The town of Normandy Park is officially incorporated on June 8, 1953.

  • By Kate Kershner
  • Posted 3/31/2014
  • Essay 10758
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On June 8, 1953, Normandy Park is officially incorporated as a town of the third class in King County. Early development in the 1920s and 1930s brought a few homeowners to Normandy Park, and residents began populating the area more heavily after World War II. With the local sewer district looking at sites for treatment plants in the area, citizens of Normandy Park quickly organized an incorporation drive in opposition and within months finalize a close vote for cityhood.

While organized residential lots and housing were first sold in the Normandy Park area in the 1920s, the Great Depression hit development hard and resulted in a paucity of building until after World War II. But in the 1940s and 1950s as The Boeing Company and nearby Seattle-Tacoma International Airport grew, nearby Normandy Park -- with its distinctive French Norman-style homes -- became an enticing suburban waterfront enclave.

But as King County matured, a mounting need for more public utilities developed. In February 1953, rumor had it that the sewer district was scouting locations for a treatment plant and Normandy Park, with an appealing creek drainage location near the beach, supposedly became a prime candidate. Unnerved at the thought of a sewage plant on the waterfront, a group of citizens decided that incorporation would give the area power to reject the plant, while also giving the community strict control over zoning issues. Opposition was also strong; some citizens were dubious that the treatment plant would likely be placed in the area, and the tax implications of forming a new city also seemed daunting when services such as utilities and road maintenance would need to be provided for.    

By spring, a vote was organized for the town of 1,570 residents and on May 19 citizens voted 261 to 254 -- a squeaker margin of seven votes -- to incorporate. In the election 412 citizens voted for the council-manager form of governance, a clear winner over the mayor-council form, which only received 62 votes. As the top vote-getter for council, Howard Harstad became the mayor. The council quickly hired John W. Nicholson (formerly of the King County Health Department) as the first city manager. For the first six years, "city hall" was a rented cabin on 1st Avenue S, with heat provided by a wood stove.

The first few years of Normandy Park leadership apparently went smoothly, but the town would later acquire a reputation for cutthroat musical chairs at city hall: From 1982 to 1995, the town shuffled through six city managers. In a three-years period from 1987 to 1990, four mayors held office.

By 2010, according to census records, Normandy Park had 6,335 residents.

Sources: Secretary of State Resolution No. 14050 "Copy of the Proceedings Had in the Matter of the Incorporation of Normandy Park as 3rd Class City Under Council-Manager Form of Government," filed June 8, 1953, Washington State Archives, Olympia; The Normandy Park Historical Committee, Wonderful World Of Woods and Water (Kent, Washington: Emerald City Graphics, Inc., 1991); City of Normandy Park website accessed March 2014 (; "2010 Census," website accessed March 2014 (; Normandy Park Community Club website accessed March 2014 (; "Normandy Park Club to Form," The Seattle Times, March 13, 1940, p. 13; "Hearing Set on Normandy Park Incorporation," Ibid., March 25, 1953, p. 4; "Normandy Park Incorporation Wins by 7 Votes," Ibid., May 25, 1953, p. 5; Walter Martin, "City Government Truly 'Local' in Normandy Park," Ibid., January 9, 1954, p. 18; Florangela Davila, "Normandy Park Hires New City Manager," Ibid., March 20, 1995, p. B-3; Charles Aweeka, "Normandy Park Mayor Resigns," Ibid., February 16, 1989, p. D-3.

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