The Grid: Lombard is a street divided

  • By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
  • Friday, July 6, 2012 10:52am
  • LifeEverett

Benjamin Lombard was his name, and capitalism, his game.

Lombard was a friend of Charles Colby and Henry Hewitt. He, like those men, made money thanks to the railroads, serving as a director of the Northern Pacific Railway in the late 1800s.

After talking with Colby and Hewitt, Lombard decided to invest some of his cash in an idea they had: the city of Everett.

Their plan was startlingly simple. The Great Northern Railroad was coming to the West Coast from St. Paul, Minn. The tracks would hit water at a blank spot on the map. They would buy up the land and build a city.

That’s called American ingenuity.

Lombard saw the idea’s potential. He invested, and for that, got a street named after him. However, he probably never saw the block.

“I have no record of Benjamin Lombard ever visiting Everett,” said David Dilgard, historian with the Everett Public Library.

That’s probably for the best. He might not have enjoyed the sight.

By the early 1900s, within a decade of Everett’s 1892 founding, labor organizations were taking hold in the nascent city, using Lombard Avenue for their headquarters. The first Everett Labor Temple was built on the block from wood at the turn of the century, then rebuilt in brick in 1930.

“Everett was so active in labor organizational matters that it was one of the first cities — unusual for a city Everett’s size — to have a labor temple,” Dilgard said.

The street’s union connection has held true to this day. The side of the old building still is emblazoned with pro-union slogans that pit capitalists like Lombard against the true-hearted workingman.

“Use union services — the job you save may be your own,” reads one, echoing an old public service slogan.

Granted, the block has undergone other changes. Notably, it was the only block that got cut in two when Comcast Arena settled like a spaceship on downtown. No longer is the street a true throughway.

In a way, the change was fitting.

Like its ties to management and labor, Lombard Avenue has always been split in two.

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. Readers Linda and Rich Glazier have one idea: “Belt lots of red wine, come home real groggy.” Send ideas to Andy Rathbun at arathbun@heraldnet.com or call him at 425-339-3466 or 3479. Top ideas will win a prize.

More in Life

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

Stock your winter bookshelf with these animal and nature reads

Four new books cover outdoors topics from butterflies to wolves.

The Shed Players recently released their new album “Our Shingle Most Favorites.”
Listen here: Josh Clauson, The Shed Players release new CDs

This feature is all about Snohomish County’s homegrown talent: locals who make music and record it.

Newfangled cooker isn’t for those with tried and true methods

Columnist Jennifer Bardsley recently succumbed to peer pressure and purchased an Instant Pot.

Now is the time to assess your student’s back-to-school plan

Take a good look at how your kids are managing their new routine, class, teacher(s) and homework.

Author’s talk of birds and clouds kicks off Marysville series

1. Birds and clouds Marysville’s Outdoor Adventure Speakers Series is kicking into… Continue reading

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Oprah Winfrey joins ‘60 Minutes’ for 50th anniversary year

The media giant debuts on tonight’s show, reporting on a story about America’s political divisions.

Most Read