It all started with Beryl Johnson, owner of Woodinville Motors, who suggested at a chamber of commerce meeting 36 years ago that the town needed a historical society.
His comment stemmed from the fact that he had all of John Cook’s belongings (Cook was Woodinville’s first blacksmith) stored in his building and thought there should be some organization devoted to collecting and preserving such historical items for the community.
Phyllis Keller, longtime local resident and one of the founding members of the Woodinville Heritage Society, was at that fateful meeting back in 1975.
She says, "Cherry Jarvis and I decided that we would try and get something going. We called our first meeting on April 23 of that year, in the Woodinville Methodist Church. And that started the ball rolling."
Over the years, the society has grown, along with donations of historical keepsakes from the community.
Trying to find a place to store all of these precious relics was a constant challenge and the members knew their ultimate goal was to find a permanent home for them.
With the gift of the DeYoung house a few years ago, the society finally had its solution.
The traditional Dutch colonial, a city landmark which dates back to 1931, was the family home of John and Ellen DeYoung, early residents of Woodinville.
It originally stood on NE 175th Street at 135th NE, on the site where Chase Bank now stands.
Back then, the street was a state highway known as the Woodinville-Duvall Road, and it ran through the residential part of town. After John DeYoung passed away, the parcel on which the home stood was sold to Shoreline Savings, which over the years became Chase Bank.
Shoreline Savings gave the house to Harlin D. Peterson provided he would move it off the property. Peterson had it moved in 1973 to its current location off of 171st Street NE.
In 2008, two of the DeYoung’s sons, Lowell and Al, bought the house and donated it to the Woodinville Heritage Society for a museum. In order for it to become a museum, however, the structure needed to meet the necessary city, state and federal requirements.
Construction work to the tune of over $100,000 was recently completed and now the museum is finally ready to open.
"It’s very exciting for us," comments Keller. "It’s been a long process, but the effort has been worthwhile. And we’ve had a lot of fun through it all. It’s both rewarding and satisfying to know that we’ve accomplished our goal."
Keller explains that instead of a museum devoted to one era with fixed exhibits, the Woodinville Heritage Society Museum has different displays that will periodically change. The focus is on people and the history of the community, featuring exhibits and vignettes about the individuals who helped shape Woodinville, as well as the different areas of the town and how they developed over time.
Upstairs, the DeYoung Room, for example, contains mementos, photos and genealogy tracings of the DeYoung family. There’s the hand mirror that Ellen DeYoung always kept on her dresser, along with some of her hair that she saved after cutting it off. There are also a few of her tatting samples and a quilt. And in one corner, the family’s 1905 Edison Home Cylinder phonograph sits.
The Grace Room is all about early resident Elmer Carlberg (1894-1987), a well-known eccentric and son of pioneers Julia Anderson and John August Carlberg. Elmer lived in the same house in the Valley for his entire life.
For 40 years, the silver-bearded man, who wore a black trench coat and brimmed hat regardless of the weather, was the curator of the Woodinville Cemetery. On display are Elmer’s old school desk and a composition book, as well as his diaries dating back to 1917, among other possessions. There’s even a pair of his red long johns hanging in the closet.
Young girls will especially enjoy the Derby Room, which has been transformed into a child’s bedroom complete with an old-fashioned doll and dollhouse and some samples of girls’ clothing. For a look at laundry implements of yore, step in the Cottage Lake Room where you’ll find an early washboard, wringer, drying rack, rug beater and other cleaning-oriented tools.
Keller explains that the rooms upstairs are named for communities in the areas. She says, "Most people will be surprised to learn that Derby, for example, was a town that used to be located where Hollywood Hill is now."
The downstairs section of the house contains the kitchen, living room and dining area. Most of the cabinets in the kitchen are original, along with the breakfast nook table and benches, where the DeYoung family, all seven of them, ate their meals each day.
The dining room serves as a media room with a variety of heritage society merchandise available for purchase, including books, postcards and DVDs. There are also display cases full of assorted items, such as a scale from Teegarden’s Store, one of Woodinville’s early businesses, and a lunch bucket belonging John Halver, of the pioneer Halver family.
One of the rarer finds is an 1846 Bible.
"This has a great story associated with it," notes Keller. "The Bible was James C. Campbell’s, who was the father of Susan Woodin. He brought it with him when he crossed the plains in 1846, two years before Susan was born. A hundred years later, a man named David Taylor found the Bible in a used bookstore in Kent. He donated it to us recently after finding us on the Internet."
The house’s living room has been set aside as a meeting space for members of the Woodinville Heritage Society. It contains the home’s original fireplace and a Dexter Horton clock, circa 1860, which Ira Woodin purchased and gave to Frank Woodin in 1906. "The museum really helps to bring Woodinville’s history to life," says Keller. "This town has such a rich and interesting history and we look forward to sharing it with the community."