In 1988 Barb Lamoureux started selling real estate. Thirty years later we’re celebrating Barb's legacy in Everett by heading back to the beginning to remember what Everett was like in the 1980s. Our next stop: Grand Avenue Park.
Like so many places in Everett, Grand Avenue Park is not only beautiful; it’s also chock-full of history.
In the 1980s, when Lamoureux Real Estate was getting off the ground, Grand Avenue Park offered the same amazing views as it does today. The Olympic Mountains are the same, the islands across Port Gardner are the same, the towering trees are there, too. The only thing that’s changed is the waterfront.
As you stand on the bluff watching a sunset bleed warm colors across the sky, you may not realize you’re feet from where George Vancouver set down anchor hundreds of years ago.
This thin tract of land to the west of Grand Avenue between 19th street and 16th street has been loved by Everett residents from the beginning. An early settler in Everett, Charles Fratt, set aside the property shortly after the city first incorporated at the end of the 19th century. In 1906 the city bought the land from Fratt’s Everett Improvement Company for one dollar. It’s been a public park ever since.
The Northwest Neighborhood surrounding Grand Avenue Park is full of impressive houses built by factory and mill owners during boom times in Everett. These business owners were able to look out over the bluff to the waterfront where their waterfront industries worked around the clock.
Many of these palatial homes were built between 1900 and 1915, a period that roughly corresponded with the American Arts and Crafts movement. The craftsman-style homes of this era are stunning a full century later, and are notable for their solid wood, functional design, stained glass, high quality craftsmanship and use of sustainable natural materials. Which is to say, they’re really pretty to look at, especially when bathed in the light of a sunset.
Perhaps the most prominent house in a long row of prominent houses next to the park is the Henry M. Jackson mansion on the southeast corner of 18th and Grand. It’s a whitewashed two-story behemoth with an honest-to-goodness conservatory. Fancy! The house gets its name from its most famous (but not original) occupant, Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson.
Jackson is Everett’s hometown hero, a lawyer who cleaned up 1930s Everett by busting gangsters and shutting down brothels before turning his attention to national politics. As a senator, Jackson kept close company with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Throughout the years Grand Avenue Park has been continually updated. In the 1980s park benches were added and the sundial mosaic near 17th Street was put in.
Today Grand Avenue Park a favorite place for locals to watch sunsets or 4th of July fireworks over the bay. Soon there will be the footbridge connecting the park (and surrounding neighborhoods) to the waterfront. Perfect.
Next time you’re there be sure to take in the panoramic views of the Salish Sea, and don’t be surprised if you see the benevolent ghosts of George Vancouver and Henry M. Jackson keeping you company.
Grand Avenue Park
Open from dawn to dusk
1720 Grand Ave, Everett, WA 98201
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