This train with 40 boxcars of Neff and Mish shingles was the first to leave Everett for eastern markets in 1893. The mill sat halfway out on the north side of the 14th Street Dock, which extended about 2,000 feet over the Gardner Bay tidal flats. (Photo courtesy of Everett Public Library)

This train with 40 boxcars of Neff and Mish shingles was the first to leave Everett for eastern markets in 1893. The mill sat halfway out on the north side of the 14th Street Dock, which extended about 2,000 feet over the Gardner Bay tidal flats. (Photo courtesy of Everett Public Library)

1893: First East Coast shipment of shingles leaves Everett

From the 14th Street Dock in Port Gardner Bay to St. Paul, Minnesota.

In 1892, with logging in full swing along the mouth of the Snohomish River, workers built a wooden wharf that extended nearly a half-mile over the Port Gardner Bay tidelands.

The so-called 14th Street Dock housed some of the first bayfront businesses of Everett.

John Rockefeller’s Everett Land Company Mill opened in September of that year on the southwest end of the dock. Leased by James E. Bell, who would become one of Everett’s leading citizens, it could produce 25,000 feet of lumber in a 10-hour shift, according to “The Evolution of a Vibrant Waterfront,” a history of the port written by Lawrence E. “Larry” and Jack C. O’Donnell.

The Neff and Mish Shingle Mill opened a few weeks later about halfway down the north side. Employing 30, it could produce 250,000 shingles a day, making it the largest of four shingle mills then operating in Everett.

A steep bridge rose east from the dock towards the bluff and the early settlement of Everett beyond.

A rail spur along the dock linked the mills to the Great Northern Railway, which on Jan. 6, 1893 completed its line from St. Paul, Minnesota to Everett. For the first time, the riches of Puget Sound’s forests had direct access to Eastern markets.

Two months later, on March 23, 1893, wood shingles in 40 boxcars rolled out of the Neff and Mish Shingle Mill, the first destined to travel east the full length of the Great Northern’s new line from Puget Sound to Minnesota.

Pulled by two large locomotives, each car was decorated with large canvas signs with the words, “From Everett, Wash.” painted in two-foot-high letters.

By the end of year, the nation was in the midst of a financial depression and the boom times in Everett came to an abrupt stop.

Rockefeller began to disentangle from his Everett investments, including the land company and its 14th Street Dock mill.

Meanwhile, Neff and Mish would go bankrupt in 1896.

The wharf would continue to house other mills for decades to come. Today, the site is home to the largest public recreational marina on the West Coast, according to the Port of Everett.

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