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Marysville City

Marysville City Hall is located at 1049 State Street, Marysville, WA 98270; phone: 360-363-8000.

Beginnings [1]

The first settlement in what would be Washington State occurred in 1845 in Tumwater. Only eight years later the first permanent white settlement in Snohomish County happened at Tulalip. The primary purpose of the settlement was to establish a sawmill, indicative of the significant role timber would play in the history of the area. The Treaty of Elliott Point was signed in 1855, establishing the Tulalip Reservation for the relocation of the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish Indians from Everett. The Tulalip Reservation area would be the focal point of activity in the area for another 20 years. During this period two missionaries arrived at Tulalip to found a mission, church, and school for Native Americans. Located at several points along the coast, including the mouth of Quil Ceda Creek, Priest's Point and Mission Bay, the mission grew to be quite a complex. In 1869 the mission at the Tulalip Reservation became the first Indian Contract School ever established.

Father Chirouse, one of the Tulalip missionaries, persuaded Maria and James Comeford to move from Whatcom County, where they had arrived in 1872, to Tulalip to operate the government trading post. During the years they ran the trading post at Tulalip, James Comeford traveled the rivers and sloughs selling goods. He determined the area along Ebey Slough was a desirable location for a settlement with its river and marine access and significant logging potential. In 1887 he purchased 120 acres of land from two men who in the early to mid-1870s had purchased significant acreage stretching from the marshes up to the highlands in what would become Marysville. At that time, the area was otherwise uninhabited from the Snohomish to the Stillaguamish Rivers. In 1878, James and Maria Comeford built a trading post and home/hotel on a site that today is approximately the intersection of Ebey Slough and Interstate 5. Enough settlers began to arrive in the general area that in 1878 a school district was established covering the area from Sunnyside to Florence. Also in 1879 the Comefords managed to set up a post office which was named Marysville. The name is either taken from Mrs. Comeford's name, "Maria," or was used as an incentive to encourage two men from Marysville, California to remain in the newly formed town.

During the late 1870s through the early 1890s many settlements were begun in the greater Marysville area: Kellogg Marsh, Getchell Hill, Sunnyside, Shoultes, Sisco and Edgecomb. Probably the best indication of the determination of each of these communities was their desire to establish schools for their children. Sunnyside had one of the earliest districts that broke off from the Snohomish district around 1880. To serve the district, Sunnyside built their school house in 1881-85. Though Marysville students were a part of this district, a log cabin one or two miles east of town served as a private school house for seven students. Marysville formed their school district in 1887 and the first school, the Lyceum, was built on Front [First] Street between Beach and Cedar in 1888. That same year Shoultes created a separate school district from Marysville but did not construct a school building until the early 1890s. Kellogg Marsh followed Shoultes by creating another school district in 1892 and built their school in the mid to late 1890s.

Aside from the school activities, the 1880s were a relatively quiet time in Marysville. In the early 1880s, the city was only three blocks long with skid roads running to the slough. In 1885, James Comeford sold the store and began to plat the town. He began with nine blocks running east from the reservation to Liberty Street. This was followed by other adjacent areas being platted: Quinn's Plat in 1888, Meyer's Plat in 1890 and Marysville Plat in 1891. The first Marysville saw mill opened in the late 1880s. The platting and mills began to shift the center of town east from the original trading post's location, though still near the waterfront. But after all these efforts, in 1889 the town still only had a few residents, two general stores, an empty hotel, and 20 houses not all of which were occupied.

Due to the construction of the railroads, a boom hit the area in 1889. The Seattle-Lakeshore and Eastern (later the northern Pacific) railroad was built near Getchell Hill, and the Great Northern railroad, going through Marysville, was anticipated. The combination of railroad and timber increased the area's vigor. Getchell Hill is one example; in the 1890s, it had two shingle mills, hotel, post office, railroad depot, schools, and of course saloons. For Marysville, only one year after the barren description of town above, it had now acquired two hotels, 14 businesses, 47 houses, 200 people, and Sunset Telephone and Telegraph opened its Snohomish exchange.

As a result of the boom, four indicators of growth and success could be found in Marysville in 1891: 1) the town was incorporated as a fourth class city with 350 inhabitants, a mayor, city council, treasurer, and clerk; 2) the new city built its first City Hall on First Street; 3) the second bank in Snohomish County opened at First and Beach in Marysville; and 4) the Marysville Globe newspaper began its operation. Still Marysville had a next door rival for dominance in Snohomish County-Everett. For many years, Everett was called Port Gardner. But with its sizable port and the injection of monies from John D. Rockefeller in 1891, Everett began to overtake its rival.

Although the stock market Panic of 1893 slowed growth of many communities, it did not seem to have much impact on Marysville. The city's second school building opened in 1894 and the school had 159 students. Tug boats and stern-wheelers plied the river and sound, stopping at Ed Steele's wharf at the base of Ash Street, the center of the business community. Mills were being constructed along Allen Creek. When the Great Northern Railroad tracks opened in 1895, the tracks became the only direct connection to Everett. Throughout the 1890s steamers connected Everett and Marysville, but the only land route was via Sunnyside Road and Cavelero's Corner. Many people walked the tracks rather than take this longer route.

  1. Community Development Department, City of Marysville Washington, Comprehensive Plan, 2005,, accessed October, 2014.
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