Lynnwood Through the Years ... from a Forest to a City
An unusual look at the history of Lynnwood,
Snohomish County, Washington
by Betty Lou Gaeng
The stripping of forests has continued since ancient times. King Solomon stripped Lebanon of its beautiful cedars to build a temple in Jerusalem as a tribute to God. Centuries later, by the mid-1800s, the state of Maine in the new country of the United States saw the depletion of its forests by the lumber barons for the building of their empires.
Seeing this depletion, the eyes of many of Maine’s lumbermen turned westward. Within a few years the lumbermen moved into the magnificent pristine forests of the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound region. The stripping of these huge forests of Douglas firs, cedars and hemlocks was inevitable. Puget Sound’s native people were powerless to stop it, for the advancement of civilization has always taken precedence over their rights, and this place, with its abundance of trees, was no exception.
Many of the common woodsmen also came from Maine at this time. Some also came from other New England states, or from Canada, and others from across the seas—Scotland, England and Ireland. These men found work with the companies or had small operations of their own. As with all people who look for greener pastures, they no doubt had dreams of finding riches. Some succeeded in making a good living, remained, and settled the land. Many found helpmates among the native women, raised families, and made their homes in communities such as Snohomish, Monroe, Mukilteo and Stanwood. In what was Island County in Washington Territory, they chose to settle on Whidbey and Camano Islands. On the mainland, they settled along the shores of Puget Sound and the many rivers meandering through what in 1861 became Snohomish County.
Here we will follow the history of one small part of the land. It begins with a young man from Maine who came to the Pacific Northwest hoping to fulfill a dream of much more than simple existence. His dream was to save $50,000 and return to his home in Maine. In joining forces with the barons of industry, he amassed a fortune. The story is also about a young family during the time of the 20th century’s Great Depression. The family settled on a portion of this land, and remained to watch a young community evolve.
Cyrus WALKER was born in Madison, Somerset County, Maine on October 6, 1827. When the 1850 federal census was taken he was still living with his parents, James and Eliza WALKER, and farming with his father. He did some teaching and surveying, but neither appealed to him. In 1852 he decided to travel to the newly discovered gold fields of Australia. Arriving in New York, he booked passage on a schooner; however, Mr. WALKER decided he did not like the looks of the ship. He sold his ticket, returned to the hotel, and considered his options.
Back at the hotel, he became acquainted with E. S. BROWN, a millwright, on his way to the Isthmus of Panama to meet Capt. W. C. TALBOT at Panama City. At the urging of BROWN, Cyrus WALKER accompanied him, heading to California by way of Panama. At Panama City, Cyrus WALKER was introduced to Capt. TALBOT. TALBOT, a former resident of East Machias, Maine, was to be one of the partners of the Pope & Talbot lumber company, established December 20, 1852 in Oregon Territory. Capt. TALBOT had just brought his ship from Boston around Cape Horn with a load of supplies. After meeting Cyrus WALKER, Capt. TALBOT evidently saw potential in the young man and hired him. Cyrus WALKER’s future was decided. He boarded Capt. TALBOT’s ship setting sail for San Francisco.
Arriving in San Francisco, plans were made for a journey to the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest in order to find a suitable port to establish a sawmill for their proposed logging operation, which would be known as Puget Mill Company. In June of 1853, the company’s 50-ton schooner Julius Pringle under the command of Capt. TALBOT set sail on its voyage of exploration. On board the ship was Cyrus WALKER. Traveling up the coast and then through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the ship arrived at Port Discovery in Discovery Bay on July 14. The men then set out in smaller boats to find a site to set up their mill. They chose a bay on the east side of Hood Canal, near its entrance. This was the home of the S’Klallam Indians and they called the place Teekalet, meaning “brightness of the noon-day sun.” The Wilkes Expedition of 1841 had named this spot Port Gamble, but it wasn’t until later that the name was used officially.
