Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6826 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Cyberpedia Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Shoreline -- Thumbnail History

HistoryLink.org Essay 958 : Printer-Friendly Format

The City of Shoreline is one of Seattle’s closest suburbs. Located immediately north of Seattle, the area was settled first by homesteaders and soon after by vacationers. Over time a community formed, and although Seattle’s boundaries have pushed farther north, Shoreline has preserved its autonomy and, in the 1990s, incorporated as a city in its own right.

Horse, Boat, and Train

Despite the access to Puget Sound, little evidence exists for any major Indian encampments in the Shoreline area prior to the arrival of settlers. The first people to homestead there arrived in the 1880s. They cleared the land of timber and set up small farms. Boats were used to transport goods the short distance down the coast to Seattle.

The introduction of railroads greatly opened the Shoreline area to development. In 1888, the Seattle, Lakeshore and Eastern Railway was completed to the east along the shores of Lake Washington. But the Great Northern, which ran from Seattle to Minnesota, had a larger impact on Shoreline. In 1891, the portion that ran through Shoreline was completed, and this provided a direct link to downtown Seattle.

The rail lines encouraged people to buy property in the area. Even as early as the 1890s, many people dreamed of escaping the urban center for a more bucolic environment. Shoreline was close enough for people to live in the country and still have jobs in the city. Also, for the more well-to-do, the area was ideal for summer cottages and vacation getaways.

Another boost for development was the construction of the Interurban. Construction was started on this light-rail system in 1902. By 1910, electric trains were running between Everett (in Snohomish County to the north) and Tacoma (in Pierce County to the south). Capable of speeds greater than 30 miles an hour, the Interurban was the prime method of transport for Shoreline commuters and small farmers for almost 30 years.

A Stop Called Ronald

An early resident in the Shoreline community around the turn of the century was Judge James Ronald. Ronald purchased five acres of land for $100 from a friend who owed him money. Working on the weekends, he cleared his tract and planted cherry and apple trees. Improving the land came naturally to him, he claimed, having been raised in the Deep South.

Judge Ronald was a friend of Fred Sander, the man who built the Interurban. Ronald gave right-of-way through his property for Sander's rail line and offered to build a small station house if he could name it. Sander agreed, and after the station was built, Ronald gave him a sign reading "Evanor," named for Ronald’s daughters, Eva and Norma.

Shortly thereafter, Judge Ronald was riding the train. He got off at his station and was shocked to see that its name had been changed to Ronald. Not wanting to see his name in a public place, he confronted Sander. Sander informed Ronald that he'd promised to name the station "Evanor" but not to keep the name.

Said Sander, "This is my railway and I change names of stations when I please. I have changed it to Ronald and if you don’t like that name you can stay away and not see it!" The name further ingrained itself into the community a few years later when Ronald donated land for a school building. The name of the building? Ronald School, now (1999) home to the Shoreline Historical Museum.

Work and Play

Although early Shoreline was home to many folks who worked elsewhere, like every community it had businesses of its own. Lumber mills processed the cedar, Douglas Fir, and hemlock trees abundant in the area. Once the land was cleared, it became home to farmers, who raised chickens and produce such as berries.

In 1907, the Portland Ship Building Company built a small shipyard along the shores of Puget Sound. One of the boats built there was the S.S. Duwamish, a fireboat for the Seattle Fire Department. The Duwamish, a 121-foot steel vessel, could suck in and shoot out water at a rate of 22,800 gallons a minute. The Duwamish put out fires along the shore for more than 75 years, and is now (1999) a national historic landmark.

The Business of Fun

Other businesses in the Shoreline community were not as labor-intensive as building boats or felling trees. In fact, they were centers of fun. Echo Lake, located just south of the Snohomish County border, was from 1916 to 1966 a popular bathing beach. In the early days, it cost a nickel to get in. Some kids would spend this on candy and sneak in instead. In the winter, the lake was also used for ice-skating.

But probably the most fun could be had at Playland. Located on the shores of Bitter Lake, now (1999) just inside Seattle city limits, this popular amusement park had bumper cars, a merry-go-round, a funhouse, and all sorts of rides and games for young and old alike. Prior to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, people would travel from all over the state to enjoy themselves at Playland.

Not the Scenic Route

By the 1930s, the Interurban had outlived its usefulness. America was turning automotive, and cars were the preferred method of travel. By 1939, the Interurban rails were sold for scrap metal and paved roads crisscrossed the community.

Aurora Avenue, or Highway 99, was originally a bumpy wagon-trail that closely paralleled the rail line. By 1912, it was paved with brick all the way to the county line. As the Interurban faded away, Aurora Avenue became the most heavily trafficked road in the community. Evidence of this can be seen today in the old motels and gas stations still located along the sides.

In the 1960s, Interstate-5 was built east of Aurora Avenue and today carries the greatest amount of traffic through Shoreline. The north-south commute to Seattle remains part of the lives of many local residents. Ironically, many commuters caught in I-5 gridlock might look back at the “speedy” 30-mile-per-hour Interurban and wonder what progress has wrought.

Still, many find Shoreline a pleasant place to live. In 1995, the city incorporated and is today home to more than 50,000 people. Shoreline is the 12th largest city in Washington state.

Sources:
LouAnn Bivins Shoreline or Steamers, Stumps and Strawberries (Seattle: Frontier, 1987); Jack Broom, "Venerable Firefighting Boat in Need of Rescue, Says Group," The Seattle Times, April 12, 1999 at (WWW.Seattletimes.com). Additional information provided by the Shoreline Historical Museum.


< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Cities & Towns |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Depot at Richmond Beach, Shoreline, ca. 1908
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


Store at Richmond Beach, 1906
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


View down 197th Avenue NW from 23rd Street, ca. 1907
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


Interurban commuter car over Pershing Bridge at North 155th and Aurora Avenue, ca. 1915
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


The Ronald Interurban Depot at North 175th and Midvale, ca. 1915
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


The S.S. Duwamish fireboat being launched at Richmond Beach, July 3, 1909
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org