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

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!

59er Diner – Winton, WA


Restaurant: 59er Diner
Cuisine: Retro American
Visit Date: October 11th, 2015 & January 15th, 2016
Location: Technically Leavenworth, WA, but more like Winton, WA.
Address: 15361 Highway 2
Price of Kids Meal: $4.99
Child Friendliness Factors: Bucket of toys at 59er diner
-Changing Table in restroom: No, but single-user restroom has plenty of floor space/privacy.
-Child hand washing made convenient: No.
-Highchairs available: Yes.
-Drinks: Milk in kid cups with lids & straws.
-Child-friendly food/servings on menu: Yes
-Welcoming touches for children: The waitress brought a 5-gallon bucket of toys to the table. Literally an entire bucket of toys just for me!
Additional Comments:
-Amazing milkshakes!
-On Highway 2 at the turnoff for Lake Wenatchee.
-Indoor seating only.

Snow drift in front of 59er Diner
Snow drift in front of the 59er Diner.

59er Diner Famous MilkshakeThe 59er Diner is just about halfway between Snohomish and Lake Chelan on Highway 2, which makes it the perfect stopping place on our frequent drives over the Steven’s Pass. The food is as locally sourced as they can make it, sometimes getting salad fixings from their very own gardens!  The quality is hit or miss, but the ingredients are always top-notch, so it’s worth a try.  On our first trip, my mom ordered spaghetti to split with me, and the bottom of the plate was just filled with water. Luckily she gave me all good bites. Our second trip was more successful. I got a grilled cheese sandwich all to myself (served with carrot sticks that my parents said were too crunchy for me), my mom’s fish sandwich she claimed was very tasty (I didn’t want to try any), and my dad’s seafood chowder he said was also tasty. I chose not to try that either. I did, however, try his peanut butter milkshake. Yum-O!!! You could see smears of peanut butter on the inside of the glass, unlike some places that use the powdered stuff. The entire menu is a blast from the past, so if your mom talks a lot about diets, you may want to tell her to keep on driving. My parents never use that word, so bring on the milkshakes!59er Diner Kids Menu

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.

The Alps Candy Shop

Sitting directly on Highway 2 in Tumwater Canyon, just outside of the town of Leavenworth, is the Alps Candy Shop. This place is so much more than just a candy store! The owner, Archie Marlin Jr., fills the shelves with a vast array of his own creations, from hot sauces to marmalades, brittles to pickles, and oh so many mustards. His father was in the candy business and a few of the recipes are from Archie Sr., but most are his own. The shop caught fire in 2009, but he rebuilt quickly to tourist’s delight. If you have the time, you can read about the fire in this article from the New York Times.

Inside the shop, there is this photo of Highway 2 from 1926. What a difference! The photo is from Steven’s Pass, which is further along the road, but you can see in the photo that Highway 2 was just a dirt road back then. No sign of the Steven’s Pass Ski Resort. I love the sign in the photo that says “This is God’s Country. Don’t set it on fire and make it leak like Hell.”Stevens Pass Photo

Outside of the store is a large bell with the story posted next to it:

It began about the turn of the century. The Great Northern Railway had a line serving this part of the Northwest Territory. On one of their mighty trains was mounted this beautiful bronze bell.

Now, the legend is, the engineer through this sparsely settled frontier drove this mighty train. One dark night as he traveled through the lonely area he saw lights blinking, blinking, blinking in a rural home. Unsure of the meaning he began to ring the bell in answer. Two days later, he returned home, told his wife about it, and suggested she pay a visit to the home of the blinking lights.  His wife was a person gifted with unusual powers. She visited the home and sure enough it had been a distress signal and she miraculously solved the family problem.

The story soon spread, and it became the custom of those that lived along the rail line to blink their lights to the train for help. The engineer always answered by ringing his bell and on his return trip would send his wife to the people.The bell tolling recipe of the message and the miracles performed by the gifted lady, though never understood, were accepted with great love and appreciation.

Then tragedy struck. The lady died. The engineer continued to drive his train and always remembered the wonderful experiences they had. Two years went by, and one pitch-dark night he saw lights blinking in a settler’s home. He was stunned and overcome with a feeling of helplessness, but not for long.

