Monroe Historical Archives
207 East Main Street
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Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
An online sampling of our thousands of historical photographs. Stop by the Museum and see them all!
The Monroe Monitor searchable archives from 1899 to 1979.
This is an ongoing project, which will be updated frequently as time permits and more information becomes available. Early dates, in particular, may be imprecise.
Last updated Dec. 27, 2017
The Treaty of Point Elliott signed in Mukilteo. It was one of five similar treaties negotiated by Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens, all of which were designed to divest the Native American population of its land rights in exchange for money, schooling, medical care and reservations. The steamer The Traveler is the first steamer up the Snohomish River going some eight miles.
The first settlers of European descent arrive in the Monroe area. The first is Henry McClurg, who settles near the confluence of the Skykomish, Snoqualmie and Snohomish Rivers with his “clootchman” (Native American wife) Martha in February. Salem Woods stakes a claim at Woods Prarie in the lower Woods Creek Valley (the creek is named for him) in northeast Monroe. Others soon homesteaded the rich farming area between the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers south of Monroe, which became known as the Tualco Valley from the Indian word “squa’lxo”, which means “meeting place of two rivers”.
Snohomish County created on Jan.14. Henry McClurg elected as one of the three original commissioners, and later that year the county seat is moved from Mukilteo to Snohomish City. At their very first meeting on March 12, the commissioners approve the creation of a road from Snohomish City to Woods Prarie (northeast of downtown Monroe). Salem Woods appointed as County Assessor and two months later, as Sheriff. And although there were no women or children of Euoropean descent yet living in the county, a school tax was levied.
The first county census taken by Assessor Salem Woods. No white women or children are listed. Those from the Monroe area include: Andrew Johnsom, 33, from Sweden; Charles M. Stilwell, 28, from Massachusetts; Salem A. Woods, 31, from New York; Henry McClurg, 29, from Pennsylvania; and George Kelsey, 33, from New York.
Henry and Martha McClurg move upriver and inland to found the settlement of Park Place (one mile west of downtown Monroe).
The first school district, District No. 1, was formed in the county in Snohomish on May 7.
Henry McClurg of Park Place appointed as the first County Superintendent of Schools. School District No. 2 organized at Park Place on Nov. 23.
The first county fair or agricultural exhibit was held at Snohomish City.
Tualco School District 7 becomes the second school district in the Monroe area. The first session of the Snohomish County Court convened march 21.
Salem Woods appointed on Jan. 5, as the first postmaster at Park Place. He was replaced by Henry McClurg in 1880, but by 1883 the post office at Park Place had been abandoned.
The first Tualco Schoolhouse built.
William Pattison begins operation on July 4 of the first ferry across the Skykomish River, crossing at Park Place.
The first herd of dairy cows arrives in the area aboard the steamship Nellie in January. Hops becomes a cash crop in the Tualco Valley until 1895, when pests and low prices because of the financial panic of 1893 and the advent of temperence movement cause the hop fields to be plowed under. The Snohomish-Monroe road is opened for wagon travel with John F. Stretch driving the first team and wagon to use it.
In May the steamer The Gleaner becomes the first steamer to go up the Skykomish River beyond Park Place, getting within two miles of Sultan.
In January, the steamer The Mame is the first steamer to reach Sultan.
Post office again established at Park Place, this time called Monroe at Park Place. Monroe was chosen by Henry McClurg in honor of the nation’s fifth president because the U.S. Postal Department would not allow any new post offices with double names. When the preliminary survey for the Great Northern Railway mainline runs through Park Place, a minor building boom ensues. Washington becomes a state on Nov. 11.
Great Northern’s final survey places the mainline one mile east of Park Place. The first plat of what would become Monroe is filed along the mainline and named Tye City. Daily steamer service is established on the Skykomish River to Sultan on the Monte Cristo and three times a week on Minnie M.
In the Fall John Vanasdlen moves his store with the post office from Park Place to next to the Great Northern Mainline and the new town becomes known as Monroe.
