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.


 Still a Small Town:
Monroe from the mid ’60s through the 1970s  
The Monroe Historical Society had a wonderful turnout for its March program at the library. The program focused on Monroe from the mid 1960s through the 1970s, with a slide show and commentary. The audience added numerous comments and memories of being around town at that time, before large scale growth drastically changed the area, and Main Street was where people went to shop and handle business. The photo at right is of Larry’s Market, one of many small businesses located on Main Street at the time.



Johnson Hotel 1890

Johnson Hotel 1890

Before Monroe existed  there was the settlement of Park Place. Park Place was established in 1864 by Henry McClurg on the north bank of the Skykomish River a few miles east of the confluence of that river and the Snoqualmie and a mile west of today’s downtown Monroe. McClurg served as one of three original county commissioners and later as superintendent of schools. Gradually more settlers moved to the area north of the river, which was not subject to the flooding so prevalent on the south side. In 1869 Park Place School District was formed – the second, after Snohomish, in the county. In 1876 Salem Woods applied for a post office at

Park Place Produce, later the community hall

Park Place Produce, later the community hall

Park Place. It was located in the local saloon, with Woods as the first postmaster. The settlement languished for a decade, at which time William Louden opened a hotel and John VanAsdlen opened a general store and reestablished the post office as Monroe. It served only 25 townspeople and 150 area inhabitants. People and merchandise for the most part travelled on the river. A ferry connected the settlement to the farm area to the south. Several more businesses were established around 1890 in anticipation

Moving VanAsdlen's store from Park Place to Monroe

Moving VanAsdlen’s store from Park Place to Monroe

of the Great Northern Railroad coming. The rail line was put in a mile north, however, and as a result many of the buildings were moved to be near the railroad, and the town of Monroe established.
Park Place continued as its own community for many years until it was eventually absorbed by the larger town of Monroe. It was known for its berry farms and the state reformatory. More information on Park Place can be found in the latest manuscript by Bill Wojciechowski in his “Local History Series”, available at the Monroe Historical Museum.

Park Place from the south 1911

Park Place from the south 1911; Park Place School center left.


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.