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A-Z History of Sumner, Washington - When they were young

Provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times and the City of Sumner.


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When they were Young

Tress Dassel (born in 1909), Mary Elizabeth Ryan (born in 1922), and Madge Spears (born in 1907) shared fond memories of life in Sumner one afternoon in February, 1999. Here are some of the memories and stories that didn't make their way into the other letters of this primer.

Tress lived in town at the corner of Edith and Warren. Her dad had a wholesale floral company; her uncle had the conservatory at Woodland Park (now the zoo) in Seattle. The conservatory was razed to make way for the zoo. When Sumner’s Woodland Park Floral Greenhouses were established, the stained glass from the Seattle Conservatory was salvaged and used in the new location. Tress recalls the floral shop in Seattle-the cases were made of mahogany; spools of ribbon of all colors, with picot edges and of satin, lined the upper walls; and there were brass cages with canaries singing all over the store. Tress says her life was full of beauty, with flowers everywhere. In the summer, she and her brother used to eat tar off the walkways above the greenhouses. Once they were investigating the sounds of a catfight and fell from the walkway, through the greenhouse's glass roof, and onto a bed of ferns.

Mary Elizabeth’s mother insisted on giving birth in a hospital. She was delivered by Dr. Mitchell in what was then Sumner’s new hospital, formerly the home of the Daar family. Her mother died when she was fifteen, and she was raised by her grandmother. She planned to go into nursing, but was forced go give up her plan when she decided to marry Lewis Ryan (married women were not allowed to be nurses). Instead, she attended Racine and Knapps Business School in Tacoma. She worked at Washington Packers in Tacoma, Nicholson Drugstore, and then as secretary to Sumner Junior High School’s guidance counselor. Lewis and his brother Warren ran Montmorenzie Farm. He was one of a handful of Sumner farmers who wanted to enlist when World War II began, but were not allowed to because of their occupation. The Ryans have seven children - four generations of their family live in Sumner.

Madge remembers the sound of frogs during winter and that there were berries everywhere. Kids worked the fields-blackberries, raspberries, pears; everything was a lovely green. She used to visit the Ghiradellas over the train trestle and play the organ at the county farm.

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Information on these pages is provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times Staff and The City of Sumner, Wa.

Main History page | Puyallup History | Sumner History |The Puyallup Indians | The Puyallup Fair | Read more about Ezra Meeker | Read more about William Kincaid |Why Daffodil Valley? | History of the Daffodil Festival | Indian War of 1855
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