The story

Snohomish County LST-1126 - History

Snohomish County LST-1126 - History

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Snohomish County

(LST-1126: dp. 4,080 (f.) 1. 328'0", b. 50'0", dr. 14'1"; s. 11.6 k. (tl.); cp;. 119; a. 4 40mm; cl. LST 1081)

Snohomish County (LST-1126) was laid down on 16 November 1944 by Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. of Seneca, Ill., as LST-1126; launched on 9 February 1945, and departed Seneca on 23 February to sail down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. There LST-1126 was commissioned on 28 February 1945, Lt. F. C. Helm, USNR, in command.

Between 1945 and 1960, LST-1126 deployed to the western Pacific eight times. Her first tour of duty there came in April 1945, when she departed New Orleans transited the Panama Canal, stopped at San Diego Seattle, and Pearl Harbor, before continuing westward. As she continued her voyage, she visited Eniwetok Atoll; Apra Harbor, Guam; Saipan, and Okinawa. In late September, she joined the post World War II occupation forces in China. Operating off the west coast of the United States out of San Diego when not in the western Pacific, LST-1126 returned to the Far East in 1948, 1953, during the winters of 1945-55, 1957, 1958 and 1959-60. The LST also made three DEW Line resupply runs to Alaska in 1949, 1950, and 1953. It was on 1 July 1955, just after her return from her fourth deployment to the western Pacific that the LST was named Snohomish County (1926).

The permanent assignment of an LST squadron to Yokosuka, Japan, made the 1959-60 deployment Snohomish County's last until the escalation of the Vietnam War. Until 1964, she operated out of San Diego and made two MidPac cruises in 1961 and 1962. The second cruise was in support of Operation "Dominic," a series of nuclear tests. Upon completion of this assignment, she returned to normal operations along the Pacific coast.

In 1965, the American buildup in Vietnam began in earnest. Accordingly, the need for support ships grew and Snohomish County returned to the Far East once more. She drew normal tours of duty (five to seven months at a time) in 1965, 1966, and 1967. In 1968 she was sent on an extended deployment which did not end until the spring of 1970, just before her decommissioning. On each of these last deployments, the LST made the circuit from Japan to Vietnam to Subic Bay in the Philippines. For the most part, she hauled men and supplies from American bases in Japan and the Philippines to Vietnam; though, on occasion, she received other assignments, notably one with riverine operations in 1968. There were also ports-of-call such as Hong Kong; and Keelung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan where the war could be forgotten. As in the past, Snohomish Country resumed normal operations, exercises, drills, and upkeep in and around San Diego when not deployed to the Far East.

On 22 April 1970, Snohomish County returned to her WestPac home port, Apra Harbor, Guam, and went through an Inspection and Survey. She was declared unfit for further naval service. On 1 July 1970, she decommissioned at the Naval Station, Guam, and her name was struck from the Navy list. In January 1971 her hulk was sold to Chin Ho Fa Steel and Iron Co., Ltd. of Taiwan for scrapping.

Snohomish County (LST-1126) was awarded eight battle stars for service in the Vietnam War.

Everett and Snohomish County, Washington, Research Resources

As I dig into the more recent history of my family, Snohomish County and Everett, Washington, and the surrounding areas played a huge part not just in my life, education, and culture, but also to several branches of my family, especially the West and Knapp sides.

The West family came from Michigan to log the Pacific Northwest, surviving in rough logging camps at the turn of the century. A family of adventurers, they arrived on the Mayflower and brought “civilization” across what became the United States. While not leaving a huge impact on Snohomish County, my Grandfather Howard W. West guarded the Pacific Northwest waters at sea and inland his entire life, serving on the new USS Arizona 15 years before Pearl Harbor, raising his children in Marysville and later at the Friday Harbor lighthouse, and dying as security for Chief Joseph Dam.

My mother’s Knapp family was forced by the Depression to leave behind their beloved but poverty and struggles in the logging community of Taylor Rapids, Wisconsin, for the west coast, seeking a better life. Knowing nothing but logging, they joined the logging camps in Oregon until a fire destroyed what little they had left. They moved to the wilderness of Snohomish County to work the Frye Lettuce Farm in Monroe, then the logging teams blazing roads roads through the forested mountain foothills to build what is now Old Highway 2.

Two of the Knapp brothers married into the Elwell family, descendants of Chief Seattle. Robert Knapp stayed with his wife, Evelyn Elwell (of Charles Elwell and Laura Stillman), in Lake Stevens. Lloyd married Irene Elwell and moved to Eastern Washington. Wayne Knapp married into the Odell family of Snohomish, another family of early homesteaders, merging native Americans even further with immigrant whites.

Father-in-law Captain Elwell hired on Robert and Wayne on the tug, Skagit Chief, maneuvering logs through the treacherous waterways of the Snohomish and Skagit Rivers and Puget Sound. As the roads opened up, cargo moved from the waterways, and the two Knapp brothers found jobs as security guards at the Monroe State Prison. Wayne soon moved onto Seattle, working his way up to the head of Boeing security.

Snohomish County has a long history, going back to the Native Americans. Everett, Washington, played a role in both World Wars as a protected port for the Pacific ocean. Just recently, a World War I cannon was found in Clark Park in Everett on Lombard Avenue, though not lost in the sense of lost to history but missing from the park in a mystery over 10 years old. It was found in a maintenance area of the park, forgotten and ignored. The city is now trying to figure out how to restore and/or protect this one playground for myself and children to climb over and pretend we were fighting the enemy below on the bay.

Paine Field Airport was named for a pilot in World War I, and the Boeing plant in Mukilteo, southwest of Everett, continues to be one of the largest buildings on one floor in the world as well as a major driver to the world economy and transportation system. Port Gardner Bay, once filled with logs yanked down the foothills of Mt. Pilchuck and all over Snohomish County, still hosts the paper mill remains, part of what pulled Everett out of the Great Depression when logging ran dry. It’s now dwarfed by the new marina and naval base next door.

Everett was a cross road for transportation in all directions. From the sea to the mountains east across Highway 2, later complemented by the North Cascades Highway connecting the northwestern part of the area with Eastern Washington during the passable times of the year. To the north lie Vancouver, Canada, along Interstate 5, and to the south, along the same highway, lie the industrial city of Seattle and points beyond all the way to Mexico.

From the earliest years, Everett and Snohomish County played a crucial role in the lives of Native Americans as they were gathered together and relocated to the Tulalip Reservation, home not to the Tulalip Indians, but a point of land considered waste land by government officials along the muddy flats of Port Gardner Bay and Puget Sound. Today, it hosts one of the more popular Casinos and hotels in the state, bringing popular names in entertainment and non-stop gambling and bingo to all.

There is so much history to uncover in Everett and Snohomish County, for myself as well as my family. While Everett, Washington, has its own Wikipedia page, I recommend you take time to read Mill Town: A Social History of Everett, Washington, from Its Earliest Beginnings on the Shores of Puget Sound to the Tragic and I (Washington Papers) by Norman H. Clark to learn more about this amazing region and its history.

Google has a fascinating search history timeline of Everett, Washington. It’s a bit misleading at there is an Everett, Massachusetts, and many people named Everett as a first and last name, and many references to George Washington, for whom the state was named, and an Edward Everett of Washington DC and George Washington history, so results going back to 1760 relate to published articles about those unrelated topics. However, there are some historical gems in the references published on the web covering the Bellingham riots of 1907 which later migrated to the Everett Jail, the Everett Massacre (a labor dispute that turned deadly in 1916), the courthouse fire of 1909, company announcements and news, property sales and development, many obituaries, biographies, government documents, and more.

