Brunswick Building

Bob Bickford had this month’s historical photograph, labeled on its face “Bobo Studio, Snohomish, 1935,” in a folder of old pictures of the family business. It’s a revelatory image that has been added to the Society’s digitized collection of historic images, just in time to share with you as we celebrate our annual festival this weekend, currently called, “Kla Ha Ya Days.”
In 1935, Snohomish celebrated the 12th Annual Garden City Grange Fair. A banner headline for the September 5, 1935, issue of this paper, shouted across the entire page: “3 BANDS, 42 FLOATS, WILL PARADE HERE. The gathering of women and girls on and around the black convertible is Queen Irma Salvadalena and her entourage. The parade, boasted as the largest in years, is scheduled to “move off promptly at 2:30 [Friday], the line of march will carry the entrants down First and Second Streets, past the Grange Hall and through the business district. A newsreel cameraman will be in the city to take pictures of the parade and will be stationed on an especially constructed platform at the corner of First Street and Avenue B.”

You may have noticed by now that the name of the company is Reed & Bickford Motors listed on all three sides of the stylish portico. The partners began the firm in a small building on Maple a few years earlier, quickly outgrew it and moved into the east half of new Brunswick Building in 1934, when they also acquired the local Ford agency. Effective July 1, 1936, Lawrence Bickford became the sole owner by buying out his partner Paul Reed, who was the repair shop foreman, overseeing some half dozen mechanics. Just up First Street was the Chevrolet dealership owned by Charles Poier, which also became a family operation just as Bickford Motors, now located north of downtown on an avenue bearing the family name. Mike Bickford said that his Sunday school teacher was Art Poier, one of Charles’ sons that took over the business, then relocated to Second Avenue when it was sold and eventually closed in the 1970s.

Beginning on Saturday, August 21, 1937, the first annual Kla Ha Ya Days celebration was held. It featured the early morning arrival of the “Northwest’s finest yachts from boat clubs in Everett, Bellingham, Seattle and other towns.” Besides the parade that afternoon, there was a street dance in front of the library on Cedar, and a wedding was held on a platform erected near the First National Bank (now John Scott Real Estate office) where a mystery couple, “well known in the community, will exchange vows.”

For history fans, the Society is hosting a two-week exhibition in the Waltz Building, 116 Avenue B, to celebrate along with the city its 150th and our 40th anniversaries. Admission is free to the extensive exhibition, which will be open to visitors daily, 11 a.m. to 3p.m. The exhibition runs July 11-25. Wish we had a pristine 1935 Ford V-8 Sedan on display, but the bidding often exceeds $50,000 these days!


Then: Brunswick Building, 1935
Once called Reed & Bickford Motors, the family firm was first located on First Street in the Brunswick Building. Lining up for the 12th Annual Garden City Grange Fair parade are sparkling new 1935 Ford Sedans, festively decorated to carry Queen Irma and her Maids of Honor. Note the corner building that was home to Snohomish’s own Moehring Shoe Company; and how handsome the transom windows are above the entrance, which are now buried in years of stucco.

Photo courtesy the Bickford Family

Now: Brunswick Building, 2009
Part of the Brunswick Building as it appears today, and the former Moehring Shoe Store on the corner. The service entrance for the Ford dealership was where the stripped awning is now.

This article was first published in the Snohomish County Tribune on July 15, 2009.