Home News Free

A look back 85 years at Ilwaco Salmon Currency

Observer staff report

Published on August 10, 2018 8:03PM

The front and back of the $1 denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

MATT WINTERS COLLECTION

The front and back of the $1 denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

The front and back of the 50 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

MATT WINTERS COLLECTION

The front and back of the 50 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

The front and back of the 25 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

MATT WINTERS COLLECTION

The front and back of the 25 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

The front and back of the 5 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

MATT WINTERS COLLECTION

The front and back of the 5 cent denomination of Ilwaco Salmon Currency, canceled and uncanceled examples, from 1933.

Sou’wester magazine in its Spring 1981 edition carried this article by historian Larry Weathers about Ilwaco’s salmon money.

Sou’wester magazine in its Spring 1981 edition carried this article by historian Larry Weathers about Ilwaco’s salmon money.

Sou’wester magazine article

Sou’wester magazine article

Sou’wester magazine article

Sou’wester magazine article

H.J. Doupé 1933 letter to a Great Depression scrip collector who asked for an example of Ilwaco Salmon Currency.

MATT WINTERS COLLECTION

H.J. Doupé 1933 letter to a Great Depression scrip collector who asked for an example of Ilwaco Salmon Currency.


ILWACO — The economy in Pacific County and the rest of America nearly came to a dead stop at the beginning of the Great Depression, as banks failed and money dried up.

In response, merchants in Southwest Washington were among the first in the nation to try issuing short-term depression scrip in exchange for the IOUs issued by local governments and schools to employees in lieu of paychecks. This unofficial scrip in small denominations could then be spent at local stores.

The story was well covered by local historian Larry Weathers in two issues of the Pacific County Historical Society’s Sou’wester magazine in 1980 and 1981.

Ilwaco merchants issued their colorful Ilwaco Salmon Currency 85 years ago this spring in denominations of $1, 50, 25 and 5 cents, printed by the Ilwaco Tribune. Altogether, approximately 500 pieces of the currency were put into circulation.

Salmon currency immediately became a collector’s item, with Ilwaco Merchants Association Treasurer H.J. Doupé responding to requests from far and wide for examples, exchanging the salmon money for real U.S. funds.

The Chinook Observer is re-sharing this story now in honor of salmon season and the recent sale and pending renovation of the Doupé building in Ilwaco. Included here are Weathers’ story in the Sou’wester, canceled and uncanceled versions of each denomination, and a letter from Doupé responding to a request for a sample.















Marketplace

Share and Discuss

Guidelines

User Comments