Cities Near Snohomish, WA
Local city information for Snohomish, WA
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is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. The population was 8,494 at the 2000 census. The mayor of Snohomish is Randy Hamlin, and the city manager is Larry Bauman. Snohomish prides itself for its historical downtown feel, and is known for its many antique shops. Snohomish bills itself, and First Street in particular, as the "Antique Capital of the Northwest." The historic business and residential center of the town constitutes the Snohomish Historic District
, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many houses bear plaques with the year the house was built and the name of the family or individual who originally occupied it. Once every year, the city gives tours of the historic houses; one of them, the Blackman House, is a year-round museum. A general aviation airfield, Harvey Airfield, is less than one mile southwest of Downtown Snohomish.
Snohomish was founded roughly in 1858 by E.C. Ferguson, E.F. Cady and others. It was originally known as Cadyville
, and changed its name to Snohomish City in 1871. The name Snohomish is taken from the name of the dominant local Native American tribe "sdoh-doh-hohbsh", whose meaning is widely disputed. Snohomish was officially incorporated on November 24, 1883.
One of the first inland cities in the Puget Sound region, Snohomish was built where a planned military road connecting Fort Steilacoom and Fort Bellingham was set to cross the Snohomish River. The road, proposed in the wake of the Pig War, was intended to be built far enough inland to be safe from British naval attacks. Although the road was never completed, Snohomish quickly became a local center of commerce in the expanding region. In 1861, Snohomish County split from Island County and the Village of Snohomish was voted the county seat. It remained such 1897 when the county seat was relocated to the larger neighboring city of Everett, Washington after a controversial and contested county-wide vote.
The first school was organized in the city in either 1867 or 1869 and the city was finally incorporated in 1890 with Hyrcanus Blackman (who had, since 1888, been Police Chief with the monthly salary of $20.00 per month plus $2.00 for each arrest) as mayor. 1893 saw the construction of a roller skating rink and 1894 the first graduations from Snohomish High School. By 1899 the city of Snohomish was a prosperous town with a population of 2,000, with 25 businesses and 80 homes.
1901 brought Snohomish the first motor car in the county. In 1903 First Street was paved with brick and when it was finished there was a three day celebration. For years afterwards the city's residents remained so proud of the street that they washed it every week with a fire hose. In 1911 a disastrous fire struck First Street and everything between Avenues B and C was destroyed. The fire began when a small blaze in the Palace Cafe on the South side of the street got out of control on Memorial Day, 1911 at about four a.m. Thirty-five business structures were put out of business, with $173,000 worth of goods destroyed. Despite the disaster the town continued to grow and by 1920 the population grew to a little over 3,000. The population would remain relatively stable for the next 40 years.
The Great Depression was not acutely felt in Snohomish because its economy was mostly agrarian with many family farms. The 1930s did bring Snohomish some national notice, however, due to baseball great Earl Averill, the only Washingtonian in the Baseball Hall of Fame, who played from 1929 to 1941, mostly with the Cleveland Indians.
The 1970s saw the city of Snohomish enter into a period of decline. Region wide, many people were laid off as the Boeing Company fell on hard times and a great many people left the area. A famous phrase of the day was "Will the last person out of Seattle please turn off the lights?" Snohomish fought back with a redevelopment plan in 1965 that proposed the destruction of the historic structures along First Street in order to make way for a covered mall. The plan was not carried out due to lack of available funds and as a result the area remains today as it has through much of its history.
The general economic malaise of the town continued throughout much of the '70s, with the downtown area given over to mostly bars and small shops. In 1973, the city adopted a Historic District Ordinance protecting historic buildings and structures from inappropriate alterations and demolitions and encouraging the design of new construction in keeping with the historic character of the district. In 1974, the Historic Business District, a 36-block area, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Larger stores moved away from First Street into newer developments and strip malls that spread out along Second Street and Avenue D.
In 1974 the Seattle-Snohomish mill was totally gutted by fire but was rebuilt by its owners. A severe flood struck the area damaging over 300 homes and killing 3,500 head of livestock in 1975, but the community rallied to support those who were affected. 1976 and 78 brought added community spirit as Snohomish High School won the AAA State football Championships under coach Dick Armstrong.
The 1980s saw renewed vigor in Snohomish when, along with other developments, two 7-Eleven convenience stores and a McDonald's franchise opened during the first part of the decade. In 1981, Richard Pryor came to town to film parts of the movie Bustin' Loose and Snohomish received additional attention from Hollywood in the 1983 movie WarGames
as the name of the high school from which the character David Lightman, played by Matthew Broderick, hacks into a military computer system. However, the actual high school used in the film is El Segundo High School in El Segundo, CA.
Around 1985, the U.S. Route 2 bypass was completed, allowing the traffic which had until then been forced to pass through the town to circumvent the city. This greatly eased the gridlock which had been a part of everyday life and allowed the city to assume the more peaceful character that it has today.
In the 1990s First Street was redeveloped to take advantage of its historic buildings as a tourist attraction. The sidewalks were rebuilt and public restrooms added in order to further serve the community and visitors. The city hall and police station were moved away from First Street and a new fire station was built, allowing those historic buildings to be renovated as well.
Today, Snohomish is very much a model of how cities can reinvigorate their business districts by preserving their historic charm. The town has continued to grow with much of the development spread out along the former route of Route 2, now known as Bickford Avenue. The city has become a good combination of regular businesses in modern facilities which serve the community and specialty shops in the historic part of town to serve the tourist trade.
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