Museum logo
Museum logo

Photo Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number WF 0491
Caption Fidalgo Mill Company
Description Photo of workers in front of the Fidalgo Mill Company on W Avenue between 34th and 35th. Anton Stankus is in this photo, as is Jack Kidder. The mill began c. 1890 as the Kyle Sawmill. According to Tommy Thompson, it was incorporated as Fidalgo Mill Company in 1890 in order to provide lumber for the Thompson-Houston Electric Company who was then building the Fidalgo City and Anacortes Electric Railroad. (See Thompson's manuscript on FC-A Railroad, May 1990.) With the failure of the railroad, the mill ceased business and, in 1892, it was resurrected as a cooperative shingle mill, which operated in fits and starts throughout the latter 1890s. the 1-26-1893 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Rumors of shingle mills fill the air and all the people say Amen. The sidetrack into the Cooperative Shingle Mill has been completed." The 3-9-1893, issue stated, "Co-operative Shingle Co. is rapidly accumulating orders for shingles at present having orders for nearly 4,000,000. Seven cars will go out this week: one to Mystic, Iowa, 2 to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and 4 to Toledo, Ohio." On 3-30-1893 the report was, "Rev. C. McDermoth has accepted position of general manager by the Cooperative Shingle Manufacturing Company." The 5-11-1893 issue read, " 'Gospel and Shingles' Rev. C. McDermoth ... general manager of the big shingle mill of the Anacortes Cooperative Manufacturing Co. ... said that he fills the position as it never has been filled before. Now it isn't expected that a sawyer who has just left a portion of his anatomy on one side of the saw mill will say the Lord's prayer and read a chapter out of the bible (sic) ... A clergyman who can successfully manage a large shingle mill is worth keeping an eye on and we are sure that he has the largest congregation in Anacortes." See Munks' papers in museum for receipt from this mill dated 9-28-1893. The mill was leased by a variety of operators until c. 1896, when it passed into the hands of R.P. Thomas, who continued to operate it as a shingle mill. (See 4-9-1903 ANACORTES AMERICAN article, "Fidalgo Mill.") Still, in the midst of a national depression it was not easy going. The 11-4-1897ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "60 of the leading shingle mills in this state, including the mill of R.P. Thomas and company will be closed down for period of 60 days due to glut of shingles." With the Alaska Gold Rush, and business booming, Thomas had trouble finding workers. The 10-27-1898 report was that, "Thomas Shingle Mill Is running short-handed lately."

In 1901, Thomas changed the shingle business to a lumber mill and called it Fidalgo Mill Company. The 1902 SEBRING'S SKAGIT COUNTY ILLUSTRATED reported that the mill had an annual capacity of 12,000,000 board feet and cut 50,000 feet per day. In addition, the mill operated a box factory that turned out 3000 boxes per day and employed 50 men steady wages of $2.25 per day. The mill "supplied not only the cases for the local fish men but also large quantities are shipped to California for the use of fruit packers there." The 5-4-1904 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Sewer pipe to be made by Fidalgo Milling Company: will be made of fir and last 20 years under heavy pressure." As stated on 4-1-1909, the Fidalgo Mill Company would erect a new burner 24' in diameter, 96' high. "Will be tallest steel burner in NW, 20' higher than biggest smokestack now standing." By 1911 the mill appeared to be idle; only its store was still operating at 35th and V Avenue. (See WF 0135) The report on 7-25-1912 was, "Morrison Brothers buys Fidalgo Lumber Mill for $20,000 and will employ 160 men." Thereafter the mill was known as Fidalgo Lumber and Box. On 3-25-1915 it was stated, "Fidalgo Lumber and Box, 75 man payroll. Record cut made in 11 hour day last week: sawed 78,000' of lumber." The 3-20-1924 report was about the electrification of the mill and "its output increased to 150,000 BF a day. A 1,250 kilowatt steam turbine will generate electricity for all equipment except the main saw which will continue to operate on steam for the present." The paper reported on 5-22-1930 that fire had destroyed "three storage sheds and 5 million BF of lumber at Fidalgo Lumber and Box Co. at a loss of $150,000." It appears another fire totally destroyed the mill c. 1935. In 1937 Anacortes Veneer was built on the site. (See WF 0468 for history of Anacortes Veneer.)
Date 1905 c.
Photographer Unknown
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Photograph
Industry - Mill
Place - Anacortes, WA
Structure - Business
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
People KIDDER, Jack
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Fidalgo Mill Company
Kyle Sawmill
Thompson-Houston Electric Company
Fidalgo City and Anacortes Electric Railroad
shingle mill
Cooperative Shingle Mill
Alaska Gold Rush
lumber mill
board feet
Morrison Brothers
Fidalgo Lumber and Box
Anacortes Veneer, Inc.
Object Name Print, Photographic