LITTLE DID REBECCA DICKINSON KNOW when she bought the Maughlin House at 707 Fourth Street in 1992, that she was purchasing river shore property, but thatâ€™s what she learned this year from the Snohomish City Engineer overseeing the replacement of her retaining wall.
Comparing our two images of the Maughlin House shows why a retaining wall was needed in the first place. Over the years the Fourth Street hill down to Maple Avenue has been lowered, isolating the grand home even more than already accomplished by its compelling site.
Joseph and Mary Maughlin came from Ohio, along with three grown children, including two daughters-in-laws, and built this home in 1886. Wasting no time, the sons established the Maughlin Brothers Mill that by 1901 employed 80 men. In June of that year work began on the Fourth Street wooden bridge as reported by Ruth Dubuque in â€œRiver Reflectionsâ€ (Part 2, page 150), and which I assume is pictured in the right hand corner of our historic image. Ruth describes the gulch as 32 feet deep and carrying the overflow from Blackman Lake to the Snohomish River. It is the natural dividing line between the Ferguson and Sinclair plats talked about last month.
Rebecca is not sure when the retaining wall facing Fourth Street was built, which featured a charming set of stairs leading to her front door, but she did learn that itâ€™s on City property. And on February 28, 2001, a deep earthquake, centered near the Nisqually Delta northwest of Olympia, cracked the wall, pushing it forward where it has rested in a threatening angle over the sidewalk until this year.
Enter Steve Schuller, our new City Engineer. â€œInitial testing of the soil,â€ Steve explains, â€œshowed it to be alluvial â€“ soil or sediment deposited by a river.â€ It seems that the Snohomish River Valley being wide and flat, created through thousands of years of glacial movement and flowing meltwater, and bounded by morainal hills with steep sides, is often described in scientific literature as a â€œbathtub.â€
So we might say that Rebeccaâ€™s house, located on the highest hill in Snohomish, is either on an ancient river shore or on poetic bathtub ring.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS:
The Maughlin House, built in 1886, at 707 Fourth Street. The wooden bridge, partially picture on the right, was built around 1901 to cross the gulch that carried overflow water from Blackman Lake to the Snohomish River.
(Photo courtesy the Maughlin Family estate)
The Maughlin House as it appears in 2009 where work has begun to replace the retaining wall along side Fourth Street, damaged in the Nisqually Quake of 2001.
3 thoughts on “The Maughlin House, 1900-2009”
My parents, Barnard Maughlin and Evelyn Tupper were married in that house in 1924. I visited my grandparents there when I was a very small child. I haven’t been inside since, but would love to arrange a tour sometime.
I’m another Maughlin descendent (my grandmother Frances was the sister of Barnard, both the children of Albert and Nora Maughlin) and we were delighted to be invited into Rebecca’s home a few years ago with our mother for a tour. Our mom was very small when she visited her grandparents, but remembered her older sisters roller skating around the outside porch, and being terrified of going up into the tower, where the family had gathered to look at a fire somewhere in the valley. Rebecca has done a delightful job in restoring the stately house, and we are all very grateful for her work. It was sad to see it crumbling into a haunted house before she bought it.
Thank you for this publication, by the way. I think I’m going to have to spend some time learning more about historical Snohomish.