From the high peaks
of the "Boeing Boom" to the low valleys
of the "Boeing Bust," the 1970s was a
time of dramatic, irrevocable change in
Everett history. This tumultuous
transition period of economic boom and
bust, south-end expansion, population
change, public works projects and a
retail exodus from downtown is expertly
documented in this collection of images
by City of Everett photographer Neil C.
The 1970s in Everett
enjoyed a period of remarkable economic
and population growth in the 1960s.
Several south-end communities like
Edgewater, Lowell, Pinehurst and Beverly
Park were annexed in 1961 and 1962. The
geographic reach of the city doubled and
the population soared. On July 25, 1966,
Boeing announced it would build its 747
jumbo jet plant in Everett. Thus began
the short-lived but jubilant period known
as the "Boeing Boom."
The late 1960s was
a time of unprecedented growth and
optimism in Everett.
By 1965, Boeing was the
region's major employer. The aerospace
giant employed 101,000 people in the
Puget Sound region in mid-1968. The
stretch of Interstate 5 from Everett to
Marysville opened in 1968, and many
other new highway projects—such as the
Boeing Freeway (Highway 526) between the
747 plant and the Eastmont Exchange—were
completed at this time.
However, as the
airline industry declined, orders for
all aircraft—including the
Everett-produced 747—fell dramatically.
By October 1971, Boeing employed only
37,000 in the region. In Everett alone,
Boeing employment fell from 25,000 to
just 7,000. The economic blow ricocheted
through the community. People moved out
of Everett in droves in search of
opportunities elsewhere. The Everett
School District shut the doors on three
of its 14 elementary schools.
Unemployment was at its highest since
the Great Depression. The economy slowly
started improving again in 1973. Boeing introduced new models and
received more orders for the 747.
As the local
economy rose and fell with Boeing, it
became clear that Everett's "mill town"
past was just that—a thing of the past.
Everett's shingle plants were gone. Many
lumber mills closed, and the entire
lumber mill era, which had long defined
Everett, ended in 1979 when Weyerhaeuser
closed Mill B after 64 years in
operation. The Simpson Lee Company
closed its pulp and paper mill in 1972.
Only three pulp mills survived until the
end of the decade. Of those, only
one—the Scott Paper Company—made it to
the 21st century.
further evidence of Everett's dramatic
change, the once vibrant downtown retail
core was destroyed by competition from
the new Everett Mall in South Everett.
The mall opened near the old Broadway
cut-off on October 9, 1974. It boasted
2,8000 parking stalls and 550,000 square
feet inside "Snohomish County's first
climate-controlled shopping center."
Robert Anderson tapped some federal
funding for public works projects,
including parks improvement and a
downtown beautification program.
Nevertheless, the fight to keep a robust
retail core downtown was in vain. Most
shops within a six block radius of
Hewitt and Colby Avenues closed. Even
the dime stores like Woolworth, Kress and Newberry disappeared.
The Photographer & the Collection
Neil C. House was employed as the official photographer of the
City of Everett from February 1975 to
October 1977. Using a Nikon F2 camera
and seven different lenses, House documented an era of change in Everett. As a city employee,
he was tasked with recording the official functions of several city departments such as Police,
Fire, Planning, Public Works (including Streets, Water, Sewer and Engineering), Parks, Transit
and City Council. House learned about
many diverse municipal government
functions—from the water system to arson
investigations—with the aid of his
camera. In 1977 House began working as an on-call photographer for the Police and Fire Departments.
He shot evidence photos of fires, crime scenes and autopsies. House was there with his camera to
"help the police do their work." These photos are not part of the Everett Public Library collection
and are not available online.
In addition to documenting the work of city government, House also captured the hustle
of everyday life in Everett, such as shopping, parades and Salty Sea Day celebrations. Photos
taken to document street and sidewalk conditions are included in this collection. They are a
unique source of documentation on many houses and neighborhoods throughout the city. He captured
both the new growth along Evergreen Way, the waning retail scene on Colby Avenue and efforts to
revitalize Everett's struggling urban core.
House has described his work with the City of Everett as "an amazing experience."
Using the Collection
A selection of
several hundred of House's photographs
are presented here. Photos taken to
document street and sidewalk conditions
are included in this collection, as they
provide documentation of many houses and
neighborhoods throughout the city.
Pictures dated prior to 1975 are the
work of other City of Everett employees.
Because of the sheer
volume of photographs, we recommend you
use the predefined searches from the
drop-down menu on the left to explore
the collection. These searches are organized
according to subject and geographic
North of 41st—172
views of streets, neighborhoods,
businesses and houses in north Everett.
Everett South of 41st—49
views of streets, neighborhoods,
businesses and houses in central and
views of houses and residential areas in
views of people in Everett enjoying
parks, parades, festivals and
City Council—72 views
of city council meetings, members and
Employees—79 views of City of
Everett employees other than City
views of various streets, water, sewer
and other public works projects.
Photographs of Public Works personnel
are generally included under City
Fire Departments—52 views of
Police and Fire Department personnel,
activities and events.
Department—12 views of the
Parks Board and parks in the city.
Other photographs of park department events and people in the parks may
be found under People.
Transit Department—11 views of
city buses and Transit Department
views of the Everett waterfront, port,
marina, boats and ships.
Industrial Areas—15 views of
industrial areas in Everett, including
the city dump.
Maps & Drawings—17 aerial views
and sketches of neighborhoods and
projects in Everett produced for
the Planning Department.
Special thanks to
Jack O'Donnell, Larry O'Donnell, Clay
Parks, Georgia Perez and Dale Pope for
their assistance identifying so many of
the places and faces documented in these