The bell was ringing and he was not ringing it. No one was ringing it – but it rang. He could not stop the train. The home was soon out of sight and the bell ceased ringing. The next week he made a special trip to the blinking light home. He was welcomed in the most cordial manner. It seems as soon as the bell rang a miracle had been performed.

This story soon spread and for years when help was needed, the people once again blinked their lights and the bell itself would ring in answer. It seems the powers of the woman had been transferred to the bell.

Then tragedy struck once more. The engineer died and the Great Northern Railway dismantled the train. The bell lay all alone in the Great Northern Yard. Sad and lonely, the bell now had power and wanted to be where it could still help people.

A group of primary Sunday school children at the newly completed Ridgecrest Baptist Church had saved and sacrificed to buy the bell. They contacted the Great Northern Railway, who responded by donating the bell. This bell with its power decided this is where it wanted to be. The bell was happy once more. Church members loved the bell, though they never did learn of its powers. Many times however, they were mystified. How could the bell seem to ring out all by itself? They thought of it as one of those things. Then tragedy struck a third time.

The city of Seattle passed a law that it would be unlawful to ring the church bell. The church deacons wondered what to do about the bell. The bell again made a wish to be at a place where it could be with people from all over the country, or even the world.

That’s why the bell is where it is today, in this beautiful spot. The Alps in Tumwater Canyon is just five miles outside of Leavenworth on Highway 2. Proudly hangs the bell in this peaceful mountain spot. Pull the rope and make a wish whether you believe or not. You will find peace will come and better you will feel. From the bell through the rope will silently steal. Into your being peace and a cure, plus happiness with the new hope you can be sure. The Bell, The Bell, The Bell.

By Archie Martin Sr.

The Great Northern Railway did run through this area, but there is no “Ridgecrest Baptist Church” exactly. There is a Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Ridgecrest neighborhood. Perhaps they have changed their name over the years. As for the city outlawing the church bells, I’ve never heard of such a regulation. The city has a number of church bells that ring hourly, especially on Sundays. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to this quint legend, but the bell is fun to ring, and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful!

Skagit River Brewery – Mount Vernon, WA


Restaurant: Skagit River Brewery
Cuisine: American/Burgers
Visit Date: January 9th, 2016
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
Address: 404 S 3rd Street
Price of Kids Meal: $4-$6
Child Friendliness Factors: 
-Changing Table in restroom: Yes. In fact, a woman came up to us while I was getting my diaper changed on the table & said she used to change her kids on that very same table, and they’re 13 & 10 now.
-Child hand washing made convenient: No
-Highchairs available: Yes.
-Child-friendly food/servings on menu: Yes, but lacking on fruits and veggies.
-Welcoming touches for children: Crayons were offered
Additional Comments:
-Impressive tap list, constantly rotating
-Location convenient to downtown area and I-5
-Outdoor seating in nice weather
-Friendly and efficient waitstaff

On a recent road trip, I got hungry. (It happens frequently.) My parents were impressed with the Yelp scores for this place, and it wasn’t too far off of the interstate we were on, so we gave it a whirl. I’m so glad we whirled! The food was yummy, and everyone there was so super nice to me. I felt quite at home here, especially after introducing myself to all of the other children in the restaurant. 😉  Skagit River Brewery Kids MenuThe kids menu wasn’t all that impressive. If you follow me on Facebook, you may remember that my mom is a stickler for fruits or veggies with dinner, and all they had was salsa or pizza sauce…not exactly high quality veggie choices. Luckily for me kids aren’t required to order off of the kids menu, so I got the hummus plate appetizer. Yum! Skagit River Brewery SaladThey make their own hummus & serve it with cucumbers, which happen to be one of my all time favorite foods. There were other veggies too, but I don’t have enough teeth for carrots or celery yet.  My mom ordered some salad with apples (she shared a few slices with me), andSkagit River Brewery BBQ my Papa ordered a BBQ sandwich.  He raved about it! While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I decided to check out the building, which looked to be pretty old. My clue was the worn floors with pretty copper patches here and there. There was an upstairs where people were setting  up for a private party, but they let me come up and check out the view. (My charm can get me in anywhere!) Overall, I would say this was a pretty cool place to eat a yummy meal.

Copper patches in the floor.
Copper patches in the floor.