Steve K. Bertrand has written more than 25 books — most of them on local history or collections of poetry.
Bertrand’s latest is “Modern Everett.” Spanning 1960 to the present, the book was released this month by Classic Day Publishing.
His other history books, “Mukilteo” (2011) and “Paine Field” (2014), are part of the Images of America series. Bertrand has two more history books in the works — “Legendary Locals of Everett” and “Everett Now & Then.”
Bertrand, 63, of Mukilteo, is a special ed, music and physical education teacher at Cascade High School in Everett, where he has coached track and cross-country for 45 years. Here, Bertrand chats with The Daily Herald about “Modern Everett.”
Why write about the history of Everett?
I set a goal to write histories on the three main places that influenced me growing up — Everett, Mukilteo and Paine Field. The “Modern Everett” book concludes the historical trilogy. Now, I plan to take and write books of juvenile fiction about those three places — “Fishing for the Trout Man,” “The Mystery of Smuggler’s Cove,” “Meditations from the Treehouse,” and “The Spring Buck Weaver Came to Town.”
What all does “Modern Everett” cover?
The book primarily covers 1960 to the present. However, I have worked our past into the story, including the very beginnings of Everett.
How did you decide what to cover?
I am getting ready to do a book entitled “Everett Then & Now.” Having spent my life in this community, I wanted to show our transition from mill town to jet town. I also wanted to show the ebb and flow of our community. In other words, how things come and go. I have to admit, I focused on some people, places and things that been influential in my life.
What went into your research? Any cool library finds or interviews?
I always consider books of this nature to be a collaborative affair. There are so many people to thank. I had help from the late David Dilgard, Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein, and brothers Jack and Larry O’Donnell, all of them Everett history buffs. I also found information via the Historic Everett, The Daily Herald, the Everett Musuem of History, Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room and the Everett Historical Commission.
What I really enjoy is the learning aspect of projects like this. I learned about the Columbus Day Storm, the Great Everett Tire Fire and the 1965 earthquake. Also, historical buildings such as Longfellow, the Historic Everett Theatre and Rucker’s Tomb. As well as famous people like Henry M. Jackson, Stan Boreson and Chuck Close.
Share a few facts about Everett that aren’t well known.
It was interesting to learn Everett is divided into 19 neighborhoods. That Everett Community College boasts over 20,000 students. That air shows have been taking place at Paine Field since the 1940s. That the film “Assassins” — starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore — was filmed in Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery. The fact Henry M. Jackson, Stan Boreson and Larry and Jack O’Donnell all attended Longfellow School. That Forest Park was a zoo from 1914 to 1962. That the Merrill and Ring Lumber Co. once owned the property where McCollum Park is located. That the Schmidt-Lucas family started Herfy’s in Everett in 1963. That the first 747 flight took place from Everett’s Boeing plant on Feb. 9, 1969. That Everett’s Western Gear Co. built the steel rings on which the Space Needle revolves. That the Turkey Bowl football game played in the early ‘60s between Everett and Cascade high schools was played at Everett Memorial Stadium before a packed house on Thanksgiving Day.
Which topic was most interesting to research?
I got a big kick out of meeting with many of the early families of Everett and hearing their stories — including the Goldfinch, Erickson, Schmidt, Webber, Bargreen, Rubatino, Hatloe and Jackson families.
What will we get out of reading your book?
I believe people reading this book will gain an understanding of where we have been, where we are and where we are going as a community. I have worked in the old and new. The book preserves 300 stories of people, places and things that make up our community.
Why publish a book on Everett history now?
The book comes out at a time in our history when we have just celebrated 125 years as a city, the Port of Everett just celebrated their 100th anniversary and Everett Community College just celebrated 75 years.
I am currently working on a book entitled “Bleeding Crimson & Gray: A 50+ Year Sports History of Cascade High School.” My book “Living Amongst the Sasquatch and other Poems” comes out soon. My collection of 1,000 poems entitled “Words That Carry Water” is a work in progress. I have started research on a book titled “Everett Then & Now.” I will be doing a lecture at the Everett Public Library on July 20 for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon.
By Steve K. Bertrand
Classic Day Publishing. 166 pages. $38.48.