Since its construction in the late 1800s, the Ryan House in Sumner has served many purposes.
Located at 1228 West Main Street, it has served Sumner has a onetime home to the Ryan family, the post office, Whitworth College, City Hall and the library.
George Ryan originally came out west from Wisconsin, and began working in Gig Harbor. Not too long after, Ryan was introduced to Puyallup’s Ezra Meeker, who introduced him to Laura Kincaid Seamen, who had a cabin and 40 acres for sale in Sumner.
Ryan eventually purchased the cabin. He then sent for his fiancee, Lucy. Shortly after she arrived, the Ryans added a bay window and a second story.
As the years went on, the cabin was used as Sumner’s first post office from 1880 to 1884. Whitworth College, which started as the Sumner Academy, was at the cabin from 1891 to 1901.
In the mid 1920s, the Ryan heirs sold the family home to the city of Sumner. It then served as the town’s City Hall and library until 1979.
Since then, the Sumner Historical Society has kept the Ryan House as a museum.
“It keeps people interested in history, and allows us to store what was important to their family,” museum curator Vicki Connor said.
Part of what makes the Ryan House so unique is its artifacts. While there are some of the Ryan Family heirlooms in the house, Connor and others have collected historical wedding dresses, dishes, furniture, and even former Daffodil Royal Court gowns to put on display in the museum.
“My favorite part of the house is its history, all the things it’s been used for, and that it’s seen,” said Pam Prasch, treasurer of the Sumner Historical Society. “It’s had so many different uses throughout history. I was raised here, so it’s fun getting to learn the history.”
The Ryan House is open most Saturdays, Sundays, and other days by appointment. The Sumner Historical Society will host a Spring Tea as its opening event of the year, from 2 to 4 p.m. May 1 at the Ryan House.
For more information on the Ryan House, visit sumnerhistoricalsociety.com.