After a vigorous campaign by Lynnwood’s Commercial Club, on June 16, 1948, the Federal Post Office Department established a fourth-class post office in unincorporated Lynnwood, with James E. “Ed” McCollum temporarily in charge. On Oct. 19, 1951, Howard W. Sievers was commissioned as the first official postmaster for the Lynnwood Post Office, and assumed his duties on Jan. 1, 1952.
A cautious, or perhaps confused, Federal Census Bureau seemed unaware of the existence of Lynnwood. For the years 1940 and 1950, the residents of the Lynnwood community were listed by the Census Bureau as part of unincorporated Seattle Heights, a community located one mile further south.
Accessibility plays a major role in the growth of Lynnwood
As more people discovered the advantages of living and/or working up the hill from Edmonds, more businesses began appearing on all four corners of the Lynnwood intersection. In 1950, a strip mall shopping center opened on the northwest corner of the crossroads, welcoming Dr. Lewis H. Krebs (osteopathic medicine and surgery), Kum-Bak Café, Decorators Paint and Wallpaper, Wilson Jewelry, Lynnwood Variety, Devon’s Men’s and Boy’s Shop, Lynnwood Cleaners, Arlene’s Hair Styling, Lynnwood Pharmacy, and Dr. Erving McVay (dentist).
No longer just noticed by local businesses, the accessibility of Lynnwood’s highway location began attracting the interest of outside businesses, and in 1950, a large Tradewell store was under construction near Cressey’s Garage, and the northeast corner of the intersection.
The 1950 artist’s sketch of the Lynnwood intersection is shown courtesy of Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association. This 1950 sketch of the intersection shows the area before the development of James Village on the northwest corner. Lynnwood Shopping Center occupies the southeast corner.
By the 1950s, after so many years of war, life was finally getting back to normal. Few appeared to even notice that the country had become embroiled in another dispute—this one a civil one in little-known and far-away Korea. Some local residents began to wonder why the United States was so concerned with what was referred to as a police action. Whether declared as a police action or not, it did seem to be a war, as once again, America’s young people were losing their lives on a distant battlefield. After enduring the long years of WWII, for many, it seemed to be a time to stay out of world conflicts and instead celebrate peace, prosperity and progress right here at home.
In April of 1950, the Lynnwood Commercial Club offered the Edmonds School District a free site on the east side of the Highway for the construction of a junior high school building. According to an article in the Edmonds Tribune-Review, in March of 1953, a contract for construction of the school was awarded to Newland Construction Co. of Everett at a cost of $799,629. The Quonset-style Lynnwood Junior High School, the first junior high school in the Edmonds School District, opened in the fall 1954 and closed in 1981. The school was located a short distance east of the intersection, on the north side of 196th Street Southwest in Lynnwood.
On Saturday, Dec. 23, 1950, Lynnwood merchants held their annual Christmas party, providing free candy and prizes for all. Lynnwood’s newspaper, The Reporter listed the names of 63 local businesses and professional offices who supported the event.
Among the many new businesses appearing at the busy intersection, one that soon became unpopular was the Lynnwood Horsemeat Market. Horsemeat consumption appeared to be a phenomenon sweeping across much of the nation, reaching the Seattle area during and following WWII. It was rumored that the idea was fueled by the Mafia out of Chicago. Mafia or not, stores selling horsemeat soon made their way to Lynnwood and nearby communities. On May 19, 1951, The Reporter announced the opening of the Lynnwood Horsemeat Market. However, the local horsemeat business seemed destined for failure when it hit a sour note with some of the nearby residents; especially those from the neighboring community of Alderwood Manor, where many young people owned their own horses and were dedicated members of the Pegasus Patrol, a popular Alderwood Manor horse-riding drill team.
In June of 1952, the parade for the festival honoring Lynnwood’s Days of Progress featured the official car for the celebration. The car is shown parked at Highway 99 and 196 Street Southwest, long considered the historic center of Lynnwood. In the back seat, wrapped in her famous home-grown mink stole, is Marie Tutmark, Alderwood Manor resident, and owner of Marie’s Floral Shop in Lynnwood. The driver at the wheel of the restored vintage car is my father, Walter A. Deebach, Sr., longtime Edmonds resident and avid supporter of numerous South County events and organizations. The photo was provided by the Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association (LAMHA). Later, the festival’s name was changed from Days of Progress to the more upbeat sounding name of Lynn-O-Rama.
While Lynnwood continued moving forward, with incorporation in view, Mountlake Terrace was the first to actually make a move for incorporation. Mostly residential, Mountlake Terrace became the first community east of Edmonds to accomplish its goal of incorporation. Following the end of WWII, Mountlake Terrace had developed as a mainly residential community with veterans of WWII and their families in mind. Spurred by backing from the federal government and the need for decent and affordable housing for the large number of returning WWII veterans, Mountlake Terrace had developed with a burst of speed. At the time of its incorporation, the involved area covered one square mile, with more than 7,000 residents. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1954, following a successful vote of 517 to 483, Mountlake Terrace became a third-class city with a city manager form of government.
