Lynnwood is nothing but the Alderwood mall.
Or is it? And even if that were true, would it be so bad?
While retail strip malls, freeways and highways do take up a lot of space in this city, don't forget that Lynnwood is the home of Edmonds Community College, with its many cultural activities for the public.
Remember that Lynnwood includes a long stretch of the Interurban Trail, has many good neighborhood parks, a fine public art collection, views of both mountain ranges, some cool businesses that date back to the 1950s and 1960s, a summer farmers market and a great historical center.
Don't laugh when you sail by on I-5 and see the sign directing you to the Historic Attraction. Heritage Park is truly worth a visit.
Baby boomers who grew up in south Snohomish County and their parents might remember when Lynnwood was inhabited by chickens and minks on farms dotting the long stretch of 196th Street SW. In the 1920s, Alderwood Manor was the second largest producer of eggs in the nation.
The loggers of the early 1900s, too, are long gone, but their mark remains. Alderwood Manor, on the east side of town, was developed after Puget Mill Co. harvested thousands of acres of old growth timber there, tore out the stumps and turned the logging roads into residential roads with tree names.
Lynnwood came much later, in the 1950s, centered primarily around the intersection of Highway 99 and 196th.
After the venerable Wight's Nursery opened its garden business in 1964, Fred Meyer put in its store in 1968 down the street at 196th and 44th Avenue W., and International House of Pancakes built one of its signature chalet-style restaurants kitty-corner from Freddy's, the character of Lynnwood began to change.
You can get a sense of this history at Heritage Park at 19921 Poplar Way.
A beautifully restored Interurban electric railway car, the No. 55, is open for tours on the first Saturdays of the summer months. The Interurban ran from Everett to Seattle from 1910 to 1939. Now a popular pedestrian and bike trail is located where the tracks once lay.
The Alderwood Manor Heritage Association, the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society and the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau are located in the park's historical structures, including the old Wickers Building, Alderwood Manor's first mercantile, built in 1919.
Other suggestions for a day in Lynnwood:
Near the community college is the 6.4-acre, Douglas fir-covered Gold Park at 6421 200th St. SW.
Dr. Morris Gold and his wife, Barbara, bought the property in 1954. They built a house for their family and a clinic for his obstetrics practice. Over the course of several decades, many babies were born at Dr. Gold's clinic.
The park was established in 1997. More recently, the college's Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field School and the Snohomish Tribe of Indians removed invasive plants from Gold Park, replanted it with native plants, and then installed a medicinal ethnobotanical garden with signs that showcase the native Lushootseed language plant names and uses.
Wilcox Park, the city's first park, at 5215 196th St. SW, was originally a dairy farm. It is home to Lynnwood's summer farmers market. Scriber Creek Bridge on the west side of the park is a remnant of the two-lane road that once connected Alderwood Manor to Edmonds.
The 22-acre Lynndale Park, at 18927 72nd Ave. W. on the city's west side, has athletic fields and courts, an orienteering course and an amphitheater for summer performances.
The Lynnwood Civic Center, on 44th between 188th and 194th streets, includes city offices, the library, a fire station, and a well-used and popular recreation center and swimming pool.
Many of the city's public art pieces may be seen in the civic center, including a William Morris glass piece at City Hall. Other artwork is located in parks and at the Lynnwood Senior Center, 19000 44th Ave., which has two Jacob Lawrence lithographs.
Lynnwood Bowl & Skate, at 200th Street SW and Highway 99, near the college and Gold Park, was established in the 1950s and continues to be popular with families.
Other old business landmarks include the Keeler's Corner old-fashioned gas station at 164th Street SW and Highway 99; A House of Clocks, another former old service station and longtime clock repair business, at 156th and Highway 99; the Manor Hardware Building; and Masonic Lodge at 195th and 36th across from the Lynnwood Convention Center.
Need a place to eat? Locals recommend The B3: Breakfast and Burger Bar at 4027 196th St. SW.
The Indigo Kitchen and Alehouse, 2902 164th St. SW, also has a local following. Owned by the same family who established Azul in Mill Creek, Indigo features Cajun food and other Southern delights.
After your meal, head east on 164th and fill a jug with artesian water at a city well on the north side of the street.
Oh, yeah. And about that mall.
Opened in the fall of 1979, the Alderwood mall is arguably one of the best in the state and certainly the largest in Snohomish County.
For people in Lynnwood, the mall provides an element of the old town square. It's an easy place to meet for lunch, stroll on a rainy day and take in a movie.
Nothing wrong with that.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tourist in Your Own Town
In each of our cities in Snohomish and Island counties, we have tourist attractions often overlooked by the people who live in this region. Have you taken the time to be a Tourist in Your Own Town? This the fourth in a continuing series of monthly explorations of our hometowns.
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