(click on photos to enlarge)

Since 1924, the Cash Store at Bayview Corner has served as general store, gas station, feed store, pet laundry, food co-op and art store. In 1999, with the building in disrepair, the owners were considering selling it and the community was in danger of losing a central gathering place and an important piece of South Whidbey history.

A conversation between Nancy Nordhoff, South Whidbey resident and philanthropist, and Linda Moore, well versed in real estate law and economic development, preserved this history. Their 1999 meeting in the Cash Store parking lot resulted not only in the purchase of the building, but also of 22 acres surrounding the site.

With a need to expand the usable space, update systems, as well as a desire to honor the spirit and history of this historic mercantile, the decision was made to use traditional forms and materials but avoid a literal reproduction. The building footprint did not increase. Nor did it move from its original location.

The first Bayview Cash Store was built about 1908 – at a small wharf at the outfall of Lone Lake, the hub of activity at the time. In 1916, the store burned down and the area did without a general store for eight years. In 1924, William Burk built a new Bayview Cash Store in its current location, featuring general merchandise and farm supplies.

Burk strategically located the Cash Store so anyone traveling from Clinton or Langley had to pass through the “crossroads” where the store was located. His store was soon the social and geographical center of Bayview and South Whidbey.

Harold Johnston, just 29 at the time, bought the Cash Store in 1930. During the Great Depression, Johnston went out of his way to help his Bayview neighbors. Carrie Ramstad Melendy worked at the Cash Store during that time:

“I know that Harold Johnston gave away food beyond what anybody realized. Boxes and boxes of groceries went out of that Bayview store that people never did pay for because they couldn’t.”

After 45 years, Johnston sold the Cash Store to Jack and Grace Cortes in 1975. Two more owners followed before Goosefoot purchased their Bayview Corner parcel in 1999.

During its deconstruction, the Cash Store revealed some of its secrets. Newspapers from the 1920s and ’30s were found in the old walls. An official document certifying cattle in the area to be tuberculosis free and sales receipts for spuds, cigars and sugar were among the daily treasures found during the demolition.

The gifted designers of Flat Rock Productions, in collaboration with a very talented construction crew hand-picked by Goosefoot for this project, raised the bar for design and craftsmanship. You can’t help but notice the materials and the details.

Recycled and reused materials were used as much as possible. Completed, the building looks as if it had always been there. Cedar siding, framing lumber, skip sheathing, doors, windows and roofing material from the dismantled building were salvaged and reused.

When new material was required, products and technologies that met the mission of stewardship were sought.

Today, our commitment to the Cash Store continues as we support its merchants, its grounds and the community that gathers there. To learn more about today’s Cash Store and Bayview Corner, click on Enhancing Local Commerce.