A new exhibit at the Marysville Historical Society Museum shows pictures of John Comeford, the founder of Marysville, his wife, Maria, and other early settlers of the city, including their family members. The pictures hang over a backdrop of trees drawn by Comeford’s son. (Steven Powell/Marysville Globe)

A new exhibit at the Marysville Historical Society Museum shows pictures of John Comeford, the founder of Marysville, his wife, Maria, and other early settlers of the city, including their family members. The pictures hang over a backdrop of trees drawn by Comeford’s son. (Steven Powell/Marysville Globe)

Marysville’s history museum celebrates 1st anniversary

The Marysville Historical Society Museum marks its first year on June 3. Admission is free that day.

By Steven Powell

The Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — The first year of the Marysville Historical Society Museum is history.

Well almost. On June 3, from noon to 3 p.m., the museum will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a free event featuring refreshments, games for kids and guest speakers.

And, just in time for its anniversary, the museum has some new displays, including one honoring the military and another the city’s founding pioneers.

The “In Honor of Our Military” display includes a tin of survival crackers that were found in the old Marysville High School. They were down in a bunker placed there to keep staff and students safe in case of war.

Problem is, “Nobody knew it was there,” said Ken Cage, president of the Marysville Historical Society.

That display takes the place of one that featured music. The museum likes to change exhibits so there is something new every time someone visits.

Another new display can be seen at the end of the hall as soon as visitors enter the building at 6805 Armar Road.

It’s called, “Marysville: From Forest to Front Street.” It shows pictures of John Comeford, the founder of Marysville, his wife, Maria, and other early settlers of the city, including their family members. The pictures hang over a backdrop of trees drawn by Comeford’s son. The display was paid for by donations from two of Comeford’s granddaughters. “They wanted something to honor their parents,” Cage said.

Visitors also can listen to stories about some of the founding pioneers at the push of a button.

Also on that wall is a hand-written ballot from Marysville’s first election — which determined that it would incorporate as a city rather than stay a town. The ballot was found in a grandson’s dresser drawer, Cage said.

Lastly, the wall includes the story about the attempt to name the city Mariasville, after Comeford’s wife. But since a town in the region in Idaho already was named that, the post office required a new name — so Marysville it was.

In its first year, the museum has been home to the Marysville Rotary Club and Marysville Historical Society. Local schools have taken many field trips to the site, although Cage said he would love to see more. The Marysville City Band has had a concert there, and plans to have another June 8. And visitors also are able to buy some historical items at the museum now, including albums such as Tom Jones, antique phones and sea-themed table centerpieces.

“We’ve got more stuff than we can display,” Cage said of why some items are being sold.

Cage said the museum has turned into even more than what he had ever dreamed of. “I love this place,” he said.

The museum is housed in a 8,000-square-foot building near Jennings Memorial Park. The building features a main exhibit room, meeting rooms, a small kitchen, smaller exhibit spaces and an upstairs office.

In 1986, the Marysville Historical Society purchased the property for $50,000 as the site for its future museum. It was located in a small storefront on Third Street until that closed in 2015. The museum’s artifacts and exhibits were moved into storage.

The Marysville Rotary Club made an early donation of $250,000 donation for the project. The city then contributed another $50,000 in 2016.

Planning and design for the museum started in 1999, but then the recession hit. A capital campaign was put on hold as donations lagged. Construction of the $850,000 museum finally got started in 2014.

Cage said he wished that some of those who started the effort with him so many years ago were still around to see it.

“I hope they are looking down and saying, ‘Yay, we did it.’ ”

Steven Powell: 360-654-4157 or spowell@marysvilleglobe.com.

If you go

The Marysville Historical Society Museum is celebrating its first anniversary from noon to 3 p.m. on June 3. The event will feature new exhibits, children’s games and guest speakers. A celebratory cake will be served at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

The museum, at 6805 Armar Road, is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Special tours available upon reservation.

Call 360-659-3090. More at www.marysvillehistory.org.

Meet the pioneers

See pictures of these founding pioneers and listen to their stories with a push of a button as part of a new Marysville museum exhibit.

James Comeford

Irish by birth, James Comeford’s family first immigrated to Canada then later to the United States. He came to Snohomish County in 1872 to run a trading post on the Tulalip Reservation. He was born 1833 and died 1909.

Maria Comeford

The town namesake, first teacher and wife of James Comeford, Maria Comeford (1846-1904) was born in Wisconsin to Irish immitrant parents. She and James married in 1866, before heading west to Snohomish County.

Chief Patkanim

Chief Patkanim of the Snoqualmie Tribe was one of the first Native Americans to trade with, fight against and, ultimately, negotiate land rights for the wave of white immigrants that flooded tribal homelands.

Nicholas Healy

Some men saw gold in rivers and streams; Nicholas Healy (1852-1915) found it in the trees. Born in Ontario, Canada, Healy came to Washington Territory in 1872 in the employ of the Port Madison mill.

Alexander Spithill

Scottish immigrant Alexander Spithill (1824-1920) arrived in the Puget Sound area in 1856. After working a a sparmaker and mail carrier, he set up a logging camp just north of what became downtown Marysville.

Mary Storar

A woman of courage, widow Mary Storar (1826-1900) immigrated to America with her daughters, urged by the promise of free land and a new life.

Source: Marysville Historical Society

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