One treasure I uncovered through the Google timeline search was an announcement in the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive for September 2007:

On Saturday, 19 September 1891, at 11:00 a.m., the whaleback steamer CHARLES W WETMORE left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania loaded with the materials to build a nail mill, iron smelter and shipyard for the new city of Everett, Washington. Her skipper was Captain Joseph B. Hastings and she had a crew of 22.

One of the main streets in Everett, along which my great, great grandfather, Perry West, lived, is Wetmore. I didn’t know that a steamer ship had been named for the man, and how that name made it way into the history of Everett.

Here is a reference list of some of the historical sites I’ve found online that help tell the story and history of the area.

The Snohomish Tribe comprised the largest Native American population in this county area. They lived along the shores of Puget Sound from Warm Beach to Richmond Beach and along the Snohomish River to Monroe. The Stillaguamish (Stoluck-wha-mish) lived along both north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River, near present-day Stanwood the Skykomish (Skai-wha-mish), along the Skykomish River, now Sultan and north of Index the Sauk-Suiattle (Sak-ku-me hu) in the area that is now Darrington and the Snoqualmie (Suqualmoo) near present-day Duvall and Monroe. The tribes spoke Lushootseed, most using the northern dialect, and followed the traditional cycle of fishing, hunting and gathering.

Hibulb (also hibulob or Hebolb) was their principle village. Situated on the northern tip of today’s Everett peninsula, Hebolb was oriented to both the Snohomish River and Port Gardner Bay. A cedar stockade defended villagers against warring tribes.

European and American Exploration

British Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) landed on the beach south of Hebolb on June 4, 1792, claiming the Puget Sound region for King George III and naming nearby locations including Puget Sound, Port Gardner Bay, and Port Susan Bay. Vancouver did not note the Snohomish River, but Hudson’s Bay records list it in 1824 as “Sinnahamis.” The river was charted as “Tuxpam” by the U.S. government expedition of Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) in 1841. The present form “Snohomish” dates from the U.S. Coastal Survey of 1854.

On January 22, 1855, Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862) and 81 tribal leaders met at Point Elliott (now Mukilteo) to sign a treaty between regional tribes and the U.S. government. Snoqualmie Chief Patkanim (ca.1808-1858) represented the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish bands, signing away their lands in exchange for cash, hunting, and fishing rights, and a reservation established at Tulalip. French Catholic priest, Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse (1821-1892), was assigned to Tulalip in 1856, establishing St. Anne’s mission and a government boarding school.

Early White Settlement

The Tulalip Bay settlement of 1853 has been described as the birthplace of Snohomish County. Whidbey Island pioneer John Gould (1823-1900), Hudson’s Bay trapper Peter Goutre (1804-1875), and Jehial Hall staked claims along Tulalip Bay (now part of the Tulalip Reservation). Charles C. Phillips (1824-1867), who ran a canoe mail service, and Seattle pioneer Dr. Wesley Cherry (?-1854) joined Gould in creating the Tulalip Mill Company and began operating a waterpowered sawmill. Hall granted water, land, and timber access to his land in exchange for a partnership in the mill. The venture was short-lived: Cherry was killed by Indians the following year, and the Tulalip Reservation was formed at this location.

Hoping to control Indian unrest following the treaty, Company I, First Regiment of Washington Territory Volunteers, under Col. Isaac Ebey (1818-1857) was dispatched to build a fort on the Snohomish River. The men boarded the schooner Trask in November 1855 and were towed by the steamer Traveler to a small island at the head of Ebey Slough, about a mile southeast of Lowell. Here the men erected a crude cedar-log building and christened it “Fort Ebey.” They withdrew from the site early in 1856, following an uneventful winter.

In 1860 Port Townsend federal customs officer Morris H. Frost (1804-1882) built a store and saloon at Mukilteo, and convinced Jacob Fowler (1837-1892) from Ebey’s Landing to join him as a business partner. Pioneer Emory C. Ferguson (1833-1911) scouted opportunities along the Snohomish River and eventually settled at what was to become Snohomish City. Ferguson moved a prefabricated house to this location and became a permanent resident in 1860. His small home still stands today.

As the population grew, local settlers petitioned the territorial legislature to develop a separate county, and Snohomish County, originally part of Island County, was formed on January 14, 1861. Mukilteo became the temporary county seat until a July election moved it to Snohomish.

Rich farmland and easy water access attracted homesteaders, and settlements also began at Lowell, Monroe, Stanwood, and Edmonds. As Washington Statehood neared, Snohomish City was the county’s cultural, financial, and political center. The small community now included a school, a library, a science collection, and even an Athenaeum Society. In 1876, journalist Eldridge Morse began publishing a well-respected territorial newspaper called The Northern Star.

During Washington's territorial years, the peninsula that would become Everett was mostly logged by companies drawn to its old-growth trees and the proximity to mills at Port Gamble and Utsaladdy. About a dozen homesteaders and squatters chose this location as well.

In 1862 reclusive Dennis Brigham (1807-1887) homesteaded on the bayside. Erskine D. Kromer (1836-1885) came to string telegraph lines, stayed, took a homestead claim, married a Coast Salish woman, and began raising a family. That same year, Jacob (1837-1916) and David Livingston (1830-1913) platted a development on the bayside (present-day Harborview Park, Everett) and named it Western New York. While the Livingston brothers sold only a few lots, they built and operated the county’s first steam-powered sawmill. The following year, Leander Taylor and Clarence Bagley opened a store at the Hebolb site and built the sloop Rebecca. By the 1870s, Mukilteo boasted having the Eagle Brewery as well as the first fish cannery in Washington Territory.

The Railroad, Gold Fever, and Everett

Snohomish County grew, as did all the Pacific Northwest, with the arrival of the railroad. On July 4, 1889, Joseph Pearsall struck gold and staked a claim at Monte Cristo. This drew prospectors to the area and helped solidify plans for the development of an industrial city at Port Gardner Bay.

Hoping that the Great Northern Railroad would first touch tidewater here, Tacoma lumberman Henry Hewitt Jr. (1840-1918) convinced East Coast investors, including John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), to invest in the city that was to become Everett. With Rockefeller money in the mix, other speculators soon joined, convinced that a Rockefeller venture could not fail. Thus the Everett Land Company was formed, and work crews began to clear land in the summer of 1891.

The Everett economy was developed around four major industries: a nailworks, a smelter, a whaleback bargeworks, and a paper mill at Lowell. But the silver panic of 1893 halted the boom, and Rockefeller sold his interests. When the national economy improved in 1899, the Everett Land Company holdings were transferred to the Everett Improvement Company, funded by money from railroad tycoon James J. Hill (1838-1916). Soon Everett had many lumber and shingle mills, iron works, shipbuilding establishments, a brewery, a flour mill, and a cannery on the waterfront. The Improvement Company also built city parks and a theater.

A bitter controversy over location of the county seat ensued between the established town of Snohomish and the upstart city of Everett. This controversy raged from 1894 to 1897 through public votes, appeals, and court rulings. Both sides claimed voting irregularities. Everett became the county seat in 1897.

Labor, Management, and the Progressives

By 1910 it was estimated that a fifth of Everett’s population was employed in the mills, where working conditions were dangerous and hours long. Railroading and logging held equal dangers. Trades unions gained an early, solid base in Everett. When the first issue of the Labor Journal was published in Everett on February 26, 1903, the newspaper listed 31 trades unions with a combined membership of 2,500 in a city whose total population was about 10,000. Cooks and Waiters, Laundry Workers, and Cigarmakers unions included women in their ranks.

