Home with model railroad wins Marysville award

It was built as a model home in 1975. Now it’s a model citizen.

The yellow trilevel on the corner lot in Sherwood Forest subdivision won the 2013 Pride of Marysville Neighborhood Award.

Homeowners Michael and Janet Elmore are bursting with pride.

“We’ve worked hard on our house,” Janet Elmore said. “It’s a nice honor for us.”

She doesn’t know who nominated the house for the award. It could have been any of the admiring neighbors or thousands of trick-or-treaters over the past 38 years.

The annual award was launched in 2012 by Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring in a campaign to make the city a better place to live.

“It was part of the piece of the puzzle with the whole idea of cleaning up Marysville,” Nehring said. “We wanted to highlight both residential homes and businesses.”

A State Avenue office building won this year’s award for Best Business, and the trendsetting makeover of office space downtown took the James Comeford/Mayor’s Choice Award.

Nehring said the awards inspire others to spruce up their places. There are plans to expand the categories.

The Elmores’ home, which has a model railway and lush garden in back, was chosen for its total good looks.

Nominators said the couple’s eye for detail extends from the back yard to the landscaping and elegant design in front.

Janet Elmore has lived in the three bedroom, 2½ bath house since it was built. Michael joined her in 1981.

It has since been a house filled with kids and then grandkids. “My grandson calls it a colonial home because I’ve lived here so long,” she said.

The lot used to be forest.

“There were 30 fir trees,” said Michael Elmore, a CAD designer at Cascade Surveying &Engineering in Arlington.

“They were huge,” added his wife, a retired dental office coordinator.

Over the years the couple had most of the firs cut down and replaced with a variety of smaller trees to let light into the garden.

That’s where the trains come in.

“We wanted something to accent the garden,” Janet Elmore said.

They started the Colorado-themed railway with miniature town about 22 years ago and named it Drizzle &Downpour Railroad.

“All the while we were building it, that’s what it did,” she said.

They are constantly working on the railroad. It has about 500 feet of track with about 25 buildings including saloons, a bank, a church, a hardware store and a hotel.

The railroad garnered national attention when it was featured in Better Homes &Gardens magazine in 2005.

It’s a tour stop for hundreds of fellow train club members from all over the world.

The Elmores hand out frozen treats to visiting members and to neighborhood kids as well.

“That’s one of our signatures,” Michael Elmore said. “We offer them Popsicles.”

Next summer, the couple plans to have an open house for the public to see Drizzle &Downpour Railroad, with admission a canned good for the food bank.

Soon, the front yard will be a graveyard. Every year, they welcome several hundred kids who traipse through the tombstones on Halloween night.

“They come in vans,” said Janet Elmore, who dresses as a witch. “It’s pretty fun.”

On Halloween they don’t hand out Popsicles.

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

Pride of Marysville awards

Neighborhood Award: Michael and Janet Elmore

Best Business: Girl Scouts of Western Washington/North County Outlook Building, 1331 State Ave.

Curb Appeal: Judges said the building, owned by Bob and Linda Barrett, has a fresh, modern look and adds walkability in a section of State Avenue dominated by parking lots.

James Comeford Award (Mayor’s Choice): Business complex at Fifth Street and State Avenue. This award, named after Marysville’s visionary town founder, is presented to the most-improved home or business in the downtown or waterfront district.

Judges said the property owned by Christian Kar uses exterior paint colors and classy materials to create visual appeal and stimulated more business activity downtown.

For more about the awards go to tinyurl.com/PrideofMarysville.

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