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Marysville, Washington
State Avenue in Downtown Marysville
State Avenue in Downtown Marysville
Flag of Marysville, Washington
Official seal of Marysville, Washington
Nickname(s): The Strawberry City
Marysville in Washington State
Marysville in Washington State
Country United States
State Washington
County Snohomish
Founded 1872
Incorporated March 20, 1891
 • Total 20.94 sq mi (54.23 km2)
 • Land 20.68 sq mi (53.56 km2)
 • Water 0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2)
Elevation 20 ft (6 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 60,020
 • Estimate (2015) 66,773
 • Rank US: 532nd
 • Density 2,902.3/sq mi (1,120.6/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98270–98271
Area code 360
FIPS code 53-43955
GNIS feature ID 1512435

Marysville is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States, part of the Seattle metropolitan area. The city is located 35 miles (56 km) north of Seattle, adjacent to Everett on the north side of the Snohomish River delta. It is the second-largest city in Snohomish County after Everett, with a population of 60,020 in the 2010 U.S. census. As of 2015, Marysville is also the fastest-growing city in Washington state, growing at an annual rate of 2.5 percent.

Marysville was established in 1872 as a trading post by James P. Comeford, but was not populated by other settlers until 1883. After the town was platted in 1885, a period of growth brought new buildings and industries to Marysville. In 1891, Marysville was incorporated and welcomed the completed Great Northern Railway. Historically, the area has subsisted on lumber and agrarian products; the growth of strawberry fields in Marysville led to the city being nicknamed the "Strawberry City" in the 1920s.

The city experienced its first wave of suburbanization in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in the development of new housing and commercial areas. Between 1980 and 2000, the population of Marysville increased five-fold. In the early 2000s, annexations of unincorporated areas to the north and east expanded the city to over 20 square miles (52 km2) and brought the population over 60,000.

Marysville is oriented north–south along Interstate 5, bordering the Tulalip Indian Reservation to the west, and State Route 9 to the east. Mount Pilchuck, whose 5,300-foot (1,600 m) high peak can be seen from various points in the city, appears in the city's flag and seal.


Foundation and early history

Marysville Hotel and Marysville Cooperative Association, 1912
Front Street in Marysville, pictured in 1912

Marysville was established in 1872 by government-appointed Indian agent James P. Comeford, an Irish immigrant who had served in the Civil War, and his wife Maria as a trading post on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. The reservation, located to the west of modern-day Marysville, was established by the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855, signed by local Native American tribes and territorial governor Isaac Stevens at modern-day Mukilteo. The treaty's signing opened most of Snohomish County to American settlement and commercial activities, including logging, fishing and trapping.

The timber industry was the largest active industry in the area during the 1860s and 1870s, with hillsides in modern-day Marysville cleared by loggers for dairy farms. The Comefords' trading post accepted business from the reservation and logging camps that were established near the mouth of the Snohomish River. In 1874, Comeford acquired three timber claims from local loggers for $450, totaling 1,280 acres (5.2 km2), and cleared the land in preparation for settlement. Comeford and his wife moved to the present site of Marysville in 1877, building a new store and wharf. Although Marysville remained a one-man town until 1883, a post office and school district were both established by 1879 using the names and signatures of Native American neighbors of Comeford's, who were given "Boston" names for the petition.

Comeford completed construction of a two-story hotel in 1883 to welcome new settlers. Among the first residents to arrive were James Johnson and Thomas Lloyd of Marysville, California, who suggested the town's name be used for Comeford's new town. Comeford sold his store and wharf to settlers Mark Swinnerton and Henry B. Myers in 1884, and moved north to the Kellogg Marsh (now part of Marysville) to farm 540 acres (220 ha) of land he purchased.

Marysville was formally platted on February 25, 1885, filed by the town physician J. D. Morris and dedicated by the Comefords. More settlers began to arrive after the completion of the town's first sawmill in 1887, joined by three others by the end of the decade. Marysville was officially incorporated as a fourth-class city on March 20, 1891, with a population of approximately 400 residents and Mark Swinnerton serving as the city's first mayor. The Great Northern Railway also completed construction of its tracks through Marysville in 1891, building a drawbridge over Ebey Slough and serving the city's sawmills. A newspaper named the Marysville Globe was established by Thomas P. Hopp in 1892 and continues to be published for the city.