As Puget Mill Company prospered, so did Cyrus WALKER. His first work with the company involved helping to construct the mill, serving as timekeeper, accountant and as a general handyman. From 1858 through 1861 he was the acting manager. In 1863, he borrowed money and bought 10 percent of the business. He became the figurehead of Puget Mill for over half a century. In 1885, WALKER married Emily TALBOT, the daughter of Capt. TALBOT, and they moved into the manager’s house. Later that year the house in Port Gamble burned, and he then built a mansion at Port Ludlow, naming the home Admiralty Hall. The house was completed in 1887 and he moved his operations to Port Ludlow, leaving E. G. AMES in charge at Port Gamble.
By the time of the Civil War, the mills wanted to secure land to ensure their supply of logs. The federal government was beginning to sell land in order to raise money for a territorial university in Seattle. Up until then the lumbermen had been taking the trees from the land with no opposition, but that practice was soon to end. Even though there was an 1831 federal law that prohibited the taking of timber from the public domain, the law had not been enforced. To most residents of Western Washington Territory there seemed to be no harm in harvesting the giant trees - the supply of timber appeared to be inexhaustible. Also it was extremely difficult to obtain land from a legal sale since the forests were so dense, making preliminary surveys impossible. However, as noted, the free taking of timber was ending.
With the federal government now in the business of selling the land, the lumbermen found it necessary to ensure that they had enough raw timberland for the future. All over the west the lumber barons were using employees, outsiders and third parties to secure land. Some of the land purchased was the bounty land awarded to veterans, and some was under the Homestead Act of 1862. Later land was also secured under the Timber Culture Act of 1873. Dummy land settlers were hired and third-party agents secured the necessary documents which were then delivered to the business that would eventually hold title. Puget Mill Company became the largest of these procurers of timberlands. During these early years, they amassed a huge domain. Cyrus WALKER told his associates they needed to “make hay while the sun shines.”
Our story continues as we follow the development of one of these small timber parcels. In the late 1860s, a few miles inland from the shores of Puget Sound and what is now the city of Edmonds, the heavily forested land was for the most part inhabited only by animals. There were small creeks running through the dense terrain, but no rivers to attract settlement by the native people. Perhaps an occasional band of Indians would wander through hunting game. The homesteaders who came some 20 years later spoke of an abundance of bear, cougar, and bobcats, and signs that there had once been elk. Amid the towering Douglas firs, the cedars, the smaller alders, and the thick brush covering the ground, there was seldom the sound of a footstep to disturb the tranquility. The only sound to be heard was the occasional call of a wild animal or the whisper of the wind as it ruffled the branches of the trees. The giant evergreens were what caught the eyes of the lumbermen from the milltown of Port Gamble. This thick forest was to become one of Puget Mills’ holdings for the future.
Across Puget Sound, far eastward from Puget Mills’ offices in Port Gamble, under Patent No. B-179, United States to Cyrus Walker, dated October 1, 1869 and filed January 9, 1891, 160 acres of the heavily forested timberland was acquired by Cyrus WALKER for Puget Mill Company. The patent states:
Several years later, after many other similar transactions by WALKER, POPE, and TALBOT, Puget Mill Company decided it was time to formalize the standing of the company. Articles of Incorporation for Puget Mill Company were signed and dated October 30, 1874 (filed July 26, 1918).
Next, on November 3, 1874 (filed December 16, 1874) in consideration of Certificates of Stock, W. C. TALBOT and Sophia G. TALBOT; A. J. POPE and Emily F. POPE; and Cyrus WALKER, a single man, quit claimed to Puget Mill Company, Inc. 6517.79 acres, more or less of land in Township 27 N., R. 4 E. Included in the deed was Section 15, the 160 acres that had been acquired by Cyrus WALKER on October l, 1869.
Even though Cyrus WALKER had been the main force in acquiring land, he did not live to see the final outcome and the future development of that particular 6517.79 acres of land. He died in San Mateo, California in 1913 at the age of 86. Four years following his death, the Edmonds Tribune Review’s April 13, 1917 issue printed a story regarding changes being made at a place named Alderwood Manor:
The May 18th issue of the same newspaper stated that Puget Mill Company had now expended more than $100,000 for the development of the land and had more expansion planned. On June 1, 1917 the Edmonds Tribune Review carried a large advertisement proclaiming Puget Mill Company’s plans for “The New Life of the Land at Alderwood Manor.” The article went on to claim: "We will assist you to become independent on five acres of your own, receiving a goodly income from Filbert Nut Culture and Poultry".
