The settlement of Stanwood began about 1866 near what was then the mouth of the Stillaguamish River. There was first a saloon and trading post serving farmers and loggers who were staking claims on the tidelands and upriver. Eventually, a wharf was built to make it possible for steamboats to dock along the waterfront. In the 1880s, the area was surrounded by logging camps and shingle mills. Many businesses were established, making it a more full-service town. Then a fire in 1892 destroyed 13 buildings.

The Stanwood Hotel was built in the late 1890s, and is one of the oldest buildings in town. Although it has been changed and added to, it is essentially the same structure that housed loggers, mill workers, hunters and tourists for many years. The mill workers purchased meal cards to eat there. It became a tavern with a card room after Prohibition.


Hotel Stanwood was a mecca for travelers from the busy Stillaguamish River waterfront. As the waterfront declined in later years, it acquired a somewhat seedy reputation. Long-time Stanwood residents remember as children they were not allowed to go near the saloons in those days.

The picture on the right was taken during one of the many floods that were the bane of Stanwood's existence. The city's streets haven't flooded since 1959, after the development of better, higher dikes.

Photos and text are courtesy of the collections of the Stanwood Area Historical Society Stanwood, WA

MARKET STREET (now 102nd Ave NW), 1911
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