Then and Now – Mount Vernon Waterfront

MV Waterfront 1935

MV Waterfront 1935

Found this great picture of the Mount Vernon river front taken during a flood event in 1935.  Looked like a good candidate for a Then and Now post, so I tried to find the exact same spot on the west side of the river to get my Now shot.  Alas, the ‘new’ Division Street bridge is taller than the bridge that stood there in 1935.  I did get under the existing bridge and came very close to getting the right angle.

The President Hotel is prominent, so is the ‘warehouse’ where the Lyric Theater was housed in the 1960’s when I was growing up in this town.  This building is now the Movie House Antiques.  The level of the flood waters are just at the top of the dike, with a wall of sandbags on the top of the dike to hold that last few feet back from pouring into the downtown section.  At the time this Then picture was taken, the Interurban Tracks ran along the top of the dike.  You could still take this trolly from Mount Vernon to Fairhaven. In those days there was another street to the west of Main Street named Front Street.  Main, then and now, runs on the river side of the Antique store.  Front Street ran a half block, the depth of one lot, west of Main, along the river. Front Street is under water, on the near side of that board warehouse, left of center foreground.

MV Waterfront 2013

MV Waterfront 2013

Before the revetment was build for parking, the river front was solid planks down about 20 feet from the level of the flood waters.  This allowed all sorts of river craft, sternwheelers and freighters to tie directly up to Front Street and load and unload freight.

When I first started looking into this view, I thought that the same power poles in the Then picture were still existing in the Now view.  Does not seem the case as the tops are different.  Of additional interest is this plat map of the area.  The Movie House Antique store sits on Lot 1, Block 5, at the corner of Main and Myrtle.

Recently found this 1890 photo, below, of the exact same scene.  This was the glory days of riverboating on the Skagit River.

MV Waterfront 1890

MV Waterfront 1890

MV 1937

MV 1937

Here is a nice view of 1st Street, from the south, about the same time the top picture was taken.  The south side of the President Hotel is clearly visible.

I am seeing that the City of Mount Vernon is now starting to refer to the River area as the ‘Waterfront.’  I like that.  It does go with the old view where it looks more like an industrial and warehouse district.  Maybe they will also revive the old Front Street name!

Dennis’til next time,
Dennis George
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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