Drinks and dancing? Not here | Letter

Jun 05, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

What a bewildering surprise to see the article about a plaque for Magic Toyota in “It happened here: Drinks, dining, dancing roadhouse” in the May 15 issue of the Edmonds Beacon, page 3.

I have to tell you that I spent a lot of my growing up years from 1938 through 1946 on the property where Magic Toyota sits today, and we did not feature entertainment, drinks and dining for the general public in our home.

In fact, my father was with the Snohomish County sheriff’s office and participated with young prosecuting attorney Henry Jackson on raids of the roadhouses along Highway 99, especially The Ranch during the 1930s and early 1940s.

We lived on the southwest corner of what is today 212th Street S.W. and Highway 99 where Magic Toyota has its business—that business is not located at 220th Street S.W. as the article states.

It is true that the roadhouse known as The Ranch was located at about 220th; in fact it was very close to where Top Foods is today. The Ranch was about a half mile south of our home-site on 212th.

Our family was composed of Walt and Marie Deebach and their six children, and I am one of those children. Right next door to us were Samuel and Hazel MacDonald and their daughter Hazel. Part of their land is also where Magic Toyota is today located.

When Highway 99 opened in the fall of 1927, the roadhouses were ready to go. One of those was Doc Hamilton’s Barbecue Ranch, and it became the most well known for raids.

Doc Hamilton, an established nightclub owner, was finally sent to prison because of the activities of another establishment of his in Seattle, Doc Hamilton’s Barbecue Pit.

Hamilton’s interests in Snohomish County ended, and his roadhouse, now called The Ranch, re-opened under new ownership.

It did survive the prohibition years, but did not fare well during the gambling cleanup years by Jackson and the sheriff’s office in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

It never did accomplish true respectability. It became known as the El Rancho. Opening as a bingo parlor in the late 1950s, it was soon the scene of more gambling raids.

At three o’clock one morning in May of 1959, the old building burned to the ground, despite seven fire engines answering the call.

Betty Lou (Deebach) Gaeng




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