Early 20th century

By the turn of the century, the city's population had grown to 728, and social organizations began to establish themselves in Marysville, including a lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and a Crystal Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons. The first city hall was opened in late 1901, at a cost of $2,000; the building also housed the city's fire department, and later the first public library in 1907. Electrical and water supply systems were both inaugurated in 1906, alongside the construction of a high school building.

The timber industry in Marysville peaked in 1910, at which point the city's population reached 1,239, with 10 sawmills producing lumber on the shores of Ebey Slough. Agriculture began to grow in Marysville, with its fertile land suited for the growing of strawberries in particular. By 1920, the city had more than 2,000 acres (810 ha) of strawberry fields, leading to the coining of the city's nickname of "Strawberry City" and the establishment of the annual Strawberry Festival in 1932.

An automobile bridge across Ebey Slough and the Snohomish River estuary to Everett was completed in 1927, with funding from the state department of highways to complete the Pacific Highway (later part of U.S. Route 99, and present-day State Route 529). The city remained relatively unchanged through the Great Depression, with the diversity of industries credited for Marysville avoiding the worst of economic hardship experienced by other nearby communities. During World War II, an ammunition depot was built on the Tulalip Reservation near present-day Quil Ceda, later being re-used as a Boeing test site after the aerospace company expanded in Everett.

Late 20th century

Marysville began to grow into a bedroom community of Seattle and Everett in the late 1950s, spurred by the completion of Interstate 5 in stages from 1954 to 1969. The new freeway bypassed the town, causing a minor decline in tourist revenue at businesses that later rebounded to normal levels, also eliminating a major traffic bottleneck that paralyzed the city's downtown. The city annexed its first area outside its original city limits in 1954, growing to over 2,500 residents. Marysville was re-classified as a third-class city in 1962 and the local Chamber of Commerce boosted the city during the Century 21 Exposition held in nearby Seattle, hosting a UFO exposition in Smokey Point that summer.

On June 6, 1969, a freight train operated by Great Northern rammed into several disconnected train cars in front of the Marysville depot, destroying the building, killing two men in an engine on a nearby siding and injuring two others. The crash, blamed on the engineer failing to adhere to the track's speed limit, caused $1 million in damage to railroad property and resulted in the demolition of the depot, which had served the city since 1891 and was not rebuilt.

After the initial wave of suburbanization, which built homes in former strawberry fields to the north and east of Marysville, the city's population totaled 5,544 in 1980. The city's growth was concentrated in outlying areas, leaving downtown to weaken economically. In 1981, the Marysville City Council declared that the downtown area was "blighted" and in need of a facelift. The council presented a $30 million urban renewal plan in November 1982 that would add new retail and office space, mixed-use development, public parks and improve pedestrian conditions in downtown, along with a large public parking lot and an expanded public marina. The plan was opposed by the marina's owner and other downtown property owners and produced lengthy public hearings that lasted until the following year. Mayor Daryl Brennick vetoed the plan in June 1983, citing public outcry and the high cost of the proposal, and the city council failed to overturn the decision. The city instead developed a downtown shopping mall that involved the demolition of a water tower (one of two in the city) and several historic buildings in 1987.

Marysville underwent further population changes in the late 1980s and 1990s, continuing to build more housing and new retail centers after the lifting of a building moratorium. The city continued to annex outlying areas, growing to a size of 9.8 square miles (25 km2) and population of 25,315 by 2000. Tulalip Tribes opened its first casino in 1992, the second Indian casino in the state, and began development of a large shopping mall at Quil Ceda Village in the early 2000s.

