Steve Bates, of Snohomish, uses a chain saw to carve a groove into a log that will become one of the rafters as he and members of the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation tackle the job of replacing the shelter roof over the 1940 Lervick log that has been on display in front of the Carnegie library building on Saturday. (Doug Ramsay / For The Herald)

Steve Bates, of Snohomish, uses a chain saw to carve a groove into a log that will become one of the rafters as he and members of the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation tackle the job of replacing the shelter roof over the 1940 Lervick log that has been on display in front of the Carnegie library building on Saturday. (Doug Ramsay / For The Herald)

Old, giant log represents ‘this town and our roots’

The tree was about 620 years old when it was cut down. It’s outside the Snohomish Carnegie library.

SNOHOMISH — Terry Lippincott wonders how many children have posed for a photo with the giant log.

The Douglas fir stump has been sitting outside the Carnegie library building in Snohomish since 1940.

“It’s the first thing you see when you approach from the north end,” Lippincott said.

She and her friend, Melody Clemans, believe it’s stayed in the same corner on Cedar Avenue. For a couple of decades there was no shelter to protect it. Even after a roof was built, the awnings weren’t wide enough to cover its sides. The structure hasn’t been renovated since.

That changed this weekend when the nonprofit Snohomish Carnegie Foundation replaced the covering. Clemans is president of the group, and Lippincott is a member.

The tree has a diameter of 12 feet, 5 inches. It was 620 years old the day it was cut down, according to a nearby sign. Nobody has counted the rings to check, as far as Clemans and Lippincott know.

Someday they hope to clean the log, which has turned nearly black from exposure. Vandals have marked it with blades and spray paint. The committee is researching how to refurbish the landmark without harming it.

Clemans believes it’s important to restore the downtown feature because of what it represents.

“The people who live here choose to live here because of the history,” she said.

Clemans’ family has lived in Snohomish for generations. Her father was born in 1909 and grew up here. Clemans also was raised here.

The Lervick Logging Co. brought the tree trunk to town for the Kla Ha Ya Days parade on First Street in 1940. It came from the Lake Roesiger area. Clemans has seen photos of her grandfather and uncle helping to tow it in.

“It represents this town and our roots,” she said.

All 11 board members have been working on the project since the summer. Others also have lent a hand.

Most of the time and materials have been donated. The city has paid for staff to oversee parts of the operation.

Only the canopy needed to be replaced. The frame was salvaged.

When the group started looking for materials, someone called Eric Fritch, who owns Chinook Lumber. He had a connection at Weyerhaeuser Timberlands. That company ended up giving about $1,500 worth of cedar.

Dan Reynolds is a foundation member and co-owns Wyser Construction, Inc. He’s provided tools and knowledge, and has offered his home as a storage space.

Each shingle is handmade. The team made them by wedging a metal blade into the cedar timber, and using a mallet to split the fibers. The pieces are either two or four feet long.

It took a few days to make 500 of them. Only a couple of knuckles got bruised.

The Snohomish Carnegie Foundation has partnered with the city to renovate the Carnegie library building. The city said the group’s contributions have been invaluable.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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