To trace the origins of Marysville, today a prosperous, diversified north Snohomish County city of 69,000, you need to return to 1872 and its humble beginnings as a trading post. James P. Comeford, proprietor of the original trading post and founder of Marysville, and wife Maria, first arrived in the area in 1878, and paved the way for many pioneer families to follow. The Comefords lived on the neighboring Tulalip reservation for six years, traveling the waterways and seeing to the work of the 18 logging camps.
The Marysville Historical Society tells that in 1878 John Stafford, Louis Thomas and Truman Ireland and Capt. William Renton, traders in timber, wanted to sell 1,280 acres, the land that became the town of Marysville, and Mr. Comeford was willing to buy. He paid $450. He then built a store with living quarters attached and a small dock with a plank road called Front Street.
By 1879 education became a need of the small but growing community, and Mrs. Comeford began teaching classes in her home. A year later, Marysville opened a Post Office with Mr. Comeford as the first postmaster. The first saw mill opened in 1887. Mr. Comeford designed the original town in 1894 and a year later the platted area encompassed 9 blocks from the Tulalip Reservation to Liberty Street.
The Comefords and their family's store did good business with the loggers and Indians in the area, and additional settlers arrived by steamboat to farm or work in the busy mills that furnished the lumber for most early town buildings.
The railroad tracks were laid through the town in 1889, which brought many new residents to Marysville. In 1891, James Comeford incorporated the town, which became a 4th Class city, and Mark Swinnerton was elected Marysville's first mayor. Logging was the primary industry at this time. The Stimson Logging Company was formed in 1891. This became a fairly large company and contributed much to Marysville's trade.
The first City Hall was built in 1901. Crystal Lodge No. 122 F & AM was founded in 1902. 1906 saw the first high school welcome new students. In 1907, the public library was established, while the first high school class graduated. In 1908, the Afton Chapter of Eastern Star and the Alumni Association of the High School were formed. In 1908, the Chamber of Commerce organized, and opened its doors to local businesses.
During the Roaring Twenties, the City earned the nickname "The Strawberry City" in recognition of the area's overabundance of the sweet, fruity berries, which are celebrated -- and eaten -- annually in June with the Strawberry Festival and Grand Parade. In 2016, Marysville celebrated its 125th birthday. Time will tell what the future will bring, but we should take time occasionally to look back and give thanks to the pioneers of this area and what they accomplished.
Photos from top to bottom: Stimson Mill Co., Blackman Bro. Quil Ceda Crossing north of Marysville, Front Street, Northeast corner of First Street and Delta Avenue, Port Susan Logging C. log dump at what is now Warm Beach north of the Tulalip Indian Reservation on Marine Drive, election time, the Stimson Mill Co. main line locomotive photo in Bryant (line ran from woods east of Bryant to log dump on Ebey Slough), and the water tower in downtown Comeford Park. Courtesy of the Marysville Historical Society.