Curious about Snohomish County’s history and heritage? A number of heritage sites expand their open hours and/or add special activities during summer months. So warmer weather is an ideal time to include them while on Snohomish excursions ranging from shopping to hiking.
Going to Alderwood Mall? Stop off at Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association & Museum, an often-overlooked site. There you can see the 1909 Interurban Trolley Car 55, 1917 Superintendent’s Cottage, 1917 Humble House and 1919 Wickers Building.
Heritage Park tells the story of Alderwood Manor, a planned community developed in 1919 by the Puget Mill Company along the electric Interurban Railway between Everett and Seattle. The company marketed the “stump land” left after logging virgin forests. By 1922, Alderwood Manor had a population of 1,463 people – and 200,000 hens. Its egg production ranked second in the nation before the Great Depression in the 1930s decimated the poultry business. Then in 1939, the Interurban lost out to the growing popularity of automobiles.
You can go aboard Interurban Car 55 on the second Saturday in June, July and August during the free Summer History and Heritage Day Tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Built in 1909, this single-ended, wooden electric rail car is one of six Interurban cars that provided service from Alderwood Manor to Seattle and Everett from 1910 to 1939. Hear tales of Car 55’s heydays from a docent whose father was an Interurban motorman.
You can also tour the other Heritage Park buildings that celebrate the agricultural, transportation and social heritage of Lynnwood. All the historic structures have been renovated after being relocated to save them from demolition during various freeway constructions.
Visit the 1919 Tudor-style Wickers Building, the first general store and post office in Alderwood Manor. Named for previous storekeeper Herman Wickers, the building is listed on the Washington Register of Historic Places. It is currently the home of the South Snohomish County Visitor Information Center, so you can pick up maps and information on attractions throughout the county. It is also the location of the new Northwest Veterans Museum.
Take a docent tour of the 1917 Superintendent’s Cottage, the only surviving structure – along with a water tower currently under renovation – from the Alderwood Manor Demonstration Farm. It now serves as a community heritage resource center operated by the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association.
If you’re curious about your genealogical history, visit the 1919 Humble House, home of the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society’s genealogy research library.
Doing a day trip to explore the town of Snohomish? Go on a Sunday and tour the 1878 Blackman House Museum. Victorian home of Snohomish’s first mayor Hyrcanus Blackman, it was family-occupied until the 1960s when the Snohomish Historical Society acquired it. You’ll marvel at the many original furnishings and exhibits, such as an intricately-woven, framed “wreath” made of human hair – popular during the Victorian era. The museum is open 1-4 p.m.
Heading out Highway 2 for Cascades hiking? Stop off at the Western Heritage Center in Monroe. This hands-on, living history museum lets you step back in time to Snohomish’s pioneering days. Many of the exhibits actually work: for example, you can operate a corn grinder – and produce corn meal. You can also learn how butter was churned, watch an 1883 drill press run by an eight-foot waterwheel, and see a primitive washing machine powered by tractor gearing. Don’t miss the amazingly efficient corn-husking machine, rope-braiding device and an outdoor vintage tractor collection that kids love to climb on. There is also lots of railroad and mining memorabilia. The Western Heritage Center is open Friday-Sunday; see website for hours.
Or if you’re headed north and then out Highway 530, check out the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum in Arlington. Learn the heritage of the area’s original homesteaders via vintage dairy farm, logging, military and railroad memorabilia. There are also hundreds of fascinating black and white photos documenting those early years. The museum is open 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Also north off I-5 is the D. O. Pearson House Museum in Stanwood. Like Snohomish’s Blackman House, it was the home of Stanwood’s first mayor. Here you can view local historic artifacts, period furnishings, photographs and exhibits in the three-story Victorian built in 1890. A small museum and the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center behind the house feature changing exhibits. The museum is open 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
And when you’re enjoying a day just in Edmonds, stop by the Edmonds-South Snohomish County Historical Society Museum. See City of Edmonds artifacts, photos and memorabilia from the 1890s to the present on the lower level. Enjoy highlights such as a diorama of the town in 1910, reconstructed room from the 1894 Stevens Hotel, and a working model of the shingle mills that once lined Edmond’s waterfront at the turn of the century. The upper level displays rotating exhibits throughout the year. The museum is housed in a restored 1910 Carnegie Library building, listed on the National Historic Register. It is open 1-4 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday.
Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association & Museum, Lynnwood
South Snohomish County Visitor Information Center (Wickers Building) at Heritage Park
Blackman House Museum, Snohomish
360-568-5235 (Snohomish Historical Society)
Western Heritage Center, Monroe (Evergreen State Fairgrounds)
Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum, Arlington
O. Pearson House Museum, Stanwood
Edmonds-South Snohomish County Historical Society Museum, Edmonds
— By Julie Gangler
Julie Gangler is a freelance writer who has worked as a media relations consultant for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. She began her career as a staff writer at Sunset Magazine and later was the Alaska/Northwest correspondent for Travel Agent Magazine.