Edward Edson is a man true to his word. Throughout his time in Lynden, the man they called ‘Ed’ was not a quiet or reserved man.
He actively spoke his mind on a number of issues locally to worldwide.
Ed soon became bored trying to farm in Kansas. He determined, like many Americans, to seek his fortune and adventure out west.
He figured California would be a good place to find his fortunes and would undoubtedly be more interesting that farming.
He set out in 1882 on a journey that would take over two years.
He found himself stuck in Laramie, Wyoming working in a sawmill. In 1883, his sister passed through, and Ed found another chance for adventure out west.
Edson joined his sisters travel from Laramie, Wyoming as she sought to join her husband who had gone ahead to set up a new home in the burgeoning cities of Whatcom and Sehome.
In 1883 Ed was looking over the spectacular views of Puget Sound from the shores of Bellingham Bay. He loved the land so much that he set up a survey business.
While surveying in 1884 around Whatcom County, he travelled through Lynden, a small hamlet with a population of less than 100.
His initial impression of Lynden is recorded in his autobiography:
“Rather odd to have two stores and a schoolhouse and nobody living in the town,” – Ed Edson in regards to Lynden in 1884.
Ed never gave another thought to Lynden and began to work with his brother-in-law at the City Drug Store in New Whatcom. In 1891 that changed.
Ed, finding himself looking for a place to site a new drug store looked to the growing city of Lynden.
A growing population of nearly 400 attracted him to open the first drug store in Lynden on Jan. 28, 1891.
He found a home in the Judson Opera Hall on the corner of 5th and Front, where the Jansen building now stands.
Ed became very successful as a businessman and regularly participated in the community.
He was mayor of Lynden for 14 years over three terms. He embarked upon many new business ventures with Billy Waples. In 1903, he and Maples opened the Lynden Mill and Light Company.
Until his death, Ed operated the Lynden City Drug for 51 years.
His son Gale took over in 1943 and continued to run the store until 1962.
Ed’s impact on Lynden is much bigger than many realize.
He was a key member of the community and firmly believed that service to his community is an important part of living within a community.
Whether on the fire department, city council, school council or as a businessman he made sure Lynden was a great place to live.
Just three days before his death, Dec. 17, 1944, he completed a short autobiography that ends:
“... the time seems as auspicious for fading out of the picture as was my coming on the scene 84 years ago. I feel that I have lived through the world’s most interesting period up to date and am more than content to retire.”
-- Troy Luginbill is director and curator of the Lynden Pioneer Museum.