By Frances Read
May is national preservation month, and Index is celebrating with family activities that include a guided walking tour of the picturesque town, along with a historic Bush House photo shoot featuring classic cars and costumes.
Index is joining in the spirit of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, whose motto this year is "This. Place. Matters,GÇ¥ part of a campaign encouraging people to "speak up for the places that matter mostGÇ¥ to them and to their communities (savingplaces.org).
Bush House photo shoot and tours
Starting 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, is a photo shoot to recreate well-known historic photos of the Bush House. Classic cars will be on site through the afternoon, furnished by The Skagit-Snohomish Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, a nonprofit organization with an active membership dedicated to the preservation of pre-1916 motorized vehicles, literature, accessories, history and associated items.
"We'll be recreating some well-known historic photos and, of course, taking a lot of new ones,GÇ¥ said Bush House's Kathy Corson. "The photos will be used to promote our grand reopening later this year.-á We encourage people to dress up and come on by for a free family-friendly afternoon.GÇ¥
The Bush House will be open for folks to tour the renovation that has been going on since January 2012. So far, a new foundation, roof, first-floor windows and siding are some of the projects that have been completed. A large, beautiful room with a stage and exposed beams has been added to the back of the inn for future celebrations.-á
"Upon completion of the project, the Bush House will reopen as an inn and restaurant, returning to its previous glory as a gathering spot for the community and a popular destination for travelers wanting to escape with a step back in time,GÇ¥ according to the website, bushhouseinn.com. "We've made LOTS of progress on cleaning, restoring, and reviving this beautiful 117+ year old building, and once we've got it all shined up we know you'll agree that she'll be around for another 100!GÇ¥-á
Online visitors can also become part of history by posting stories and photographs of their Bush House memories. The Corson family has old menus and recipes from the restaurant and also encourages people to share any photos that might help them recreate interior d+¬cor and furnishings.-á
Historic walking tours
-á -á At 1 and 4 p.m., Saturday, May 21, the Index Historical Society will offer guided walking tours of the town. The walk starts at the museum, 510 Avenue A, and is anticipated to last 45 minutes, with many interesting stories that include the 1910 train depot, Red Men's Hall and the flood of 1980 ' all told by local historians.
-á -á Participants will receive a commemorative plat map guide. This family-friendly activity is free for IHS members and a $5 suggested donation for anyone else. The museum will have special hours of noon to 5 p.m. that day. Not only will there be exhibits, but videos, an online photo catalog and an online mapping system for comparing town property ownership decade by decade.
-á -á Index Historical Society President Louise Lundgren encourages everyone to, "join the Index Historical Society for a fun and educational guided walking tour. You'll learn fun facts about the town's history, visit sites that were an important part of Index' past, see early photos of how things were and have the chance to ask questions from our expert tour guides.GÇ¥
-á -á The Index-Pickett Museum will be open noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, from May 28 and to the end of September, with special mid-week tours by appointment. The museum is always looking for volunteers (indexhistoricalsociety.org).
Photographer Lee Pickett
-á -á In 1910, professional photographer Lee Pickett relocated to Index. He documented the people, towns and industries from Snohomish, King and Chelan counties from the early 1900s to 1940s. The Index-Pickett Historical Museum was his former home. The museum documents Index area history using his photos as well as hundreds of images and artifacts contributed by the community since Pickett's death.-á Later this year, the museum hopes to open a room in the house used by Pickett as his dark room.
-á -á A collection of glass and film negatives of Pickett's work is held at the University of Washington's Allen Library, Special Collections.-á He took thousands of photographs and became the exclusive photographer for the Great Northern Railway Company during the 1920s. According to his third wife, Dorothy, he was the only person besides the president of the railway to be able to order a train stopped anywhere along the line, so he could take a picture.
In 2012,the Index Historical Society established a fund to encourage owners of historic Index buildings to preserve and restore their original character. Eligible properties must be listed on a local, state or national historic register with the monies going toward structural needs rather than for financing or operations.
All donations to the fund are tax-deductible. Grants have been made to the Bush House to help defray the cost of windows, part of their overall renovation.Photo by Fred Cruger The Granite Falls Historical Society at Bush House dressed in period costumes in 2001.