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Lake Stevens
Northeast shore of lake on which the city is located
Northeast shore of lake on which the city is located
"One community, around the lake"
Location of Lake Stevens, Washington
Location of Lake Stevens, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Snohomish
Founded 1889
Incorporated November 29, 1960
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Total 9.30 sq mi (24.09 km2)
 • Land 9.17 sq mi (23.74 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
217 ft (66 m)
 • Total 28,069
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,699.65/sq mi (1,428.40/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code 425
FIPS code 53-37900
GNIS feature ID 1512695

Lake Stevens is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States, that is named for the lake it surrounds. It is located 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Everett and borders the cities of Marysville to the northwest and Snohomish to the south. The city's population was 28,069 at the 2010 census, but has since grown to an estimated 33,911.

The lake was named in 1859 for territorial governor Isaac Stevens and was originally home to the Skykomish in the Pilchuck River basin. The first modern settlement on Lake Stevens was founded at the northeastern corner of the lake in 1889. It was later sold to the Rucker Brothers, who opened a sawmill in 1907 that spurred early growth in the area, but closed in 1925 after the second of two major fires. The Lake Stevens area then became a resort community before developing into a commuter town in the 1960s and 1970s.

Lake Stevens was incorporated as a city in 1960, following an exodus of businesses from the downtown area to a new shopping center. The city has since grown through annexations to encompass most of the lake, including the original shopping center, and quadrupled in population from 2000 to 2010. A revitalized downtown area is planned alongside new civic buildings in the 2020s.


Believed to be named after Governor Isaac I. Stevens, the shores of Lake Stevens were first settled in 1886, on a 160-acre (0.65 km2) homestead along the east shore. By 1890 the first town in the area, "Ferry", was established. Its name was later changed to "Hartford", and it served as the main link from the famed Monte Cristo timber and mining resources to the world.

In 1905 a railroad spur was built by the Rucker Brothers Timber Company, linking Hartford with Lake Stevens. Two years later Rucker Mill was opened, located along and in the north cove of the lake (original pilings can still be seen in the old lake outflow area just south of the boat launch). In 1919, the mill, which became known as the "world's largest sawmill", burned and was partially rebuilt. When it burned a second time in 1925 the mill was dismantled and Lake Stevens lost the very industry which caused its founding. However, by then a flourishing town was established and continued under its own momentum.

From the 1920s to the 1950s Lake Stevens was primarily a resort community, with many public and private resort beaches scattered around the shore. On November 29, 1960, Lake Stevens incorporated as a City with a population of 900. Soon, its popularity and natural beauty, combined with changing commuter habits, attracted more and more residents, changing its character to that of a suburban community. By 2000 the City had grown to a population of 6,361 in approximately 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2). The lake remains the focal point of the greater Lake Stevens community for recreation and as "a symbol of our need to provide for a sustainable existence that will protect our natural environment".


Lake Stevens is located at 48°1′11″N 122°3′58″W / 48.01972°N 122.06611°W / 48.01972; -122.06611 (48.019782, -122.066089).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.90 square miles (23.05 km2), of which, 8.88 square miles (23.00 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.

The lake itself is the largest and deepest lake in Snohomish County, with an area of 1,040 acres (4.2 km2) and an average depth of 64 feet (20 m). It is fed by Lundeen, Mitchell, Kokanee, and Stitch Creeks and drained by Catherine Creek, which ultimately flows to the Pilchuck River. The small size of the surrounding watershed compared to the lake minimizes the effects of upstream pollution. This combined with an artificial aeration system allows for a generally good water quality. Much of the shoreline is heavily developed, so few wetlands exist adjacent to the lake. Recreational activities include boating, fishing, and swimming.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 2,586
1960 1,538 −40.5%
1970 1,283 −16.6%
1980 1,660 29.4%
1990 3,380 103.6%
2000 6,361 88.2%
2010 28,069 341.3%
2019 (est.) 33,911 20.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
U.S. Census Estimate (2019)

Lake Stevens is the fifth-largest city in Snohomish County, with an estimated population of 33,378 in 2018. The city is the fastest growing in Snohomish County since 2000, increasing by 18 percent from 2010 to 2018 through new residential development in the southwest and annexation of other areas. The city was originally the 11th largest in the county, but jumped to fifth by annexing 10,000 people in December 2009.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 28,069 people, 9,810 households, and 7,250 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,160.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,220.4/km2). There were 10,414 housing units at an average density of 1,172.7 per square mile (452.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.1% White, 1.7% African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.6% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.6% of the population.

