Historic Walking Tour

Use this PDF guide to explore the stories and legends behind what you see–or don’t see–in Sumner today!

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Sumner’s Name

The village was first called Stuck Junction. Later, J.P. Stewart named the area Franklin after his hometown in New York State.  The U.S. Postal Department requested a new name since there were so many places named Franklin and delivering mail became confusing. Three townsmen–John F. Kincaid, L.F. Thompson, and George Ryan–could not agree on a name, so each placed a name on a slip of paper and put it into a hat. A boy was called into the store to pick one of the slips and it came out “Sumner.”

Charles Sumner was a Senator from Massachusetts and a popular statesman of the 19th century known for his efforts toward the abolition of slavery among other issues. The name of Sumner went on the railroad depot after the town incorporated in 1891.

Images of Sumner Book

Images of America takes a look at Sumner’s history.  Come on in to Sumner, Washington, the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World. Settled in 1853 after a wagon train daringly crossed the Cascade Mountains through Naches Pass, Sumner quickly grew to become an established town.

Learn about George Ryan’s unique method for getting the railroad to stop here. Take a tour down Main Street, and watch how it changed–or didn’t–through the decades. See Ryan House when it actually was a farmhouse and the Old Cannery when it was canning fruit. Join in celebrations over the years, from the Daffodil Parade to football championships. Meet schoolchildren, including Clara McCarty Wilt, who became the first graduate of the University of Washington.

The book is available for purchase at City Hall, at the Sumner Historical Society, select downtown stores, and online at Amazon.com.

Learn More (Links)

Visit the Sumner Historical Society
More about the history of rhubarb growing
More about the Daffodil Festival history