Management and timber bosses were strong union opponents, and Snohomish County became fertile ground for arguing labor issues. Soapbox speakers were common, particularly in Everett, where there were many Progressives, even Socialists. State Senator John Campbell (1880-1924), a Progressive from Everett and a Labor Journal manager, passed an 8-Hour Work Day bill for Washington women in 1911. Journalist Anna Agnes Maley (1872-1918) arrived in Everett to edit the Socialist newspaper, the Commonwealth, and stayed long enough to run for governor of Washington State in 1912.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) gained strong support in Snohomish County lumber camps. As one old-time logger expressed it in a 1974 interview, “You just about had to join” (Wardell). In Everett, however, one joined at peril. IWW members were blacklisted, unable to find work in the mills. When Everett shingle weavers went on strike over wages, the Wobblies came in support. Events culminated November 5, 1916, in the Everett Massacre, a labor confrontation between the IWW and county lawmen that left two deputies and at least five Wobblies dead, with dozens more wounded.

World War I to 1929

World War I dashed the hopes of radicals, and Snohomish County solidly backed the war effort. The predominant economy now was lumbering, with 130 lumber and shingle mills including Weyerhaeuser, Clough-Hartley, Jamison, Index-Galena, Sultan Railway and Timber, the Rucker Brothers Mill, Puget Mill Company (Pope and Talbot), and Merrill & Ring Logging. The 1923 Tokyo earthquake spurred a lumber boom in the Pacific Northwest, bringing the region out of recession and fueling development that lasted until the stock market crash.

Snohomish County’s agricultural base also grew with the addition of dairies and egg farms. Alderwood Manor was created when the Puget Mill Company sold five-acre tracts and built a demonstration egg and poultry farm. The Arlington Condensery began in 1921 and operated until the late 1950s.

Snohomish County's Great Depression

During the hard times of the 1930s, government reports listed Snohomish County as one of the state’s neediest counties. Its lumbering economy tumbled. Mills closed and restarted, only to close again. Snohomish County was quick to line up for government aid issued through the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC).

Major projects included expansion of Everett’s Forest Park, a new Everett Public Library, the Everett Civic Auditorium, and a county airport, the beginnings of Paine Field. CCC workers built major camps at Darrington, Sultan, and Index the Verlot office building guard stations at Index, Barlow Pass, Bedal, and Suiattle River and created the Monte Cristo Ranger District.

Washington Politicians

The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of women politicians, including Alice Kerr (1858-1949) who became mayor of Edmonds in December 1925, three months before Bertha Knight Landes (1868-1943) took office as Seattle mayor.

Republican mill owner Roland H. Hartley (1864-1951) of Everett became governor in 1924 and served two troubled terms in office. Everett’s Monrad C. Wallgren (1891-1961) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1932. Running as a Democrat New Dealer, Wallgren was re-elected to three more terms in the House, then to one term as a U.S. Senator in 1940, and then served as Washington state’s 13th Governor. Perhaps the most influential politician from Snohomish County was Democrat Henry M. Jackson (1912–1983) of Everett whose congressional career ran from 1940 to his death in 1983.

World War II and Postwar Growth

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Everett citizens guarded their waterfront, at first watching in shifts from atop the city’s Medical Dental building. The Everett Pacific Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, operated by Pacific Car and Foundry of Seattle, began wartime production on the Everett waterfront in 1942. Everett Marine Ways, the Carl E. Edlund Shipyard, and the Stanwood Shipyard contracted to build ships for the Navy as well. The Arlington airport became a Navy base, providing Grumman Fighters for service in the Pacific. Boeing Aircraft Company operated two airplane assembly plants in Everett, employing mostly women. In 1943, Paine Field was converted to a military base.

Post-World War II growth in the Pacific Northwest quickly connected rural areas and small towns. Highway construction linked Stanwood, Snohomish, and Monroe with Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham. And towns such as Edmonds, Brier, Woodway, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood expanded, smothering what remained of Meadowdale and Alderwood Manor. Bothell’s boundaries moved north from King County. Confined by its peninsula, Everett expanded southward. The Everett Herald began its South County Bureau in May 1954. Lumbering still dominated the economy, but now loggers used portable sawmills and trucks to easily transport logs for milling.

The Boeing Presence

In 1967 Boeing began building the 747 plant near Everett’s Paine Field, thus initiating rapid population growth in the county. The small town of Mukilteo experienced immediate changes when a steep rail line was built through Japanese Gulch from the Great Northern tracks in old-town Mukilteo to the Boeing plant site.

Residents were told that the new industry would be “recession proof,” but Boeing soon suffered in the nationwide hard times that began in 1970. Boeing has continued to have good and bad times, but remains the county’s largest single employer.

Recent Decades

Growth issues have dominated city and county life since the 1970s. Much of the county’s farmland has been sold for real estate, and once-quaint roads have become highways with numbers instead of names. When an Everett Navy homeport was planned in the 1980s, a citizen group formed to oppose these plans. But Weyerhaeuser’s layoff of 300 workers and its announcement to close Everett operations rallied voters to overwhelmingly support Naval Station Everett, which was dedicated in 1994.

Ecologists have been able to preserve important county wetlands and natural habitats, and in 2006 the county website boasts a Snohomish River Estuary that supports 350 kinds of birds, mammals, and plants. A new county program has been put in place to save remaining farmland and open space, and the county government fosters a Snohomish River salmon recovery program to save a dwindling fish population.

In 2006, Snohomish County is one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States. Its economy is a mix of technology, aerospace, service-based business, the building trades and tourism. The county is home to three federally recognized Native American tribes, the Stillaguamish, the Sauk-Seattle, and the Tulalip. The Tulalips (originally the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish bands) have become prosperous from their casino and real-estate ventures. They plan to expand the casino, add more stores, a hotel, and a long-awaited tribal museum.

Boeing is currently riding a wave of prosperity. Lynnwood is planning to allow 35-story buildings, and Snohomish is struggling to accommodate necessary growth while keeping its rural and historic bed-and-breakfast character. Everett, its population at 101,100 in 2006, has monumental plans that include re-zoning for high-density development in the central business district and waterfront. Despite these changes, there is still a strong rural feeling in many of Snohomish County’s smaller towns such as Index, Granite Falls, Arlington, Verlot, and Darrington. Visitors don’t need to travel far to reach some of Washington state’s most scenic recreational areas.

White Horse Mountain from Darrington

Postcard courtesy Everett Public Library

Snohomish County, Washington

Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture

Monte Cristo, 1896

Courtesy Cameron/Lindgren collection

High School, Snohomish, 1900s

Logging in the Wagner District, Snohomish County, 1900s

Courtesy Everett Public Library (Neg. 0212)

Mukilteo Lighthouse (Carl Leick, 1906), 1908

Photo by Robert J. Young, Courtesy Everett Public Library (Neg. 0212)

Clough-Hartley sawmill, Everett, 1915

Courtesy Everett Public Library (Neg. JMills-Clough-Hartley)

Glacier Basin, Snohomish County

Postcard courtesy Everett Public Library

Everett waterfront, ca. 1900

Postcard Courtesy Everett Public Library

Treaty Day, Tulalip Indian Reservation, 1914

Photo by J. A. Juleen, Courtesy Everett Public Library (Neg. JTreatyDay-9)

Works Progress Administration tree planting, Forest Park, Everett, ca. 1935

Courtesy Everett Public Library (Neg. 1178)

Mount Index and Stevens Pass Highway, 1940s

Administration Building, State Reformatory, Monroe, 1940s

Lincoln Bridge, Stillaguamish River, Arlington, 1900s

Hartford Eastern Railway car in front of Big Four Inn, Big Four Mountain, early 1930s

USS Snohomish County sails on a former sailor’s Web site

Blow me down, we used to be famous. There was a ship named the USS Snohomish County (LST 1126).