Marysville attempted to attract regional facilities in the late 1990s and 2000s, with varying degrees of success. The U.S. Navy opened Naval Station Everett in Everett in 1994, which was accompanied by a support annex in northern Marysville near Smokey Point the following year. The Puget Sound Regional Council explored the expansion of Arlington Municipal Airport into a regional airport in the 1990s to relieve Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, but decided instead to build a third runway at Sea-Tac because of existing traffic and local opposition. In September 2004, Marysville won a bid to build a 850-acre (340 ha) NASCAR racetrack (to be operated by the International Speedway Corporation) near Smokey Point. The project was cancelled two months later after concerns about traffic impacts, environmental conditions, and $70 million in required transportation improvements arose. The NASCAR site was later pitched as a candidate for a new University of Washington satellite campus (known as UW North Sound) in the late 2000s, competing with a site in downtown Everett. The project was put on hold in 2008 after continued disagreements over the campus's location, before being cancelled entirely in 2011, replaced by a new Washington State University branch campus in Everett.

21st century

From 2000 to 2006, the city annexed 23 additional areas, totaling 1,416 acres (573 ha), lengthening the city to border Arlington at Smokey Point. The largest single annexation came in 2009, with Marysville absorbing 20,000 residents and 2,847 acres (1,152 ha) from North Marysville, an unincorporated area that comprised the majority of the urban growth area. New retail centers in North Lakewood and at 116th Street were built in 2007, leading to increased sales tax revenue for the city and increased traffic congestion in areas of the city.

The opening of the city's waterfront park and public boat launch in 2005 spurred interest in redevelopment of downtown Marysville. The closure of the final waterfront sawmill in 2005, followed by its acquisition and demolition by the city in 2008, led city planners to propose a downtown master plan. The 20-year plan, released and adopted by the City Council in 2009, proposes the redevelopment of the Marysville Towne Center Mall into a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented area with a restored street grid. The waterfront area would include trails, residential buildings, and retail spaces, along with a new city hall and civic center. In 2015, the city of Marysville was also the recipient of grants and consultation from the Environmental Protection Agency's smart growth program, identifying strategies for infill development in downtown.

By 2010, Marysville had grown to a population of 60,020 and surpassed Lynnwood and Edmonds to become the second-largest city in Snohomish County. In 2015, the city grew at a rate of 2.5 percent, the largest rate of any city in Washington state. The city's school district opened a second high school, Getchell, in 2010 to serve students living in the eastern area of Marysville. The school includes a Bio-Med Academy and an Academy of Construction and Engineering in separate buildings on the campus.


According to the United States Census Bureau's 2010 census, Marysville has a total area of 20.94 square miles (54.2 km2)—20.68 square miles (53.6 km2) of land and 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2) of water. The city is located in the northwestern part of Snohomish County in Western Washington, approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of Seattle. Marysville's city limits are generally bound to the south by Ebey Slough (part of the Snohomish River delta) and Sopher Hill Road, to the west by Interstate 5 and the Tulalip Indian Reservation, to the north by the city of Arlington, and to the east by the Centennial Trail and State Route 9. The city's urban growth boundary includes 158 acres (64 ha) outside of city limits, bringing the total area to 21.14 square miles (54.8 km2).

The city's topography varies from the low-lying downtown, located along the banks of Ebey Slough 5 feet (1.5 m) above sea level, rising to 160 feet (49 m) near Smokey Point and over 465 feet (142 m) in the eastern highlands. Marysville sits in the watershed of two major creeks, Quilceda Creek and Allen Creek, and approximately 70 minor streams that flow into Ebey Slough and Snohomish River. During the early 20th century, repeated controlled flooding and other engineering works in the Snohomish River delta contributed to the replenishment of the area's fertile silty soil for use in farming.

The Marysville skyline is dominated by views of Mount Pilchuck and the Cascade Mountains to the east. The 5,324-foot (1,623 m) Mount Pilchuck appears on the city's logo and flag, and is the namesake of the Marysville Pilchuck High School.

