HistoryLink has a great essay documenting the history of the city of Mountlake Terrace. I live in one of the original 640 square foot (with an addition) houses built in the early ’50s so the description of the house building assembly line was particularly interesting. Read a few excerpts below and head over to HistoryLink.org to read the entire essay.
“In 1949, developer Albert LaPierre and his partner, Jack Peterson, bought an abandoned airstrip on logged-over land about 12 miles north of Seattle, just over the Snohomish County line, and began filling it with 640-square-foot cinder-block houses, priced at $4,999 and aimed at World War II veterans with young families.”
“Mountlake Terrace today bears little resemblance to the housing development that was planted by Peterson-LaPierre in 1949. The community has grown from one square mile to four; and from an exclusively white suburb into one in which one-quarter of the population is black, Asian, or Hispanic. Premera Blue Cross has replaced the Fluke Corporation as the town’s largest employer. More than 2,400 people work at Premera’s headquarters in Mountlake Terrace — nearly half the total number of people living here when the city was incorporated. The septic tanks are long gone, and the city is proud of its 262 acres of parks and recreational areas. But some of the original, two-bedroom cinder-block houses still exist, clustered around the 236th Street exit from the freeway, modest testimonies to the dreams of an earlier generation.”
I’ve been doing research on my grandfather, a veteran of WWII who had lived at the Pittsburgh apartments (couple blocks from Space Needle) in 1945 and then later got married and moved up north into one of those cinder block homes. I found the actual address from family docs, did a Google map search and drove out to see the place. While the exterior had been remodeled, a couple original homes were nearby. Cool!
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