Fall 2014
chanterelle compschumacher capThe Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission is currently working to add the Schumacher Building at 316 Main Street, one of Edmonds' premier architectural and historic gems, to the Edmonds Register of Historic Places.

The Schumacher Building, current home of the Chanterelle Restaurant, is among the oldest buildings in Edmonds and still retains much of its original character. A great example of the Western False Front style, it features a well-detailed facade and a parapet which is higher than the roofline, making the building appear taller and grander than it would have otherwise.

While its date of construction is in doubt (some reports say 1890, others 1900) we do know that the Schumacher Building was built by and named for brothers William H. and Roy W. Schumacher, and that it is generally recognized as the first commercial building in Edmonds. Built to house the Schumacher Brothers’ general store, the ensuing years have seen a series of tenants including Kingdon’s General Store, Heberlein’s Hardware Store, the Edmonds Furniture Exchange, and since 1997 the Chanterelle Restaurant.

Major players in the cast of characters who shaped the young city of Edmonds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Schumacher brothers' legacy goes well beyond the building that still bears their name.  Their story is a fascinating chapter of Edmonds history, involving risk, skullduggery, murder and more -- and it all played out right on Edmonds' Main Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, within sight of the Schumacher Building.

The Schumacher Brothers Arrive in Edmonds

The last years of the 19th century saw Edmonds become a very busy place.  Beginning as George Brackett's logging camp in the 1870's, it had turned into an industrial powerhouse.  Fueled by the dense stands of old growth forest, the local logging and shingle industries were gaining traction, new mills were opening, and existing ones were expanding, adding equipment, and hiring workers.  Jobs were plentiful, and population was mushrooming. 

William Schumacher was by all reports a brilliant accountant, known for his skill in overseeing the finances of the Schumacher Brothers general store and lending his expertise to other local merchants.  When the town incorporated in 1890, the newly-formed City Council was on the lookout for someone to manage the city's financial affairs. William was the obvious choice.  He was appointed City Treasurer in 1894, while still running the store with his brother Roy.

Schumachers Sell Store; Become Bankers

150.28 compThe widespread financial panic of the early 1890's was barely felt in booming Edmonds, and with the dawn of the 20th century population continued to increase exponentially, home construction was busy, and payrolls were growing. All this meant increased financial activity, and the need for a local bank was clear.

In 1904 two Seattle lawyers and a Port Angeles businessman saw the opportunity and joined forces to open the first bank in Edmonds. To give the project more legitimacy, they actively recruited participants among the local community, and City Treasurer Schumacher was on their short list. He was approached, and agreed to have his name listed as a director of the new bank, which opened in December 1904. He of course brought Roy in on the endeavor. In order to devote their full energies to the bank, the brothers sold their general store in late 1904 to William Kingdon, who operated it for many years as Kingdon's General Store.*

Meanwhile, the Schumacher's new banking venture was about to fall off the edge of a very tall cliff.

Scrupulous accountant that he was, it didn’t take William Schumacher long to discover fatal irregularities in the bank's finances.  Specifically the three principals who had established the bank had invested no cash in the project, leaving it to operate as a shell with no capital backing.

Not to be deterred, Schumacher took matters into his own hands, using the list of contacts he’d developed over a decade as City Treasurer to find backers and raise capital. In short order he saved the day by raising the necessary money, buying out the original three owners, and setting the bank on a solid financial basis with $12,000 cash capital. 

Under his leadership the bank prospered along with the town, and in 1907 moved to newly constructed quarters on the corner of Fourth and Main, two doors east of the Schumacher Building, and renamed itself the State Bank of Edmonds. William Schumacher was listed as cashier, and his brother Roy Schumacher as assistant cashier. The Edmonds Bank Building still stands today, and is listed on the Edmonds Register of Historic Places.

William Schumacher Takes Over the Newspaper

160.79 cap compOnce again, it didn’t take long for William Schumacher to become restless and look for new challenges and horizons. On October 1, 1908 he plunged into the newspaper business when he purchased the Edmonds Tribune from T.A.A. Seigfiedt, the Edmonds lawyer and real estate developer who bought the paper the year before from Will Taylor who had established it in 1907. At that time the Tribune was housed at Third and Main in a building owned by Mayor James Brady, a larger-than-life political heavyweight, dandy dresser, in-your-face politician, and definitely a man not to be trifled with.

A month after taking over the paper, Schumacher inadvertently crossed Mayor Brady when he published a letter by former Tribune owner Siegfriedt. Siegfriedt was a member of the Edmonds Law and Order League, a group of citizens opposed to what they saw as corruption and cronyism in Edmonds local government.  Seigfriedt’s letter blasted a “citizen’s committee,” whose membership included Mayor James Brady, accusing it of being a front for Edmonds political insiders.

The morning after his letter ran, an effigy of Siegfriedt appeared suspended over Main Street. For several days the “hanging” was the talk of the town, providing amusement to many and consternation to some. The town marshal allowed it to remain (allegedly at Mayor Brady’s order), and it was finally cut down by Seigfriedt’s supporters.

