#23 NW Front Street
Coupeville, Washington

Cushen Ford / Lindsay's / Mariners Court

There have been at least two buildings on the corner of Alexander and Front before the current building was erected.

Corner of Front and Alexander

Corner of Front and Alexander

Corner of Front and Alexander

Three views of the corner of Front and Alexander in historical order. The bottom one was taken from the hotel that stood where the current Whitbey Island Historical Society Museum stands and shows the grocery store with the horse and cart.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1920 - A concrete building was constructed by P.A. Harrington, a local contractor, to house the Cushen Ford Dealership and Garage. It was a rectangle 60feet by 90 feet with 7 bays.

Cushen Ford Garage
Cushen Ford Garage with gas pumps
Courtesy: Bob Cushen, grandson of C.C. Cushen

Cushen Ford Garage
Inside the Garage - spare parts
Courtesy:Courtesy: Bob Cushen, grandson of C.C. Cushen

Cushen Ford Garage

Inside the Garage
Courtesy:Courtesy: Bob Cushen, grandson of C.C. Cushen

Cushen Ford Garage

The garage with a spent shell on the sidewalk (on the right) that was placed there after it had been misfired from Fort Casey and found in a nearby field.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

Early 1930s dances were held in showroom during the Water Festival

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Ilah Engom née Lindsey, 2009:

My dad sold that building [Coupeville Cash Store] and bought the building that is now Mariners Court [Cushen Ford Garage].

Judy: What was in there (Coupeville Cash Store) at the time?

Ilah: When I was a teenager there had been a restaurant owned by the Sullivan's. Then it was a creamery and had cold storage lockers. When dad bought the building he moved the grocery business there. Jim Cook [Jimmie Jean Cook's father] ran the meat market in part of the building. Both of my parents worked in the grocery store part. There was no restaurant then. When you walked in the door, the grocery was on the right, the meat market on the left and cold storage on the left beyond that.

Judy: How long did they operate that store?

Ilah: My husband retired from the Army in 1960 and I don't remember if they still had it then. My sister-in-law, Dorothy Lindsay, might know. She lives in Oak Harbor. She's my brother, Warren Lindsay's, widow.

When dad retired, Warren took over the store and ran it for a while and then opened Lindsay's Marina there, because he was more interested in that. Across the street in the Gillespie building he had boat storage. It was a big, beat up building, with large doors. I'm not sure if he owned Gillespie's. (Note: Charles Lindsay's interview stated that Warren Lindsay owned the Gillespie building as well.) Warren repaired motors in the back of Lindsay's Marina. He had stock of supplies in the front, motors and boats. Dorothy (his mother) was from Greenbank and worked at the courthouse. She lived in the house next to the Methodist church, I think.

During the 1930's Whidbey Dairy Products set up a creamery. There was also a Restaurant owned by the Sullivan's.

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Pat Sullivan, November 16, 2009

Pat: ... My grandmother and grandfather had a café at the other end of town – Sullivan's Café – in the building that is Mariners Court (Cushen's Ford Garage). I was in the Water Festival parade and wore a sign that said "Eat at Sullivan's Café".

Judy: Tell me more about the café.

Pat: [The] Fox's had a creamery on the east half and Sullivan's was on the west side. My grandparents were Ed and Hazel Sullivan. They probably opened it in the late 1930's and closed after the war started in 1942 or 1943. Grandpa went off to war.

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Leone Argent, 2009:

Judy: .... What do you remember about Mariners Court?

