#24 Front Street
Coupeville, Washington

Gillespie's Meat Market / Korner Kranny / Collections

1887 – Gillespie’s Meat Market built on land bought from Abram Alexander

Quote from "A Particular Friend - PENN'S COVE" by Jimmie Jean Cook.

On May 23, 1887, Abram L. Alexander sold this little tract for $80 to James Gillespie who built this structure and ran his meat market for many years. Later the market was operated by Elwell and Howard Libbey.

Gillespie's Meat Market
Gillespie's Meat Market
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville
Gillespie's Meat Market
Gillespie's Meat Market interior
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

After the meat store the building became a metal shop briefly - then antique stores.

Late 30s – 50s – Nell Craney ran Mrs. Craney’s Curio Shop featuring little animals. She also taught piano.

*Interview by Judy Lynn with Carol Thrailkill, 2009:

Next was Mrs. Craney’s curio shop. My brother took piano lessons from Ms. Craney. She knit while he played. He learned to knit and would come home and show me. It was the beginning of my career (as a knitter.)

Late 50s - The building was used as a residence by Miss Lorene Kippen. She developed film.

*Interview by Judy Lynn with Phyllis Sherman, 2009:

Miss Kippen taught typing and shorthand.

Judy: I've heard she lived on Front Street in the building that is now Collections (Gillespie Meat Market), and that she had a wooden leg. How did she loose her leg?

Phyllis: She was on a bus in a big city, Chicago I think. Her mother died when she was young and she lived with her father and aunt. There was a visiting aunt that Miss Kippen liked a lot. They went on a bus and she wanted to sit with visiting aunt. The “mother aunt” said, "Sit by me" but she sat by the visitor. There was an accident and a truck hit the bus where Miss Kippen was sitting. She lost her leg. Her “mother aunt” said, “If you had listened to me….” Miss Kippen never let the kids in school make her mad. We even had a class party in the house where she was living. After the Starwana (or Blockhouse) burned, there was a single-story house where the museum is now. [Note: that house was moved to Coveland by Al and Phyllis' niece, Val Arnold, to Coveland to house her business, Coupeville Travel.]

Miss Kippen moved to Front Street after she retired from teaching in the late 50s. Doctor Bishop told her to drink a glass of wine before dinner for her good health. She told me she didn’t want it to be habit forming and drinking alone could bring that about so she always invited some friend of hers to come and have it with her!. Miss Kippen sewed her own clothes because of her leg and she wore some really smart suits and always looked really nice. I always admired how she dressed and how she lived.

1950’s Jimmie Jean Cook lived in the building for 2-3 years. Her mother ran the shop.

*Interview by Judy Lynn with Charlie Lindsay, 2010:

The next building was where the maintenance man for the pier lived. I remember Jimmy Jean Cook living there and having a shop for two or three years in the late 1950s.

1981 – Korner Kranny run by Agnes Peterson.

Korner Kranny
Korner Kranny
Courtesy: Ebey's Landing Building and Landscape Inventory

Later the building became The Keeping Room Antiques run by Frank and Dottie Lawhorn

1994 - Beaks and Tweeks was opened.

Beaks and Tweeks
Beaks and Tweeks
Courtesy: Ebey's Landing Building Inventory

2001 – Collections opened by Rita Hart. The Port of Coupeville office is located at the back of the building.

Collections at the front (street side) of the building
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2013

2013 – Collections sold by Rita Hart to Cheryl Nunn. The Port of Coupeville continues to own the building.

A Port of Coupeville office in the rear of the building
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2013
Collections on the left
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2015

* All the interviews are extracted from the Judy Lynn's Oral History Project. Judy Lynn interviewed everyone she could find who had any memories of the history of Front Street. For more information on the project contact the Whidbey Island Historical Musem, Coupeville.

The e-book Front Street, Coupeville - An Oral History by Judy Lynn contains all the interviews. It can be purchased for $9.99 at Amazon.com for Kindle application or device or from the Apple Store for iBooks applications. Proceeds go to the Island County Historical Society.

Oral History Cover