Let the celebration begin

  • By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
  • Friday, January 14, 2011 7:52pm
  • Local News

EVERETT — Two cedar roses, locally produced children’s books and a medallion commemorating Boeing’s 787 jetliner.

Those objects and others found their way into a time capsule Friday during a ceremony marking Snohomish County’s 150th birthday.

In 100 years, if all goes as planned, the county’s future leaders will open the time capsule for a window into what life was like in early 2011.

“They’re a symbol of the love and respect we have for each other,” Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon said, as he offered up the wooden roses in the time capsule.

On Friday, it was time for modern-day leaders from the county and the Tulalip Tribes to pay tribute to the county’s official beginning 150 years ago to the day. More events are planned later this year.

During an hourlong event at the county campus in downtown Everett, a historical re-enactor with outsized mutton chops and a straw hat played the part of Jacob Fowler, co-founder of Mukilteo and the county’s first auditor.

The re-enactor, Christopher Summitt, conjured up the days of early settlement. Back then, a stockaded Indian village, Hibulb, stood at the north end of Everett as outsiders started erecting the future cities of Mukilteo and Snohomish.

“It was a time of great change and neither the native people nor the white settlers would know what the future would bring,” Summitt said.

The Washington Territorial Legislature created Snohomish County, from what was then Island County, on Jan. 14, 1861. Just five days earlier, the first shots of the Civil War rang out in Charleston Harbor.

The Treaty of Point Elliott, which created Indian reservations at Tulalip and elsewhere, had just been ratified by Congress within the past two years.

Washington wouldn’t become a state for another 28 years.

“Keep in mind that when we were established as a county, Abraham Lincoln had just been elected president,” County Executive Aaron Reardon said.

One of the first tax bills the county received, he said, was from the federal government, asking for help paying for the Civil War.

During Friday’s event, members of the Tulalip Tribes sang in their ancestral language of Lushootseed, a song whose meaning translates as “thank you.”

Edmonds Community College culinary students showcased birthday cakes they had prepared during the past week, one decorated with salmon and another with the numerals 1-5-0.

Reardon discussed the progression of the economy, which at first was based on natural resources such as fish and timber, then evolved to an agrarian economy and eventually grew to include our modern aerospace and biotech industries.

Reardon and County Council Chairman Dave Somers jested about the rightful place of the county seat; originally it was in Mukilteo, then Snohomish — in Somers’ district — and finally to Everett.

“It’ delightful to see how well we’ve come to terms with the fact that county seat now resides in Everett, my hometown,” Reardon said.

Somers asked everyone to work to preserve the county’s natural resources and beauty.

“Let each of us commit to a birthday present for this place,” he said.

Sheldon, the Tulalip Tribes chairman, said Indian leaders elsewhere are often impressed when he describes how his government has been able to work with county government. Despite past troubles, he said, they have learned to respect each other.

“Wherever I go in Indian Country, people marvel at the relationship we have,” he said. “We are inextricably tied together and we will move together.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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