Angel or Witch?
It’s time for the October edition of the SJ Historical Society’s History Column…
That’s no angel, it’s a witch.
Each month the Historical Museum shares a photograph that has some kind of tie-in with that particular month. It could be an event, a person, a community milestone, or a holiday.
This month’s photograph of Middleton’s Market, formerly on Spring Street where Kings Market is today, was nearly passed by when it was first viewed as a small snapshot. At first glance, the 1940s/1950s decorations in the front windows appeared to have a Christmas theme. The flying figure on the right looked like an angel with a halo. But thanks to the modern technology of digitization, one could see when zooming in on the image that it was no angel. It was a witch, flying in front of a full harvest moon. And this photograph is suddenly seen as a great choice for the October column.
What else do we see in the photo? There’s a Skagit Maid Ice Cream sign. Now we want ice cream and Halloween candy. What we can’t see is what’s next door, further down the street. We know that Kings Market was there at the same time and would eventually take over the whole block many years after Middleton’s Market closed in 1957 and Blair King bought the building. But before that side of the block would become all King owned businesses, there would be (at various times) Roberts Furniture Annex, The Mode, Malloy’s Hardware, and others.
Some islanders will remember Vivian and Alfred Middleton, not only for their market but also for starting the Fribor Theatre, now known as the Palace, back in 1915. The Middletons were not only entrepreneurs, but also involved and generous community members for decades. Their stamp on island social life continues not only with the movie theater, but also Harrison House B&B. Its corner building was once the Middleton home.