One of the first sales
of Alderwood Manor land by Puget Mill Company was the 5.09 acres
described as Tract 10, Block 5. This parcel was part of the 160
acres of Section 15 originally purchased by Cyrus WALKER on October
1, 1869, listed as Patent B-179.
The first buyer of this 5.09 acreage was Mrs. Fannie DAVIES, the contract of sale dated June 4, 1917 and signed by E. G. AMES, Manager of Puget Mill and approved by W. A. IRWIN, Sales Agent. Later, under the date of February 6, 1923, Mrs. Fannie DAVIES and William DAVIES, her husband, in consideration of $10, quit claimed the property back to Puget Mill Company.
The next buyer was Ernest P. AMEY, the Contract of Sale having been issued September 1, 1923 in consideration of $1677.00. Under the date of February 1, 1924 an agreement was made for the seller Puget Mill to make improvements on the property. On March 21, 1924, having neglected to pay any of the money due on the contract, Mr. AMEY filed a Declaration of Homestead, quite possibly to delay foreclosure.
Puget Mill through its attorneys filed a Lis Pendens on June 18, 1925, notifying Mr. and Mrs. AMEY and the tenants on the property, a Mr. and Mrs. DOLPHIN, that action would be commencing to recover possession of the property through ejectment. Mr. and Mrs. AMEY were served the papers at Lothrop, Missoula County, Montana, where they were residing. Judgment was rendered on October 3, 1925 and ownership of the property was returned to Puget Mill Company.
By the time the property was sold again, considerable improvements to the property had been made—the selling price was now $4,950.00. The new buyers were Harry E. ENLOW and his wife Elizabeth E. ENLOW. The ENLOWS moved to Pennsylvania and on May 17, 1928, they executed a warranty deed returning the property to Puget Mill.
These were precarious times for Puget Mill Company as many buyers were finding they were not financially able to honor commitments. Many, who had thought they could make it as farmers, found that this life was not what they had imagined. Many abandoned the concept of the prosperous life on their own little piece of land as promoted by Puget Mill Company. These defaults became a reoccurring problem for Puget Mill as they attempted to divest themselves of the Alderwood Manor properties.Finally, the 5.09 acres known as Tract 10, Block 5, located on North Trunk Road West and Cedar Way in Alderwood Manor, took on new life with its sale to a Seattle family. Dice and Mabel LOBDELL signed papers for a 20-year mortgage for their country home. The house built by Puget Mill, as shown in the accompanying picture, was a very up-to-date home of its time.
July 16, 1928, was a special day for the LOBDELL family. Not only were they celebrating the sixth birthday of their daughter Halide (pronounced ‘Hally-dee’), but also the beginning of life in the country. The family, together with Mr. LOBDELL’s parents, settled in their new home, and when the nearby Alderwood Manor Grade School began its new school year in September, Halide was enrolled in first grade.
The LOBDELL’s land extended from what is now 196th Street SW and 44th Avenue West to 194th Street SW. The site of the LOBDELL’s house is now occupied by a Jack In The Box restaurant. A Horizon Bank is at the present time located at the northwest corner of the property. Across 44th Avenue, where the cows of local dairyman Charles OLSON used to graze, is a Fred Meyer store. Just north of Fred Meyer is Veterans’ Park, the Sno-Isle Library and Lynnwood’s Civic Center. Directly north of what was the LOBDELL’s property and across 194th is the Lynnwood Civic Justice Center. The property acquired by Cyrus WALKER in 1869 is now part of the very heart of Lynnwood.
This Puget Mill Company-built house became the permanent home for the LOBDELL family, and they became active members of the community. As stated before, daughter Halide attended nearby W. A. Irwin School, better known as Alderwood Manor Grade School. Later she rode the school bus to Edmonds High School, the only high school in the area at the time. Graduating in 1939, Halide spent the next four years at the University of Washington, followed by work in Seattle, marriage and a family.