Petty Officer 3rd Class Calhoun &ldquoBuddy&rdquo Benton served on the ship from 1953 to 1957 as an electrician&rsquos mate. The South Carolina native loves that long-gone ship. He said he hopes to someday find an anchor or bell to put in a museum to honor this county&rsquos namesake.

Many amphibious ships such as the Snohomish County were built during that period but were never named and were decommissioned after World War II, then sold or given to other countries, he said.

During WWII, Benton said, it was decided that a new type of ship was needed for amphibious warfare. More than 1,000 landing ship tanks were built. Many of them were used in the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

Benton, who was 19 when he went aboard, compiled a history of the ship, which served in WWII and the Korean War. Here are some highlights:

1954: The ship made its fourth trip to the western Pacific Ocean.

1955: July 1, 1955, was named the USS Snohomish County (LST 1126). This was the first time landing ship tanks were given names.

Dan Bates / The Herald

1956: Made its fifth tour to the western Pacific.

1957: Left its home port of San Diego and headed for Japan.

1958: Hosted a Christmas party for an orphanage in Kure, Japan.

1959: Port visits included Sasebo, Japan Subic Bay, Philippines and Chin Hai, Korea.

1960: Underwent amphibious training in San Diego.

1961: Participated in Operation Greenlight, one of the largest joint operations ever on the West Coast.

1962: Transported supplies to an atomic bomb test site. Although miles away, some sailors were able to see the effects of nuclear explosions on Christmas Island.

1963: Transported 24,750 tons of Marine and Army vehicles and equipment, and 6,600 troops, and steamed 12,177 miles, all without missing a single commitment.

1964: Back from Hawaii, returned to a busy schedule of local operations.

1965: The Snohomish County began its first Vietnam operations in March, delivering Marines to Da Nang.

1966: Served in Japan, Hawaii, China and Vietnam.

1967: Selected by Commander Naval Support Activity to participate in the initial beaching of landing ship tanks in Cua Viet River Basin near Dong Ha, Vietnam.

1968: Visited Newport, Ore., welcoming 2,500 visitors on board during Loyalty Day.

1969: More time in Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

1970: On Feb. 28, the USS Snohomish County celebrated its 25th anniversary of continuous service.

On April 22, 1970, the ship left Japan for Guam on its final voyage. Upon arrival in Guam, the Snohomish County was declared unfit for sea. It was decommissioned July 1, 1970, and sold for scrap to the Chin Ho Fa Steel &Iron Co. Ltd. of Taiwan.

&ldquoThere are no landing ship tanks in the Navy,&rdquo Benton said. &ldquoThe last one was given away a couple of years ago.&rdquo

Benton&rsquos research is available at He would like his Web site to be linked to the Snohomish County Web site&rsquos history section so people can learn about the ship, he said.

In June in Whitfield County, Ga., artifacts from the USS Whitfield County will be give to a group that plans to display the ship&rsquos bell, a model and its history.

&ldquoSure would be nice if the Snohomish County would do something similar,&rdquo Benton said.

It&rsquos probably too late to get the bell or anchor, but we can preserve the ship&rsquos memory.

Snohomish, located in Snohomish County, is a small town of 9,000 residents, picturesquely sited on the slope of the north bank of its namesake river. Flowing northwest, the Snohomish River begins six miles upstream at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Skykomish rivers, near present-day Monroe, and ends some 12 miles downstream where it empties into Port Gardner Bay (part of Puget Sound) between Everett and Marysville. The name Snohomish City was first used on the 1871 plat that joined the western and eastern claims at Union Avenue, then three blocks long. (The "Snoh-" [Sdhub-] may be related to the Lushootseed word for man [stub]. The "–omish" suffix means people in Lushootseed, the language spoken by the Snohomish and other indigenous people of the area.) Settlers filed claims on both sides of the river in 1859 thinking that traffic on a new military road would pay handsomely for a ferry crossing service. It was not to be. Instead, a steady increase in steamship service brought loggers and supplies to camps up and down the river, followed by family farmers. Snohomish grew to become the economic and cultural center of the county, and served as county seat for 36 years (which it lost to Everett in 1897). Since 1973, a 26-block area has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography and Early History

Stretching from present-day Everett to Snoqualmie Falls, some 60 miles to the south, Glacier Lake Snohomish drained through the Redmond Delta approximately 14,000 years ago, and the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish rivers were incised into the valley floor. The town site is located on a low-elevation landform known as the Getchell Hill Plateau, flanked by the Snohomish Estuary to the west, the Pilchuck outwash channel to the east, and the Snohomish River Valley to the south. The river valley is wide and flat, created through thousands of years of glacial movement and flowing meltwater, and bounded by morainal hills with steep sides -- often described in scientific literature as a "bathtub."

The river itself is characterized by meander arms and oxbow lakes, which developed as the river flooded and changed course within the expansive valley. Hunter-fisher-gatherer sites identified along the Snohomish and Pilchuck rivers indicate human habitation beginning as early as 8,000 years ago. However, the sea level did not stabilize in the Puget Sound region until around 5,000 years ago at that time salmon runs and shellfish beds became established and could be eventually harvested.

On January 22, 1855, Chief Pat Kanim (ca. 1808-1858), representing the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish peoples, made his mark on the Treaty of Point Elliott, just below that of Chief Seattle. With that mark, the three bands agreed to exchange their lands of thick forests, threaded with the three major rivers bearing their names, for cash, and a reservation of land called Tulalip.

First Settlers

One by one, Egbert H. Tucker (1833-1912), Heil Barnes (1828-1910?) and Edson Cady (1828-?) were the first white men recorded as making the 12-mile journey up the dark river that parted the thick forests of giant Douglas-firs and western red cedars. Their mutual goal was to reach the mouth of the Pilchuck River, with the intention of staking claims on both sides of the Snohomish River. This location, where the Pilchuck drains into the Snohomish, was determined by reading rudimentary maps back in the south sound settlement of Steilacoom. Steilacoom was the site of the oldest military fort of the territory, established in 1847. There a group of frontier businessmen drew together over the prospect of providing a ferry service across the Snohomish River for the recently funded military road heading north to Fort Bellingham. The imagined site for the ferry crossing was identified on a later map published by the United States Surveyor General as the Kwehtlamanish Winter Village.

Edson Cady, for reasons lost to history, decided to establish a landing several miles downstream instead, either because of the established Indian camp or because the new site was a better location for a ferry crossing. In any event, Cady applied for a post office permit with the name “Cadyville,” which today is called Cady Landing, a popular boat launch for recreational fishing. Cady also established a trail heading east, eventually crossing the North Cascade Mountain Range at a location still known today as Cady Pass.

Heil Barnes, at the same time, staked a claim for Emory C. Ferguson (1833-1911) adjacent to Cady’s to the west, where he assembled a small, pre-fabricated cottage on a high bank facing down river, close to where it stands today as a private home, handsomely restored. Built by Ferguson in Steilacoom, the cottage was disassembled and shipped north aboard the side-wheeler Ranger No. 2 in the spring of 1859. Apprenticed as a carpenter in the place of his birth in in Westchester County, New York, Ferguson arrived a year later aboard the same side-wheeler with enough supplies to establish a store.

