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.


Fall Program    Join us for our Fall Program coming up soon! Mark your calendars for October 27, when local historian Connie Goss explores the Wagner family and its lasting impact on the community. George and Anna Wagner and their children, Charles, Frank and Rose arrived in Monroe in 1906. George and Charles were the primary owners and operators of one of the largest lumber mills in the state, located a few miles north of town. In addition to Wagner Mill, which closed in 1936, the family was also known for their large stately home on W. Main St. and their generosity to the community, which included funding to build schools and Wagner Auditorium. The two hour program begins at 1:00pm at the Monroe Library, located at 1070 Village Way, Monroe. Light refreshments will be available. Hope to see you there!


Fifty Years Ago   Unbeknownst to most area residents, a notable event in music and entertainment history occurred in 1968 along Ben Howard Road between Monroe and Sultan. On Labor Day Weekend of that year Betty Nelson’s organic berry farm was the site of the very first multi-day outdoor rock festival, predating Woodstock by one year. Estimates of attendance ranged from 5,000 to 20,000, with an actual count being nearly impossible as many slipped in around the leaky fence. Despite the rainy weather and mud, partygoers, generally referred to as “those hippies”, enjoyed a peaceful and memorable time. On the bill were acts such as Santana, It’s A Beautiful Day, Muddy Waters, Youngbloods, Country Joe and the Fish, Richard Pryor and many more. On Monday a surprise inclusion was the Grateful Dead who flew up from California to be a part of this very first of its kind.


Historic 1910 plat map now available online     A high quality image of the 1910 Snohomish County plat map is now available online through the League of Snohomish County Historic Organizations (LOSCHO) website.  Red arrows on the map correspond to available historic images. Zoom to the Monroe area near the bottom of the county, left of center. Images of other historic maps will soon also be available for viewing.




Congratulations to our 2018 Haji Family Scholarship recipient, Kevin Milne. The Monroe Historical Society is proud to offer this annual scholarship to a graduating Monroe High School senior each year, thanks to a generous endowment from 1941 Monroe High School valedictorian Hiroko Haji. Society trustee and longtime Monroe Public School teacher, Dottie Simoni, on left, presented this year’s award to Kevin on May 31st at the high school’s award ceremony.




It’s a sign!   After many years of watching our old museum sign deteriorate and hoping a new one would take its place we finally have a wonderful new sign gracing Old City Hall. The mounting bracket is topped by a metal cutout showing a steam locomotive and a load of logs. This attractive addition is thanks to a generous grant from the city of Monroe and the work of Pablo Guerrero of Amigo Arts in Monroe. Come by and take a closer look, and a big ‘thank you’ to all who made it possible. The city has promised to at least trim back the trees this fall which, as much as we like foliage, have begun to make building fronts hard to see.



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.