Mukilteo history now a part of modern City Hall

By Laura Daniali | Jan 29, 2014
Courtesy of: Mukilteo Historical Society A very high tide on Front Street near Park Avenue made transportation by boat quite popular circa 1910.  The ebb and flow of water, along with very muddy roads, was part of life in early Mukilteo.

A nondescript brick building at the intersection of 2nd Street and Park Avenue in Old Town housed Louie Anderson’s Pool Hall and Confectionery a century ago.

A sepia-toned photo of the inside of the pool hall – complete with vintage jars full of confections, old mill work and a shopkeeper – now hangs in Mukilteo City Hall.

The photo is one of 25 historical images from the late 1800s to the early 1900s of old Mukilteo that were recently installed in the Council Chambers.

The four-year project was headed by Joe Marine, former mayor of Mukilteo, who had the idea of adding a bit of history to the room.

For Marine, it was about more than just hanging historic photos to enliven the bare walls – it was also about creating a bridge between the past and the future of Mukilteo.

“It’s a very new, modern building, but the thought is having the council sitting here in the present, making decisions about the future, while surrounded by the past,” Marine said.

The project started back in 2010. Marine enlisted the help of Councilmember Emily Vanderwielen, Parks and Arts Commissioner Debby McGehee and Mukilteo Historical Society member Ann Collier to look through and choose from hundreds of historical photos in the Mukilteo Historical Society’s collection.

One of the earliest photos dates back to the 1860s. The image shows Jacob Fowler, one of the founders of Mukilteo, in the company of Native Americans and surrounded by canoes at the water’s edge.

Other images show a range of historical events covering “big” snows, train wrecks, floods, the original Rose Hill School, Crown Lumber, children sledding and various storefronts.

“We thought we needed one train wreck picture,” Collier said. “There were a couple of big train wrecks, one in 1909 and one in 1913.”

As a member of the historical society, Collier played a vital role in providing the story behind each of the photos.

In its earliest days, Mukilteo served as a trading post between Native Americans and newly arrived settlers. It eventually became a mill town with Crown Lumber Co. occupying a large area of the waterfront.

“Mukilteo’s Crown Lumber was the biggest lumber company on the Northwest coast,” Collier said.

Photos of the Mukilteo lighthouse hanging on the left and right walls tie each side of the room together.

“I wanted to make sure there was a lighthouse on both sides, but it’s easy to have them all lighthouses because there are so many, and it’s our icon,” Marine said.

Choosing the right photos was only one part of the process. Each detail was carefully planned out, from the layout to the overall presentation.

The images had to be scanned and cleaned up digitally before they were reproduced on wrapped canvas.

Marine and Councilmember Ted Wheeler made a grid of the walls and planned where to place each of the photos. Then, using a laser level, hung them all in less than a day.

Marine said he sees the project as a way to give back to the community, the new council and the new mayor.

“So many people are not from here,” Marine said. “They moved here, or they may work in Bellevue or Seattle, and they live here and their kids go to school here.

“This helps them connect. If you can understand the past of where you’re living and connect with that, I think it builds some pride in community.”

Collier said she hopes that residents will recognize Mukilteo’s rich history and the changes to the town throughout the years.

“It started out as a trading post and now we’re trading airplanes around the world,” Marine said. “It’s interesting, though, where you start and where you go from there.”

Want to see the photos? City Hall is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.

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