Heritage group helps keep Alderwood Manor alive

LYNNWOOD — It’s a subject in which siblings Kevin Stadler and Cheri Ryan excel. They can talk about it for hours.

“We love the history of Alderwood Manor,” said Ryan, who is the president of the Alderwood Heritage Association. “We have about 50 volunteers in our group. We talk about the history of the area, the scandals and just about everything else. We joke about knowing where all the dead bodies are.”

Stadler and Ryan grew up in the area; they attended Alderwood Elementary and graduated from Lynnwood High School. But their heritage goes back more than 80 years.

Their parents left Montana in 1928 and found a home in what was known as the district of Alderwood Manor. Before long, more of their family moved to the area. Soon, Ryan and Stadler were surrounded by 15 cousins, all living on the same street.

“We have so many memories of being together,” said Stadler, who was a former Heritage president and is currently on the board of directors. “It is so important to us and so many other people to preserve the history of where we grew up. There are only a few structures remaining in the area, so we do our best to bring life back to this special place. That’s our purpose.”

In 1917, the Puget Mill Company developed the 30-acre Alderwood Manor, which was located where the city of Lynnwood now stands. It was promoted as an agricultural community and soon became home to the largest egg-producing farms in the country.

The Seattle-Everett Interurban Trolley, which went directly through the Manor district, made its inaugural run in 1910. The electric trolley took its last journey in 1939. Lynnwood, 20 years later, was incorporated into a city. And four years after that I-5 was built.

In an attempt to incorporate Alderwood Manor as its own city, an election was held. But the bid failed and soon the Manor became part of the city of Lynnwood.

“The city owns Heritage Park (located on Popular Way and Alderwood Manor Way), the Wickers Building, the Humble House and a few others. But we own, and we restored, the Alderwood Heritage building (the Cottage at Heritage Park),” Stadler said. “The Heritage Association does so much and we are proud to be a part of it. It is so important to us all to preserve history.”

The Heritage Association puts on several events a year, including a picnic during the summer. It also hosts “Cottage Chats” — informative, informal get-togethers where people can learn about specific historical events and personalities.

“At our last meeting we talked about veterans on the home front,” Ryan said. “In the past, we’ve discussed specific veterans, schools, scandals and other Alderwood mysteries. It’s great fun and very interesting.”

As part of its preservation, the association also collects vintage photos, letters and various artifacts. Stadler and Ryan are coordinating a project that will take 17,000 pages, mostly from bound-editions of The Enterprise (now The Weekly Herald) stretching back to the early 1960s, and convert them to digital form. For now, old articles can be found on microfilm at the Lynnwood Library.

“It’s a big project, but there are so many great uses people will get from it,” Ryan said. “Instead of going through thousands of pages of microfilm looking for one thing, they’ll be able to type in a single word and up pops the subject or name.”

According to Ryan, the public will be able to use the tool, at least a sample size, at the Heritage House beginning in early 2012.

Learn more of Alderwood history

Kevin Stadler and Marie Little co-wrote the book “Alderwood Manor.” In 2010, Stadler and Cheri Ryan co-wrote the book “Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway.”

For more information on the books and Alderwood Manor Heritage Association, go to www.alderwood.org or call 425-775-4694.

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