The mystery of Reed Lake solved

Long-neglected patch on 196th Street SW seeing activity
By Betty Lou Gaeng | Apr 27, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel The former Reed Lake site, home to The Pet Parlor and other businesses, is for sale.

For years now, those driving on 196th Street SW just east of Edmonds city limits have been stared down by surely one of the loneliest signs in the county – the one reading “Pet Parlor.” It’s the forlorn empty lot on the south side of the state route, covered with weeds.

The lot is finally seeing some activity, but with it, another piece of Lynnwood’s history is fading away forever.

Large, earth-moving machines have moved tons of dirt to cover over what was the last visible vestige of a bit of Lynnwood’s past – Reed Lake. Yes, a lake. Before the dump trucks turned over the fresh dirt in, the land still showed some sign of the lake’s history.

Reed Lake had once been located just a short distance east of what later became known as Vaughn’s Corner, an early-day section of the one-time North Trunk Road system. Today, Vaughn’s Corner is the 76th Avenue West intersection with 196th Street SW, with the northwest corner in Edmonds city limits and the community of Perrinville a short distance north.

According to the state’s earliest records of lakes, Reed Lake was once, evidently many long years ago, actually considered a recreational lake and was stocked with fish: bass, perch, and cut-throat and rainbow trout.

The records also show the size of the lake as four acres, with a maximum depth of 30 feet. The official site for Reed Lake was Township 27 North, Range 4 East, Sections 17 and 20, W.M., Snohomish County.

Older maps place its location as bisecting present 196th Street SW, approximately covering the blocks of 7100, 7200 and 7300 of the road.

The southern portion of the lake was located at the northern line of the land patent granted to Luke Greenstreet in 1888. Even though Greenstreet arrived in 1883, he has often been overlooked as one of the earliest pioneers in Lynnwood’s history. His 160-acre homestead ran south from the lake and included the present-day Edmonds Community College property.

It is possible that the actual name for Reed Lake may have been Reid Lake. Old maps do show that the northeastern part of the lake was on land once owned by Harry Reid, on the north side of the road. This was well over 100 years ago and cannot be verified, so perhaps it is just an odd coincidence.

Later, the Reid house became the home of the Swartz family. The former Reid/Swartz residence still exists to this day and is considered the oldest house in Lynnwood. Now home to Lynnwood business offices, the building has been restored.

No doubt the lake was a hindrance to the early travelers between Edmonds and pre-Lynnwood, and at one time there may have been a bridge or some kind of crossing at Reed Lake. However, it has never been shown on any map.

Edmonds mayor involved

Louis Arp, a former track and bridge builder for the railroads, whose 160-acre homestead had been just east of the Reid family’s home, for his own use laid out this route from Edmonds as a puncheon road in 1888. Over a century ago, it was even called Arp Way.

Many years before the 1937 naming of Lynnwood, the community surrounding the lake was known as Grand View, sometimes Grandview. If you live in that area, the old name may appear on the legal description of your property.

Lynnwood’s history is tangled with names that have mostly disappeared. At times, I have been surprised at some of the names from our past. The history of the naming of what is 196th Street SW in Lynnwood is an example.

As mentioned, Arp Way was the first name recorded, then for just a short while it was Siegfried Road; then it was the North Trunk Road, and more often just called the Edmonds-Alderwood Manor Road.

The Siegfried Road designation evidently came from the infamous Thorwald Adolph Arthur Siegfriedt/Siegfried, an Edmonds lawyer and newspaper owner who had owned property in the area in the early 1900s.

Due to Louis Arp’s wife’s health problems, in 1900 he and his family left their farm and their extensive fruit orchards and moved to downtown Edmonds. Arp became a member of the district school board, the Edmonds City Council, and Edmonds mayor in 1914.

Because Arp did become an important figure in the development of both Edmonds and Lynnwood, he is especially mentioned here.

A major reminder of Arp’s place in our history is the road. He was an early Snohomish County road commissioner and often referred to as the father of the south county road system.

However, roads in the early days did not get high marks for being user-friendly and, unfortunately, Arp was often blamed.

With the unusual topography of the land in south Snohomish County, Arp did not have an easy job.

The planning and building of the roads must have been a major challenge. Certainly, 196th Street SW attests to that as it winds its way through the up-and-down topography of the highway. And then there is Maplewood Hill at 88th Avenue West in Edmonds.

That must have been a real challenge for the young Arp to figure out back in 1888.

As for Reed Lake, with the passing of years, the lake was either drained or filled. However, more likely, it just slowly dried up and was forgotten. Only a small shallow marsh was left behind as a reminder of earlier times.

That marsh is part of my own childhood memories.

Driving the old road was a definite challenge during heavy rains. Water from the marsh would sometimes encroach on the roadway. Eventually, the road was raised and, through time, the marsh disappeared.

Road improvement

In October 1927, Pacific Highway (State Route 99) opened and intersected with this still narrow dirt road at what was called “the crossroads.” In 1931, east of the crossroads, the section of the road that ran between Alderwood Manor and Pacific Highway was paved.

By 1934, the traffic between the community of Alderwood Manor and Edmonds had increased, and that year the road from the crossroads to Edmonds was also paved.

For the people of Alderwood Manor, Edmonds and the Maplewood community (not yet part of Edmonds), this became a time to celebrate progress. Residents of Edmonds School District very warmly welcomed this road improvement.

In those days, this extensive school district had only one high school, and that school was located in downtown Edmonds. It was a long rough bus ride for the students who lived many miles away in the eastern section of the large school district.

With the passage of time, development continued, and in 1963 in the 7300 block on the south side of 196th Street SW at what was known as Heinz Park, Lynnwood’s Ed-Lynn strip mall was built on a small section of land which was by that time a part of the water-free bed of Reed Lake.

Many years later, the original L-shaped strip mall building was remodeled. Some of the former businesses that occupied the building were the Enterprise newspapers; The Pet Parlor; Ken’s West-Lynn Barber Shop; For Heaven’s Sake, a Catholic book and gift shop, and Yesteryear’s better label consignments.

In its early days, the Heinz Park property was also once home to the Lynnwood Library.

Left to decay

A few years ago, all the businesses closed and the strip mall abandoned. Left to decay, the property and the deserted building became an eyesore. In 2014, the building was razed and the land cleared and sold. All that remained was the sign.

However, nothing developed from the sale and the Ed-Lynn strip mall property remained undeveloped. Now the earthmovers are bringing change to the land in the form of tons of dirt. It is still not a pretty sight.

Without some older maps and pre-1960 information from the records of Washington state as reported in a 1973 ecology bulletin regarding the lakes of Western Washington, we probably would never have known much about the existence of Reed Lake and its place in the history of Lynnwood and south Snohomish county – although I am sure there are some old-time residents of the area who, like me, do remember the marsh.

The existence of Reed Lake had previously remained a mystery.

Where did this lake come from – what could have been its source? Unless they are manmade, lakes are normally fed and drained by creeks. No map has been found to show a creek in that vicinity, and I don’t have any memory of seeing one.

Recently, though, a woman named Linda Swartz Bakkar, whose family owned the house I wrote about, told me that a small creek – filled with pollywogs and frogs – flowed down the center of the property.

The creek fed the swamp on the west side of property, and that is probably where the lake came from, Bakkar said.

She added that the stream disappeared after the family sold the back part of the property to housing development.

Mystery solved.

The lot remains for sale today.

Betty Lou Gaeng is a longtime local historian and member of the Edmonds Cemetery board.

 

 

 

 

 

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