There were 9,810 households, of which 45.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.3% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.1% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.26.

The median age in the city was 32.5 years. 29.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.2% were from 25 to 44; 23% were from 45 to 64; and 6.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

Annexation and the unincorporated "Urban Growth Area"

Since 2005, the population of the City of Lake Stevens has nearly quadrupled from 7,400 to 28,069 currently. This has been primarily due to an effort called "One Community Around the Lake" to bring the unincorporated areas within the Urban Growth Area into the city limits. The table shown below details these efforts:

Area Annexed Method Month & Year Ordinance Acres / Square Miles Population New City Population  % Increase
Northlake Direct Petition January 2006 719 855 / 1.34 2,300 9,700 31.1%
Frontier Village Direct Petition December 2006 729 708 / 1.11 3,600 13,300 37.1%
Soper Hill Direct Petition May 2007 742 292 / 0.46 1,200 14,500 9.0%
Southwest Election (56.38% FOR) December 2009 801 2,374 / 3.71 10,874 25,674 73.5%

Additionally, two small annexations have taken place during this time. The Fire District Annexation, the 1.02-acre (4,100 m2) Station 82 property on the southwest corner of Chapel Hill Road and 99th Ave NE, occurred in October 2007 (Ordinance 745), and the Corniche Annexation, the 2.91-acre (11,800 m2) commercially zoned vacant parcel on the southwest corner of Market Place and 91st Ave NE, occurred in March 2008 (Ordinance 768). Neither added to the city's population.

Parks, trails, and ballfields

Highlighted by the lake itself, Greater Lake Stevens is home to numerous parks, trails, and ballfields, including:

  • Bond Field
  • Bonneville Field
  • Catherine Creek Park
  • Cavalero Park (off-leash dog park)
  • Centennial Trail
  • City Beach
  • City Boat Launch
  • Eagle Ridge Park
  • Hartford Field
  • Kid's Oasis Playground
  • Lake Stevens Community Park
  • Lochsloy Fields
  • Lundeen Park
  • North Cove Park
  • Sunset Park
  • Wyatt Park (Davies Beach)


As of 2018, Lake Stevens has an estimated workforce population of 23,393 people, of which 15,084 are employed. The largest sectors of employment are manufacturing (18%), followed by educational and health services (17%), retail (13%), and professional services (11%). The majority of workers in the city commute to other areas for employment, including 20 percent to Everett, 13 percent to Seattle, and 4 percent to Bellevue. Approximately 6.3 percent of Lake Stevens residents work within the city limits. Over 81 percent of workers commute in single-occupant vehicles, while 2 percent take public transportation and less than 10 percent use carpools.

The city had 1,553 registered businesses with 4,202 total jobs, according to 2012 estimates by the U.S. Census and Puget Sound Regional Council. The largest provider of jobs in Lake Stevens came from businesses in the services sector, at 1,595, followed by education (991) and retail (696). The city's largest employer is the Lake Stevens School District, followed by aerospace manufacturer Cobalt Enterprises, which is headquartered in the Hartford industrial area and expanded its facilities in 2016. Over 20 percent of people with jobs based in Lake Stevens live within city limits, while the rest commute from nearby cities in northern Snohomish County.

Hewlett-Packard opened a large manufacturing facility on Soper Hill northwest of Lake Stevens in 1985 for its test and measurement division, following a planning dispute with the county government. The test and measurement division was later spun off into Agilent and shared its Lake Stevens facility with Solectron. The 270,000-square-foot (25,000 m2) plant had 1,000 employees at its peak, but was closed in 2002 after several rounds of layoffs. The 133-acre (54 ha) site was later redeveloped into a suburban housing complex in the mid-2000s.

Lake Stevens is home to a large retail district anchored by Frontier Village, a shopping center located at the intersection of State Route 9 and State Route 204. It was developed beginning in the 1960s and now encompasses more than 208,000 square feet (19,300 m2) of retail space, spread across several strip malls. A Costco store is planned to be constructed at the intersection of State Route 9 and 20th Street Southeast with a 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) building, a gas station with 30 pumps, and 800 parking stalls. A development agreement was approved by the city government in December 2019 after several public meetings that drew dozens of residents.


