Meadowdale: “One of the most prettily situated hamlets in Snohomish County.”

by Tiffany Villigan, 2011

The very early years

Long before you or I were here, the area that is now known as Meadowdale was nothing but lush, green forests and waterfront. If you’ve ever wandered through Lund’s Gulch or the adjoining Meadowdale County Park—following the trails that take you from civilization, through a dense forest and steep ravines, and miraculously deposit you at the clear blue waters of Puget Sound—you may be able to imagine what the area was like 200 years ago. Indeed, it would later be described as “one of the most prettily situated hamlets in Snohomish County,” and “extremely pretty [whose] views of Puget Sound are glorious.”

The region that would eventually be named “Meadowdale” stretched roughly from Lake Serene to the current 180th St SW in Lynnwood, and from Highway 99 west to the Sound. The soil is composed of grey, green, and blue silt; Admiralty clay, which extends several hundred feet underground near the waterfront; and sand and gravel in some places. The forest of the 1800s was made up of fir, cedar, hemlock, maple, and white pine, with vine maple, sallal, and ferns on the ground. Geologists think that this region was influenced by the Vashon Ice Age, roughly 15000 years ago, based on the shape of the land, clay, silt, and sand deposits, and even a massive, wayward rock, once several thousand tons, they believe could only have landed in the area if it had been carried by a glacier. Although no evidence exists that Native Americans lived in the Meadowdale area, artifacts have been found which suggest that they visited the area, gathering clams and possibly fishing. Even though no tribes lived here, the region was included in an 1855 treaty that changed ownership of the land from the Suquamish tribe to the United States.         

Fast forward a few years: the United States had a new acquisition out west, and Manifest Destiny and a desire to have spacious land of one’s own were drawing settlers to the territory. One section of the forest, designated Township 27 North, Range 4 East, Willamette Meridian, was surveyed in 1859; Township 28 to the north was surveyed in 1860. The first plat application was filed by Joseph Williamson—friend of Seattle big wigs Doc Maynard and Arthur A. Denny—and W.B. Hall in 1871 for 1100 acres around what is now Meadowdale Beach. The land patent was granted in 1872, and Williamson and Hall named their possession “Fontal.” The first plat application with the name “Meadowdale” was filed in 1904 for “Meadowdale Beach.” Robert Maltby, a salesman for the West & Wheeler real estate firm, came up with the name “Meadowdale” because “if cleaned up it would be one vast meadow.” But why choose to settle land so far from the blossoming city of Seattle? Because of railroads. Railroads like Northern Pacific and Great Northern were in the process of expanding their lines out to the west coast, and were still looking for an end point in the region. Williamson (and other settlers/businessmen) believed the area could be competition for that western end point. Even though Tacoma and Seattle were eventually chosen as the major transportation hubs, many who were settling in the area still had hope for Meadowdale’s importance to railroads.

Lumber and Lunds

In creating new towns on the land acquired from the Native Americans, not only would trees need to be cut down to provide a place for homesteads, but timber would be needed to build those homes, along with other homes and buildings being built across the still-growing country. Thus, logging companies looked to the west and entered this new settlement to the north of Seattle. Many companies and individuals logged this little section of the newly-formed Washington Territory, but the three main companies were Mosher and McDonald, Ballard’s Brown’s Bay Milling & Logging Company, and the Puget Mill Company. Mosher and McDonald began logging the Upper Meadowdale area in 1890, with its main camp at Highway 99 and 168th St. Of the 535 acres they purchased in Snohomish County, the majority of it lay in the stretch bordered by the present Norma Beach Road, 156th St SW, 60th Ave W, and Highway 99. Some of the logs from that sector were sent to Chicago for the 1892 World’s Fair, to be used in the construction of exhibition halls, and presumably to showcase the goods the western portion of the new state of Washington had to offer. Brown’s Bay Milling & Logging controlled 40 acres on either side of the current Olympic View Drive ¼ mile north of Perrinville, plus 30 acres between Dellwood Village and Perrinville. This area was logged from 1902 to 1905, when the company decided it was completely logged and began selling the land to settlers. The Puget Mill Co., one of the major loggers in the Puget Sound region, owned ¼ of south Snohomish County and began working in Meadowdale in 1910. Other logging ventures continued into the mid- to late-20s, when that deforested land was also sold to brave souls wanting to try their hands at the western frontier.

One of those first brave souls was John C. Lund, for whom the gulch and creek that virtually bisect Meadowdale are named. Lund, who settled in the area in 1878 from Norway via Minnesota, was later described as the “first man with the fortitude necessary to live on the land in the vicinity of Meadowdale.” The lumber and other supplies with which to build his home were purchased at Fort Blakely and Seattle, and transported to his land by sailboat. Other settlers followed, and by 1907, the population had grown to 100 families and single residents, and Meadowdale became its own precinct in the 1910 federal census.

Next: Meadowdale continues to grow into the 1930s and beyond.


Delmar Caryl, With Angels to the Rear, 1960.

Edmonds Historical Museum, Plots of History: Biographical Stories of Twenty Pioneers and Veterans Who Were Laid to Rest in the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery, 2001

Ray Pennock, AMHA Cottage Chat, March 30, 2011.

The Suquamish Tribe,

1910 Federal Census