Meanwhile, across the river, Tucker sold his claim to John Harvey (1828-1886) from England via Seattle. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Regular Army abandoned both Forts Steilacoom and Bellingham and government funding for the military road dried up, leaving only a muddy trail through the woods stopping at the river’s edge on the south bank. There would be no immediate need for a ferry. Tucker was probably relieved that he got even $50 for his claim after all, Harvey had just received $2,000 for his lakefront claim on the future Lake Washington, and it had been destroyed in the 1856 episode of the treaty wars known as the “Battle of Seattle.”

All of the Steilacoom investors pulled out of the deal except Ferguson -- who went on to become a popular after-dinner speaker with his stories about the founding of Snohomish City, and the county. In an extemporaneous speech given in 1889, Ferguson told his audience that Snohomish County was created "because there were more politicians than there were counties and the matter was adjusted by making another county instead of killing some of the politicians” (Dilgard).

Snohomish County was established on January 14, 1861, when it was separated from Island County, but it was not until July that the votes for the location of the county seat went Ferguson’s way, and he returned from Mukilteo with the county records in his vest pocket, making his little cottage overlooking the river the first county courthouse. The settler population was 49 men and 0 women. But by the time Ferguson built and opened his Blue Eagle Saloon in 1865, Mary and Woodbury Sinclair had purchased the Cady claim and established a store of logging supplies across the steep path to the river.

Mary Low Sinclair (1842-1922), daughter of John and Lydia Low, was one of the youngest members of the Denny Party that arrived at Alki Point in 1851, only 11 years old and now she was the first white woman to take up residence in a riverside landing that was “a small clearing in unbroken timber,” to use her words, and still referred to as Cadyville up and down the river.

River travel settled this place. There were no roads in early Snohomish, only winding, muddy paths cut through the woods. Ferguson reminisced in an interview later in life about his first trip upriver in 1860:

“The Snohomish River was at the time a very weird place, the trees along the banks with their long branches extending out over the river, in many places meeting, with long strings of moss hanging from the branches, which nearly shut out the sunlight” (Dilgard).

The authors of River Reflections (Vol. 1) list the names of 69 steamships that answered the call to move both passengers and freight -- and the mail! The idiosyncrasies of the ships, the personalities of their captains, and the moods of the river were reported on extensively in the newspapers. And if column inches of ink in the Northern Star (est. 1876), and later The Eye (est. 1882) were tallied up, the sternwheeler Nellie would come out the favorite.

First Plat and First School

In 1868, Emory C. Ferguson married Lucetta Morgan (1849-1907) from Olympia, Washington, and three years later, they platted their claim, giving streets running east-west a number, and the north-south-running avenues a letter whereas, the following year, Woodbury and Mary Sinclair, named the avenues of their eastern claim after trees. Three months later, on June 5, 1872, Woodbury B. Sinclair (1826-1872) died of unknown causes, leaving Mary to raise two children whose estate now owned half of the newly named city. Her first official act as guardian of the estate was to donate three acres that bordered along the Pilchuck River for the city’s first cemetery formally governed by an association (today the site is suspected to have been a well-established Indian burial ground).

Mary is reverently remembered as the “mother” of Snohomish Schools for opening her home as the first classroom and donating land for the first schools. In 1869, the county superintendent paid Miss Ruby Willard $188.59 for three months of school held in the Sinclair home for some 20 students ranging in ages from 4 to 21. Since many of the children attending school in her home were of mixed marriages, it follows that Mary Sinclair became proficient in the indigenous language and dialects, so much so, that she was often called upon to translate for visiting government officials and reporters. For example, in 1920, when a reporter from Seattle’s Post-Intelligencer called on Snohomish’s most famous Native American resident, Pilchuck Julia, Mary Sinclair went along as translator. The resulting article estimated Julia’s age to be about 80 years: "[S]he is very energetic, cultivates her garden, fishes in the Pilchuck river, and regularly walks to Snohomish, a distance of nearly two miles.” Julia died in 1923.

Atheneum Society

Shortly after Snohomish was officially named and a school begun, a meeting was held “to organize what was one of the most unique and noteworthy literary associations in the early history of Washington territory” (Whitfield). Most likely, the inspirational leader of the Atheneum Society was Dr. Albert C. Folsom (1827-1885), a former army surgeon with experience in the Civil War, who, now in his 40s, arrived in town with a scientific collection of more than 100 fossils, gems, and bones plus, it seems, the first doctor of Snohomish County arrived with a broken heart from a failed marriage back in Wisconsin -- so it was explained upon his death in a moving elegy written by his friend Eldridge Morse (1847-1914), who looked upon Folsom, with his two degrees from Harvard, as a mentor.

Morse, a young lawyer from the Midwest, just happened to fall into a conversation with Ferguson in Seattle, which resulted in him moving his young family to the riverside settlement to become its first lawyer. A month later, Folsom arrived in town, and within two years, the first doctor and the first lawyer of early Snohomish produced the first handwritten newsletter of the Atheneum Society, which continued on a twice-monthly basis for a year and a half and led to the founding of the first newspaper, The Northern Star, in 1876.

Society members also pooled their private collection of books to establish the county’s first lending library, then embarked on the ambitious plan to build a two-story building, named the Atheneum, to house their collection of some 300 books, Folsom’s scientific specimens, and a grand meeting hall on the second floor. The women of early Snohomish supported this vision by somehow purchasing an upright piano, the first one in the city, which is still available for use to this day at the local library.

Snohomish Logging Personalities

The first board milled at the first mill in Snohomish was ceremoniously used in the Atheneum building. The Bennett & Witter Mill began operation on the Pilchuck River in 1876. Ferguson was an owner for a short while but sold it to his father-in-law, Hiram D. Morgan (1822-1906), and the mill was in business well into the new century as the Morgan Brothers Lumber and Shingle Mill.

Isaac Cathcart (1845-1909) most likely arrived in town following a footpath through the forest rather than by steamship. A large-framed Irishman, recently from Michigan, who immigrated in 1864, Cathcart had been working in the county since 1869, felling trees in isolated logging camps. He arrived in town four years later with enough money saved to build the Exchange Hotel at the west end of town. It stood across the street from the unfinished Atheneum building, which he eventually purchased from the suddenly bankrupt society, renaming it the Cathcart Opera House. By 1890, Cathcart owned his own logging business, a store on the first floor of his opera house, and several large farms. He served as county treasurer, eventually becoming the richest man in the county.

The Blackman Brothers -- Alanson, Elhanan, and Hyrcanus -- filed for bankruptcy in Bradley, Maine, and migrated west with their wives -- Elizabeth, Francis and Ella -- to the rich Snohomish River Valley of the new Washington Territory, where the stories of the giant trees must have seemed like tales from the bible. They established their first logging camp around 1875 on Stillaguamish Lake, which today is ringed with expensive homes for the most part and renamed Blackman Lake to honor the first family of Snohomish’s lumber industry. Their first mill was located at the river, west of Avenue D, an easy walk from the lakeside camp.

