Looking Back: Remembering the old Edmonds/Pre-Lynnwood Road and Reed Lake

Another bit of Lynnwood’s history is fading away forever—almost covered over by a whole lot of dirt. Change is happening on the south side of the 7300 block of SR524/196th Street Southwest. Large machines are moving tons of dirt to cover over what was the last visible vestige of a bit of Lynnwood’s past — Reed Lake. Before the dump trucks brought the dirt in, the land still even showed some sign of the lake’s history.

Reed Lake had once been located just a short distance east of what later became known as Vaughn’s Corner, an early-day section of the one-time North Trunk Road system. Today, Vaughn’s Corner is the 76th Avenue West intersection with SR524/196th Street Southwest. The community of Perrinville is a short distance north.

According to our state’s earliest records of lakes, Reed Lake was once — evidently many long years ago — actually considered a recreational lake and was stocked with fish — bass, perch, and cut-throat and rainbow trout. These records also show the size of the lake as four acres with a maximum depth of 30 feet. The official site for Reed Lake was Township 27 North, Range 4 East, Sections 17 and 20, W.M., Snohomish County. Older maps place its location as bisecting our present 196th Street Southwest; approximately covering the blocks of 7100, 7200 and 7300 of the highway. The southern portion of the lake was located at the northern line of the land patent granted to Luke Greenstreet in 1888. Even though Mr. Greenstreet came here in 1883, he has often been overlooked as one of the earliest pioneers in Lynnwood’s history. His 160-acre homestead ran south from the lake and included the present-day Edmonds Community College property.

It is possible that the actual name for Reed Lake may have been Reid Lake. Old maps do show that the northeastern part of the lake was on land once owned by Harry Reid — on the north side of the road. This was well over 100 years ago and cannot be verified, so perhaps it is just an odd coincidence. Later, the Reid’s house became the home of the Schwartz family. The former Reid/Schwartz residence still exists to this day and is considered the oldest house in Lynnwood. Now home to Lynnwood business offices, the building has been restored and is extremely well-maintained.

No doubt the lake was a hindrance to the early travelers between Edmonds and pre-Lynnwood, and at one time there may have been a bridge or some kind of crossing at Reed Lake; if so, it never has been shown on any map. Louis Arp, a former track and bridge builder for the railroads, whose 160-acre homestead had been just east of the Reid family’s home, for his own use, laid out this route from Edmonds as a puncheon road in 1888. Over a century ago, it was even called Arp Way. Many years before the 1937 naming of Lynnwood, the community surrounding the lake was known as Grand View — sometimes Grandview. If you live in that area, the old name may appear on the legal description of your property.

Lynnwood’s history is tangled with names that have mainly disappeared. At times, I have been surprised at some of the names from our past. The history of the naming of what is now 196th Street Southwest in Lynnwood is an example. As mentioned, Arp Way was the first name recorded, then for just a short while it was called Siegfried Road; then it was the North Trunk Road, and more often just called the Alderwood-Edmonds Road. The Siegfried Road designation evidently came from the infamous Thorwald Adolph Siegfried, an Edmonds lawyer and newspaper owner who had owned property in the area in the early 1900s.

Due to Louis Arp’s wife’s health problems, in 1900, he and his family left their farm and their extensive fruit orchards and moved to downtown Edmonds. Mr. Arp became a member of the district school board, the Edmonds City Council and Edmonds mayor in 1914. Because Louis Arp did become an important figure in the development of both Edmonds and Lynnwood, he is especially mentioned here. A major reminder of Louis Arp’s place in our history is the roads. Mr. Arp was an early-day Snohomish County road commissioner and was often referred to as the father of the south county road system. However, these roads in the early days did not get high marks for being user-friendly; unfortunately, Louis Arp was often blamed. With the unusual topography of the land in south Snohomish county, Mr. Arp did not have an easy job. The planning and building of the roads must have been a major challenge. Certainly, 196th Street Southwest attests to that as it winds its way through the up-and-down topography of the highway — and then there is Maplewood Hill. That must have been a real challenge for the young Louis Arp to figure out way back in 1888.

As for Reed Lake, with the passing of years, the lake was either drained or filled. However, more than likely, it just slowly dried up and was forgotten. Only a small shallow marsh was left behind as a reminder of earlier times. That marsh is part of my own childhood memories. Driving the old road was a definite challenge during heavy rains — water from the marsh would sometimes encroach on the roadway. Eventually, the road was raised and through time, the marsh disappeared.

In October of 1927, Pacific Highway (SR99) opened and intersected with this still narrow dirt road at what was called the crossroads. In 1931, east of the crossroads, the section of the road that ran between Alderwood Manor and Pacific Highway (SR99) was paved. By 1934, the traffic between the community of Alderwood Manor and Edmonds had increased, and that year the road from the crossroads to Edmonds was also paved. For the people of Alderwood Manor, Edmonds and the Maplewood community this became a time to celebrate progress. This road improvement was very warmly welcomed by residents of Edmonds School District #15. In those days this extensive school district had only one high school, and that school was located in downtown Edmonds. It had been a long rough bus ride for the students who lived many miles away in the eastern section of the large school district.