For twenty years, the LOBDELL family weathered all the country’s ups and downs. Through a global financial melt-down and the Second World War, they hung on to their little piece of land, and on the 21st of October, 1948, F. C. TALBOT of Pope & Talbot, Inc. signed the Warranty Deed for Tract 10, Block 5, Alderwood Manor over to them. Where others had failed, the LOBDELL family succeeded. The land was all theirs!
Both Dice and Mabel LOBDELL were gifted musicians and became well known entertainers at local dances, Dice with his violin and Mabel accompanying him on the piano. They played at several local establishments, including the Cedar Valley Grange, the Masonic Temple, and Lundeen’s and Rubenak’s resorts. As Mabel LOBDELL’s obituary stated, “together they made beautiful music for many years with their violin and piano.” Both Dice and Mabel were active participants in the life of the community. They were members of the Cedar Valley Grange, and Dice belonged to the Masons. Mabel spent 72 years as a moving force in the Alderwood Manor Garden Club. She was also an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star and Job’s Daughters.
Dice, whose birth name was Darius Richard LOBDELL, was the son of Richard Charles LOBDELL and Harriet BABCOCK. He was born in Wyocena, Columbia County, Wisconsin on January 29, 1886. Mabel was the daughter of Oliver OSBORN and Mabel YOUNG, and she was born in Goshen, Whatcom County, Washington on November 28, 1900. Dice and Mabel were married in Tacoma, Washington in 1921. Dice died in Ashland, Oregon on December 19, 1955. A few years following her husband’s death, Mabel married long-time family friend William HEATH. She became a widow for the second time in 1986. Mabel LOBDELL HEATH died July 19, 2000, just a few months before her 100th birthday. Halide PATTERSON, the only child of Dice and Mabel LOBDELL, survived her parents.
Dice LOBDELL did not live to see Alderwood Manor’s annexation to become part of the new City of Lynnwood. However, Mabel continued to live in the family home, eventually selling it. In 1978 a Satisfaction of Mortgage was issued to new owners and in 1980 a deed to their trustee. On April 3, 1998, an agreement and contract were recorded showing sale of the property by the trust for the owners to Foodmaker, Inc., the parent company of Jack In The Box.
Halide (LOBDELL) PATTERSON, now a widow, lives in Seattle, but she has never forgotten her roots in this area. She is a regular volunteer at Alderwood Manor Heritage Association’s Heritage Cottage, a heritage resource center for the community. Along with all the volunteers at the City of Lynnwood’s Heritage Park, she will be on hand to welcome visitors during Lynnwood’s year-long 50th birthday celebration. Halide’s longtime connection to the Alderwood Manor community makes her a valuable source of knowledge regarding local history.
BEGINNING APRIL 23rd OF THIS YEAR, THE CITY OF LYNNWOOD BEGAN A YEAR-LONG CELEBRATION OF ITS 50th BIRTHDAY.
Actually, Lynnwood as a city had its beginnings several years before 1959 in the form of a few businesses along U. S. Highway 99, the major highway between Seattle and Everett. The first appearance of the Lynnwood name was in 1938 with the opening of Lynnwood Lumber Co. When the decision was made to incorporate, adjoining communities were annexed to become part of the new city. A large portion of the land was the community of Alderwood Manor. Since that time, the core of what was Alderwood Manor has become Lynnwood’s city center.Although the name of Alderwood Manor as a community is no more, Alderwood is a name that is perpetuated in the name of Snohomish County’s major shopping mall, and also in businesses, apartments and condos nearby.
The City of Lynnwood especially remembered the community of Alderwood Manor when it established Heritage Park on Poplar Way. Heritage Park is the City of Lynnwood’s special tribute to a historic community. Exhibits at the park depict the character of the early days.
One of the exhibits is a building that opened as a grocery store in 1919 and served the community for many years. In 1934, it was called the Alderwood Mercantile, but more commonly known as Wickers. The Wickers Building, once the center of the community, was moved from its former site to make way for the I-5 freeway. Not only did old time residents buy their groceries in the store, but it was also a place where people gathered to talk over the happenings in the community and in their own lives. The South Snohomish County Visitor Information Center is now located in this building. A display of photos depicting early-day Alderwood Manor and the interurban transportation system is featured in the former store. Plans are underway to open a museum on the second floor.