Leone: The garage on the corner was first owned by Mr. Charlie Cushen. He was the father of Bob Cushen. He sold it to Louie Matthews, who had been a logger. Then it was sold to Ralph and Lottie Lindsay. Cushen's was the first dealership in the area. My dad bought their vehicle for the butcher shop from them. It was an exciting time when the Water Festival was there. I still have my pin from the 1933 Water Festival. They would have dances in the building—the whole building would be for dancing. Friday and Saturday night dances until 1:00 in the morning or later—such fun—year after year. Then I went to college. I would come back for the Water Festival. Then I was back and teaching school at Mutiny Bay. My dad sold hamburger meat to the concessionaire. One year he told them "No, you can't have mine. You bought it and mixed it with other meat. I won't sell it to you." My family had taken a trip to Illinois and Dad had hired a guy, Lawrence Martin, to run the meat market until we returned from Dad's hometown in Illinois. He said "Why don't we have we have our own hamburger stand? That sounds like fun." I immediately planned what I would design and wear—aprons and a band for my head. Our stand was in front of Trader's Wharf. I could still go dance and come back to help with hamburgers. And then go back to dance. Lawrence said. "You had to order buns and pickles, etc." He did the ordering. We had never done it before but it came out beautifully. We'd be there at 5:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the morning and I'd come home and pull off my greasy outfit and shower. I couldn't sleep—for three days. I met the nicest people. One little girl from Everett—she wasn't well—she so enjoyed it and she just wanted to come the next year to have another hamburger. She was sick but each year was doing pretty well. We did something special for her. One woman came up and said, "You don't know me but I know you. I'm Alex Kettle's mother [The last native Americans to live in Coupeville]. I used to watch you when he was in your class. I'd watch you do the Maypole dance and you took his hand and treated him like anybody." All the Kettle kids died of TB. The last one had an accident but he had TB too and couldn't have lived long.

At the Water Festival they had a Ferris Wheel. I had a ride on the Ferris Wheel. What a view. One year they had a merry-go-round—all that music was near the hamburger stand and was wonderful. A wandering musician drew the crowds to the hamburger stand one year.

...

Judy: Can you tell me about the creamery that was in Mariners Court?

Leone: The creamery came after Cushen's garage. I don't know the name of the person who opened the creamery. A man would come to the Jenne place [a farm] and pick up the 10 gallon cans of milk, take them back down to the creamery. After they processed the milk he would bring the cans back with the whey and we used it for our pigs.

Louis Mathews bought the creamery from the man who started it. Matthews probably bought the garage from Mr. Cushen. Matthews also bought the house across from the Recreation Hall. (On the southeast corner of Coveland and Alexander.) Matthews didn't start the creamery.

During World War II there were frozen food lockers on left. The Creamery on the right sold ice cream and sodas.

Whidbey Dairy Products

Whidbey Dairy Products. Note the shell on the sidewalk - found in a field after gunnery practice.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1947 - Al Sorgenfrei moved the car dealership from the rear part of the building to Coveland street, Coupeville.

1947 - The building was bought by Ralph and Lottie Lindsay. They opened Lindsay's Grocery Store. There was also a meat market, run by butcher Jim Cook [Jimmie Jean Cook's father], and cold storage and meat lockers.

1958 - Lindsay's Grocery store closed.

1959 - Warren Lindsay opened Lindsay's Marina. He also used the east livery building over the street for storage (now gone).

Lindsay's Marina

Lindsays Marina
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1959 - The meat lockers were removed

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Phyllis and Al Sherman, August 10, 2009

Judy: What else do you remember about Front Street?

Al: We went to Lindsay's grocery store (Cushen Ford Garage) with the lockers. As a kid I spent time on the dock fishing. There was a mill to clean grain on the dock run by Richard Hanson. We wouldn't have gone to Lindsay's to buy groceries because we had Prairie Center. Jim Cook and Shirley Parker would go to the farms to butcher animals. People would hunt and put game in the lockers.

Phyllis: I would hate to go in the locker! It didn't smell good and it was scary to shut that big door behind me and go in that cold place. The lockers left in 1959 and I was glad we had to buy a freezer. It's the same one we still have. It was hard to take two small kids to get the locker meat but Lottie Lindsay would take care of the kids for a few minutes. She was a checker at their grocery store.

1974 - Warren Lindsay sold building to Randy Duggan who remodeled the building creating small shops around a U-shaped corridor.

Mariners Court

Mariners Court
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Randy Duggan, 2010

Judy: I understand you created what is now Mariners Court. How did you happen to buy the Lindsay's Marina building?

Randy: I had adopted Coupeville and Center Isle and one of the things I wanted to do was to see the Front Street become truly old fashioned. So I proceeded to fall in love with Front Street. I went along with purchasing and creating a Mariners Court at the time. It was quite an undertaking.

It was quite old and more or less a two-story building. Bill Graff was a retired preacher. He was no longer in service of the church. He was an idea man and he convinced me that we ought to try a new form of building and so we went about a paneling approach where we ended up putting in these panels that created sides of the shops and created a little village inside. Bill also had the idea of a older look. We got old barn boards and created little spaces.

Bill was a preacher and he fell in love with a girl and he ended up living just a few doors from me on Parker Road. He was no longer a minister. His other talents were outstanding drawing and landscaping.

