Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle celebrates Snohomish County Day, Missouri Day, Exhibitors' Day, and Minnesota TriCity Day on August 3, 1909.

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 1/20/2009
  • Essay 8895
On August 3, 1909, Snohomish County Day, Missouri Day, Exhibitors Day, and Minnesota TriCites (Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Paul) Day are celebrated at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. The A-Y-P Exposition took place on the University of Washington campus in Seattle between June 1 and October 16, 1909, drawing more than three million people. Visitors came from around the state, the nation, and the world to view hundreds of educational exhibits, stroll the lushly manicured grounds, and be entertained on the Pay Streak midway, while Seattle promoted itself as a gateway to the rich resources of Alaska, the Yukon, and Asia.  Each day of the A-Y-P was designated as a Special Day for one or more groups.  Special Days drew people involved in the featured organizations, and the resulting programs, lectures, ceremonies, parades, and athletic competitions gave local people a reason to visit again and again.  On August 3, 1909 Minnesotans attend in large numbers to help dedicate a monument to railroad executive James J. Hill (1838-1916) and Exhibitors show their wares. Snohomish County celebrates with a grand parade but Everett participants are few due to a fire, thought to be incendiary, which on the previous day destroyed the Snohomish County courthouse and many surrounding buildings.

Minnesota Tri-Cities Day

Fair attenders from the North Star State of Minnesota thronged the gates in the early morning hours of August 3, 1909, and the press was quick to note that Minnesotans captured the day.  Governor John A. Johnson was the main speaker. In his eloquent  half-hour speech he declared the significant achievements of his home state. 

Following the governor’s speech, the large crowd composed of a band, guests, and escorts was led by a platoon of exposition guards from the speaker’s auditorium to Klondike Circle where a monument to empire builder James J. Hill was unveiled.  The monument was said to be an excellent example of the grand railroad connection between Minnesota and Washington state. 

Here Governor Johnson again commanded center stage, pulling aside a varicolored drapery of American, Japanese, and Canadian flags to reveal sculptor Finn Frolich's (1868-1947) monument to Hill.  The international flavor continued, with representatives from Canada and Japan having their chances to speak.

Prior to the Special Day, Governor Johnson and Expo President John E. Chilberg (1867-1954) had had a spat due to Johnson’s failure to support the fair’s Swedish Day. Johnson made his apologies to Chilberg and on Pay Streak both agree to bury the hammer, declaring mutual friendship and support.

Snohomish County Day

Snohomish County residents put on their booster hats for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and planned to celebrate Snohomish County Day in style.  Boasting that they would send a delegation larger than any other county in the state, mayors of all incorporated Snohomish County cities and towns declared the day a holiday and asked that all businesses be closed to allow employers and employees to attend the  fair. A 35-minute parade was planned for the county’s participants and it was expected that Everett would send 10,000 parade marchers, one out of three of its population at that time. 

The railroads offered special travel rates -- $1 a round trip; steamer travel was 75 cents. Those planning to walk in the parade were asked to assemble on King Street, the parade’s starting point.

The county’s fair committee set up a good-natured rivalry and each town attempted to outdo the others.  Arlington sent 20 young women who they dubbed “the most popular girls in the city” to participate in the parade.  Everett’s Charlie Manning -- whose new Tontine Saloon was showing the harvest of his Gold Rush riches -- sent 20 Shetland ponies and colts to pull wagons and carriages of children.

Everett's Untimely Fire

Turnout was good on August 3, but Everett participants were fewOn August 2 sparks ignited a pile of loose hay at the J. K. Healy blacksmith shop at 3014 Wetmore. Flames soon engulfed a nearby fire station, Everett Livery and Transfer Company, the Northern Transfer Company, Iles and Newman Carriage Works and then set the roof of the Snohomish County courthouse ablaze. 

In a few hours all were in ruins and by evening several other buildings were destroyed by arson fires.  Most Everett residents chose to stay home the following day in order to guard their properties. Only 800 Everett residents attended the county day’s events and a dozen smokestack replicas that had been made to ride on floats in the parade were unused. 

"We're Not All Smokestacks"

Honors for turnout went instead to Monroe, Snohomish, Stanwood, and Arlington. The Great Northern Railroad brought 600 people from Stanwood, with an equal number coming from Monroe who carried a large picture of the Carnation condensery. Index  sent a uniformed delegation representing their town as the “Switzerland of the Northwest.”  A large group from Edmonds attended the exposition that day, but only a few marched in the parade. 

Newspapers reported that the parade from Snohomish was the largest at the fair to date. Many families walked together, making the parade an assemblage of all ages. Boosterism was the theme and parade banners said it all:  

 "You’ll like Tacoma. You’ll love Seattle, but you’ll settle down in Everett."

“Seen the Forestry Building at the fair?  That came from Snohomish County.”         

“We’re not all smokestacks; our dairies are the most extensive in the state.

“Everett makes more lumber and shingles than any other city in the world."

”Seattle is a suburb of Mukilteo."

"Everett still growing; watch our smoke."

Sources: "Monument to J. J. Hill Dedicated: Minnesotans Capture Fair,” The Seattle Daily Times, August 3, 1909, p. 1; “Johnson-Chilberg Quarrel Ended: Chilberg All Right, Says Johnson,” Ibid., August 4, 1909; “There’ll Be A Big Delegation,” Everett Daily Herald, July 30, p. 7; “Crowd Will Be a Big One,” Everett Daily Herald, August 2, 1909, p. 1; “Snohomish County People Throng to the Big Exposition,” Everett Daily Herald, August 3, 1909, p. 1.

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