But the story doesn’t end there. With Siegfriedt’s effigy still twisting in the wind, a messenger served Tribune publisher William Schumacher with a legal document from his landlord, Mayor James Brady. Upon reading it, Schumacher was shocked to learn that the Tribune was being summarily evicted from its offices and printshop at Third and Main. Brady gave him three days to move everything out or pay a drastically increased rent.  Take-home lesson in Edmonds Politics 101: don’t cross Big Jim Brady.

160.7Undaunted, Schumacher obtained a building site across the street adjacent to the Schumacher Building and enlisted several friends to build a new home for the Tribune. The press was moved to the back of Heberlein’s Hardware Store (current tenant of the Schumacher Building), and after a frenzied week of sawing and hammering the new building was ready. The Tribune never missed an issue.

Under Schumacher’s leadership the Tribune merged with the Edmonds Review, published by Mrs. Missouri T.B. Hanna (real estate developer and the "mother of journalism" in Washington State, who retired from the newspaper business to devote her full time to the womens' suffrage movment), and in 1910 became The Edmonds Tribune-Review. But by then Schumacher had had enough. After two contentious years at the helm of the Tribune, he leased the entire operation to George and Alice Boomer.

New Business Opportunities, Singing in the Chorus and a Stint on the City Council

Never content to sit in one place, in July 1909 William Schumacher joined Allen Yost and two other local entrepreneurs to form the Automatic Broom Sprinkler Manufacturing Company, becoming company secretary. In October 1910 he helped form the Edmonds Choral Society and became its first president.

Events took a shocking turn when on the morning of April 12, 1912 the bodies of Mayor James Brady and his wife Margaret were discovered in their bedroom shot to death.  Originally reported as a murder-suicide allegedly at the hands of Margaret, the crime remains unsolved today.  Brady had many enemies and detractors...the Schumacher brothers among them...and there remains to this day considerable speculation that Margaret was framed and the real killer or killers got off scot free.

In any case, with Big Jim Brady no longer running the town and with Washington women getting the vote in 1911, the Edmonds political landscape changed drastically. The elections later that year resulted in a number of freshman city councilmembers, and for the first time the Edmonds City Council was dominated by socialists. 

One of these new councilmembers was William Schumacher who, after two years of singing in the chorus and using his accounting skills at Automatic Broom, was ready to stick his toe in the local political waters.  But he didn't stay long. Debate on even small issues was often heated and steeped in political ideology, and Schumacher, accustomed to the precise world of accounting and balance sheets, had no stomach or inclination for such protracted debate and governmental process. He resigned that same year and returned to the bank as assistant cashier.

The Schumachers Skedaddle to Sequim

150.20 capWithin a few months of resigning from city council, Schumacher’s restless nature again came to the surface. He and Roy abruptly left Edmonds in 1913 and moved to the newly incorporated city of Sequim, where William had been offered the position of city clerk. He was elected mayor of Sequim in 1915, and in 1923 was named Sequim town treasurer. He died in Sequim on April 17, 1931.

Roy W. Schumacher remained in Sequim and stayed active in the community. He was appointed to fill the term of a deceased city councilmember in 1934.  In 1938 took over his brother’s former role as town treasurer. He was also appointed police judge in 1944. He served as treasurer until 1949, stepping down due to ill health. He died shortly thereafter.

The Schumacher brothers were lifetime companions and partners in business and the affairs of their community. Their lasting legacy in Edmonds, the landmark Schumacher Building, is now poised to become the newest property to join the Edmonds Register of Historic Places.

150.29The Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission is a group of citizen volunteers who give of their time to oversee the Edmonds Register of Historic Places.  Always on the lookout for new properties that meet the listing criteria, they have to date included seventeen homes, buildings and historic sites on the register.

* Business was good for Kingdon, and in 1906 he expanded into new quarters one door east of the Schumacher Building and doubled his inventory, which allowed him to supply Edmonds citizens with the most comprehensive and up-to-date array of consumer goods in town. In 1909 Kingdon sold out to two local businesses.  One was the Roscoe Brothers, whose original grocery store one block east had been destroyed by a fire that took out the entire block.  They took over Kingdon's newer space just east of the Schumacher Building.  The other was merchant Ernest Heberlein, whose hardware store occupied the Schumacher Building into the late 1930's. In addition to nuts and bolts, Heberlein's Hardware also sold automobiles, and as a service to his customers he installed an underground tank beneath the sidewalk in front of his store and for many years sold gasoline to early Edmonds motorists.

  • Schumacher - William Schumacher, circa 1910. 
  • Chanterelle - The Chanterelle Restaurant, one of Edmonds' premier eateries, has occupied the Schumacher Building since 1997.
  • 150.28 - In this circa 1909 view of Main Street, the Schumacher Building is in the right foreground.
  • 160.79 - The Schumacher General Store, circa 1900.  The man standing on the left appears to be William Schumacher.
  • 160.7 - The Schumacher Building during its years as Heberlein's Hardware.  Note the imitation brick facing on the false front.
  • 150.20 - Street paving operations in front of the Schumacher Building, summer 1917.  Note the Edmonds Tribune building just west of the Schumacher Building.  This was hastily built by William Schumacher to house the Edmonds Tribune after it and he had been evicted in 1908 from its Third and Main location as the result of a spat with building owner Mayor James Brady.
  • 150.29 - In the 1940's the Edmonds Furniture Exchange occupied the Schumacher Building.  The rubble in the street is from a World War II era scrap metal collection drive.

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