On Saturday, Jan. 7, Snohomish County is set to reopen Meadowdale Beach Park after an estimated $15 million refurbishing of the estuary, including a new underpass connecting the park with the beach. Although the two-year project is not totally completed, pedestrians will be allowed to access the beach from the parking lot at 156th Street Southwest near 60th Avenue West. With the reopening, the park will complete its journey from homestead to country club back to natural park.
The story of Meadowdale Beach Park begins on July 25, 1882 when John Lund obtained an 149.5-acre homestead in the area. He built a small shack, later replaced by a nine room house when he married the widow Mrs. Matilda Deiner, who had moved to Seattle from Portland with her five children. At the time, “6 Mile Point” — named for its distance south of the temporary county seat in Mukilteo — was almost totally isolated. Lund could catch a passing ferry but had to row his step-children down to Edmonds for their schooling on Sunday afternoons, picking them up on the following Friday.
Lund worked for his friend George Brackett in logging and did manage to log some of his own homestead. But the terrain was challenging enough for him to sell off 131 acres to the local timber companies, retaining only seven to eight acres. The land he retained became known as Lund’s Gulch, on which he planted an orchard and established a family farm. Milk and fruit from Lund’s farm was sold to the lumber operation of Mosher and McDonald’s and later to the store at Meadowdale Depot. Lund’s children also helped with making nets to catch salmon passing Lund’s Gulch on their way to Puget Sound or traveling upstream to spawn. It is intended that the current restoration will reestablish this salmon run. Last year, 27 salmon were counted coming back to spawn.
In 1909, Lund decided to sell the remainder of his homestead and move into Edmonds. He died Dec. 27, 1917 at age 93.Ownership of his plot changed hands twice more before finally being bought by the syndicate known as the Meadowdale Country Club, Inc. The syndicate built a clubhouse and Olympic-sized pool around 1960, but the club evidently did not succeed. In 1968, the club sold the land and structures to Snohomish County and these became part of a county park.
In 1970, the clubhouse burned down. After this fire, the county removed the clubhouse and pool, and allowed the land to begin its journey of returning to its natural state. Now, with the estuary renovation near completion, it is hoped that the salmon will soon return.
— By Sam Spencer
Most of the history came from With Angels to the Rear by Delmar H. Carryl and from an interview with Chris Deiner Carr, the great-great granddaughter of John and Matilda Deiner Lund. Edits by Diana Sheiness.