Editorial: Who or what to honor with new park’s name?

A new Everett park provides the opportunity to honor the memory of someone important to the city.

By The Herald Editorial Board

There’s a necessity to naming things.

How else to tell a specific child to do — or stop doing — something? (Although parents and grandparents still have to run through the list of all their children’s names before the right one comes to mind.)

Names are key to identification and location, but we also use them — when naming streets, buildings, parks and other significant landmarks — to honor the memory of those who have died, those whose names we want to keep front of mind in our daily lives.

It’s fitting then with the recent loss of two figures important to Everett’s history, culture and community, that their names should be considered as the city begins planning for a new 1.2 acre park and playground in the Glacier View neighborhood, adjacent to the new YMCA location, which breaks ground next week in the 4700 block of Colby Avenue.

Helen Jackson and David Dilgard, both, are names worthy of consideration, as suggested by Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein this week.

Jackson, the widow of U.S. Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, died Feb. 24 at 84. Helen Jackson was a patron of education, the arts, health and children’s issues, through her support of Cocoon House, the Imagine Children’s Museum, the American Red Cross’ county chapter and the Everett Symphony.

Dilgard, a homegrown historian who gathered and shared the stories of Snohomish County and Everett, died May 17 at 73, a little more than a year after retiring from his 40-year post as historian at the Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room.

Both are deserving of the honor, as both worked closely with children and for their benefit.

But those may not be the only names worthy of consideration. Everett’s residents can participate in the selection of the park’s name. The city is asking for name suggestions, which can be submitted online at www.everettwa.gov/parknaming. The online form asks for the proposed name, the reason behind the name and the resident’s neighborhood.

Although many of Everett’s parks are named in memory of people important to the city, other parks are named for descriptive geography features and community organizations, which also can be considered.

Suggested names for the park will be considered by the Everett Historical Commission at a public hearing, 6:30 p.m. June 26, in the eighth-floor hearing room of the Wall Street Building, 2930 Wetmore Avenue. (Wetmore, by the way, is named for the steel-hulled “whaleback” freighter, Charles W. Wetmore, which arrived in Port Gardner Bay in 1891 with machinery and iron for Everett’s mills and factories.) The historical commission will make a recommendation for the park’s name to the Everett City Council.

Regardless of what happens with the park’s name, we suggest city and library officials consider adding Dilgard’s name to the library’s Northwest Room, which he and fellow historian Margaret Riddle, who retired in 2008, launched in 1977 shortly after both arrived at the library.

The names we choose to identify the places in our daily lives help to keep those names and their stories alive. Everett residents, those who will enjoy and support the new park, should be the ones to help choose a name that fits.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, July 9

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Editorial: It’s not just baseball that we may have to wait for

The AquaSox season is canceled. But if we don’t get a grip on COVID, we risk losing much more.

Editorial: Everett police reforms a template for others

The department’s response to an on-camera arrest shows the value of its recent reforms in policing.

Commentary: COVID has made working moms’ struggle clear

The difficulties and inequities for working moms haven’t changed. What has is the urgency for change.

Commentary: Little to like about Facebook’s content management

Unimpressed by an advertising boycott, the social network is resisting simple reforms to control hate speech.

Face masks should not be a political statement

It shouldn’t even be an issue but for some wearing a face… Continue reading

Everett didn’t enforce its law on fireworks

When is a law not a law? When it is not enforced.… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, July 8

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Most Read