This mill is where they began cutting shingles with Elhanan’s invention of a tripper shingle machine, in which a carriage holding a block of cedar is tripped by a rachet action, moving the block in and out from the saw, creating a shingle with each pass. Within two years, the mill was producing 10 million shingles a year. The brothers introduced the first drying kiln, used to reduce the weight of the lumber. A dried bundle of shingles, for example, weighs 60 pounds less than a bundle of green ones, and the fact of lower freight charges only increased the popularity of Snohomish’s red cedar shakes on the East Coast.

And to get the huge cedar logs out of the forest, Alanson and Elhanan invented a steam-powered logging engine capable of pulling several loaded log trucks on wooden tracks -- tracks that were quick to install over uneven terrain, and proved very popular with logging operations as far south as Olympia. Hyrcanus, the youngest brother, kept the books and involved himself in the civic affairs of the new town, wining the first election for mayor of the newly incorporated city in 1890 -- receiving 218 votes to Ferguson’s 164.

Hyrcanus died in the home he built at 118 Avenue B in 1921, just a few months after his 37-year-old son Clifford was taken by the 1919 flu epidemic. Eunice, Hyrcanus's and Ella’s only daughter, lived in the home with her husband, Dr. William Ford. Eunice survived William by many years. She died at her daughter’s home in California, but not before agreeing to sell the family home to the newly formed Snohomish Historical Society in 1970.

In Everett's Shadow

The Seattle Herald reported in 1884 that Snohomish was an old town of about 700 inhabitants, with a two-story courthouse, a new sawmill producing 20,000 feet of lumber each day, one good school building, six saloons, and one church (and that church had a bell). Products as listed by the Herald were “fruit, logs, hay and skating rinks” -- there were two. When the first train pulled into the new Snohomish station on Lincoln Street four years later, the city boasted a million dollar economy -- fourth largest on Puget Sound.

On May 23, 1888, the four-star, three-story Penobscot Hotel opened and that date should be remembered as the beginning of Snohomish’s life in the shadow of a young town growing to the west. The harbor town was founded by men bringing money from the east -- the same money that paid for their individually heated rooms, the largest one facing 1st Street -- and the men named their nascent town after one of their sons, Everett. Ten years later, in 1897, Snohomish lost the county seat to the ambitious new town following a bitter, three-year contest of civic wills fought in smoky backrooms, voting booths, and the courts, until finally the records were moved to Everett in the middle of night using 37 horse-drawn wagons.

By the beginning of the new century, the handsome courthouse, built of brick from Snohomish’s own brickyard, found new life as the Snohomish High School. It was filled with the sounds of bells and laughter for the next 30 years until it had to come down. The historic first city on the river continued to grow as a logging and agriculture center, while quietly thankful perhaps that it had been spared the worst of urban growth about to arrive via Eisenhower’s National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.

E. C. Ferguson’s son, Cecil, and Cecil's wife, Clara, founded the Ferguson Canning Company in 1914 to take advantage of the excellent fruit-growing conditions of the climate and soil. However, the fruit-growing season is short, so the company expanded to preserve in cans corn, smoked fish, and even clams. Innovations continued as Emory A., then his brother Burdett, joined the company, so that by the time the Seattle World’s Fair came around in 1962, they were ready with a new item called “Puget Sound Air” -- a legal canning of air -- sporting an unique label, and now a prized collectors’ item.

Noble Harvey, son of John who took possession of the claim on the south bank in 1860, established a family-owned airfield in 1945, which the family still operates as Harvey Airfield. Noble had a long tradition of firsts beginning with his birth as the first boy born to white parents. In 1911, Nobel purchased the first automobile in the county, the same year he hosted the first airplane flight. Fred J. Wiseman, who held the record for a sustained flight of more than six minutes, arrived by train with his Curtiss-Farman-Wright biplane, billed as the “Fastest Machine in the World” -- once it's unloaded and reassembled of course. Wiseman’s flight in Snohomish was cut short by rain-soaked, fabric-covered wings and it ended in a muddy but safe nose-dive after reaching only 60 feet in altitude. The amazing machine was repaired, continued to break records, and is currently hanging in the Smithsonian Postal Museum as the first plane to carry the mail.

In the late forties, the Poier Motors building at 1105 First Street collapsed into the river due to a foundation compromised by repeated flooding. For some 15 years, the block-long row of brick storefront buildings sat empty, boarded up, until the city planners found some urban renewal funds to study the future of the historic downtown core. The architect’s fancy drawings were finally presented at a citywide meeting on October 21, 1965, and it proposed tearing down the old buildings, opening up the south side of First Street to the river, and remodeling the remaining buildings to give Snohomish the look of an up-to-date riverside mall. The Planning Commission rejected the proposal. Community feelings were probably summed up in one sentence from an editorial in the Snohomish County Tribune that read, “Snohomish hasn’t sunk that low, yet.”

Historic Snohomish Today

This was the same year, 1965, that Snohomish began its growth north by annexing the southern section of the Bickford Corridor named after Bickford Avenue, which in turn is named in honor of the family owned Ford dealership initially located on 1st Street, a block west from Poier’s Chevrolet store. On the eve of Snohomish celebrating 150 years since its founding, the city’s first super shopping mall, Snohomish Station, will open on this road, five miles north of the river on the site of a former gravel quarry. A second high school to the south will be open by then, alongside a new elementary school to serve a school-district population of more than 40,000 students.

And it was the late sixties, after the boarded-up buildings on 1st Street were finally torn down and the riverside park was created in their place, that a group of citizens met in the basement of the 1910 Carnegie Library to start a historical society. This led to the first appointment and election of two women to the city council, Anne Eason and Ione Gale, who successfully supported the society’s proposal to establish Snohomish’s Historic District. Since 1973, a 26-block area has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places Snohomish was the first city government of the county to pass an ordinance establishing such a district. This also led to the establishment of the Design Review Board.

The recently organized Historic Downtown Snohomish organization is working with the national Main Street Program and collecting assessments to re-energize what was once the heart not only of the city but of Snohomish County as well. Today the Snohomish River continues to rise and fall with phases of the moon and drainage of the North Cascade Mountain Range 60 miles to the east, just as each generation walking the River Trail (completed in 2006) will come to understand the river as the gift of nature that created the city of Snohomish.

Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Snohomish River, downriver looking west, with town of Snohomish on north bank, ca. 1885

Photo by Horton, Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society, (Image No.FS028)

Snohomish River Trail (completed April 2006), looking west, Snohomish, 2007

Photo by Warner Blake, Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society.

Modified 1855 Government Land Office map showing homesteads, Snohomish City

Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

Snoqualmie Chief Patkanim (ca. 1808-1858), ca. 1855

Photo by George N. Moore, Courtesy MOHAI (SHS1679)

Ferguson's Blue Eagle Saloon (l.), Sinclair/Clendenning store (r.), Snohomish City or Cadyville, 1865

Photo by Sammis, Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image SG002)

Snohomish looking north across the river, 1884

Photo by Palace Floating Gallery, Courtesy Everett Public Library (Image No. 0169)

Sternwheeler Nellie, Ferguson's Wharf with Cathcart's Exchange Hotel behind, Snohomish, 1877

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No.BO008)

Bruhn and Henry merchants warehouse, located on site of Ferguson's Wharf, Snohomish, ca. 1900

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. FS017)

Snohomish River ferry, looking south, ca. 1885

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. RI-005)

Ferry Alki, first steamship built for river travel, ca. 1885

Photo by Horton, Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. BO001)

Celebrating harvest at John Harvey's hops barn, Snohomish, 1884

Courtesy Mike Barnhart and Donna Harvey

Emory and Lucetta Ferguson plat, Shohomish, filed 1871

Courtesy Everett Public Library

Woodbury and Mary Low Sinclair's plat, Snohomish, 1872.

