History of the Edmonds Museum
The Historical Society is fortunate to have a building so well suited as a museum showplace. In 1910, a grant from Andrew Carnegie enabled the City of Edmonds to erect a beautiful brick and stone building which served as a library on the upper floor, and as City Hall on the bottom floor. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Through the efforts of the Historical Society, the cooperation of the Edmonds City Council and then Mayor Harve Harrison, the building was made available to the Historical Society for museum purposes. It was formally opened on August 3, 1973.
The Edmonds Historical Museum is governed by the Edmonds-South Snohomish County Historical Society whose mission is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of our pioneers; to identify and preserve historical documents, relics and incidents; and to encourage historical research, today & tomorrow.
In 1972 Ray cloud, publisher of the Edmonds Tribune newspaper, gave Doug Egan a copy of his book, Edmonds, Gem of Puget Sound. Thus did Doug become acquainted with the history of Edmonds, from its beginnings as a shelter for for George Brackett one stormy day in 1870, through its time as a Mosquito Fleet stop, a logging community and the home of eleven shingle mills.
Doug and Dorothy Egan already were longtime history buffs; their respective grandparents had come to Washington Territory in the 1800's. They began to dream of an historical society to document Edmonds' history and preserve local artifacts. Doug and Ray Cloud discussed the prospect, and began to believe it was possible. Doug consulted with Al Kincaid, recently elected president of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, and together they convinced the Chamber to sponsor their project and advance the $100 needed for incorporation.
In December of 1972, a steering committee met at the Yesteryear Restaurant, owned by Loren and Jean Bartlett; the restaurant was filled with the types of antiques an historical society would be proud to have in its collection. In addition to the Egans and the Bartletts, others in attendance were Al Kincaid, Chester Bennett, J.W. "Bill" Goulder, LeRoy Middleton, Mary Neilsen, Margaret Douglas and Norma Whaley; Doug served as chairman and Mary Neilsen as secretary. The group instructed Chet Bennett and Bill Goulder to draft a constitution and by-laws, and to file Articles of Incorporation for the Edmonds-South Snohomish County Historical Society, the name we still bear.
The next month, January of 1973, mayor Harve Harrison agreed that the old Carnegie Library building, built in 1910 would be a good location for the Edmonds Museum. In March of that year, the Edmonds City Council voted to make the building available, and the paperwork was begun.
The Historical Society held another meeting, approved the constitution and by-laws and opened itself for membership, which brought in $1,000. Officers elected were president Doug Egan, vice president LeRoy Middleton and secretary Mary Neilsen; elected as board members were Loren Bartlett, Chester Bennett, Margaret Douglas, J. Wm. Goulder, LeRoy Middleton, Harold Seaborg, Bernard Sigler, James Warren and Norma Whaley. Margaret Douglas and Norma Whaley were appointed as the museum's first co-directors.
Work on the building's lower level was begun immediately; the upper level waited until later. Through the next several months, many volunteer hours were spent in getting the building ready for occupancy and artifact donations were organized for display. In June the first small exhibit was opened on the lower level, and work crews moved to the upper level to prepare it for use.
The museum's official opening event was August 3, 1973. The upper level held many photographs and artifacts, and there was a modest Marine Room in the little north wing room. With good attendance at the opening, it was a great beginning for the Edmonds Museum.