enlisted May 9th, 1916.
Honorably discharged Nov. 7th, 1919.
Enlisted in U.S.N. Aug. 12th, 1922.

Killed in service aboard U.S.S. Mississippi
June 12th, 1924.
Cited for extraordinary heroism
in action
and decorated as follows:

U.S. Distinguished Service Cross: Mch. 23, 1919.

French Medaille Millitaire: Apr. 13, 1919

Posted as a lookout, he exposed himself to heavy machine gun and artillery fire and succeeded in killing or disabling crews of three machine guns, thus saving his company from heavy casualties.  From citation

Erected by his shipmates of U.S.S. Mississippi and comrades and friends of Mount Vernon.

Joseph Berg Plaque 2

Moved and Dedicated
October 6, 2005
Generous Support of:
In Memory of Ken and Miriam Harris
City of Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon Arts Commission
Mount Vernon Towing – Doug Faber
Hawthorne Funeral Home – Dick and Kirk Duffy

Wow! Sounds like an amazing man! I found some Navy records that say, “At 11:40am fire in #2 turret occurred, caused by flare back, killing:” and it goes on to list Joseph Berg, along with 47 other names. 48 men killed by accident. That’s pretty sobering.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.