Marsh's Sea Shell - Factory and Antique Shop


Marsh's has a long history. Wellington Marsh, Sr. came from Yakima, his wife Harriet was from Cle Elum. The Marsh's farmed rutabagas in North Dakota where they went broke. In 1921 they moved to Washington and opened an Ice Cream and Candy Shop. In 1930 Wellington grabbed an opportunity of a lifetime when the Pacific Steamship Co. passenger liner Admiral Benson went aground in the fog at Peacock Spit, near Cope Disappointment. The 30 passengers and 65 crew members were rescued, but Capt. C. G. Graham refused to leave the ship. For nine days and nights the captain stayed on the liner. He was determined to keep his command.


During this time Wellington opened a hamburger stand on the Benson Beach and served the curiosity seekers that came to see the beached ship. He had a very good business. In 1933 with prohibition ended he opened the Crawfish Tavern in Grays River, then moved to Long Beach in 1935. This was the start of Marsh's Free Museum. Marian Marsh once said, "A lot of places like this got started in taverns. People would bring in mementos and swap them for beer. It was the depression and people didn't have money for beer, but they had junk in their attics. That's my theory. Kind of makes sense"

The best attraction at Marsh's is Jake the Alligator Man, and they have lots of stuff to see. Ray Pryor an antique dealer bought Jake at an auction when Whitney's Museum in San Francisco closed in 1965. Wellington Marsh Jr. didn't want to pay the $750 dollars for him but his wife Marian talked him into it.

A lot of folks claim Jake was a valet in a New Orleans whorehouse. Others say that Jake was a sideshow freak who smoked cigars and could nod yes or no to simple questions when asked. There have even been people that stopped by to visit Jake that say they've seen him alive in a Texas carnival. Out of all the curiosities found in Marsh's Free Museum Jake the Alligator Man is the most amazing. Jake is the star of Marsh's. He sits in his case with all the granger of a king looking over the other oddities of his kingdom.


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