Did you drive the Snake Trail, aka Olympic View Drive? | History Files

By Tim Raetzloff | Feb 18, 2018

Do you remember Snake Trail Road?

I admit that I don’t. By now, I think anyone who knows me even a little realizes that I like old maps. A map from 1952 produced by Wells Index Maps fell into my hands. 1952 is fairly recent compared to some maps. It is surprising how many things have changed since that time.

The map is actually centered on Alderwood Manor. In 1952, that meant the area near to what is now I-5 at 196th Street SW. Lynnwood was further west at 196th and Highway 99. Highway 99 is there, but many other names are different.

The map is difficult to read, but it appears that 196th is the Edmonds-Lynnwood Road. East of Lynnwood, it seems to have a different name, but I can’t read it.

36th Avenue West in Lynnwood is clearly labeled North Trunk Road, a major artery in the south Snohomish auto transportation system at one time. It came north into the county on what is now 84th Avenue West, did a 90-degree turn east onto 212th Street SW, did another 90-degree turn to the north at Holmes Corner (212th/76th), and followed what is now 76th Avenue West to what is now 196th Street SW.

It then turned east and went to what is now 36th Avenue West, and turned north on 36th. In this map, only the portion on 36th is still labeled North Trunk.

But it was some of the names in Edmonds proper that surprised me. The first one I noticed was Snake Trail Road. We know it now as Olympic View Drive. I had heard it described as “the snake,” but I didn’t know that it carried that as an official name.

The map is an index map rather than a detail map, but it appears that Seventh Avenue and Ninth Avenue aren’t cut through north of Main Street. Both avenues come south from Caspers Street, but end at what must be about Daley Street. From that point south, neither road connects to Main Street.

Up the hill in Seaview was another bit of interesting information. Crawford and Conover streets would now be 188th Street SW and 192nd Street SW. At that time, the streets were still named for the real estate developers. Crawford and Conover were newsmen at the Seattle P-I who decided they could make a better living in real estate.

I knew that they had developed significant tracts in King County. I didn’t realize they had gotten as far north as Edmonds.

When I was young, C. T, Conover was still writing a column for the Seattle Times about the early days in Seattle. He was then well into his 90s, and lived to be nearly 100. I think that his column, and one by Joshua Green stimulated my interest in history. So I was pleased to find Crawford and Conover streets in Edmonds.

I admit that I am sorry that the streets have been renamed.

I looked carefully to see if Main Street was called Main Street, and found that it was. Since Main Street was originally George Street, this map indicates that it had been renamed before 1952. George Brackett has lots of fans in Edmonds. I admit that I am not one of them, but I do think that George Street was a more interesting name for the main street of Edmonds.

Snake Trail Road had more character than Olympic View Drive, especially since you can’t see the Olympics from much of the drive named for them.


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