The Bloedel Donovan Timber Company originally owned and cleared the 70 plus acres of Beau Lodge in the early 1900s.
1991: Beau Lodge at the time of the current owner's purchase.
1941. The Gross family with the washing shed in the background.
1940s: Sharon Gross with a baby goat on the Gross property/farm.
1940s: Sharon Gross in front of the farm house.
1940s: Kitty Gross in the yard.
In 1939, the Gross family from Nebraska purchased and homesteaded the land and set about constructing buildings for their goat farm. Several of the original outbuildings can still be found on the property, including the old laundry shed where washing and hanging laundry to dry was a daily chore. This structure now sits at the end of the side deck. The only remaining part of the original little box form of their house is the sitting room, off the current kitchen.
The property was nicknamed “Stump Acres” because of logging remains that were in the current orchard south of the house. At this time Wood Road was better known as Tobacco Road. Many believe the name reflected the poor economy and living conditions of the area, reminiscent of John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name.
Although it is close by today’s standards, the community of Alger was then quite a distance away. When the Gross family traveled to Alger, they would take their kid goats with them to prevent coyotes from getting their stock. Electricity was slow reaching this part of Skagit County so communication was limited to traveling. When World War II broke out, relatives from Alger had to travel to the farm to inform the Grosses of the news.
The Gross family owned the property for about six years before selling to another couple, who made little change to it.
In the early 1960s Ann and Willard Skeel, from the Seattle area, purchased the property and began renovations for their summer country vacation home. Mr. and Mrs. Skeel added the great room and constructed the current pond. Ann Skeel is responsible for the massive amount of mature plantings on the property.
The current owners, Dr. Christian Kole and Mary Elmore, purchased the property in 1991. Their renovations include enlarging the kitchen, adding decks, converting structures, etc. They also continued the path crossing over the pond with an additional bridge and the current overflow spillway, which is designed as a natural fish ladder. Salmon use this run that connects to a branch of Colony Creek. The majority of the property, timber, is in the county set-aside program, insuring its natural beauty for years to come.
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