In June the first building of the County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm) is constructed on the present site of Valley General Hospital. The Great Northern mainline completed and the first train travels through Monroe.
The first bridge is built across the Skykomish River at the south end of Lewis Street.
The first church is built, the Methodist-Episcopal Church, on South Lewis Street.
The Stephens Brothers establish a sawmill on Woods Creek.
The first High Bridge built across the Snoqualmie River about a quarter-mile downstream from the current bridge.
The first grammar school building is moved from Park Place to the three-acre site at the southeast corner of Ferry and Fremont Streets. The Monroe Monitor begins publication Jan. 14.
The second grammar school building is built on the three-acre site at the southeast corner of Ferry and Fremont Streets and is joined to the first by a vestibule. The Stephens Brothers build a larger sawmill on Wagner Lake.
A disasterous fire on Sept. 16 burns the only complete block of businesses.
The citizens of Monroe vote to incorporate on Dec. 20. The new town has a population of 325.
Dr. L.L. Stephens opens a hospital on the southeast corner of Main and Blakely Streets. The Holiness League opens Monroe’s second church, The New Testament Church (later the Nazarene Church), on W. Main Street. Monroe holds its first agricultural fair Sept. 4-5.
Monroe’s first bank, Monroe State Bank opens Mar. 10 and moves into a new brick building at 106 E. Main by the end of the year. The third grammar school building is built on the three-acre site at the southeast corner of Ferry and Fremont Streets, which allows the district to over nine grades.
The Lewis Street Bridge across the Skykomish River is rebuilt adding a second, smaller truss on the south end.
Monroe Library Association is formed. Both the Catholic and Swedish Churches open. The New Testament Church on W. Main St. becomes the Nazarene Church. Wagner and Wilson buy the Stephens Brothers sawmill operation on Wagner Lake. Stephens Hospital adds two wings. Commercial Hotel at northeast corner of Main and Blakely opens Nov. 1.
Monroe selected as the site of the state reformatory (now part of the Monroe Correctional Complex) with construction of the temporary buildings beginning Oct. 5, and the first inmates arriving in Dec. The Congregational Church opens on South Lewis Street.
A two-story, brick-facade City Hall is completed in Nov. The Carnation Condensery is built.
Monroe State Bank becomes the First National Bank of Monroe on Apr. 1. The second building of the County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm) is constructed on the present site of Valley General Hospital. Monroe’s second bank, the Monroe National Bank opens July 15 in a new brick building at 107 W. Main. Monroe Union High School formed by a special levy vote in September with interim classes held in the Austin Building on South Lewis Street. Tualco Grange authorized.
The Wellington Disaster on March 1 is the worst Railroad Disaster in American History when more than 96 people are killed just west of Stevens Pass in a massive avalanche. Stephens Hospital sold April 10 and becomes Monroe General Hospital. Savoy Hotel constructed on West Main Street. Cornerstone laid for the Reformatory May 28. Cornerstone laid for the Monroe Union High School building in September.
First Monroe Union High School class graduates. The new Monroe Union High School Building completed in September. Park Place School built. The Superintendent’s Mansion at the Reformatory built. Great Northern begans rail service to Tolt (Carnation) across the newly completed Cherry Valley Railroad Bridge across the Skykomish River at Ann Street, and the Milwuakee Road completed their branch line from its junction with their main line at Cedar Falls (near North Bend) through Monroe, where it crossed the longest covered railroad bridge in the world across the Skyomish River at Buck Island before continuing to Everett. Thedinga Hardware building is constructed just east of Monroe General Hospital.
Main Street is paved. Great Northern begans rail service begins to Tolt (Carnation) across the newly completed Cherry Valley Railroad Bridge across the Skykomish River at Ann Street, and the Milwuakee Road completed what was the longest covered railroad bridge in the world across the Skyomish at Buck Island.
The Lewis Street Bridge across the Skykomish River is replaced with a steel girder span.
The heaviest snowfall on record for the Northwest fell in late January and early February. Central Grade School built replacing the earlier Grammar Schools at the same site.
Monroe dedicates it’s new, 155-foot flagpole on July 4.
