City of Lynnwood incorporates and holds its first City Council meeting on April 20, 1959.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 7/02/2007
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 8176

On April 20, 1959, the City of Lynnwood in Snohomish County holds its first city council meeting. The new municipality encompasses three square miles that  lie northeast of Edmonds, north of Montlake Terrace and east of Alderwood Manor, It has a population of approximately 6,000. The first city offices are in office space rented for $100 a month in a medical building in the Lynnwood Shopping Center.

When the concrete-paved U.S. Highway 99 between Seattle and Everett opened in the fall of 1927, businesses sprang up at the intersection with Alderwood Road (later SW 196th Street), which connected the community of Alderwood Manor with the city of Edmonds. Locals referred to the intersection as Crossroads and most services catered to the motoring public. In late 1937, Seattle realtor Karl O'Beirn subdivided property near the Crossroads and named the development Lynnwood after his wife. Soon there was a Lynnwood Lumber, Lynnwood Cabinet, Lynnwood Feeder Supply, and other enterprises with the new name.

Prosperity of the 1940s and 1950s led to more commercial development, but the Snohomish County Council did not provide the level of services -- roads, police protection, parks, recreation -- that a municipality might. In 1957, business people formed a committee to investigate incorporation and the following year, circulated a petition proposing incorporation of six square miles into a city to be called Lynnwood.

Even though 600 residents signed the petition, enough to hold an election, other residents, particularly in Seattle Heights, had no interest in being in a new city. Also, the petition included part of Mountlake Terrace, already a city, in its plan. The county commissioners adjusted boundaries as much as they could, but voters turned down the measure, 890 to 848. The committee went back to draw up a new city.

The construction of Interstate 5 resulted in the relocation of many small, often ramshackle, houses from the right of way to vacant lots closer to Crossroads to the west. Property owners felt outrage that this sort of unrestricted development was permitted in unincorporated Snohomish County.

The new, smaller Lynnwood found favor with the electorate on April 14, 1958, 490 to 208. Voters also chose Jack Bennett mayor and chose seven council members in a mayor-council-style government. The boundaries of the new city were 212th Street SW and 188th Street SW on the south and north, the city of Edmonds at 76th Avenue W and 44th Avenue W on the west and east, and a rectangle on the north extending to SW 180th Street.

Among the first ordinances to be adopted was a requirement for inspection of any dwelling to be moved into the city, and this virtually eliminated the arrival of the old shacks from Alderwood Manor.

In 2000, Lynnwood had a population of 33,730 and an area of 7.7 square miles.


Sources: Lynnwood: The Land, The People, The City ed.  by Judith M. Broom and Randall M. Dodd (Seattle: Peanut Butter Publishing, 1990), 91-102; "Census Information," and "City of Lynnwood Community Guide," City of Lynnwood official website accessed June 8, 2007 (http://www.ci.Lynnwood.wa.us); "Incorporations of Washington Cites and Towns by Year," Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington (MRSC) website accessed July 3, 2004 (http://www.mrsc.org/library/inctablaph2.aspx).
This: essay was slightly revised on July 3, 2009.

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