By 1927, the packet steamers, rail cars and interurban trolley that had ferried freight and folks between Everett and Seattle during the previous three decades saw themselves being supplanted by a new form of transportation. The car now reigned as king and when construction was finished that October on a 20-foot-wide paved highway linking the two Puget Sound cities, Carl and Gladys Keeler saw opportunity.
Prompted by the heavy traffic now whizzing past, the Keelers, with the help of their fathers, opened the first service station, an oasis offering motorists fuel, oil, tires, batteries and other accessories and mechanical service. They offered the road weary small cabins for rent. The enterprise also catered to local residents, stocking hardware and groceries, and from its inception served as a bus stop.
The young family lived in quarters above the store.
Over time, Keeler’s Korner, located almost exactly halfway between the two cities in what was then known as the Alderwood Manor area, became an institution, patronized by both travelers and people headed for nearby Martha Lake, Silver Lake and other area resorts.
The Keelers’ business closed in the 1960s. Carl died in 1982, Gladys in 2001. Their only child, Carl Franklyn Keeler, who went by Frank, died July 4.
In the 1980s, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, described in the application as “a rare, surviving example of an early automobile service station,” and “a relic of the early years of America’s ‘automobile culture.’”
Today, the building still stands at 16401 U.S. 99 in Lynnwood.