The condensery replaced its two metal smokestack with the concrete smokestack that still stands sometime during the early 1920s.
In October Monroe High School students change the name of their school athletic teams from The Panthers to The Bearcats in honor of hometown boxer Dode “Bearcat” Bercot. In December, the new brick Methodist Church on South Lewis Street is dedicated at the site of original Methodist-Episcopal Church, Monroe’s first church.
The original County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm) buildings are replaced by a 100-bed white stucco building that later became Valley General Hospital. The first shipment of lettuce is shipped on June 27 from what would later become the Frye Lettuce Farm. The Sol Duck Oil Company drills for oil west of Monroe.
In October Great Northern opens its greenhouse operation on North Lewis Street across from the Depot.
Masonic Hall building on South Lewis Street dedicated in October.
The condensery building is decommisioned by Carnation and remains idle throughout the depression. Monroe Kiwanis Club formally chartered Dec. 11.
Avalon Theatre opens on July 1.
Healey Hotel (originally Hotel Pearsall) burns down in February. The three-story hotel on the southeast corner of Main and Ferry Streets was built in 1901 and was also called the Cadillac Hotel at one time.
Major flooding in February causes the Skykomish River to change course moving south around what is now Buck Island with Woods Creek running through part of the old riverbed.
President Roosevelt closes the nation’s banks for auditing; when they reopen, The First National Bank of Monroe took over the assets and the building of Monroe National Bank and soon moves into the Monroe National Bank Building at 107 W. Main.
Wagner and Wilson sawmill operation on Wagner Lake is shut down.
The County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm) is now used only as a hospital is called Valley View Hospital. Monroe holds its first Cavalcade of the Valleys.
The First National Bank of Everett acquires the First National Bank of Monroe on Oct. 2..
The old condensery building burns down Mar. 23 after it was converted to a flax mill.
The Snohomish County Fair resumes using the county poor farm property.
The county leases Valley View Hospital (later Valley General Hospital) as a private nursing home and hospital known as Monroe General Hospital. The Snohomish County Fair becomes The Evergreen State Fair and runs Sept. 8-11. During the fair run the highway link that is now U.S. 2 between Monroe and Snohomish opened.
Park Place School closes. The first Frank Wagner Elementary School opens. Monroe Branch of the First National Bank of Everett opens a new building on the northwestwest corner of Main and Blakely Oct. 17.
The Lewis Street Bridge across the Skykomish River is replaced with a new bridge constructed just down stream from the old one.
Public Hospital District No. 1 formed in May, and voters approve a bond issue in November to purchase Monroe General Hospital, formerly the County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm).
The private Monroe General Hospital becomes the public Valley General Hospital on Feb. 1 (Public Hospital District No. 1) on the original site of the County Farm and Hospital (The Poor Farm), and a new annex is added to the 1925 stucco building. The First National Bank of Everett including the Monroe Branch is acquired by Seattle First National Bank on Nov. 16.
Park Place School demolished.
A major earthquake strikes western Washington Apr. 29 and severely damages the original Monroe High School Building and Annex, which are demolished in the summer.
New Monroe Library on Hill Street opens.
SR 522 completed to West Main St.
New Monroe High School complex on Hill Street opens replacing the one torn down after the 1965 earthquake.
Post Office building on Blakely Street opens.
Valley General Hospital is enlarged.
Monroe Historical Society is created.
Salem Woods Elementary School opens. Special Offender Unit opens as part of the Monroe Correctional Complex. Seattle First National Bank including the Monroe Branch is acquired by Bank of America.
The Twin Rivers Unit opens as part of the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Monroe Library on Hill Street is remodeled and expanded.
Major expansion of Valley General Hospital completed, which included the destruction of the remainder of the 1925 white stucco building.
The Minimum Security Unit opens as part of the Monroe Correctional Complex.
New (the fourth) Monroe High School opens on Tester Road.
Hidden River Middle School opens.
New Monroe Library opens on Village Way.
–from information compiled by Nellie Robertson, by Bill Wojciechowski, and from other sources.