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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.

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“The Monroe Monitor, Over a Century of Hometown News”

Howard W. Voland crossing Main St. 1953

Howard W. Voland crossing Main St. 1953

The Monroe Historical Society will present a program open to the public at 6:30, Thursday, June 23 at the Monroe Library.  Howard M. Voland will discuss the history of the newspaper, with an emphasis on his family’s involvement from 1951 to 1990. Howard M. moved to Monroe in 1951 at the age of two when his father, Howard W. Voland, was hired as editor. Howard M. began hanging around and working on the newspaper from an early age and continued to do so through high school and afterward, when he was on leave from the army. After his father’s death in 1978, Howard M. became editor and in 1982 owner of the Monitor. In 1990, he sold the paper to Ken and Debbie Robinson. Chris Hendrickson, current reporter for the Monitor, will touch briefly on current doings at the paper. One of the oldest newspapers in the state, The Monitor has been continuously published since January of 1899. Digitized copies of the paper are available for viewing through the Resources tab above. The Monroe Library is located at 1070 Village Way. All are very welcome. Admission is free; donations very much appreciated.

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2016scholarshipfixedCongratulations Shelby Kinghorn!

2016 recipient of the historical society scholarship, made possible by an endowment from Hiroko Haji in honor of her family. Shelby’s interest in history and humanity, brought out in a wonderfully written essay, made her an easy choice. She will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall. We wish her well. She is pictured here, on the left, with trustee Dottie Simoni who presented the award.

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Central Garage

Central Garage

Sprau's Bottling Works

Sprau’s Bottling Works

When browsing at the front pages of the Monroe Monitor one hundred years ago this spring one begins to notice that the automobile culture had become a major distraction. There was a corresponding proliferation of gas pumps, not only in the commercial areas, but in residential areas and rural spots. These were at first installed outside garages and other businesses and then at “service stations”. Like most stations today, these sold a selection of quick shop items – cigarettes, newspapers, candy, drinks, etc. The photos above show pumps outside businesses in town. The photo to the left at Main & Blakely was operated as a Gilmore station in the

Main & Blakely

Main & Blakely

Park Place

Park Place

1930s and then Dutch Pfieffer (who added the antler collection) operated it as a Mobil station. A bank sits there now. The Park Place Gas & Grocery, pictured to the right with owner John Lind, is one of the oldest continually operating businesses in Monroe. It is still owned by the Lind family of Monroe. People were not averse to having a service station in their front yard, as is shown in the painting on the left. It shows Hartzell’s gas station, at 517 S. Lewis Street. In business from 1928 to

Hartzell Station

Hartzell Station

Pleasant Hill

Pleasant Hill

1939, the station also sold newspapers, candy, cigarettes, kerosene and coal oil. Motor oil, sold by the quart, was pumped by hand from tanks. The photo on the right is of Pleasant Hill Gas. It was located where Lords Hill Road comes down to the Snohomish-Monroe Road. At this time this was the main cross state highway through the county, as was Main Street in Monroe. This station was built in 1922 out of a corner of the Drennon farm, and operated until the early 1950s when the new highway to the north opened. According to their sign, in addition to grocery and variety items, they also sold meat, probably from an adjacent farm. Many other gas stations existed at one time in Monroe – at W. Main & Lewis, E. Main & Ferry, E. Main & Ann and beneath the condensery smoke stack, which had ENCO painted on its side. At Roosevelt people remember Ed Modill’s Flying A station – Ed would throw candy out the front door to passing children. Although the station was long closed, the Flying A sign was there until 1980. Click on a photo for enlarged view.

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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!

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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.