OVD, Bev-ED and other connections

By Tim Raetzloff | Jun 27, 2018

A few years ago, I was looking through microfiche copies of the Everett Herald in the Everett Library. Margaret Riddle and Dave Dilgard were historians as well as keepers of the history. Neither is there any more – Margaret retired a few years ago, and Dave died recently.

I assume the microfiche are still there, and it is sometimes amazing at the information you will stumble across.

For example, did you know that the scandalous “Frisco” swimsuit had reached the East Coast during the winter of 1915-1916 during the usual Florida escape for Northerners from Northeast winters? Everyone was scandalized by the amount of skin that “shameless” women were revealing.

At least the author of the article was scandalized and tried to create a scandal. I wonder what they would think of women's swimsuits today? Anything goes.

I think it was in the same paper – it was certainly the same day at the library – that I found that Snohomish County had a bond issue on the ballot in February 1916 for roads. I don't remember the full amount of the bond issue, but I do remember that $75,000 of the total was for a 9-mile road from Beverly to Edmonds.

I didn't see the result of the election, which would have been in a different issue of the paper, but it must have passed because we still use much of that road from 1916.

We now know that road by various names, but much of it is still in daily use. In Edmonds, it is Olympic View Drive. Some old timers know it as the Snake Trail. Further north, it is known as Bev-Ed Road to most of us, though the map I am looking at calls it Beverly Park Road.

Then it becomes Holly Drive in Everett after you cross Airport Road. Where it crosses under SR 526 (Boeing Freeway) it becomes Casino Road, and ends in Beverly just south of 75th Street SW at Beverly Boulevard

The cost of $75,000 seems very low, even by the cost basis of 1916. Part of the saving may be that at least some parts of the road used right-of-way that had been cleared for logging railroads. The Mosher McDonald Lumber Company had been logging the woods of Edmonds and Meadowdale for decades.

The Edmonds Museum has photos of the camp, which was located at just about the location of Dunn Lumber, now on 168th Street SW in Lynnwood near Highway 99.

If you walk up Gunny Sack Hill on SR 99, you can still see where the logging railroad crossed what is now SR 99, at a point about halfway from 168th Street SW to Keeler's Korner. Snohomish County also has old maps that show the logging right-of-way in that area. Further west, it appears that at least parts of Olympic View Drive are built on what was once the Mosher McDonald logging railroad.

Edmonds and Beverly were connected by the new road in 1916.

They are still mostly connected, with a couple of interruptions to the route in Everett. Beverly, itself, though is mostly forgotten. One hundred years ago it was a significant enough place to be the terminus of a major road. Now it is just an intersection in Everett, and has little local identity.

The Mosher McDonald Railroad traveled many places in and around Edmonds. I believe that I can see the remains of old switchbacks in Meadowdale Beach Park where the railroad climbed from its connection to the Great Northern Railway at the Meadowdale depot.

It appears that there may have been a link to the Great Northern at Mosher between Windandtide and Harbour Pointe. I have been told, but have so far found no evidence, that the logging railroad used Fisher Road, and/or Norma Beach Road. Both look likely.

The use of a railroad right of way for a street is not unusual. Many old streets and highways are former railroads. If you ski at Snoqualmie Pass, you have driven the old right-of-way of Milwaukee Road before it moved into the tunnel below the pass that is now a state park trail.

Alaskan Way in Seattle was once Railroad Avenue, and the space was used by at least three railroads. Railroad tracks went onto each of the piers. Railroad Avenue in Edmonds was once occupied by rails.

The use of railroad right-of-way for automobiles began a long time ago, as cars and trucks supplanted the previous form of common transportation. I wish that I would live long enough to see what it may be that supplants the automobile and what use we find for abandoned highways.

We didn't get the flying cars predicted by “Back to the Future” to be the mode of transport in 2015.

I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens next. And the successor to the “Frisco” swimsuit may be dangerous to my heart.


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