North-South highway war over for now

By Susanna Ray

Herald Writer

OLYMPIA — A piece of Southern history is safe at Washington’s northern border, at least for now.

A Senate committee killed a bill Monday that could have led to the removal of a stone monument at the Peace Arch crossing to Canada calling the roadway "Jefferson Davis Highway No. 99," in honor of the Confederate president.

House Joint Memorial 4024 would have renamed Highway 99 the William P. Stewart Memorial Highway after a Union soldier who was one of the first black settlers in Snohomish County.

"It looks like the Senate has got some Confederates in their closet that don’t want to be shown in public," said the measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish.

Dunshee said he would ask the state Parks and Recreation Commission to remove the Jefferson Davis marker anyway, and he’d try again next year to get the highway named after Stewart.

"It took five years to win the Civil War and get rid of slavery," Dunshee said. "I guess it’ll take more than two months to remove the final vestiges of racism from this state."

Dunshee’s contention that the marker wrongly honors a man who stood for slavery and secession turned his bill into one of the most controversial of the session, garnering national attention and hundreds of messages from irate Southerners.

The marker was put up in 1940 by the Washington chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They say Davis was instrumental in getting highways built in Washington before the Civil War.

Dunshee’s measure received a contentious hearing in the House in January but passed that chamber unanimously last month.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, the chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said leadership asked her to kill the bill at Monday’s cutoff. Many senators supported naming the highway after Stewart, she said, but they didn’t want to vote against Davis.

"They got too many ugly letters and too many nasty phone calls on both sides of the issue," Haugen said. "I’ll sign the bill next year, but you need to let it cool down. It just was far too controversial."

Marilyn Quincy, one of Stewart’s great-granddaughters who lives in Everett, said she was disappointed, but "it was a great honor just to be considered."

Dunshee had said he’d get the marker removed even if he had to take it down himself and risk being arrested. But Monday, he said he’s not giving up on the Legislature, and he doesn’t foresee any jail time in his future: "I’m gonna get this resolved here."

You can call Herald Writer Susanna Ray at 1-360-586-3803 or send e-mail to ray@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Owners of Feedme Hospitality get together with Edmonds Chamber of Commerce staff to hand off a check that helped with costs of putting on the Edmonds Kind of 4th annual Independence Day celebration. The money came from lemonade stand sales. In the photo are Andrew Leckie, Shubert Ho, Greg Urban, Erica Sugg and Alicia Moreno.  (Edmonds Chamber of Commerce)
Way to go

Lemonade stand raised $2,350 for An Edmonds Kind of 4th The Feedme… Continue reading

Mukilteo Council candidates (top L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Tina Over, Ayesha Riaz Khan, Kevin Stoltz; (bottom L-R): Caitlein Ryan, Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Tim Ellis, Carolyn “Dode” Carlson, Alex Crocco.
11 candidates in races for 3 seats on Mukilteo City Council

New and familiar names will face off in the primary to narrow the field to six for the November election.

COVID-19 case reported at crowded Lynnwood council meeting

A person who attended the Monday meeting tested positive for the coronavirus just days later.

Carlo Ponte (Rebecca Ponte) 20210729
‘Endangered’ Marysville toddler missing for almost 3 weeks

Jorge Ponte picked up his son for a scheduled visit July 10. Then they disappeared.

Abuse claims settled; Catholic principal worked in Everett

The allegations are from Sister Dolores Crosby’s time at a Seattle school from 1979 to 1992.

Daniel Scott (center, in green jacket) and Eddie Block (bottom right) are shown in a video before the Proud Boys and other rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.
Arlington Proud Boy ‘Milkshake’ indicted in Capitol siege

Daniel Lyons Scott faces 10 federal charges, including assaulting federal officers.

Ten people were injured in a three-vehicle rollover crash Sunday afternoon that closed both directions of U.S. 2. (Washington State Patrol)
10 people hurt in three-vehicle crash on U.S. 2 near Monroe

A 14-year-old was taken to Harborview Medical Center, plus six more Everett and Monroe hospitals.

$500,000 available for Edmonds nonprofits

Organizations can apply for Edmonds Rescue Plan funds until Aug. 20.

Top row (L-R): Lacey Sauvageau, Don Schwab, Jacob L. Vail. Bottom row (L-R): Demi Chatters, Kelly Fox, Ben Zarlingo.
Wave of first-time candidates who seek Everett council posts

Three people in each of two races are running to represent the city’s newly formed Districts 3 and 5.

Most Read