A large sawmill operation on the bank of the Snohomish River in northeast Everett

A large sawmill operation on the bank of the Snohomish River in northeast Everett

Everett and its waterfront were built by the working class

A local historian will share a photo presentation about the history of the city’s working waterfront.

Neil Anderson can picture the Everett peninsula of long ago, and name mill after mill after mill. From the bay to the Snohomish River, lumber, shingle, pulp and paper businesses once lined the waterfront.

“That was the economic engine for Everett,” said Anderson, who serves on the city’s Historical Commission. “From 1900 to 1960, basically everybody’s dad or granddad or grandmother worked in a mill.”

Weyerhaeuser mills, Soundview Pulp Co. and later Scott Paper, Clark-Nickerson, Robinson Mill, Seaside Shingle, Clough-Hartley, Hulbert Mill, Jamison Lumber & Shingle, the Eclipse Mill, Ferry-Baker Lumber and the Lowell Paper Mill are just some of the waterfront’s long-gone businesses.

“The employment picture changed with the arrival of Boeing in the ’60s,” Anderson said. “This was Everett’s story.”

The Mill Town Trail is marked along its route with unmistakable signs, ending with this one at Riverside Park on East Grand at Everett Avenue. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

The Mill Town Trail is marked along its route with unmistakable signs, ending with this one at Riverside Park on East Grand at Everett Avenue. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Local historian Jack O’Donnell is scheduled to tell that story — of Everett’s waterfront then and now — during a photo presentation at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Port of Everett’s Blue Heron Room.

O’Donnell, a retired teacher and former writer of The Herald’s Seems Like Yesterday column, is also on the Everett Historical Commission and is secretary of the Historic Everett board.

O’Donnell’s program, co-sponsored by Historic Everett and the Port of Everett, is part of the port’s 100th anniversary celebration. It will coincide with the city’s 125th anniversary party, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Everett Station.

From the 1890s businesses, O’Donnell’s presentation will show how industry transformed the peninsula to later include fishing, boat manufacturing, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Nord Door, Naval Station Everett and the largest public marina on the West Coast. People whose family members worked at a mill are welcome to bring photos and stories to share.

Not far from the End of the Mill Town Trail sign, a hole in the woods reveals the work of Canyon Lumber. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Not far from the End of the Mill Town Trail sign, a hole in the woods reveals the work of Canyon Lumber. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

After O’Donnell’s talk, a ribbon cutting will officially open the new Mill Town Trail, and bicyclists are invited to join in riding part of the route. The ribbon cutting is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Fisherman’s Tribute statue near the port offices.

The Mill Town Trail, a loop of more than six miles, follows the waterfront from the Terminal Avenue area, along West Marine View Drive, around the peninsula to Riverside Park overlooking the Snohomish River on East Grand Avenue.

Dave Ramstad, another local history buff and member of the Historical Commission, was part of a group that worked to create the trail, which is marked by newly installed brown-and-white signs.

“The trail has always been there — but not heralded and not named,” said Ramstad, who collected signatures from people in the Riverside, Delta, Northwest and Bayside neighborhoods. The signatures were submitted to the commission in support of the trail.

Steamboats at Hewitt Avenue with a dock on the Snohomish River, from Feb. 1, 1892. Historian Jack O’Donnell will present a photo show of Everett’s working waterfront, then and now, Saturday at the Port of Everett. Later, there will be a ribbon cutting and bike ride on the new Mill Town Trail. (Courtesy Historic Everett)

Steamboats at Hewitt Avenue with a dock on the Snohomish River, from Feb. 1, 1892. Historian Jack O’Donnell will present a photo show of Everett’s working waterfront, then and now, Saturday at the Port of Everett. Later, there will be a ribbon cutting and bike ride on the new Mill Town Trail. (Courtesy Historic Everett)

There’s no actual trail, as the route follows sidewalks and streets. Online, Historic Everett has posted a map that pinpoints the locations of former mills. Eventually, Ramstad hopes to see interpretive signs along the way.

Originally, Ramstad hoped the route would be called the Sawdust Trail, as a nod to bygone industries. Instead, the Mill Town Trail refers to industry and the acclaimed Everett history book “Mill Town,” by Norman Clark.

“All those mills may be gone,” said Dave Chrisman, president of Historic Everett. “The whole idea is awareness, to let people know that valuable industries started our economy and continue to grow in Everett.”

The Eclipse Mill, an Everett lumber mill that burned down in 1962, was located along the Snohomish River near 36th Street. (Courtesy Historic Everett)

The Eclipse Mill, an Everett lumber mill that burned down in 1962, was located along the Snohomish River near 36th Street. (Courtesy Historic Everett)

Chrisman recalled preservationists’ losing battle with the Port of Everett to save the 1926 Collins Casket Company building, which was torn down in 2010. Originally North Coast Casket Company, it was on the National Register of Historic Places. There were state mitigation requirements related to its demolition.

Historic Everett now partners with the port on projects highlighting the past. A website, www.historiceverettwaterfront.com, offers an overview. This summer, the port is hosting harbor tours with historians aboard.

“We live on this peninsula,” Chrisman said. “We want to share what was there.”

Julie Muhsltein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein @heraldnet.com.

Waterfront history

Several free public events are planned for Saturday as part of Everett’s 125th anniversary celebration and the Port of Everett’s 100th anniversary:

“Everett Waterfront, Then & Now:” Local historian Jack O’Donnell will share photos and stories of how 1890s waterfront industries along Everett’s peninsula formed the foundation of the city’s growth. Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, the talk is in the Port of Everett’s Blue Heron Room, 1205 Craftsman Way. Sponsored by Historic Everett and the Port of Everett.

A bayfront scene appears to be a view looking north, near the mouth of the Snohomish River and what is now Legion Park.

A bayfront scene appears to be a view looking north, near the mouth of the Snohomish River and what is now Legion Park.

Mill Town Trail: At 11 a.m. Saturday, a Mill Town Trail ribbon cutting and bike tour is scheduled, starting at the Fisherman’s Tribute statue in front of Port of Everett offices. The bike and pedestrian trail rings Everett’s north end. Starting near the Pigeon Creek Trail entrance in the Terminal Avenue area, it leads north on West Marine View Drive, around the peninsula to Riverside Park overlooking the Snohomish River at East Grand Avenue.

“Everett: A Story Worth Telling:” The city’s 125th anniversary celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave. The Everett YMCA, Everett Museum of History and the Imagine Children’s Museum will partner with the city. Event includes photo booths, face painting, historical tours, touch-a-truck area, pets to adopt, food trucks and music.

Harbor tours: The Port of Everett plans harbor tours 6:30-8 p.m. July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 16 and Aug. 23. Most tours are booked, but to sign up call Jetty Island reservation line at 425-257-8304.

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