In 1955, the Rotary Club of Lynnwood was chartered with 26 members. Through the years, Lynnwood’s Rotary has played an active role in charitable events in Lynnwood, and throughout the world. Some of its more notable leaders during its earliest years (1955-1959), were: Dr. Lewis Krebs, Jack Bennett, Earl Martin, Don Bakken and Ed McCollum. By the time Lynnwood incorporated in 1959, the Rotary had 32 members.
Meanwhile, as Lynnwood’s growth continued, the crossroads was becoming an entertainment destination; attracting people from Edmonds and Alderwood Manor, as well as the new city of Mountlake Terrace. When Lynnwood Lanes opened for bowling in 1956, it immediately became a success. Lynnwood Lanes began operating leagues from morning until night; including a special ladies-bowling league during the morning hours. Two years later, Lynnwood Roll-A-Way opened next door to Lynnwood Lanes, and adults, teens and young children began putting on roller skates to gracefully glide around the skating rink, while lively music boomed from the loud speakers.
In order to better promote the growth at the crossroads, as well as to decide its possible incorporation, Lynnwood’s Commercial Club, so important during the Days of Progress, was dissolved in 1957, and replaced by the Chamber of Commerce. Richard “Dick” Forsgren, owner of Lynnwood Jewelers, became the first president for the Chamber of Commerce.
As Lynnwood’s business numbers continued to grow, due to the lack of municipal services, residential growth was falling behind. Local residents began complaining and voicing a desire to be annexed by Edmonds. Their petition was denied, and the only option left to the Lynnwood community was to form their own city. For its incorporation Lynnwood, already a popular name, was chosen as the official name for the new city. Although there had been some preference shown for the name West Alderwood, clearly Lynnwood remained the favored choice.
The City of Lynnwood becomes a reality
Lynnwood’s first attempt at incorporation in November of 1958 failed. However, an appointed 18-member study group came up with a more modest proposal. It seems the first proposal had mistakenly included already incorporated Mountlake Terrace. In addition, the concerned citizens of Seattle Heights complained when they were also included in the first proposal. After adjustments were made, the more modest second attempt at incorporation was accepted, and following a favorable vote, the City of Lynnwood became a reality on April 23, 1959. Lynnwood’s incorporation did include some of the adjoining land once considered part of the neighboring community of Alderwood Manor. Lynnwood’s incorporation paved the way for future annexations.
Jack Bennett, an Alderwood Manor resident, and Lynnwood businessman, was elected as the first mayor for the City of Lynnwood.
Also, in 1959 a large Albertson’s grocery store opened on the northwest corner of the intersection. At this time, a large section of the corner under development as a shopping center. Named James Village, the retail complex officially opened in 1961, with Albertson’s as its flagship store. Today, well over 61 years later, with its variety of retail businesses — including a large Hobby Lobby store and a Safeway, which has replaced Albertson’s — James Village continues as a major shopping destination.
In its incorporation pamphlet, Lynnwood’s Chamber of Commerce advertised: All roads lead to Lynnwood, the Hub City. According to the publicity, because of its location half-way between the cities of Seattle and Everett, as well as its accessibility, Lynnwood became known as The Hub City—the busiest junction of highways in Washington state. The new city was reported as covering almost seven square miles, with over 10,000 residents.
The City of Lynnwood – annexing and growing
The 2006 publication Images of America, Alderwood Manor, by Marie Little, Kevin K. Stadler and the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association, related that “Lynnwood had been an incorporated city for nearly a year when the residents of Alderwood Manor again went to the polls to decide whether they should also become a city. Although a strong case was put forth, voters decided that Alderwood Manor should remain a rural community. However, a few years later, property owners in the vicinity of Alderwood Manor’s Town Center petitioned to be annexed to Lynnwood because street lights, sewers, and police protection were provided within the city limits.”
Lynnwood’s City Council took notice, and a petition for Alderwood’s annexation was approved. In December of 1962 annexation became a fact. On Dec. 6, 1962, the Edmonds Tribune-Review reported that following annexation, Lynnwood ended up with two libraries and two post offices, as well as two federally-appointed postmasters — Howard W. Sievers and Edward W. Schoenholz. The newly annexed land covered 95 acres.
Although the name Alderwood still remains popular, by the end of the 1980s, most of the laid-back Alderwood Manor community had been absorbed by a more aggressive City of Lynnwood.
The 2020 federal census showed Lynnwood as the fourth largest city in Snohomish County—population: 38,568. Lynnwood was also noted as having the highest concentration of retailers in the region.
The blending of diverse histories
Today, because of Lynnwood’s annexations of a large part of Alderwood Manor, as well as sections of other nearby communities, diverse histories have been blended. Visit Lynnwood’s Heritage Park on Poplar Way in what was once part of lumber giant Puget Mill Company’s planned community of Alderwood Manor, and look back to a different time, as well as to a bright future for the ever-changing and growing City of Lynnwood.
Next, watch for more to come, as once again we will travel back to an earlier time. Part 4 will tell the story of the Cressey family, named in 1953 as the first family of Lynnwood.
— By Betty Lou Gaeng
Betty Gaeng is a long-time resident of Lynnwood and Edmonds, coming to the area in 1933. She researches and writes about the history and the people of early-day Lynnwood and Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.