With the passage of time, development continued. In 1963 in the 7300 block on the south side of 196th Street Southwest — at what was known as Heinz Park — Lynnwood’s Ed-Lynn strip mall was built on a small section of land that was by that time a part of the water-free bed of Reed Lake. Many years later the original L-shaped strip mall building was remodeled. Some of the former businesses that occupied the building were the Enterprise newspapers; The Pet Parlor; Ken’s West-Lynn Barber Shop; For Heaven’s Sake, a Catholic book and gift shop, and Yesteryear’s better label consignments.

A few years ago, all the businesses closed and the strip mall was abandoned. Left to decay, the property and the deserted building became an eyesore in the neighborhood. In 2014, the building was razed and the land was cleared, except for the old sign. The land had been sold. However, nothing developed from the sale and the Ed-Lynn strip mall property remained undeveloped. Now new ownership and the earth-movers are bringing change to the land.

Without some older maps and pre-1960 information from the records of Washington State as reported in a 1973 ecology bulletin regarding the lakes of Western Washington, we probably would never have known much about the existence of Reed Lake and its place in the history of Lynnwood and south Snohomish county. Although I am sure there are some old-time residents of the area who, like me, do remember the marsh.

The existence of Reed Lake does still remain a mystery though. Where did this lake come from — what could have been its source? Unless they are man-made, lakes are normally fed and drained by creeks. No map has been found to show a creek in that vicinity, and I don’t have any memory of seeing one. Of course, as civilization encroached, some smaller creeks have been known to vanish. Perhaps Lynnwood has a missing creek as well as a mysterious lake. Actually, I think that somewhere in that area there were, and maybe still are, underground springs. Pre-Lynnwood did have many of those.

— Story and photos 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 South Snohomish County. She is also on the Edmonds Cemetery Board.

  1. Yet another great article by Betty Lou Gaeng! Those of us who love learning about the history of the area we call “home” owe her a BIG debt of gratitude.

  2. Very nice article. I lived west of there from 1949-1966. My folks then moved to “Cherry-Hill” just northeast of Perrinville near the Meadowdale Schools. Mom moved into Edmonds (1985) after my Dad passed away. I took piano lessons from Martin Schwartz (of the Schwartz residence) for over 10 years, often 2-3 times a week. His home and gardens were practically my second home, and holds many beautiful memories. Thanks again to your Mother for including all the history of that area.

    1. Hey neighbor! Holler at me this weekend, I can show you – it really is in amazing shape and I’d certainly never guess the age from the appearance.

  3. Hello. You referenced the oldest house in Lynnwood, and that is where I grew up. My maiden name is Swartz (not “Schwartz,” and I would like to correct that. But most important, I want to thank you for writing this interesting article. I remember, when us kids were little and the property around the house was 20 acres. There was a small creek flowing down the center of our land. It was filled with pollywogs and frogs, and we used to spend hours playing around the creek. It fed the swamp on the west side of our property, and that is probably where the lake was in the past. The little stream disappeared after we sold the back 15 acres for a large housing development between Lynndale Elementary School and our house. I appreciate your article to keep our history from being forgotten!

  4. Linda–thank you for your reply on the history of the area. I am sorry about spelling your name incorrectly, I did know better, but relied on memory alone. I don’t remember the creek, so that is good to know. The old maps do show that the lake was on the west side of your childhood property. Thank you again; a good outcome about writing history of the land is getting comments from people who knew that particular place first hand and can tell the rest of the story.

  5. My family has owned the “little house” on what I believe is the former R. Zimmerman/McDowell property just northwest of the old lake, since 1997. I believe it was built in 1937. I would love to know even more history of the area, from Betty Lou Gaeng’s notes of course, and also if Barbara Lee Lyman and Linda Swartz Bakkar have more info would love to hear that as well; fascinating stuff!

  6. Tim — the land you are talking about was all part of the 160-acre late 1880 homestead of Christian Christianson. The Zimmerman property is shown as located on that homesteaded land as early as 1910–looks to be about five acres. It is shown adjacent to the west of Harry Reid’s 40-acres (later the Swartz family did live there). Robertson Reid, the father of Harry Reid, also owned 40-acres there in 1910–just north of Harry Reid’s land. Robertson Reid was a minister; the first in pre-Lynnwood (when it was called Grand View by the locals). He performed the first marriage of record in the area at his home in 1909. The old maps did misspell the Swartz name. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, that area was rich with apple and fruit trees. The fruit produced from those trees was considered to be of very high quality. Perhaps it had something to do with the prolific water supply. The address for the people who lived there in the early 1900s was R.F.D. Edmonds.

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