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Upper Skagit Valley History

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Early History

Early settlers came to the Baker River in 1871, originally calling the settlement on the west bank "Minnehaha". In 1890, the townsite was platted by Magnus Miller, a post office was set up, and the name "Baker" was adopted. On the east bank of the river, the community that sprang up around the Washington Portland Cement Company (1905) was named "Cement City". After the Superior Portland Cement Company plant (1908) was built in Baker, it was decided to merge the two towns, and in 1909, after much discussion, the new community settled on the name "Concrete".

Prior to 1921, several fires destroyed most of the original wooden buildings which had lined Main Street. Since concrete was in ample supply, it was decided that subsequent commercial buildings would be made from this nonflammable material. Historic plaques on many of the buildings list their construction dates. Three of the oldest wood frame structures which escaped the fires include the Baker Street Grill, the Assembly of God Church, and the town Hall & Library. The Main Yard, near Silo Park, is the only surviving wooden structure of a business district called Superior Addition.

Lyman and Hamilton

Lyman and Hamilton are the smallest incorporated communities in Skagit County.

Lyman, which has a current population of 325, was first settled in the early 1870's. The natural resources of the region attracted farmers and lumbermen. Lorenzo P. Lyman officially established it as a town and became its first postmaster in August 1880.

Lyman continued to grow through the first two decades of the twentieth century and served as a center for people traveling up river. In the 1930's, its two major industries, a shingle mill and a saw mill, were hit with labor problems. By 1939, with the closure of both mills, the growth of Lyman ended.

Hamilton was a boom town in the early 1900's and had a population of nearly 2,000. Coal deposits and iron were first to attract people, but it was timber that actually brought prosperity to the town.

The railroad had its terminus there for several years. As the standing timber was turned to lumber and shingles, and the mines closed, Hamilton's population declined also. Today it is approximately 297.