Started in 1864 by Henry McClurg as the settlement of Park Place, Monroe experienced rapid growth in the early 1900s due to its rich farmlands and abundant timber, and its proximity to the Great Northern Railroad. Monroe is scenically set against the foothills of the Cascade Range, near where the Snoqualmie and Skykomish Rivers join to form the Snohomish.


W. Main Street

W. Main Street

One century ago. This winter marks the 100th anniversary of the heaviest snowfall in the history of the town of Monroe.

S. Lewis Street, 1916

S. Lewis Street, 1916

Rotary Plow, Monroe 1916

Rotary Plow, Monroe 1916

Snow started to fall on Christmas Eve, 1915 and culminated in a 36″ snowfall at the end of January.

Snow depths of five feet or more were recorded.

Schools were shut down for two weeks and everyone available was enlisted

to clear snow. Although the Great Northern Railroad made a valiant effort to keep the tracks clear, no trains or mail came through for several days.


W.Main 1950New Photos! Volunteers have been busy digitizing, cataloging and writing captions for hundreds of new historic photographs this winter. Although only available on our museum computer, they hopefully will soon be included in our historic photo notebooks for visitors to view. The first photo, from 1949, is of the north side of W.Main St. looking west. It shows the variety of businesses occupying this block at the time. 1631The second photo, from about 1918, shows the Jellison Garage, run by Ellery Jellison, at the intersection of Fremont and W.Main. Cars for hire were part of the business. An Excelsior motor bike is in the foreground. At the end of WWII there was a Kaiser dealership here; today it is a carlot.1695The third photo, from about 1915, is looking east on W.Main St. just past the intersection with Kelsey. Sidewalks, curbs and the center planters had just been extended this far. George Dishmaker built his attractive home a few years later  behind where the men are standing. The closest house, at center, is that of Jack Bird. Much further down is the Nazarene Church and in the far distance is the triangular Hallan Building.


After recognizing several projects around the museum needing attention the Society is attempting to raise enough money to address a few of them. Our outdated electrical system, consisting partly of old fluorecent lighting and even older knob and tube wiring, has become a fire hazard. Our roof access consists of a borrowed 32 foot extension ladder. One of the original brick chimneys is leaning dangerously over the neighboring restaurant. If in need of a tax write-off, or even if not, any donation would be greatly appreciated. Use can use the yellow ‘Donate’ button on the right, or the mail works just fine. Thank you!


Now you can donate to Monroe Historical Society simply by shopping! Fred Meyer stores donate a portion of the money you spend to a non-profit of your choice. FredMeyerRewardsSimply go to www.fredmeyer.com/communityrewards and link your rewards card to Monroe Historical Society – you can link by name or by our non-profit number [85404]. You still earn your rewards points, fuel points, and rebates. You can also sign up at the customer service desk.

Amazon will also donate a portion of sales to  the society, using AmazonSmile: www.smile.amazon.com and choosing Monroe Historical Society.  Every little bit helps!


Currently at the museum:

piano2The upright Hamilton piano that once provided music at the silent movie theaters of Monroe was installed at the museum in October. Nellie Johnson Blakeslee (photo on left side of piano) played the piano at various venues in town theater2for many years. Recently tuned, it sounds beautiful!


Adjacent to this new addition to the museum Chris Bee, museum director, has been working on a display for the Avalon Theater. Originally the Monroe Theater, it opened in 1929 and showed the first “talkie” in town in 1930. schooldisplay2The projector next to the piano was from the Avalon. The theater ended its run in 1966 and the site is now a parking lot.


Continuing along that wall visitors come to the recently completed pioneer school display. The heavy black slate on the wall is one from the old Wagner School which closed in 1956.