Near what was once the railroad depot where Sequim Avenue intersects U.S. Highway 101 and across the tracks sat one of Sequim’s first creameries.
The Sequim Creamery built in 1914 and later converted into a home still stands despite two potential demolitions, a fire and move from its original site to a location near Sequim Middle School off Hendrickson Road.
“Around World War I, the farmers started cooperative creameries, one at Sequim and one at Dungeness,” according to “Dungeness: The Lure of the River,” written by the Sequim Bicentennial History Book Committee.
Dairying became prolific in area throughout the first half of the 1900s. At the industry’s peak, about 9,000 cows were pastured within a five-mile radius of Sequim, according the “Dungeness: The Lure of the River.”
By 1920 the two cooperative creameries had merged and were purchased by a private company, but within a year the company went bankrupt. In reaction, surrounding farmers sold stock among themselves and organized the Dungeness-Sequim Cooperative Creamery, which continued into the 1950s.
Caroline Cays Baumunk recalls moving from Carlsborg into the former Sequim Creamery in 1933, in a letter, “My memories of our home in Sequim, Washington.”
Baumunk is one of six children and the daughter of early Sequim settlers Orrin and Ollie Cays. As a 4-year-old, Orrin, who went by the nickname of “Skinny,” moved with his family in 1891 to Sequim.
“Dad had lots of work to do to make it livable,” she wrote. “He lowered the ceilings in the living room, kitchen and the downstairs bedroom. The flooring of the second and third bedrooms were part of the old loading dock of the creamery.”
Although Cays successfully remodeled portions of the Sequim Creamery into a home, attached to the back of the living quarters remained a long enclosed room with a cement floor. The large unique space allowed Baumunk and her siblings to play regardless of the outside conditions.
“No matter what weather, we were able to roller skate there or play on sacks of grain and dried peas,” Baumunk wrote. “Our home was always a buzz of activity and fun.”
With such fond childhood memories associated with the retired creamery, Baumunk leapt at the opportunity to rent the house for $30 a month shortly after she married in 1947. Although it never was torn down, Baumunk and her family were only able to live in the house for a couple of years because it was projected to be demolished.
Prior to being relocated in 1997 in preparation for the construction of the Highway 101 bypass, the house continued to be used as a rental.
By 2005, it was purchased by the current owner Brad Griffith.
“When I bought it, I didn’t know I also had bought a piece of history,” Griffith said.
Griffith became curious of the building’s past once he discovered the words “Dungeness-Sequim Cooperative Creamery” painted on an attic wall.
“That is when I knew I had something older than I thought,” he said.
After stripping the structure down to its barebones and in doing so uncovering hints of its previous uses, Griffith spiraled into a multi-year research quest to piece together the building’s 101 years of existence.
While being intentional about preserving some of its historical character, Griffith went to work making it structurally sound again and raised the ceiling back up to the original 10-foot height.
“It’s really great knowing I have a piece of history and now I’ve made it to last another 100 years,” he said.
Griffith continues to seek information and history on the old creamery.
Reach Alana Linderoth at email@example.com.