History lives on Everett’s Oakes Avenue

  • Fri Jul 13th, 2012 8:36pm
  • Life

By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer

The third street’s the charm.

Heading west into Everett, you first roll over Broadway and see the giant bulk of Comcast Arena.

Then you cross Lombard Avenue and pass the old brick Labor Temple.

Both are impressive. However, neither block can claim a building on the National Register of Historic Places, despite being part of the city’s original 1892 layout.

“How embarrassing for them,” chuckles Oakes Avenue, the next block in line.

Oakes Avenue, also part of downtown Everett’s original layout, has not one, but two buildings on the national registry.

To the south sits the stately Carnegie Building, built in 1905. Once Everett’s library, it also has played host to the Snohomish County Museum of History. It does not have a permanent tenant now.

“We hope to see a museum in there,” said David Dilgard, historian for the Everett Public Library.

That would certainly fit the setting. The building was designed by architect August F. Heide, the man responsible for local institutions such as downtown’s Mitchell Hotel and Sen. Scoop Jackson’s home on Grand Avenue.

Heide patterned the Carnegie Building on the Boston Public Library, Dilgard said.

“He scaled it down to make a little jewel-box version — not even a baby, but a fetal version,” Dilgard said.

Two blocks north rests Fire Station No. 2, built in the mid-1920s. Fire trucks no longer fly out its doors, but it continues to operate, holding administration offices for the Everett Fire Department.

The rest of the buildings on the block don’t have that same kind of historical cache, but still claim noteworthy businesses.

There’s a dueling piano bar, Chopstix. There’s a coffee shop, Firewheel Books and Beans. There’s the VFW Building.

There’s more. The collection of old and new, of morning coffee and evening drinks, gives the block its vibe.

By the time you reach Oakes Avenue, you no longer feel like you’re heading downtown.

You’ve arrived.

For previous stories in this series, go to www.heraldnet.com/thegrid.

Oakes Avenue trivia

• Named for an early Everett investor, Thomas Fletcher Oakes.

• Home to the Carnegie Building, built in 1905.

• Home to Fire Station No. 2, built in the mid-1920s.

Fun with mnemonics!

Every Monday, we’ll profile a downtown Everett street, as we challenge readers to come up with a mnemonic device to remember their order: Broadway, Lombard, Oakes, Rockefeller, Wetmore, Colby, Hoyt, Rucker and Grand. Reader Eric Williams suggests “Batman lives outside Renton with Catwoman, hiding Robin’s grandparents.” Send ideas to Andy Rathbun at arathbun@heraldnet.com or call him at 425-339-3466 or 3479. Top ideas will win a prize.