From that time on a number of shops and restaurants have been located in Mariners Court including the ones listed below.

1974 Asian Moon imports was opened by Tim Irving and Barry Brown.

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Barry Burton, July 9, 2009.

Judy: I understand you had a business in Mariners Court. Did you know Randy Duggan, the man who remodeled the building before you moved in?

Barry: He was a realtor at Center Isle Realty and we paid the rent to him. He divided the space in the building into 17 spaces, with two hallways.

Judy: Tell me about the business you opened.

Barry: It was called the Asian Moon. Tim Irving and I met in 1973 or '74. We hung out together. He lived in a trailer on Burchell Hill.

Tim was the idea guy. He was spending time in Thailand in the Navy. He had a whole bunch of inventory to start the store - wood carvings, cortina wall hangings, children's clothes, shirts with embroidery, also for adults. The Mariners Court spaces were ready to rent and Tim and I rented together as partners in 1974. He may have initiated it. He had the idea and inventory.

Did you have to do anything to the space before you opened it?

Barry: We hung the acoustic ceiling. There was no insulation in the building and we used forced air oil heaters that were going 24/7. Randy was making us pay utilities too. We put up shelves on the interior, using driftwood for funkiness. We had some kind of desk and we had glass display cases.

We launched the store with a big party out on west beach. Jack Skaggs and I had been in the Navy together. We had ex-Navy guy friends in Oak Harbor. Those were the Hippie days. There were more than 100 people at the party. We had a band or two playing and even had a portapotty. Bill Mallems had been working as a chef and he made a big caldron full of stew. We were taking donations to get business rollin.' We didn't make more than $100, if that. The band paid for free. Then the cops came and we had to leave. We went to my place at the Crockett Farm and finished out the party.

Tim was printing T-shirts even then. He made three Asian Moon shirts, one for me, Tim, and Dan DeCosta. Dan was going to be our bookkeeper. He didn't know anything either.

Pretty soon after that Tim left for Thailand and I didn't hear from him for quite awhile. I knew people that kind of knew where he was. We were both out of the Navy. And then I got a shipment from him of bamboo bongs. I started selling little pipes. The Asian Moon turned into a head shop. I was hardly ever there. I would put up a sign that said, "Back in 10 minutes" and I was gone all day long. Back in those days, the majority of businesses weren't open most of the time. if it wasn't for the smell coming from Mariners Court (Knead and Feed bakery) no one would have come in.

Judy: Who else do you remember?

Barry: Willie and Janet [Castleton] had the Knots and Bolts. Mike and Maggie Sharon were around. He brought Nancy Bailey, Sandra Baughman and Patty Phillips. They knew him from California. There was Gary Wutzke, Red Bainbridge, and Art Stoop. A lot of people came from California.

We closed the shop after a year. We sold all the bongs. Those and the pipes went real fast. I ended up with a lot of stuff in boxes.

...

Knots and Bolts, Willie and Janet's macramé shop was open the same time as Asian Moon (1974) and was across the hall. They both worked for Continental Airlines, he as a scheduler and Janet was a flight attendant. They lived at Long Point. I still have 2 plant hangers that Janet made. She was the talent and did the macramé but she was gone a lot. Willie was the shopkeeper for their shop. Willie and I left the shops a lot. Bernie Pickenpaugh would watch the shop sometimes. (David Pickenpaugh had a contractor supply house upstairs in the mental health building.) Shari Boyer had stuff on consignment in the Asian Moon. Willie and Janet had their shop a little longer than ours. That whole building was empty for a long time. The Honey Bear came later.

Judy: What else was in Mariners Court?

Barry: The Asian Moon was on the right and Knots and Bolts was the first one on the left. At the end of hall on the left was the Knead and Feed [owned bu Doug Kroon]. Mike Anter opened Michael's Your Place later. It seems like there was a Washington State Extension office. The gal wore ranger uniform but she wasn't there often.

Judy: What else was on Front Street?

Barry; I was involved with being the bartender at Toby's from 1978 to '81. Then I was a bartender for Christopher's after he moved it to the front of the building. I was a good friend of Kevin Locke and I helped him with the [Captain's City] brewery. I gave him moral support.

1974 - Knots and Bolts, a macramé was opened by Janet and Willie Castleton

1974 - Museum building office

1974 - Knead and Feed, a bakery, was opened by Doug Kroon and Bess Few.

