Looking West from Maple Avenue

This is an encore edition of Snohomish Then and Now, first published in July 2007, and the inscribed date on the Gilbert Horton photograph remains a mystery.

The print is mounted on cream-colored cardboard with the hand-written notation at the bottom, “Downtown Snohomish, 1882” and “At the Foot of Maple Avenue”. On the reverse is a stamped impression of elaborate typography that reads, “Palace Floating Gallery, Horton & Lewis, Proprietors, Puget Sound, Instantaneous Portraits and Landscapes.”

“In the spring of 1884 I built a boat at Tacoma which I called the Palace Floating Gallery,” related Horton to the Snohomish County Tribune on November 8, 1928.

Horton first came west in 1877. After a short stay, he returned to Michigan, and then returned to the Pacific Coast with the goal of establishing a floating photo gallery.

So, he could have captured the image in 1882 but didn’t get around to mounting it until all set up in his Floating Gallery, including equipped with a fancy stamp. However, since we are not sure who wrote the inscription, nor when, circumstantial evidence leads us to believe that the date is mistaken and that Horton captured this historic image around 1885.

Since all of “downtown Snohomish” at the time was built of wood, none of the structures pictured are still standing. We need to remember that nearly everything, as well as, everybody, arrived by the river in early Snohomish and that the riverside buildings were primary warehouses, built quickly to handle the ever-increasing supplies required to support the rapid growth of the young city.

In those busy times, it would have been impossible to imagine a leisurely walk on a sun-dappled path alongside the river, beneath the tall, gently swaying Cottonwoods, and that only peek-a-boo views of downtown Snohomish and the river would be available from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Read more about Gilbert Horton.

. . .

Gilbert Horton, circa 1885 (Courtesy Snohomish Historical Society)
Snohomish River Trail at Maple Avenue, 2007

2 thoughts on “Looking West from Maple Avenue”

  1. via eMail:

    Very nice piece. I enjoyed reading it and liked seeing the contrasting photos. Since I live in Oregon, I don’t get to Snohomish very often, so it’s pleasant to read something like this once in a while. Most of the time, it’s a once a year to bring my mother at Memorial Day to tend the family plots in the GAR cemetery.
    My great-grandfather, Elling Hoem, homesteaded property adjacent to Lord Hill on the old Snohomish-Monroe Hwy. As a young boy I lived on the farm and remember seeing some of the floods in the 1950’s. My grandfather was Edward Albert Hoem and served on the School Board for many years. He was first cousins with the Cedargreen children.
    I have checked the archives in the Historical Society and brought many files connected to our family up-to-date (as of three years ago). There is more to do, of course. As it stands, I am very happy that there is a Snohomish Historical Society where this information can be archived.
    My grandmother, Myrtle Hoem, was a painter in her later years and made a couple paintings of the Bicycle Tree, which figured in a previous email. I have several photographs as well as her paintings. They are in a primitive, self-taught style, yet done by someone who had first-hand experience. If these items would be interesting to the Historical Society, I would be happy to donate them.
    Thank you again for revitalizing an important community resource,

    Eric Hoem

  2. I am researching my husband’s family who lived in Snohomish in the early 1900’s and, I believe, may have operated a mill either north or south of town. I have addresses for them and I understand the houses are still standing. I am interested in knowing who I could contact at the historical society or elsewhere, to determine if there are photos of that neighborhood in that time period and, hopefully, of their particular homes.

    Thank you for whatever assistance you can provide in referring me to the appropriate person.

    P.S. I enjoyed the photos and accompanying articles on each!

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