By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
In early Everett, men had no trouble finding places to quench a thirst. Drinks and rousing company were abundant in Hewitt Avenue saloons.
Ornate barrooms welcomed customers. Decor was manly, with dark wood carvings, shining brass hardware and paintings of nude women. Spittoons dotted the floor.
Some establishments had hidden booths for women. At the bar, it was mostly a man’s world.
In the Riverside area, men satisfied other appetites on Market Street — a street so notorious it was long ago renamed Highland Avenue.
There, behind a wooden fence meant to shield proper folks from improper sights, were the brothels. In upstairs rooms, prostitutes serviced willing customers.
“A mayor elected in 1910 created a $10 per month ‘fine’ on the women, raising so much revenue he could lower business taxes,” according to Historic Everett’s 2013 calendar, titled “Saloons and Brothels of days (and nights) gone by.”
Sales of the $20 calendar fund the nonprofit heritage group’s education programs, said Andrea Tucker, event director for Historic Everett.
With some shady places and plenty of strong faces, the 2013 calendar is quite a switch from previous editions. The 2012 calendar featured images of architect Earl Morrison’s buildings. Two years ago, the theme was Everett’s historic churches.
“They already covered the sacred; now it’s the profane,” quipped David Dilgard, a local history specialist at the Everett Public Library.
With help from the library and Everett Community College, Historic Everett’s Dave Ramstad researched and wrote the calendar’s text, which delves into stories of bar owners and early Everett’s freewheeling night life. Editor and graphic designer Diane Brooks created the calendar’s impressive design. Striking photographs make “Saloons and Brothels” a treasure.
Dilgard said a number of the photos come from an Everett Community College collection. Ed Gilliland, a photo instructor at the college, was responsible for the collection, which Dilgard said included a batch of glass negatives.
“They were all taken in the summer of 1907,” Dilgard said. “There were a number of commercial photographers. It’s not known who took the pictures, or necessarily which saloons are shown.”
The cover photo, also the image for December 2013, is a 1907 Everett saloon scene where a woman stands at the bar with the clientele — unusual for the time. A dog sits atop the bar, and the place has a fancy gramophone.
“Everett was a wild place. It gives me the chills sometimes to see the places that are still here,” Tucker said.
Ramstad said that in the early 1900s, men living in timber camps were doing extremely dangerous work. “Guys would get their paychecks and go to town. Saloon life in Everett, until Prohibition, was unlimited. Girls were upstairs to do business. These were very tough places,” he said.
Things changed in 1911. That’s the year Everett embraced prohibition, with a voter-approved “Local Option.” It didn’t last long, because the city lost so much money in bar fees. But Washington’s dry law took effect in 1916, four years before national Prohibition in 1920. It lasted until repeal in 1933.
Historic Everett isn’t the only group selling calendars showing the past. The city of Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission is selling its annual Edmonds Historic Calendar for $5 each.
In a setting more wholesome than Everett’s bars, one image from the Edmonds calendar shows a well-dressed group out for a ride in a 1912 Cadillac Touring Car.
The Historic Everett calendar fast-forwards to today with a list of current restaurants and drinking establishments on Hewitt, which it calls the “Modern-Era Hewitt Run.”
Those who didn’t grow up here may be unaware of the 21st birthday tradition suggesting a reveler begin at The Anchor Pub, which opened in 1907, and cruise on foot up Hewitt, grabbing a beer at each tavern.
Today’s run — from The Anchor at 1001 Hewitt Ave. to Buck’s American Cafe at 2901 Hewitt Ave. and back — is “just a 15-beer circuit,” according to the calendar. In the late 1950s, “it was an unseemly 29-drink proposition.”
Dilgard, an Everett native, said he never took part in the boozy rite of passage. “It was cruising Colby, rather than cruising Hewitt on foot in pursuit of beer,” he said.
There’s help in the calendar for those who do try the Hewitt run. It lists phone numbers — to call a taxi.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendars on sale
Historic Everett’s 2013 calendar, “Saloons and Brothels,” is on sale for $20 at these Everett locations: J. Matheson Gifts, 2615 Colby Ave.; Peak Health &Fitness, 2902 Rucker Ave.; Lamoureaux Real Estate, 1904 Wetmore Ave.; The Anchor Pub, 1001 Hewitt Ave. Proceeds fund the nonprofit group’s programs. www.historiceverett.org.
The 2013 Edmonds Historic Calendar is available from the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission. Cost is $5, or $4.50 before Thursday. Available online at http://tinyurl.com/EHPCcal, at the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce at 121 Fifth Ave. N., or from Meg Keogh at 206-484-4184.