The Grid: Grand Avenue slow to earn its name

  • By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
  • Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:11pm
  • LifeEverett

Grand Avenue wasn’t so grand at the outset.

Of all the downtown blocks conceived by Everett’s founders, arguably it was the street that missed the envisioned mark by the most.

The city founders — people like Charles Colby, who named Everett after his son — likely gave the street its name because they wanted it to provide a “grand” showcase for all the city had to offer.

They were literal-minded folks, those founders.

In theory, locals would ride along the street in a carriage, seeing panoramic mountain views, the flat gray water and the growing industry of their new, bustling metropolis.

“The grandness of the whole prospect was initially seriously grand,” said David Dilgard, historian with the Everett Public Library.

The plan stumbled, though, as the city fell on hard times a year after its founding due to an international silver panic. The roots of Everett had taken hold, but the plan for Grand Avenue was still mostly just that, a plan.

In time, that changed. Houses bloomed north of downtown — some of the finest in the city, with some of the city’s best views. American Legion Memorial Park grew out of patches of blackberry bushes farther north. And commercial businesses took hold in the downtown core.

Those businesses included the Model Garage and Stables, started in 1910 by James Elijah Bell at the corner of Grand Avenue and California Street.

Then, the building housed horses for carriages and was a storage site for an increasingly popular contraption, the automobile.

“People kept them in storage during crummy weather and would bring them out when the roads dried up,” Dilgard said.

In time, that business, like the street itself, went through some changes. During World War II, the business was a sub-assembly station for bombers.

Today, it houses a slew of places, each with a decidedly granola feel: the Sno-Isle Food Co-op, the Sound Holistic Health Clinic and The Sisters Restaurant.

The rest of the street offers a smattering of commercial businesses — including the home base of the Daily Herald — and some residences, like the Nautica condominiums.

It may be a stretch to call all of that grand, but it will certainly do.

Andy Rathbun: arathbun@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3479

Fun with mnemonics!

Every Monday this summer, we’ve profiled a downtown Everett street and challenged readers to come up with a mnemonic device to remember their order: Broadway, Lombard, Oakes, Rockefeller, Wetmore, Colby, Hoyt, Rucker and Grand. Reader Ben Keller suggests: “By logging, our rain weary comrades helped rear generations.” Send your ideas no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, to Andy Rathbun at arathbun@heraldnet.com or call him at 425-339-3479. Top ideas will win a prize.

Next Monday we’ll share some of the great old photos we didn’t have room to run, and on Sept. 10 we’ll wrap up the series and print some of creative mnemonics we received and announce the winner.

Read past entries in this series at www.heraldnet.com/thegrid.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Bustling Dublin offers big-city sights and Irish charm

The dynamic city has a great story to tell, and people who excel at telling it.

Most Read