The Lake Stevens School District operates a system of public schools within the city and surrounding areas, including a portion of southeastern Marysville. The school district had an enrollment of approximately 8,838 students in 2016, with 436 total teachers and 239 other staff. It has one high school, Lake Stevens High School, which opened at its current campus in 1979 and was approved for renovation work in 2016. The renovation cost $116 million and began construction in June 2018, opening its first phase in November 2019. The school district also has one mid-high school for grades 8–9, two middle schools, and seven elementary schools. The newest elementary school, Stevens Creek, opened in 2018 alongside an adjacent early learning center.

The city's nearest post-secondary educational institutions are Everett Community College and Edmonds College. During the late 2000s, Lake Stevens was a leading candidate for a proposed branch campus of the University of Washington (UW). The city government presented a 98-acre (40 ha) site on the southwest side of Cavalero Hill that was among the four finalists in 2007, but attracted controversy from neighbors for using land promised for a county park. The Lake Stevens proposal scored the lowest in a survey of the finalists and the project was abandoned entirely in 2008 due to a state budget shortfall.


Lake Stevens, WA - library on a snowy day
The former Lake Stevens library, managed by Sno-Isle Libraries and open from 1985 to 2021

The city's public library is operated by Sno-Isle Libraries, an inter-county system that annexed Lake Stevens in 2008. Prior to the annexation, Sno-Isle was contracted to provide library service to the city-owned library, which opened in 1985 at a former pharmacy building. The 2,400-square-foot (220 m2) downtown library building was the smallest in the Sno-Isle system and was determined to be unable to support the community's needs, necessitating plans for a replacement in the 2010s.

Sno-Isle proposed a larger library with 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of space as part of a civic campus on Chapel Hill near Frontier Village, which would cost $17 million and be financed by a bond issue paid through property taxes. The bond was approved by voters in the February 2017 election, but fell 749 votes short of meeting the turnout requirement to pass. A second attempt in February 2018 was also rejected after failing to meet the 60 percent threshold for bonds. The library was demolished in June 2021 as part of renovations to North Cove Park and was replaced with a temporary library at Lundeen Park. The proposed library attracted further controversy in January 2022 after the city's mayor proposed leaving the Sno-Isle system and privatizing it, citing an increase in potential bond debt for funding construction of the civic campus.



Hewitt Avenue Trestle, looking westbound from 20th Street (2020)
Looking west from Lake Stevens at the Hewitt Avenue Trestle, which carries U.S. Route 2 towards Everett

Lake Stevens is traversed by three state highways that connect the area to other parts of Snohomish County: State Route 9, running north–south through the west of the city and continuing to Snohomish and Arlington; State Route 92, which continues northeast to Granite Falls; and State Route 204, which connects Frontier Village to U.S. Route 2 (US 2). The intersection of State Route 9 and State Route 204 and several roads around Frontier Village are planned to be replaced by a series of roundabouts after a proposed interchange was scrapped. The Hewitt Avenue Trestle, which carries US 2 to Everett, is a four-lane freeway that is frequently congested and is planned to be rebuilt to fix capacity issues.

The city is also served by Community Transit, which operates bus routes between cities in Snohomish County. The agency provides all-day bus service from Lake Stevens to Everett, Granite Falls, Lynnwood, Marysville, and Snohomish. The city has a small park and ride that opened in 2004 and is served by direct commuter routes to the Boeing Everett Factory and Downtown Seattle during peak hours.


The city's electric power and tap water are provided by the Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD), a consumer-owned public utility that serves all of Snohomish County. The PUD sources its water from the City of Everett system at Spada Lake and Lake Chaplain, which is delivered to Lake Stevens and Granite Falls. The city is also bisected by a pair of north–south electrical transmission lines operated by the Bonneville Power Administration that travel towards British Columbia. Natural gas for Lake Stevens residents and businesses is provided by Puget Sound Energy.

The city government contracts with Republic Services and Waste Management to provide curbside collection and disposal of garbage, recycling, and yard waste for different areas of Lake Stevens. The Lake Stevens Sewer District, established in 1957, operates the city's sewer system and is planned to merge with the city government in 2032. The sewer district built a treatment plant in 2013 at a cost of $100 million, and the debt payments on the project have caused disputes with the city.


Lake Stevens has two urgent care centers that also provide medical services: a branch of The Everett Clinic (part of UnitedHealth Optum); and a 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care Clinic that opened in 2017.

Notable people

  • Travis Bracht, singer
  • Jacob Eason, professional American football player
  • Cory Kennedy, professional skateboarder
  • Kathryn Holloway, Paralympic volleyball player
  • Chris Pratt, actor

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Lake Stevens (Washington) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
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Carlos Santana
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