Nelson family buggy
This project funded in
part by a grant from
HERITAGE COLLECTION CARE
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The 22 acres on which the garden is located was originally part of 200
acres that Maurice Skagen's Norwegian immigrant ancestors
purchased between 1891 and 1905. Ole Evensen Oie acquired a 160
acre piece from the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1891, paying about
$10 per acre. Andrew Oie added to the property by purchasing the
adjoining 40 acres.
For many years, Andrew Oie farmed the land on which the garden is
located. Maurice Skagen's parents purchased a five acre portion of the
property in the 1960s. His parents then deeded the land to him in
1968. Over the years Maurice and James have added to the original
five acres with the purchase of 17 additional adjoining acres. The
garden now extends from 132nd Avenue SE in Auburn, Washington,
to a tributary of Soos Creek and a couple of acres beyond.
In 1968 there was nothing other than the native trees and plant life
such as Douglas firs, western red cedars, hemlocks, vine maples, big
leaf maples, and native perennials, ranging from trilliums to skunk
cabbage along the creek. In 1963 Maurice began acquiring plants as
research for his master's thesis. Initial purchases included a large
selection of conifers, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other evergreen
shrubs. These have grown into some of the larger specimens in the
In the mid 1980's tours of gardens in England and Japan inspired
Maurice to create stroll type gardens. A number of plants were
purchased during these trips, such as tree peonies from Kyoto, Japan
and Sorbus from England. Over the past 40 years a wide variety of
plants were acquired from Pacific Northwest specialty nurseries.
Soos Creek Heritage Center
The Heritage Center is devoted to the history of the early settlers of
the 70 square mile area called the Soos Creek Plateau. An extensive
collection of early photos, historical maps and artifacts of the
ancestors of the region is on display.
Homesteaders enjoying family picnic on
current Soos Creek Botanical Garden
Click here to watch an interview about
the history of the Garden with owner,
Learn the history of the local area!
The focus of the book is on the settlers and
families of the plateau. It describes the
development of the plateau with emphasis
on farming. The book contains maps and
early photographs of the area.
To purchase a copy, please call 253-639-0949 or
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In your message state your name,
phone and the number of copies you would like to purchase.
History of the Soos Creek Plateau
from 1860 to 1960