Courtesy Everett Public Library

Avenue D at 2nd Street, Snohomish, 1885

Photo by Horton, Courtesy Snohomish County Museum

1st Street looking east at Avenue D, Snohomish, ca. 1885

Photo by Horton, Courtesy Snohomish County Museum

Snohomish Atheneum (1876), pictured here after it was sold to Isaac Cathcart, Snohomish, ca. 1878

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. FS029)

Cover of handwritten newsletter, The Shillalah, Snohomish, 1874

Courtesy UW Special Collections (Athena Papers, acc. 4601)

Eldridge Morse

Courtesy Noel Bourasaw,

Blackman Brothers logging operation, Snohomish, ca. 1880

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No.LG053)

Lithograph, Blackman Brothers, 1889

Courtesy Everett Public Library

Blackman Mill on Snohomish River, ca. 1885

Photo by Horton. Snohomish County Museum

Blackman Brothers Railway, with wooden tracks, ca. 1885

Photo by Peiser, Snohomish Historical Society (Image No.RR001)

Hotel Penobscot, Snohomish, 1890

Courtesy UW Special Collections (Image No. 979.595 sm v8)

Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad bridge (1888), Snohomish River, Snohomish, n.d.

Courtesy UW Special Collections (UW18022)

Bruhn and Henry Market, 1st Street, Snohomish, ca. 1890

Photo by Douglas, Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. FI005)

Cecil Ferguson, Snohomish, ca. 1900

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. PE100)

Grocery, Snohomish, ca. 1910

Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society (Image No. BU159)

Can of Pure Puget Sound Air packaged by Ferguson Canning Co. (Snohomish) for 1962 World's Fair, 2008

Photo by Warner Blake, Courtesy Gary Ferguson

Fred Wiseman making first airplane flight in Snohomish County, May 7, 1911

Local Case Counts

We update confirmed and probable case numbers for the county and by city weekly. Hospital data is updated each weekday. Depending on when you check the tables, numbers may vary from those reported by the state Department of Health. Because new reports of positive tests come in and disease investigations are done throughout the week, the numbers vary based on when the data is run. Please check the "Data as of" or "Last Updated" note to confirm the most current number.

Case Count (cumulative since Jan. 2020) Last Updated: 2:25 p.m. 6/14/21 Change from 6/07/21
Confirmed 36,963 +298
Probable 3,358 +49
Deaths 603 +6*

Note: “Probable” cases include close contacts of a confirmed case who become symptomatic, positive antigen test, or positive serology/antibody test AND a credible history of COVID-like illness. For full definition of a "Probable" case, please see the Department of Health guidance.

** Based on what is reported to the Health District daily, and a weekly reconciliation with state Department of Health data.

To better align with the Washington State Department of Health’s data dashboard, the Snohomish Health District has incorporated positive antigen results into case reporting.

Effective April 19, the weekly case count update now includes a bar chart with total positive cases for the week broken into molecular and antigen cases. The rolling 2-week case rate has also been updated to incorporate antigen cases going back in time. This recalibration has resulted in a slight increase in rolling 2-week case rates.

Antigen test results are still positive cases, but conducted through rapid tests rather than molecular testing doing at laboratories. This addition of antigen-positive cases is not what’s driving the observed increase in the rolling 2-week COVID rate. The overall increase in case rates is due to increased transmission. Only 18% of confirmed cases over the past month are antigen-positive cases.

Snohomish County Historic Sites

The Places of the Past collection contains annotated photographs documenting the history of the buildings and places of Snohomish County. The Project draws on photograph collections and expertise from county heritage organizations and the Everett Public Library in an Internet-accessible image database format.

The photographs are primarily of individual buildings but may include street views, cultural landscapes, sites of historic events, roadways, or even some historic ships. The images will include but not be limited to places currently on National, State, and local registers and districts of historic places.

This project is sponsored by the League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations and the Everett Public Library. Other contributing organizations include the Everett Historical Commission, Snohomish County Historical Commission, Snohomish County Planning & Development Department, and individual League member organizations.

Hear former Everett Public Library Historian David Dilgard talk about the Snohomish County Courthouse and Forgotten Creek.

Snohomish County: An Illustrated History Book

It took ten years but the amazing book on the history of Snohomish County, Washington, is now available. “Snohomish County: An Illustrated History” features 432 pages packed with geological, environmental, historical, social, and political history of Snohomish County. There are 400 photographs, maps, and topical sidebars with many illustrations by local artist Bernie Webber.

Project coordinators and editors were David Cameron, Charles LeWarne, Allan May, Jack O’Donnell, and Larry O’Donnell. Many contributions were made by local historians, experts, and genealogists to make this the most extensive county historical book ever. The last one was written by William Whitfiled in 1926.

The book is available through the Museum of Snohomish County History (425-259-2022), Pilchuck Books (425-303-0345) and many local stores and shops in Everett, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Monroe, and Marysville.

Having grown up in Snohomish County, the book is especially important to me because of my family’s strong connection with the area.

On the Elwell side of the Knapp family, we can trace our roots back to Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe. His sister, Gow-Gue-Wait, our ancestor, married into the Snohomish Tribe. Even today, her descendants live in Snohomish County.

The book talks about the whites struggling for dominance and control of the Pacific Northwest Indians, which eventually resulted in many of the local Indian tribes and peoples being forced onto land set aside for them in the area of Tulalip, which borders Snohomish County to the northwest.

John Elwell (1841-1895), who married Guaquiath Kektidose of the Snohomish tribe and daughter of Gow-Gue-Wait, was among the first men to see the “gold in them thar trees” and helped developing the logging industry. His sons, Charles and Simon Elwell, worked the Snohomish and Skagit Rivers, as well as the whole waterway of Puget Sound building boats and ferries, and hauling logs, supplies, and passengers up and down the rivers.

They are also mentioned on page 112 regarding the building of the town of Monroe, Washington:

Residents also participated in railroad construction activities. Barges 60 feet long and six to eight feet wide were filled with supplies and towed upriver by mules. Two brothers, Simon and Charles Elwell, built a 44-foot canoe to carry materials for railroad construction. Reportedly, the huge craft could hold up to 4,700 pounds.

The Knapp family also has its roots strongly embedded in Snohomish County, marrying into the Elwell, Odell, and Handley pioneer families. The Knapp brothers had grown up in the logging camps of Northern Wisconsin, so they came with experience and strong backs to work the rivers and logging camps with the Elwell family.

The West family also has a long tradition as part of the history of Snohomish County. Howard West Sr. and his son, Howard West Jr., lived their lives in the Pacific Northwest between Oregon and Washington. Howard Sr. called Everett, Washington, his home since not long after World War I. He worked on the lighthouses and dams throughout Washington State for all of his adult life, serving in the Coast Guard and Lighthouse Service, after an early stint with the Marines.

“Snohomish County: An Illustrated History” is a valuable resource to help us understand all of the cultural, political, and societal issues going on during the times of our ancestors. I learned of the political battles that overthrew the town of Mukilteo, where I spent my teenage years, as center of Snohomish County to the town of Snohomish, which was later taken over by Everett, as an open port city and military base, and eventually the home of Boeing.

Snohomish County has a very diverse and mixed history, not all pretty, but not all terrible, and gives us a chance to see what it was like for our ancestors as they struggled to survive in a tough new wilderness.

