Ryan House Museum
Backstory and Context
In the early 1870s George Ryan moved to Washington State from Baraboo, Wisconsin. In 1872, while he was working as a bookkeeper for the Pope & Talbot sawmill in Port Gamble, he visited the Puyallup-Sumner Valley looking for business opportunities.
Ezra Meeker introduced him to Laura Kincaid Seamen who had a cabin and 40 acres for sale in Sumner. George bought the property and in 1875 enlarged the cabin, adding a bow window and a second story.
That same year George’s fiancee, Lucy V. Wood came out from Wisconsin and the couple were married in San Francisco. They raised five children in the Ryan house, Henry, Lewis, Edith, Charles and Warren. The growing family required that the house be expanded, in 1885 they added the main two story section with wood from the Ryan Sawmill located at the north end of Parker Road.
In the early 1900’s a hop shed was pushed against the back of the house to became the kitchen.
The Ryan’s were mill owners, shop keepers, and farmers, they grew hops, fruits and vegetables. Lucy was the town’s Post mistress.
In 1883, John & Nancy Kincaid with George & Lucy Ryan drew up the plat of Sumner on the Ryan House dining room table.
George Ryan was elected Sumner’s first mayor in 1891.
George built a railroad station in 1884 to insure that the railroad would make Sumner one of the stops on it’s route.
Lucy passed away in 1926 and the heirs entrusted the house to the city as long as it was used for the a public Library. It was the Sumner Public Library and Sumner City Hall until 1935 and the Sumner Public Library until 1979.
Sumner still counts a number of Ryan descendants among it’s citizens. Mary Beth Ryan is a Director Emeritus Board Member of the Sumner Historical Society.
Photographs from Sumner Historical Society collection, narrative from Sumner Historical Society files