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Doug Kroon, July 9, 2009

Judy: Would you tell me about your first restaurant in Mariners Court (Cushen's Ford Garage?)

Doug: In 1974 I got the opportunity to open shop in Mariners Court. I'd been cooking at Camp Casey and I liked baking. I had been on a special position at the Coupeville Elementary School where I had taught for 3 years. I couldn't be renewed and I didn't have a job the next fall.

Mariners Court had just been remodeled into small shops by Randy Duggan. I rented one on the left side of the hallway, half way down the building. The Knead and Feed opened July 4, 1974. It was a very small, confined space. I baked cinnamon rolls, and French and loaf bread. I made sandwiches with French bread. We had a tiny counter and were able to seat 4 people inside.

1974 - WA State Extension office was opened.

1976 - Michael's Your Place Restaurant opened by Michael Anter

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Michael Anter, June 22, 2009

I spent a lot of time enjoying Front Street and visiting with the owners of the many different shops there that summer and I happened to be sitting in front of Harbormaster's (Gillespie's Meat Market) building on a bench one morning and saw people going in to the Mariners Court Building. On the right was the Honey Bear and I met a couple of young women who were watching the store for Virginia (Lehr) that day. I asked the girls where someone could get a cup of coffee, and was told that they could make coffee for me right there. It turned out that there used to be a coffee shop in the back and the girls brewed coffee for us.

It looked like somebody had had a sandwich shop there. There was a Pepsi menu board, listing hot dogs, popcorn, soda, and sandwiches. There were 4 tables, 16 chairs, 5 bar stools, a refrigerator, a wooden cutting board, a hot dog machine, pop corn machine, and plumbed in coffee machine.

Judy: Who owned Mariners Court?

Michael: Randy Duggan owned and managed the building and he was anxious to get somebody in there. I contacted Randy and told him that I would love to rent the space from him, as I had some experience in restaurants. Prior to coming to Whidbey I had worked at a country club as a cook's helper; had been a bus boy in a cocktail lounge, and at sixteen I became a cook there. This was way back in 1967, and I learned to prepare "real" food for the diners of The Tartan Lounge in Redlands while attending High School during the day. I also worked at other restaurants in California but had never considered opening my own restaurant. However, with this opportunity staring at me, I decided that I could put something together.

Randy said I could have the space for $80 per month, including the equipment. I scraped the money together. I traded the hot dog and popcorn machines to a restaurant supply for grills, a crockpot and other supplies and equipment. Ron Borgstrom, the owner of Main Street Market was kind enough to extend me a line of credit so I could purchase my first groceries.

I knew how to make poached eggs, ham and bacon, Eggs Benedict, and great omelet's, but I didn't know how to make soups so I called my mom on the eve of my opening and asked her. Mom taught me to make soup over the telephone. I was a vegetarian at the time so I had to convert Mom's meat based soups to vegetarian stocks, and the soups were a big success.

I lived at the Bachelors Quarters rental homes at Fort Casey at this time, and had a nice kitchen there in which to prepare most of my food, as the space in Mariners Court was lacking ovens and other professional equipment. During the year or so that it took me to purchase proper restaurant equipment I "traveled" with my soup pot. When I visited friends at night, the soup pot would come with me! One of my favorite stories is when I was invited to stay aboard a tug boat anchored off of the Coupeville Wharf one summer evening. I made my customary pot of soup that night, and in the morning was rowed to shore by the wonderful crew!

I roasted whole turkeys and grew my own alfalfa sprouts for sandwiches. I also served a lot of coffee and eventually espresso drinks. My opening day at Michael's Your Place Restaurant in Mariners Court was Saturday, May 15, 1976. I served just breakfast and lunch. I remember calling home and saying I made $50 my first day. I thought that was great. Things soon improved much beyond that beginning day.

I initially did it all myself—cooked, served, collected the cash, and washed dishes. Within six months I had hired various young people from Coupeville to help me with serving and dishwashing. Nancy Tatman Bailey was one of my best waitresses, as was Janie Wilson. Janie accompanied me, a gentleman named Cloud, and his friend from Sanibel Island, Florida on one of my annual Florida trips back in 1980, and she ended up getting married and staying in Florida!

I was originally open from 9:00 to 2:30. For the first six years I worked in the evenings at various jobs to help support the restaurant. I worked at Duffer's Cove, the Navy golf course as a bartender; at the old Harbor House as bartender, and the Kings Table restaurant as a cook.

