New Book Showcases Sumner’s Past

Local authors share the history of the area using a stunning collection of images

Credit: Arcadia Publishing
Credit: Arcadia Publishing
The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Sumner by local authors Paul J. Rogerson and Carmen M. Palmer. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by in this Washington town.

Come on in to Sumner, Washington, the “Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World.” Settled in 1853 after a wagon train daringly crossed the Cascade Mountains through Naches Pass, Sumner quickly grew to become an established town. 

In Sumner readers will be able to see images from the area’s past and learn about this unique history. Find out how Sumner’s name was literally drawn out of a hat. Learn about George Ryan’s unique method for getting the railroad to stop here. Take a tour down Main Street, and watch how it changed—or didn’t—through the decades. See Ryan House when it actually was a farmhouse and the Old Cannery when it was canning fruit. Join in celebrations over the years, from the Daffodil Parade to football championships. Meet schoolchildren, including Clara McCarty Wilt, who became the first graduate of the University of Washington. Follow the work at local industries, from the lumberyards to the fields, where daffodils, berries, and of course, rhubarb were grown.

Highlights of Sumner include:

Showcases vintage images, many of which have never been seen by the public. The majority of these images have been donated from the private collections of local residents.

The authors employed old newspaper articles, interviews with living citizens and other unique sources to unravel the history of certain sites, families and individuals.

The book shares the history of the rhubarb industry in Sumner.

A portion of the author’s profits from the sale of the book will be donated towards ongoing upkeep and care expenses for the historic Ryan House.

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/.

About the Authors:

Paul J. Rogerson, 60, is a native of Western Washington. He still lives in the small town of Shelton where he was born. As a lifelong small-town native, he appreciates and understands the warmth, pride and citizen involvement that make a town like Sumner special. 

Rogerson graduated from the University of Washington in 1976 with a Bachelors’ degree in Fine Arts and received a Masters’ degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University in 1990. At the University of Washington, he completed extensive coursework in architectural history. After leading local government planning offices in several communities, he became Director of Community Development for the City of Sumner in 2005.

He is member of both the National and Washington Trusts for Historic Preservation. This book allows him to combine his interests in the architectural and human history of small towns such as Sumner.

He has been warmed by the willingness of Sumner residents to share their never-before-seen collections of personal photographs. These form the core of this book and depict the history of Sumner in a way never before available.

Carmen Palmer, 38, grew up in Vancouver, Washington. Shortly after working at the City of Sumner, she soon moved to Sumner as well. 

Always interested in history, Palmer grew up dragging her family to every Little House site and researching her own family stories. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor of Arts in English and received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington. Before taking on the role of the City of Sumner’s Communications Director, she worked in marketing and communications at many cultural organizations. Highlights included helping to open the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and to fundraise for Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and Fisher Pavilion. Through internships at the Oregon Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., she was honored to meet many authors of historic fiction and non-fiction. 

Fully immersed in her adopted hometown of Sumner, Palmer has been involved in Sumner Rotary, Relay for Life, Sumner Downtown Association, Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce, the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau and all the efforts and events that make Sumner such a special town.
Louann Spencer September 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM
This is an amazing collection of picture and stories about Sumner! A must have and read for any one who has lived or loves Sumner. I carry the book in my store , Folkart Gatherings, located downtown sumner, if you would like a copy for yourself or to give as a gift. The first person I showed it to could not put it down!


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