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Granite Falls, Washington
Stanley Street (SR 92) in downtown Granite Falls
Stanley Street (SR 92) in downtown Granite Falls
Flag of Granite Falls, Washington
Flag
Location of Granite Falls, Washington
Location of Granite Falls, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Snohomish
Government
 • Type Council–manager
Area
 • City 2.21 sq mi (5.72 km2)
 • Land 2.19 sq mi (5.68 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation
407 ft (124 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 3,364
 • Estimate 
(2019)
4,234
 • Density 1,931.57/sq mi (745.77/km2)
 • Urban
6,129
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
98252
Area code 360
FIPS code 53-27995
GNIS feature ID 1520218

Granite Falls is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. It is located between the Pilchuck and Stillaguamish rivers in the western foothills of the Cascade Range, northeast of Lake Stevens and Marysville. The city is named for a waterfall north of downtown on the Stillagumish River, also accessible via the Mountain Loop Highway. It had a population of 3,364 at the 2010 census.

The site of Granite Falls was originally a portage for local Coast Salish tribes prior to the arrival of American settlers. The settlement was founded in 1883 and prospered after the discovery of gold and silver in the Monte Cristo mines located east of Granite Falls on the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway. Granite Falls was platted in 1891 and incorporated as a fourth-class town on November 8, 1903.

History

Before the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now Granite Falls was used by Natives to portage their canoes between fishing grounds.

The first permanent European settler was Joseph Sous Enas, who staked a homestead claim on land south of the present city. It then became a railroad station on the route between Monte Cristo (now a ghost town) and Everett. The city was officially incorporated on December 21, 1903. He was quickly followed by other homesteaders, benefiting from "the Big Burn", a forest fire that cleared the heavily forested land and made it easier for settlers to stake claims.

By 1896, there were enough residents to petition the state of a school district (Granite Falls District #1)

The finding of gold and other minerals in 1889 in the Cascade Mountains East of Granite Falls was a boon to Granite Falls. Mines needed a railroad and the settlers of Granite Falls stepped up to provide railroad ties cut from the nearby forests, supplies for fortune seeking miners, a doctor, and other necessities. In 1890, a post office was opened and the first commercial establishments opened on what is now South Granite Ave and Pioneer.

The Everett and Monte Cristo Railroad came to town in 1892 from its start in Hartford, Washington (near today's Lake Stevens) and through to its terminus at Monte Cristo. Partially funded by John D. Rockefeller and others, the train carried supplies, passengers, and ore up and down the Stilly Valley.

The Granite Falls townsite was platted in 1891 from portions of the Wright and Anderson homesteads and in 1903, Granite Falls was incorporated as a city. Electricity, sewers, sidewalks, telephones, cars, and all the amenities of modern life soon followed.

By World War 1, the once bustling mining towns of Monte Cristo and Silverton were no longer shipping out ore. The railroad, now owned by Northern Pacific, stopped running and the tracks were torn out in the early 1930s to make way for the Mt. Loop Highway.

Granite Falls between the world wars was a lumber town; logging companies felled trees, sawmills created lumber and shingle mills created shingles. The Great Depression, however, took its toll. By 1935, the population of Granite Falls was half what it was in 1925. Mills closed and people left to find work elsewhere. At the end of World War II, things looked bleak. The opening of Miller Shingle in 1946 (now the country's largest specialty lumber mill) meant jobs both in the woods and at the mill. Construction booms through Snohomish and King counties also meant jobs at the gravel pits dotted around Granite Falls.

Hard times would come again. In 1986, the United States Forest Service severely limits logging in old-growth forests under its protection in an effort to save the Northern Spotted Owl from extinction. In June, 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department declared the spotted owl an endangered species, and in 1991, a federal court judge ruled the Forest Service's logging plan to save the owl was inadequate. Over one-fourth of old-growth forest on both public and private land was now off-limits to logging.

In the 21st Century, Granite Falls is focused on attracting more visitors to the stupendous beauty and recreational opportunities along the Mt. Loop Highway. Expanded housing development has brought an increased population of families who commute to Everett, Seattle, and the Eastside to work. In 2001, the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America was given a 17-acre plot of land next to Kannagara Jinja (built by the Reverend of the shrine) in Granite Falls, which was built upon, combining the two places.

Geography

Granite Falls, Washington is located north of Seattle, Washington and east of Everett WA at the entrance to the Mt. Loop Scenic Byway, a highway into the North Cascade mountain range. Its coordinates are 48°4′58″N 121°58′11″W / 48.08278°N 121.96972°W / 48.08278; -121.96972 (48.082661, -121.969662).

It is situated where the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River (Stilly) leaves its narrow mountain valley. The Pilchuck River runs near the city, too. The area where the city was founded was called the "portage" by native tribes in the area, who used the flat area between the two rivers to portage their canoes when traveling.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.20 square miles (5.70 km2), of which, 2.18 square miles (5.65 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.

Climate

The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and most of the rainfall occurs between October and May. Temperatures in the summer can be up to 10 degrees warmer than nearby Everett, due to it's slightly inland location. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Granite Falls has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 714
1920 632 −11.5%
1930 495 −21.7%
1940 683 38.0%
1950 635 −7.0%
1960 599 −5.7%
1970 813 35.7%
1980 911 12.1%
1990 1,060 16.4%
2000 2,347 121.4%
2010 3,364 43.3%
2019 (est.) 4,234 25.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
U.S. Census Estimate (2019)

The population was 3,364 at the 2010 census. The current population as of 2017 population counts through the Office of Financial Management is 3,485. The city's population grew rapidly in the 1990s and 2000s due to new development and annexations.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 3,364 people, 1,222 households, and 831 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,543.1 inhabitants per square mile (595.8/km2). There were 1,344 housing units at an average density of 616.5 per square mile (238.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.6% White, 0.7% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population.

