By Sarah Schrock

In 1937 the in the back of Messer’s Dress Shop on North Glover Street, where the current building houses the licensing office, the local midwife, Elsie Messer, helped with the arrival of DuAnne Peters on Sept. 18. DuAnne was one of three children to Florence and Henry “Bud” Peters, whose legacy as prominent Twisp business proprietors runs deep. 

Affectionately known as “Duey,” DuAnne (Peters) Steben passed away in March 2017.  She was the granddaughter of Nick and Sophie Peters, who hold the distinction for being long-time successful proprietors of the Twisp Mercantile Co. The Peters family established many Twisp businesses in the early days of frontier life in the valley through the mid-century, all of which are still standing.

The first business Nick operated was the Twisp Mercantile Co., which they bought in 1914, originally located on the north end of Glover Street and First Avenue where the parking lot behind Hometown Pizza now sits. Ten years later it was destroyed in the notorious fire of July 24, 1924, that decimated the town. Nick rebuilt the Mercantile at its current location, and it is now known as The Merc Playhouse. They also bought the stable next door, which still stands. The stable is one of the few buildings that survived the 1924 fire.

The Mercantile thrived under Nick’s management. He operated it until he was 80 years old. He passed it on to his children Annie, Audie and Henry (Bud).

Bud Peters later bought out his siblings and ran the Mercantile until he sold it in the 1970s. Jim, Bud’s son, remembers being slaves to the store, where he and all his siblings, just like his aunts and uncles before him, all worked as children. The Bud Peters family later bought the Idle-a-While Motel, where Bud built the cabins. They went on to build and operate the Sportsman Motel as well.

According to Jim Peters, Duey’s brother, the Twisp swimming hole was the local gathering hole for all the children in town. The kids spent hours cooling off and washing off the dust. The family has fond memories of spending summer afternoons playing and relaxing at the hole, and thought it befitting to gather in her name to commemorate their loved one. 

Lola Cheek, DuAnne’s first cousin, lives on Third Avenue in Twisp and raised all three of her boys, Jim, Nick and Steve, just around the corner on Methow Avenue. She and her son Steve are the only local descendants of the Peters family living here in Twisp. Lola is the granddaughter of Nick and Sophie Peters, daughter of Annie (Peters) Rawdon and was born in the three-story house on Burgar Street next to the Catholic Church. She is thrilled to be back in Twisp after some years away in Portland and Omak.

Lola recounts fond memories of growing up in Twisp, and spending time babysitting Duey and her siblings Jim and Marianne, as well as regular dinners with her grandfather Nick. She stated that she started babysitting when she was probably 7 years old. Bud used to haul the trailer up to Black Pine Lake, where she’d spend the afternoon watching her younger cousins lakeside while Bud fished. She remembers the swimming hole on the Twisp River near the RV park that was destroyed in the 1948 flood, which led to the movement of the popular hole to its current location at the park. 

Lola and Duey were close throughout life and shared the love of reading together. Lola’s hallway and bedroom shelves are stacked with romance and mystery novels that she and Duey would swap whenever Duey came over from the west side to visit. She was devastated by the news of Duey’s passing last year. Duey’s sons Chad, Todd and Jay would like to extend an invitation to friends and acquaintances, old and new, of the Peters-Rawdon-Cheek family to a casual gathering to commemorate DuAnne. Anyone interested in reconnecting with the Peters family is encouraged to attend the gathering honoring the life of Duey, on Oct. 13, 2 p.m., at the Twisp Park, near the old swimming hole.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock
The Twisp Mercantile, taken from “Bound for Methow,” by Kit McLean and Karen West.

Photo courtesy of Lola Cheek Lola Rawdon and DuAnne Peters with their grandfather Nick Peters, circa 1941. Nick Peters built The Mercantile in 1925.

Courtesy of Lola Cheek Lola Rawdon and baby cousin DuAnne Peters played in front of the Peters’ family home on Burgar Street (circa 1939). 

Photo courtesy of Lola Cheek
Lola and DuAnne pictured together in their Sunday dresses (circa 1940).

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