Holmes Corner a corner among corners | History Files

By Tim Raetzloff | Jan 02, 2019
Photo by: Brian Soergel Jim Underhill, standing on the southeast corner of 212 and 76th in Edmonds, was largely responsible for its official designation as Holmes Corner, named after pioneer Samuel Holmes.

Holmes Corner in Edmonds at 212th Street SW and 76th Avenue West isn’t the only corner around.

There’s Thrasher’s Corner, Turner’s Corner, Murphy’s Corner, Wintermute’s Corner and Keeler’s Corner, among others.

Much of south Snohomish County was once identified by the corner it was near. Most of those names have fallen into disuse, but many residents can identify one or two locations.

And it was natural that corners were identifying markers, because most of the towns and neighborhoods we know now didn’t exist then. Roads, the few that existed, often followed property lines. Farmers didn’t want roads to cross their land then, any more than they do now.

Farmers tended to build fences on the edge of their property. If someone built a road beyond the fence, that was all well and good. Cows weren’t going to go past the fence anyway.

At the corner of adjoining properties was the natural place to put road corners. No was going to be upset. Roads often had 90-degree corners to get them to where they were intended to go. We don’t see that much in South County anymore, but you certainly still see it in farming areas. Eastern Washington has many such roads.

The first time I drove Zylstra Road on Whidbey Island, I discovered it was just such a road. It took me north as I intended, but it kept bending east, as I didn’t intend.

Which finally brings me to my intended subject.

I believe I have mentioned before that several years ago, Brian Harris gave me two copies of a map from 1905. I gave one to the museum, and kept the other. For 6 days – Oct.23 to Oct. 28, 1905 – Deputy County Surveyor B. C. Majors surveyed a 40-foot wide road from Edmonds to King County.

Much of that road still exists, but none of us take all of it in a single trip if we can avoid it. The practical reason is that it wanders all around as it takes 90-degree corners several times on that relatively short distance.

We know much of that road now as 100th Avenue West, but we also know parts of that road as 15th Street South, Eighth Avenue South, Elm Street, Sixth Avenue South, Pine Street and Fifth Avenue South.

You can still drive all of those, but not if you are in a hurry. Edmonds Way and Ninth Avenue South are direct, and have replaced the old road in usage.

The road traveled through an interesting assortment of pioneer names. Some we recognize today, and some have been lost to time. The Yost name is unusual because the road goes right through Yost acreage. But everywhere else the road turned its corners at the edge of someone’s property. It is possible that even at that early date, Allen Yost realized the value in accessible roads.

On Pine Street, the road went past five platted lots. Two of those have the names of Yost family members, but to the south the road passed bigger acreage parcels. The road makes a corner between the Yost acreage and that of H.M. Haller.

From information on two parcels further south, we learn that H.M. is Henrietta M. Haller. The road makes a corner between the property of Leo Woods and John E. Swanson. The road travels south between additional acres belonging to Leo Woods and Henrietta Haller.

Bessie Stejer also owned property across from Henrietta Haller. Then the road turns sharply east between Henrietta Haller’s land and the I.O.O.F. Cemetery

To the south of that are several large portions identified as School Land. I don’t think that means a school was there. I think that means state-owned timberland dedicated to funding schools.

QFC at Westgate now occupies one of those tracts. To the east of the School Land were large parcels owned by G.H. and E. F. Bartlett, and one owned by Lucius E. Marple.

South of the last parcel of School Land is land owned by A.H. Yoder, Hans J. Johnson, J.T. Clark and Joseph E. Thomas.

The map ends at the county line, but it is almost certain that the road continued in King County near where Eighth Avenue NW is now. The road linked the two rival neighbors of Edmonds and Richmond. But to know that for certain, we would need to find a matching map in King County archives.




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