In 1981 I expanded "Your Place" by adding a back room. The space had been [piano teacher] Dorothea Hedgecock's "Studio 4", and I had noticed that she never used the space. Dorothea was happy to let me have the space. I introduced an expanded dinner menu and non-vegetarian items. Bill Skubi came to work for me. I added a second oven…then a third oven, and I expanded to the back and added a walk-in refrigerator. Bill and I worked and lived together for a while, and were able to develop an exciting combination of eclectic and northwest cuisine. I changed the interior front of the restaurant and put in the bay windows. Daya Sievadas, known by Glen at the time did the work. He also did the beautiful entry to the Mariners Court with the stained glass, and most of what was done for me was arranged through dining trades .

Judy: Did you have anything to do with the bookstore?

Michael: Robin and John Rogers had opened up a bookstore ("Treasures" Books and Music) at the end of the hall and to the left of restaurant but it had nothing to do with restaurant. Robin and John decided to quit and were packing up. They were moving the books and I told them I would buy them all. I kept it as a library and I added 3 or 4 tables in 1980 or ‘81.

Sometime in 1982 we discontinued breakfast and lunch and just served dinner. I married in 1984 and started spending less time at the restaurant. My mom, Anna, ran the restaurant while I travelled and had fun. Everyone called her "Mama" and she was there a lot more than I was during 1982-84. Prior to Mom helping out at the restaurant, my younger brother Rudy, and older brother Hans had worked with me.

...

Judy: What else was in Mariners Court?

Michael: The Honey Bear was in the right front. In the left front was Pelicans Pocket gift shop. Next on the left was the rest room, and then Let Your Mamma Cut Your Hair beauty shop.

The Honey Bear was just in the front and they used the big open space between theirs and mine free of charge. I thought if I had the facility I could have had a larger space for dinners. I bought tables and chairs from a restaurant in Bellingham and loaded them in a horse trailer and brought them back. I opened that middle space to the other restaurant. Then I took off on one of my trips to Florida and was gone for four months. While I was gone, Virginia took over the space. When I came back she said "You weren't using it." It was about that time that Randy Duggan sold the building to Frank and Betty Rayle for $60K.

1976 - Let Your Mama Cut Your Hair was opend by Louise Holloway. A bookstore was opened next to Mike's. Robin and John opened the Coupeville Barber Shop. Around this time there was also; Pelican's Pocket; Toad Hollow (shells & Souvenirs); Honey Bear was opened by Virginia Lehr; and there was a Gold Shop run by Gary Kelly

1978 - The Toy Story was opened by Phyllis Shaffler. Also artist Libby Berry had a studio in the building.

1980 - Robin and John Rogers opened up a bookstore called Treasures Books and Music at the end of the hall.

1981 – Treasures Books and Music closed.

1981 – Barbara Lawson sold Pelican's Pocket to Judy Showalter.

1981 - Mike Anter expanded Michael's Your Place and added bay windows.

1982 or 83 - Frank and Betty Rayle purchased building from Randy Duggan.

1987 - Mike Anter sold Michael's Yours Place to Chrisopher Panek.

1987 - Christopher Panek opened Christopher's Restaurant.

1995 - Captain City Brewery opened by Kevin Locke in refurbished space. In April the first batch of Barry Burton's Rooftop Red ale was produced.

1996 - Christopher Panek moved restaurant to the front and renamed it Front Street Café

1997 - Christopher's was sold to Simon Bargh and Heidi Hennessey.

2000 - A Touch of Dutch was opened by Michele and Jack Kempees.

2001 - Captain City Brewery was closed in February. The Coupeville Festival Association office moved into south west corner.

2002 - Simon and Heidi sold Christopher's to Andres Wurzrainer.

2005 - In April the Rayle's sold the building to Tom and Mary Alice Sterling. The Sterlings enlarged the windows.

2007 - Back right space was rented to Sarah Funk for Scrap Things.

2007 - Back right space was rented to Maria Villarreal for Fresh Flower Express. She moved out in April 2009.

2010 - Mary Alice Sterling returned the building to Betty Rayle.

2013 - The Coupeville Emporium was opened by Rae & Diane in the north east corner of the building.

Mariners Court

Mariners Court
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2013
Mariners Court

Mariners Court
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2015

2016 - Posh opens in the NorthEast corner of the building.

Mariners Court

Mariners Court
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick, 2017

* 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. I 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