Snohomish Bicycle Tree, ca. 1900. The photo is titled “Everett Bicycle Path,” but it is actually the famous Bicycle Tree south of Snohomish, a favorite destination for decades of cyclists in the area. It was located next to the juntion of present-day S. R. 9 and the Airport/Springhetti roads, across the highway from the end of the Marsh Road. (Photographer: George W. Kirk)

Snohomish Bicycle Tree, ca. 1900. The photo is titled “Everett Bicycle Path,” but it is actually the famous Bicycle Tree south of Snohomish, a favorite destination for decades of cyclists in the area. It was located next to the juntion of present-day S. R. 9 and the Airport/Springhetti roads, across the highway from the end of the Marsh Road. (Photographer: George W. Kirk)

In the 1890s, a cedar tree beckoned Snohomish cyclists

A local logger cut a pathway through the trunk to create a popular destination.

SNOHOMISH — In the 1890s, a bicycle craze so intense swept the nation that some religious organizations blamed the newfangled fad for declining church attendance.

Washington wasn’t immune to the two-wheeled fever, according to historylink.org, a nonprofit Washington historical website.

About a mile south of the town of Snohomish, on what was then the edge of Abel Johnson’s property along a dirt wagon road popular with bicyclers, sat a massive, centuries-old western red cedar tree.

Credit is given to Civil War veteran David Lewis Paramore, then working as a druggist in Snohomish and also serving as president of the local bicycle club, for leading an effort to make the tree a “destination” along a new cinder-lined bike path built next to the road.

For $15, a local logger named Miligan was hired to cut a pathway through the trunk and so was born the famous Snohomish Bicycle Tree just yards east of today’s intersection of Highway 9 and Marsh Road on Airport Way.

For more than three decades, the arched opening, large enough to ride a horse through, served as a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

The tree provided the community with free advertising and became a frequent backdrop for photographs, some taken by professionals and others possibly by amateurs using another new gadget gaining in popularity at the time, the Kodak camera. Postcards from the era also include bucolic images of the massive beauty.

On the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 2, 1927, rising flood waters from the Snohomish River and high winds teamed to topple the mighty cedar.

The next day, workers arrived and within hours the one-time giant was nothing more than stacked firewood.

Following the original’s demise, a second cedar across the road to the east was hollowed out, keeping the attraction alive for several more years.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A driver struck a woman in a motorized wheelchair Saturday in Lynnwood. (Lynnwood police)
Woman on wheelchair hit by car in Lynnwood, seriously hurt

The woman was on a sidewalk, passing by a drive-thru in Lynnwood, when a driver pulled out and hit her.

A barge worker hauls in an oil boom before heading off with the remains of the Mukilteo Ferry Dock ramp and pier on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. With the new dock in operation, all that is left is to tear down the old ticket building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Old Mukilteo ferry dock afloat on the barge of ‘Lincoln Logs’

The haul included 213 wood pilings, 15 concrete pilings, 47 steel pilings and a “Speed Limit 15” sign.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo, the Legislative Building is shown partially shrouded in fog at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's richest residents, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, would pay a wealth tax on certain financial assets worth more than $1 billion under a proposed bill whose sponsor says she is seeking a fair and equitable tax code. Under the bill, starting Jan. 1, 2022, for taxes due in 2023, a 1% tax would be levied not on income, but on "extraordinary" assets ranging from cash, publicly traded options, futures contracts, and stocks and bonds. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Federal package could drive more than $10B to Washington

The state would get $7.6B for COVID response, schools and child care. Snohomish County is in line for $160M.

Samantha Lake
Missing girl, 12, found safely

Seattle FBI located Samantha Lake on Friday.

Everett man identified after being found dead in creek

The cause of death for Renee Baltazar Romero remained under investigation Thursday.

Jeanette Ho Shin Weddell, 96, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 29, 2020. (Contributed photo)
Marysville grandmother, 96, was one in half a million lost

In a week when the president took time to mourn COVID deaths, local families were grieving, too.

An access road leads into plot of land located in north Darrington that could potentially be used to build a 30-acre Wood Innovation Center, which will house CLT manufacturing and modular building companies on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Darrington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$6 million grant is green light for Darrington timber center

The Darrington Wood Innovation Center is set to become a reality — bringing roughly 150 jobs with it.

Report shows vaccine inequities in Snohomish County

The county’s Hispanic population is getting doses at a third of the rate of white residents.

Most Read