Many Alderwood Manor residents commuted to work or shopping in the big city on the Pacific Northwest Traction Company Interurban that ran through the community on its way to Seattle or Everett. Car 55, a 1909 wooden electric rail car from the old interurban line has been restored and is a popular exhibit in the park. Tours are available.
Included in the exhibits are two buildings that have also been moved to the park and restored. These two were part of the Demonstration Farm once located on the other side of Poplar Way. The Cottage, as it is called, was the residence of the superintendent of the Demonstration Farm. Alderwood Manor Heritage Association has its Heritage Resource Center in this building. A water tower which was also part of the Demonstration Farm is also a featured exhibit. The water tower is still in the process of restoration.
The land that is now Heritage Park was once a portion of the 5-acre farm of the HUMBLE family. The Humble House is the only structure originally built on this site. Puget Mill Company had originally constructed a two-room house, and later Albert HUMBLE, a carpenter by trade, built the house that now graces the property. The HUMBLE family had a comfortable home, much like many of the houses in the 1930s and 1940s. Thanks to the City of Lynnwood, the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society Research Library is located in this historic building.
Featured on the grounds of the park are sculptures depicting children and chickens. The chickens allude to the fact that Alderwood Manor was once a large egg producing area in the country, second only to Petaluma, California. The community was also a great place for children.
Alderwood Manor had an unusual beginning, possibly even a unique one. Established from just under 7000 acres of stump land left after the timber was harvested, Puget Mill Company planned, developed and named the area. The community owed its existence to a corporation, but it was not a company town as many other towns began. For the Little Landers who bought their own piece of the countryside, and also the few earlier individual homesteaders in the area, Alderwood Manor became a haven during the difficult days of the Great Depression. It was a place where people could have their own plot of land to raise chickens and other farm animals. They had vegetable gardens, as well as fruit and nut trees. It was also a place of community togetherness.
Even though the City of Lynnwood is officially only 50 years old, historically the city’s beginnings go much further back in time. Those beginnings are tied to Puget Mill Company, Cyrus WALKER, and the history of Alderwood Manor. The legal term “cause in fact” explains this situation best: A particular cause which produces an event and without which the event would not have occurred. They all connect.
Cyrus WALKER probably never actually set foot on the Alderwood Manor property, but he had an immense impact on its future. He also influenced the history of Seattle. Following the destruction of that city by fire in 1889, he played an important role in the rebuilding of the city. He also was involved in establishing the University of Washington. He became one of the richest men in the state.
The lumber barons, such as Cyrus WALKER, were concerned with building their empires. In the process, they left behind unexpected legacies.
A personal interview with Halide (Lobdell) Patterson.
No. 17139 Abstract of Title to Tract 10, Block 5, Alderwood Manor in Snohomish County, State of Washington, compiled by the Snohomish County Abstract Co., Everett, Washington, Agent for Washington Title Insurance Co.
The New Washington, A Guide to the Evergreen State (1941). Compiled by workers of the Writers’ Progrram of the Works Projects Administration (WPA) in the State of Washington; Metropolitan Press: Seattle, Washington.
Broom, Judith M., Lynnwood, The Land, The People, The City (1990); Peanut Butter Publishing: Seattle, Washington. <>
Coman, Edwin T., Jr. and Gibbs, Helen M. (1949), Time, Tide & Timber, Over a Century of Pope & Talbot; Stanford University Press. Revised and Edited by Pope & Talbot, Inc. (1978)
Stein, Harry H., Pope Resources, Rooted in the Past, Growing for the Future (2003); Documentary Book Publishers: Seattle, Washington.
Gervais, Leon A., History of Franklin Lodge No. 5, F. & A.M., Port Gamble, Washington (1973); Published by Leon A. Gervais, Poulsbo, Washington.
The Edmonds Tribune Review, Edmonds, Washington, April 13, 1917; May 18, 1917; and June 1, 1917.
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