The traditional colonial style house which dates back to 1931, is a city landmark and will soon serve as the permanent home of the Woodinville Heritage Society Museum.
"It’s a very exciting time for us," says Suzi Freeman, vice president of the Heritage Society. "The project is finally coming to fruition after being a goal of the society for over 30 years. It’s been a long process and lots of work, but it’s also been so much fun, and has brought so many people together."
Instead of a museum devoted to one era with fixed exhibits, the Woodinville Heritage Society Museum will have different displays that change every so often. It will be focused on people and the history of a community, featuring exhibits and vignettes about the individuals that helped shape Woodinville and make it the way it is today.
"We’re going to show how different areas of the town developed over time," explains Freeman, "allowing people to see the rich history of this community."
Members of the society have been busy going through the collections and deciding where and what to display first.
"It’s a real challenge for us because we have such a great collection," adds Freeman.
One room, for example, will showcase memorabilia from 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 and never owned a car.
He drove a horse and buggy into the 1950s. 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.
"He was the town character," says Freeman, "and we have a number of his things that we will exhibit."
Another room will showcase early cleaning methods from the 1920s and 30s, including a steam iron, hand crank wringers, boilers, washboards and an old clothes line.
"We have a Bible dating back to 1844, quilts, clocks, a treadle sewing machine, an antique dresser, lots of photographs, old farm equipment and so much more," adds Freeman. "It’s just a matter of selecting what we want to display and finding the right place to put it. The house is very unique and has been kept true to its age. It has a cozy feeling to it that I think visitors will appreciate."
For Lucy DeYoung, president of the Heritage Society, the house has special meaning. It belonged to her grandparents, John and Ellen DeYoung, who raised their six children in the home.
"I have very fond memories of the place," she comments. We had many family celebrations there and I spent summers there as a child."
In order for the house to become a museum, various improvements were necessary, including making it accessible via construction of a handicapped ramp and an ADA bathroom.
"We had to meet all the city, state and federal requirements," says DeYoung, "and it cost us over $100,000 to do all the work. We raised most of the money, but we were about $20,000 short, so we had to tap into our reserves. We will need to do some more fundraising to get back on healthy financial footing."
DeYoung is thrilled that there will now be a place to showcase the history of the community. She adds, "There are just so many great stories to tell and now we have the ability to share them."