A-Z History of Sumner, Washington - Valley Freeway
Provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times and the City of Sumner.
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A Tour of Sumner
City Hall is at 1104 Maple Street, the corner of Alder and Maple. You can buy a Sumner lapel pin for $2.50 and pick up a copy of the Historic Sumner Walking Tour Guide, a serviceable brochure with good historical information. Take the walking tour to get a feel for Sumner - some of the places mentioned below are on it.
The gazebo at Heritage Park feels like the heart of downtown Sumner. Community concerts are held there in good weather and in December. Visit it during the holidays for an escape from the season's materialism - it's old-fashioned decorations and lights will help you step back into an older, untouched-by-hype Washington.
There are no hops kilns left in Sumner proper, but they can be seen in nearby Alderton. The new train station takes its design from them. To see hops kilns, take Main Street to the Valley Freeway, head toward Orting (south), and stop by the Red Barn Tree Farm between Alderton and McMillan.
The commuter rail station is built on the site of the old Burlington Northern Railroad Depot across from Sumner Animal Grub. It was here that George Ryan, setting a pioneer example of civic-minded economic development, built Sumner's first depot and paid the salary of the station master for a year.
The Charles W. Orton House is a bungalow built in 1914 outside the downtown area at 7473 Riverside Road East. Orton was a successful agricultural innovator and marketer - his home was the site of the first Daffodil Tea.
The Sumner Cemetery at Valley Avenue East began as a pioneer cemetery on land donated by pioneer Isaac Woolery. Thanks to volunteers organized by the Sumner Historical Society, many of the oldest headstones have been cleaned. The number of stones with little lambs on them is a sad testament to the high mortality rate for children in pioneer times.
The Sumner Ryan House Museum is at 1228 Main Street. The home was built in 1875 for George and Lucy Ryan, and left to the City of Sumner by their heirs in 1926. The city used it as a library until 1979, when it became a museum. The Sumner Historical Society has lovingly restored the parlor, dining room, and kitchen areas to 1890-period style; two bedrooms upstairs are also furnished and open to the public. It has an excellent library, full of primary source materials and photographs concerning Sumner, and possesses a beautifully detailed model of Sumner's first schoolhouse (burned to the ground in 1924). Ryan House hours are Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4PM, during the months of April through October and December.
You can't miss seeing Sumner Animal Grub as you drive into downtown along Traffic Avenue. Burlington Northern built it; now it's a great feed store, in operation for more than fifteen years, and thick with rural sights and smells. Buy some food for your dog. Check out the cow magnets. Get new grubbing boots.
Sumner Public Library and Library Park are at 1116 Fryar Avenue on the banks of the White River. It's a peaceful place to draw, read, and reflect.
Tapps Brewing, Inc. is a microbrewery just down the street. It was constructed by William A. Blackadder for Ralph Weaver, and was one of the first apartment buildings in Sumner.
A video presentation about Sumner was made for the high school's centennial celebration in 1998. To see it, contact Charlie Nordeck and Videocreations, 253-863-8946.
The Herbert Williams House (1890) and Sidney Williams House (late 1890's) are at 1711 and 15003 Elm Street, respectively. Each house possesses Italianate and Queen Anne Style construction elements - Herbert's home has the more lavishly detailed interior. They are the last representations of the wealth that was grown in Sumner during the hops boom of the late last century.
Information on these pages is provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times Staff and The City of Sumner, Wa.
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