The City of Marysville's comprehensive plan defines 11 general neighborhoods within the city and its urban growth boundary: Downtown, Jennings Park, Sunnyside, East Sunnyside/Whiskey Ridge, Cedarcrest/Getchell Hill, North Marysville/Pinewood, Kellogg Marsh, Marshall/Kruse, Shoultes, Smokey Point, and Lakewood.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 262
1900 728 177.9%
1910 1,239 70.2%
1920 1,244 0.4%
1930 1,354 8.8%
1940 1,748 29.1%
1950 2,259 29.2%
1960 3,117 38.0%
1970 4,343 39.3%
1980 5,080 17.0%
1990 10,328 103.3%
2000 25,315 145.1%
2010 60,020 137.1%
Est. 2015 66,773 11.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

Until the post-World War II population boom of the 1950s, Marysville's population never rose above 2,000 residents, who were all located within the original city limits. The city began annexing surrounding areas in the 1950s, anticipating suburban development that would replace existing farmland and forest lands. From 1950 to 1980, the city doubled in population, growing to over 5,000 residents, with an additional 15,000 residents in surrounding areas. Marysville's population grew five-fold between 1980 and 2000, increasing to 25,000 through natural growth and annexation of developed areas. From 2000 to 2010, the city's population increased to over 60,000 after the annexation of the urban growth area and continued development, making Marysville the second-largest city in Snohomish County behind Everett. In 2015, Marysville was the fastest-growing city in Washington, growing at a rate of 2.5 percent to an estimated population of 66,773. As of 2016, Marysville is the 17th largest city in Washington.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 60,020 people, 21,219 households, and 15,370 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,902.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,120.6/km2). There were 22,363 housing units at an average density of 1,081.4 per square mile (417.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.0% White, 1.9% African American, 1.9% Native American, 5.6% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 4.4% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.3% of the population.

There were 21,219 households of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.6% were non-families. 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.22.

The median age in the city was 34.2 years. 27.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 9.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 25,315 people, 9,400 households, and 6,608 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,640.1 people per square mile (1,019.2/km²). There were 9,730 housing units at an average density of 1,014.7 per square mile (391.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.21% White, 1.02% African American, 1.60% Native American, 3.82% Asian, 0.36% Pacific Islander, 1.89% from other races, and 3.10% from two or more races. Hispanic Latino of any race were 4.83% of the population.

There were 9,400 households out of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 30.1% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,088, and the median income for a family was $55,796. Males had a median income of $42,391 versus $30,185 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,414. About 3.7% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


The Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts was founded in 2009 to offer art, music and theatre classes in Marysville, including the staging of community theatre productions. The Red Curtain renovated a former lumber store in 2012 to house a community arts center, but moved in 2015 to a new location at a shopping center in central Marysville in 2015, which will be renovated into a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) arts center with a 130-seat theatre, classrooms, and other amenities. Other local arts organizations include the Marysville Arts Coalition, and the Sonus Boreal women's choir.

Marysville was formerly home to a children's museum from 1993 to 1995, located at the Marysville Towne Center Mall. The museum relocated to a temporary space in Everett before opening a permanent downtown Everett location in 2004 as the Imagine Children's Museum. The city also hosts a historic telephone museum located in downtown since 1996.

The 1980 made for TV movie Trouble in High Timber Country was filmed in Marysville.

Parks and recreation

Marysville, WA water tower
Marysville water tower

The City of Marysville operates and maintains 487.4 acres (197.2 ha) on 35 public recreational facilities within city limits, including parks, playgrounds, sports fields, nature preserves, community centers, a golf course and other facilities.

Comeford Park, located in Downtown Marysville and named for town founders James P. Comeford and his wife Maria, is the city's oldest municipal park and is home to the city's landmark water tower, built in 1921 and non-functional since the 1970s. The 120-foot-tall (37 m) water tower, originally accompanied by a second tower demolished in 1987, was planned in the late 1990s to be demolished, but was saved in 2002 after $500,000 was raised by the Marysville Historical Society to renovate and preserve the structure. The 2.1-acre (0.85 ha) Comeford Park is also home to the Ken Baxter Community Center, a gazebo donated by the city's Rotary Club, a children's playground, and a spray park that opened in 2014.

Jennings Park, located to the east of downtown Marysville on Armar Road, is considered the centerpiece of the city's park system. The 53-acre (21 ha) park includes play areas, experimental gardens and composting sites, sports fields, a nature walking trail, a preserved barn, and historical exhibits. It is also home to the Park and Recreation Department's administrative offices.

