LYNNWOOD, Wash., April 29, 2022 – The city of Lynnwood held a ribbon cutting ceremony, Friday, April 29, celebrating the recently restored Heritage Park Water Tower, as part of the Phase II Improvement Project supported by the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust, Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation, Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission, and the Washington State Historical Society.
The ribbon cutting was especially momentous as the city marked its 63rd anniversary of incorporation last week, April 23rd.
“This building no longer hides in the back but stands tall with its tower crown returned,” Mayor Christine Frizzell said. “While our community prepares for continued development transitions with the arrival of light rail, it’s important to celebrate our history and what makes Lynnwood a strong and resilient community.”
Just minutes before the ribbon was cut, Deputy Director Sarah Olsen acknowledged the traditional lands of the Snohomish, Suquamish and other Coast Salish Tribes, and some words were shared by Mayor Christine Frizzell, Council President George Hurst, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel, Parks Superintendent Eric Peterson, and Snohomish County Councilwoman Stephanie Wright.
Special mentions included Cheri Ryan of the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust and niece to Elizabeth (Stadler) Wallace, “Aunt Bette,” who gives the trust her namesake.
The Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust donated a $500,000 grant to the Parks and Rec Foundation that also funded the Heritage Park’s playground ($100,000) on the City’s 60th anniversary, and the I Love Lynnwood heart sculpture located outside Lynnwood Convention Center.
“My aunt had four things she wanted her money left to, one was $2 million endowment set up at University of Washington pharmacy school, because my uncle was a pharmacist and went to school there, $100,000 to Alzheimer’s, because she had two siblings that have Alzheimer’s, $100,000 to the Foundation at Edmonds Foundation, and of course here,” Chery Ryan told the Lynnwood Times.
Part of that $500,000 gift paid for half of the water tower’s restoration total project cost of $453,000. Other notable contributors included Snohomish County Historical Preservation Committee ($14,000) and Washington state ($120,000).
“We’re so fortunate to have dedicated partners helping to make this park a vibrant space of exploration, learning, and storytelling,” Council President Hurst said.
Also in attendance were Lynnwood city council members Shannon Sessions, who also serves as Council Liaison for the History and Heritage Board, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Shirley Sutton.
Restoration of the Heritage Park Water Tower
After securing funding from Aunt Bette, the county, and the state, Lynnwood Parks and Rec approached Lynnwood City Council, about a year ago, to approve a general construction contract with Ivary and Associates. Construction began in June 2021 and was the last project architect Wayne Ivary worked on before his retirement.
Ivary, who had a lot to do with a lot of the park’s restoration as a whole, was true to the water tower’s historical design, restoring it almost identically to its original structure while adding some modern, pragmatic functions such as catching water in a cistern tank from the roof and using the water to feed the surrounding blueberries, one of Eric Peterson’s, Parks Superintendent, favorite things about the project.
“We knew we couldn’t put a fully functional water tower up there so we wanted to honor the purpose of the water tower so we put the cistern and the water catchment system that feeds right outside to use drip irrigation and feed the plants around the building,” Peterson told the Lynnwood Times.
About the water tower and Alderwood Manor
The Heritage Park Water Tower was built by the Puget Mill Company in 1917, before Lynnwood’s incorporation, when Alderwood Manor was a growing agriculture center for the region with poultry, mink, and berry farms.
Typical of farm structures built in western Washington in the early 20th century, the tower is one of two surviving structures from the Alderwood Manor Demonstration Farm along with the Superintendent’s Cottage, some of the last vestiges of Lynnwood’s past from 100 years ago.
The Demonstration Farm was strategically located along the Interurban railway, midway between Seattle and Everett. Because of the proximity of the electric railway, the water tower utilized an underground electric pump system that was decades ahead of its time. It provided water for the farm and for nearby residences until the Alderwood Water District installed a piped water system in 1934. The water tower’s one-story wing stored farm equipment and originally had a garage beneath it.
From 1939 until 1970, Norman Collins ran a chicken hatchery on the central five acres that included the water tower and the superintendent’s cottage. Subsequent owners rented out the water tower and the other remaining farm buildings. In 1997, the City of Lynnwood rescued the historic building during freeway interchange construction. The City received a grant in 2005 from the Washington State Heritage Capital Projects Fund to restore the water tower.
In spirit of Norman Collins’ chicken hatchery, Lynnwood Chick-fil-A owner Paul Rosser, Secretary of the Lynnwood Parks & Recreations Foundation, provided free Chick-fil-A sandwiches to attendees at today’s ceremony.
About Heritage Park
Heritage Park tells the story of the planned community of Alderwood Manor that emerged between Everett and Seattle along the electric Interurban Railway in 1919. The area’s virgin forests had been logged in the early 1900s, and the resulting stump land was marketed across the United States by the Puget Mill Company, promising a life of health, happiness and independence.
By 1922 the population of Alderwood Manor had grown to 1,463 people – and 200,000 hens. Egg production in Alderwood Manor ranked second in the nation. The Great Depression in the 1930s decimated the poultry business, and in 1939 the Interurban was dismantled in favor of bus and automobile transportation. The opening of Highway 99 stimulated commercial development in the area, bringing growth and opportunities to the new city of Lynnwood, which was incorporated in 1959.