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Saturday, October 5, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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`Gertie' Perrin, Edmonds Pioneer, Founder Of Perrinville Community

EDMONDS - Jennie Gertrude "Gertie" Perrin, one of the area's oldest pioneers who founded the small community of Perrinville on the eastern edge of the city, died yesterday. She was 98.

Mrs. Perrin, who was the second of 10 children, was born in Nind, Mo., on Aug. 11, 1893, three years to the day after Edmonds incorporated.

Mrs. Perrin's father was a carpenter and moved his family to California when Mrs. Perrin was 8.

"He always read so much about California, he decided to go," Mrs. Perrin recalled once. "He liked to travel."

In 1910, when Mrs. Perrin was 17, the family ended up in Edmonds.

"There wasn't hardly anything here," Mrs. Perrin said once in describing Edmonds, then a thriving shingle-mill town.

In the years that followed, Mrs. Perrin held numerous jobs in Edmonds, including that of cook in 1918 at the city's old Olympic Hotel at Second and Bell streets. She operated five restaurants over the years and opened one of the city's first antique shops in the 1930s. She also ran a doll shop called Gertie's Doll Hospital, which was destroyed by fire in 1945.

The way she liked to tell it, Mrs. Perrin was living happily in downtown Edmonds in 1938 when her second husband, Carl, a roofer, decided he wanted to move from the hustle and bustle of city life to the country.

"We had a lovely home in Edmonds at Sixth and Dayton," she said "But he wanted to come out (to) the sticks. I said if I'm going out in the sticks, I'm going to start me a town."

Later that year, the couple moved to what today is known as Perrinville, a crossroads community at the intersection of Olympic View Drive and 76th Avenue West. Mostly in Edmonds, but partly in unincorporated Snohomish County, it's now a small shopping center with a turn-of-the-century theme and an eclectic mix of shops.

After cutting down trees from a nearby hill, the Perrins built a log cabin near where Tollefson Brothers Market stands today. The couple also built a gas station and sold part of their property for the construction of a grocery store.

In 1939, Mrs. Perrin paid 10 cents at the Everett courthouse to dub the area with its current name.

Over the years, the couple lived in several homes in Perrinville. After her husband died in 1964, Mrs. Perrin continued to live by herself, until last year, in a small home on 76th Avenue West that for a time also housed an antique store.

She is survived by a son, Carl "Skip" Perrin Jr. of Las Vegas.

A funeral will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the chapel at Beck's Funeral Home in Edmonds. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Edmonds-South Snohomish Historical Society Museum.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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