There were 1,222 households, of which 42.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.0% were non-families. 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.33.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 29.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.9% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 8.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.

Annual community events

Each year, the Granite Falls community celebrates holidays and holds special events. Below is a list of annual events.

April

  • Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday before Easter, Sponsored by the Eagles Club
  • Turkey Shoot, Sunday before Easter
  • Earth Day, Citywide clean-up

May

  • Herb Fair
  • Historical Society Plant Sale

June

  • Town Portrait - First Saturday in June

August

  • Art-in-the-Parks, Annual art show featuring area artists, musicians and writers, First Saturday of the Month
  • Show 'N' Shine, classic and antique car show and parade, First Saturday of the Month
  • Historical Society Garage Sale

September

  • Back to School Clothing Drive, Missionary Alliance Church
  • Garden Harvest Drive - 2nd & 4th Wednesday before 9:00

October

  • Railroad Days, festival and parade celebrating the city's heritage, First Saturday of the month
  • Rhythm & Blues Bash

November

  • Veteran's Day Parade, Annual parade honoring veteran's, Veteran's Day (360) 691-5826
  • Turkey Shoot, Sunday before Thanksgiving
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony, Community celebration of the holidays, Saturday following Thanksgiving at the Granite Falls Historical Museum

December

  • Winterfest, December 6


Economy

As of 2018, Granite Falls has an estimated workforce population of 1,816 people, of which 1,746 are employed. The largest sectors of employment are educational and health services (21.6 percent), followed by construction (17.0%), manufacturing (16.6%), and retail (10.7%). The majority of workers in the city commute to other areas for employment, including 19 percent to Everett, 11 percent to Seattle, and 5 percent to Marysville. Approximately 5.2 percent of Granite Falls residents work within the city limits. Over 80 percent of workers commute in single-occupant vehicles, while 4 percent take public transportation or carpools.

The city had 202 registered businesses with 849 total jobs, according to 2012 estimates by the U.S. Census and Puget Sound Regional Council. The largest providers of jobs in Granite Falls came from businesses in the education and services sectors. Several of the largest employers are located in an industrial park in the northeast corner of the city near the Mountain Loop Highway. They include electrical manufacturer B.I.C. and aerospace manufacturer Cobalt Industries. Granite Falls is located near several rock and gravel quarries, which created traffic congestion in downtown that was later mitigated through the opening of a truck bypass in 2010.

Education

The city has four public schools that are operated by the Granite Falls School District, which also serves unincorporated communities to the northwest and near the Mountain Loop Highway. The school district had an enrollment of over 2,100 students in 2018 and employed 107 teachers and 80 other staff members. Granite Falls has two elementary schools (Mountain Way and Monte Cristo), Granite Falls Middle School, Granite Falls High School, and Crossroads High School, an alternative school program. Andrea Peterson of Monte Cristo Elementary School was named the 2007 National Teacher of the Year.

The first schoolhouse in Granite Falls opened in 1893 and was replaced by a new building at the site in 1910. A larger building opened in 1938 for Granite Falls High School, which later moved to a nearby building in 1964 and opened at its new campus in January 2008. The high school's athletic teams, nicknamed the Tigers, compete in the North Sound Conference; a 1,700-seat football stadium opened at the new high school campus in 2018, replacing the Hi-Jewel Stadium at the former high school, which had been converted into a middle school.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Granite Falls is the terminus of State Route 92, which connects the area to State Route 9 in Lake Stevens. A 1.9-mile (3.1 km) bypass for freight traffic was completed around the north side of the city in 2010 at a cost of $28.8 million. The scenic Mountain Loop Highway begins in Granite Falls and travels east into the Cascade Mountains before turning north to reach Darrington. It is used by an estimated 55,000 tourists annually and provides access to recreational areas in the Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest.

Community Transit, the countywide public transportation agency, has one bus route serving Granite Falls. It connects the city to Lake Stevens and Everett Station, with extended service to the Boeing Everett Factory during peak hours. The nearest airport to Granite Falls is Paine Field in Everett.

Utilities

Electric power in Granite Falls is supplied by the Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD), a consumer-owned public utility that serves all of Snohomish County. The city government purchases its tap water from the PUD, which is sourced from the City of Everett system at Spada Lake and Lake Chaplain. Since 2012, the PUD has also supplied water to Granite Falls that is sourced from groundwater wells near Lake Stevens and treated to be similar to the water from the City of Everett system. The city government also manages a sanitary sewage system that terminates at a treatment plant that discharges water into the Pilchuck River.

Natural gas service for the city is provided by Puget Sound Energy, a regional gas utility company. The city government contracts with Waste Management to provide curbside collection and disposal of garbage, recycling, and yard waste. The Granite Falls area also has two recycling and disposal centers operated by Snohomish County. Telecommunications services are provided by Verizon and Comcast.

Healthcare

The nearest general hospitals to Granite Falls are Providence Medical Center in Everett and Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington. The city's medical clinic was part of the Cascade Valley system, which was absorbed into Skagit Regional Health in 2016.

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