Tulalip-Warm Beach Highway construction begins under WPA sponsorship on October 14, 1936.

  • By Peter Blecha
  • Posted 8/14/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9113
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On Wednesday, October 14, 1936, construction efforts to finally complete a highway to Warm Beach on the Tulalip Indian Reservation were reinvigorated by Snohomish County commissioners (who'd recently committed to providing additional funding) in conjunction with the U.S. government's Works Progress Administration (WPA) program.

Long, Hard Road Ahead

The long-sought road extension -- which would provide a permanent direct route from the community of Tulalip northward to the reservation's Warm Beach area, thus making access to the area easier for tribal members as well as the citizens of nearby Marysville -- had been under construction on-and-off for several years prior. 

But as the Marysville Globe noted, construction progress under the management of the government-run Tulalip Indian Agency had been so slow that "there had been no prospects of the speedy completion of the road until this week." With the Great Depression era's WPA chipping in with three-quarters of the funds required to hire out-of-work men for the road crew, it was reported that the project -- which included the building of a sizeable bridge -- would finally be finished "without further delay" (Marysville Globe, October 15).

Men at Work

Marysville's newspaper periodically tracked the progress of the (approximately $55,000) project and on October 15 it reported an initial crew of 70 men hard at work -- along with the projection that more than 100 would be activated within days. Two weeks later, 77 men were still busily excavating an estimated 50,000 cubic yards of earth, laying 412 yards of 18-inch tile culvert, filling 13,000 yards of ditches, and laying 3,600 cubic yards of gravel surface.

Upon completion, the Tulalip-Warm Beach Highway opened up a key portion along beautiful Marine Drive and also offered travelers a convenient intersection with an already existing road (today's State Route 531) heading past Lake Goodwin and eastward through Lakewood (today's "North Lakewood" in the Greater Smokey Point area).


“Tulalip-Warm Beach Highway Construction Started Wednesday: Funds Said Available to Complete Project.” Marysville Globe, October 15, 1936. p. 1; “Warm Beach Road Work Is Progressing Rapidly.” Marysville Globe, October 29, 1936, p. 1.

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