Washington State Records

Snohomish County recorded 968 violent crimes and 16,463 property crimes in 2015, the most recent year with a complete set of crime statistics. These figures represent a 3.1% increase in violent crimes and an 0.7% drop in property crime over the last year five years. Violent crime incidences in the county in 2015 include 9 murders, 108 rapes, 551 aggravated assaults, and 300 robberies. In the same period, Snohomish County also recorded 2,409 burglaries, 12,090 larcenies, 1,964 vehicle thefts, and 69 arsons.

Compared to 2011 crime data, murder (12.5%), aggravated assault (4.4%), larceny (1%), and vehicle theft (15.9%) rates went up in Snohomish County. The five-year crime trend also reveals lower incidences of rape (12.9%), robbery (7.9%), burglary (17.5%), and arson (28.1%).

In accordance with the state’s Public Records Act, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office makes traffic collision reports and other non-confidential police records available upon request. Use the Public Request Portal to submit a request for these records. The Sheriff’s Office also accepts email requests sent to [email protected] Send a fax request to (425) 388-3939.

Requesters may also visit the Sheriff’s Office in Everett or one of its precincts. The Sheriff’s Office is located at 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, MS 606, 4th Floor Courthouse, Everett, WA. Mail requests should go to this address.

The Sheriff’s Office charges 15 cents per page for copies of records requested. The fee for scanned copies is 10 cents per page while there is a charge of 5 cents for every four electronic files uploaded via email or cloud storage or transferred to CD, DVD, or flash drive. The Sheriff charges $1.50 for a physical CD, $1.60 for a DVD, and $7 for a flash drive. The fees do not include postage charges for physical records. Cash, check, and money order are acceptable forms of payment. Snohomish County Sheriff waives charges if the total fee for obtaining a record is less than $1.

Criminal Records

In accordance with Washington State Community Protection Act of 1990, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for registering and tracking sex offenders living in Snohomish County. It contributes these information to a statewide registry and also makes them available to the public. To find registered sex offenders residing and working in Snohomish County, visit the County Sheriff’s OffenderWatch page. The Offender Search portal allows anyone to search the sex offender database by name, city, and zip code. It also provides information about non-compliant offenders.

The Snohomish County Sheriff is the official in charge of maintaining all jail records for the county. Since most inmate records are not public records, the Sheriff’s Office only provides these confidential information directly to inmates and third-party requesters with court orders. To obtain inmate records, complete the Authorization for Release of Inmate Records and send it to:

Snohomish County Corrections
Attn: Records Requests
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 509
Everett, WA 98201

The Sheriff’s Office also accepts email and fax requests. Email the completed form to [email protected] or fax it to (425) 339-2244. There is a different release form for inmates’ medical records. Print and fill out the Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Health Care Information form and send it to:

Snohomish County Corrections
Attn: Medical Records Requests
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 509
Everett, WA 98201

Alternatively, send an electronic copy of the completed form to [email protected] or fax it to (425) 339-5326. The Sheriff’s Office charges 15 cents per page for documents that are longer than 10 pages. The fee for each color booking photo is 25 cents while the charge for a CD with electronic files is $1.50. Include postage for paper and CD copies. Accepted forms of payment include cash, cashier’s check, and money order. Make cashier’s checks and money orders payable to Snohomish County Corrections.

While most inmate records are not publicly available, looking up an inmate is a freely available service. Consult the Jail Register on the County Sheriff’s websiteto search for inmates incarcerated in the Snohomish County Jail as well as Lynnwood Municipal Jail and Marysville Municipal Jail.

Court Records

Snohomish County District Court Records are available upon request by mail and in person. For an in-person request, visit any of these four locations of District Court:

Cascade Division (North County)
415 E Burke Ave.
Arlington, WA 98223
Everett Division (Central County)
3000 Rockefeller Ave.
M/S 508
Everett, WA 98201
Evergreen Division (East County)
14414 179th Ave. SE
Monroe, WA 98272
South Division (South County)
20520 68th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98036

All four locations are open to the public from Monday to Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. For mail, email, and fax requests, start by downloading and completing the Request for Court Records form. Email it to Public Disclosure at [email protected] or fax it to (425) 388-3411 x6999. When making a request by mail, send the completed form to:

Snohomish County District Court
Public Relations Officer
Shawnee Schaeffer
20520 68th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98036

The District Court charges 50 cents per page for non-certified copies of court records. For certified copies of a court record, there is a $5 for the first page and $1 per page for the rest of the document.

The Superior Court Clerk is the official responsible for maintaining the records of Snohomish County Superior Court. The Clerk provides online access to the court’s electronic records on the Washington State Digital Archives. Available records include documents for civil, adult criminal, domestic, and probate/guardianship cases. Requesters need to provide case numbers to find the right records in the Archives. They can find these numbers using the Washington Courts – Records Search portal.

There is a $1 access fee when obtaining records through the Digital Archives. Non-certified copies attract an additional 50 cents per page charge. For certified copies, requesters have to pay $5 for the first page and then $1 for each additional page plus $5 per 50 pages for mailing.

Public Records

The Vital Records Office of the Snohomish County Health District issues birth and death certificates for the county. To obtain one of these records, visit the Vital Records Office located at 3020 Rucker Avenue, Suite 104, Everett, WA. The office opens between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. To fulfil an order on the same day, requesters must arrive at the office no later than 4:00 p.m.

To request for these vital records by mail, download and complete a Birth Certificate Order Form or a Death Certificate Order Form. Mail this to:

Vital Records Office
3020 Rucker Avenue, Suite 104
Everett, WA 98201

The Vital Records Office accepts cash, check, and debit/credit cards for in-person requests. Only check and money order are accepted for mail requests. Make these payable to Snohomish Health District. The fee for each birth or death certificate is $20. The Health District also charges $8 for records searched for but not found.

The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office issues certified copies of marriage records. The office is on the first floor of the Robert J. Drewel Building and opens from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The County Auditor also accepts mail requests sent to:

Snohomish County Auditor’s Office
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 204
Everett, WA 98201

The County Auditor charges $3 for each certified copy of a marriage license. There is an additional charge of $8 for searching marriage records made before 1976. Mail requests should include 50 cents for postage and handling. Fees are payable by check made out to Snohomish County Auditor.

Snohomish County Record Availability

Snohomish criminal, law enforcement, court, and vital records are available online and/or physically. Some of these records are only accessible after paying certain fees and/or completing application forms. Overall, the ease of finding and obtaining public records for Snohomish County is moderate. Consider using a time-saving online record-finder servicesuch as the search function offered by State Records when looking for elusive records for the county.

The Edmonds Historical Museum is a private non-profit organization established in 1973 by volunteers to collect, preserve and display the historical origins of the City of Edmonds and surrounding area. As an actively collecting institution, the Edmonds Historical Museum has amassed over 26,000 objects, documents, and photographs representing the history and heritage of Edmonds and the greater south Snohomish County area.

The museum is located in Edmonds’ historic 1910 Carnegie Library building at 118 5th Avenue North. This building served as the local library from 1911 until 1962, and from 1962 until 1972 was used by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. On August 3, 1973, the Edmonds Historical Museum opened its doors to the public and serves as a repository for community donations of historic items as well as a showcase of exhibits related to local and regional history.

Though the museum’s mission has evolved over time, we are still dedicated to the core values of our origins: sharing and promoting the history of our community. This is achieved through research, collection and preservation of historical documents, artifacts, memories and events, and by utilizing interpretative displays and engaging in creative public educational programming.

Watch the video: 1,200 Afghan refugees expected to resettle in Snohomish County (July 2022).


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