Other major parks in Marysville include the Ebey Waterfront Park and boat launch opened in 2005, and a skate park opened in 2002. The city also maintains the Ceadercrest Golf Course in eastern Marysville, a 18-hole, 99.4-acre (40.2 ha) municipal golf course that was established in 1927 and was acquired by the city in 1972. Marysville is also home to private, non-profit recreation facilities operated by the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, as well as a privately-owned bowling alley and indoor roller skating rink.

The Marysville Parks and Recreation Department also organizes youth sports leagues for basketball and soccer. The department uses facilities leased from the Marysville School District, as well as purpose-built areas like the Strawberry Fields Athletic Complex in northern Marysville, a 71-acre (29 ha) park for soccer and disc golf.

Marysville holds an annual strawberry festival in the third week of June, which is highlighted by a grand parade on State Avenue and a nighttime fireworks show. The first annual strawberry festival was held in 1932 to celebrate the city's strawberry growing industry, and has only been cancelled during World War II from 1942 to 1945 and a polio outbreak in 1949. The week-long event attracts over 100,000 visitors and is the largest strawberry festival in Washington state. In addition to the Marysville Strawberry Festival, the city holds other annual events, including the Merrysville for the Holidays celebration and grand parade in early December.

The city re-established a farmer's market in 2015, located in the city hall parking lot on State Avenue. The farmer's market is open weekly on Saturdays from July to October and is operated by the Allen Creek Community Church.


Two weekly newspapers, the Marysville Globe and the North County Outlook, are based in Marysville and serve northern Snohomish County. The Globe, published since 1891 and owned by Sound Publishing alongside The Arlington Times, began delivering free newspapers to all Marysville residents on November 28, 2007. The Herald in Everett serves the entire county, including Marysville, and prints daily editions. Marysville is also part of the Seattle–Tacoma media market, and is served by Seattle-based media outlets including The Seattle Times; broadcast television stations KOMO-TV, KING-TV, KIRO-TV, and KCPQ-TV; and various radio stations. Cable television service in Marysville is provided by Comcast and Frontier Communications for most of the city and Wave Broadband in North Lakewood; the city also owns a public-access television station that is operated by the Marysville School District.

Marysville is part of the Sno-Isle Libraries system, which operates public libraries in Island and Snohomish counties. The system has a 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) branch in Marysville located on Grove Street that was built in 1995 to replace the older city-owned library. Recent population growth in northern Marysville near Smokey Point and Lakewood have led Sno-Isle to recommend the establishment of a new library in the area by 2025.

Historical preservation

The Marysville Historical Society was formed in 1974 as a non-profit organization to preserve the history of Marysville and its surrounding area. The society began planning the construction of a museum at Jennings Park in 1986, but was unable to raise enough funds to begin construction until 2012. The museum opened on March 19, 2016, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the city's incorporation, using donated funds to finish construction.

The Marysville and Tulalip area have several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Marysville Opera House was built by the Independent Order of Oddfellows in 1911 at a cost of $20,000; it would later be listed in 1982 and renovated in 2003 for use by city events. On the Tulalip reservation, the Indian Shaker Church and St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church were built in the early 20th century and listed on the register in 1976; the Tulalip Indian Agency Office, built in 1912, was listed for its significance in tribal affairs as well as the town's founding. Another historic landmark in the area, not listed on the register, is the Gehl House at Jennings Park, a pioneer-era wooden cabin built in 1889 and restored with original furnishings.

Notable residents

Notable people from Marysville include:

  • Brady Ballew, soccer player
  • Robert A. Brady, economist
  • Larry Christenson, baseball player
  • John DeCaro, hockey player
  • Jan Haag, writer, artist, poet and filmmaker
  • Chris King, sportscaster
  • Jack Metcalf, U.S. representative from Washington's 2nd congressional district
  • Steve Musseau, American football coach
  • Haley Nemra, track athlete
  • Howell Oakdeane Morrison, musician, dance instructor, and entrepreneur, founder of Seattle-based Morrison Records
  • Jeff Pahukoa, American football player
  • Shane Pahukoa, American football player
  • Jarred Rome, discus thrower
  • Dave Stachelski, American football player
  • Larry Stayner, American football player
  • Patty Schemel, musician with Hole and other bands
  • Simeon R. Wilson, state politician and newspaper editor

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