Letter to the editor: Toasting the town's pioneers

 

September 6, 2023



There is order in the establishment of frontier towns like La Conner. Religion usually precedes law enforcement and the saloon precedes either religion or law enforcement. Opportunity is the single lure of the frontier, though opportunity is not the same for all. Some come to make a new life for themselves and family. Some come for a quick buck, however it might be acquired. Some come to escape and remake themselves. No two pioneers are the same; neither are they different. They want to get ahead and make something of themselves.

Some succeed marvelously and become Pioneers in the town’s history books. (please note the newly acquired capital letter on the term “Pioneer.) Others rate a page in the family’s scrapbook. All made a significant difference in the town’s perseverance. There was the boatman who ferried folks across the channel before the Rainbow Bridge, the generations’ run family lumber yard on First Street, and the livery on Fifth and Center streets, which aren’t mentioned in the general history. There are the uncounted volunteer firefolk who have and continue to make our little piece of paradise safe.

To the south two cities grew faster than local resources could support. Fires were common and the lumber to rebuild had to come from somewhere. And there had to be beer to rehydrate all the thirsty carpenters. Brewing beer requires hops. Lots of hops for lots of carpenters. Hops grew well in the Skagit soils. But there was a problem – a massive log jam upstream at the river bend in Mount Vernon blocked the paddle wheeled steamers of the times from reaching the hop fields. La Conner became the shipping point for the critical resources – log booms and beer making.

That may not be the sanctified tale in the history books, that rough-neck log boomers and copious quantities of beer plants, but they certainly made their difference.

Well, here’s to all the unheralded citizens of tiny La Conner that have made and continue to make this remarkable wee town the wonderful home it is. Thank you!

Jerry George

La Conner

 

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