Then and Now: Old 99 coming into South Mount Vernon



The speed limit in the city limits of Mount Vernon, WA is still 25 MPH.  This photo, taken in 1935, shows that we mean it!  This was the south city limit starting in 1910, at Blackburn Rd.  It was not extended further south along Old 99 until 2005, 95 years later.  In the mid-distance is the stucco semi-Mission style Thompson’s Service, now the Town Pump Tavern.  Thompson’s also ran a motel/auto court across the street on 3rd Street, right along the Great Northern Railroad tracks.  The strip of motel units still exist as long term rentals, along with the original home of the Thompsons.

In 1935 all the traffic that was headed north came right through this area on their way to Bellingham or Canada or even Alaska.  They all needed fuel and might even need a place to sleep for the night.  And what small town does not want to extract a little additional revenue for those who might be in just a little too much of a hurry going through our little burg?



In the 80 years since the ‘Then’ picture was taken this area looks pretty much the same.  The street now has a left turn lane and we have a sidewalk on one side, as you can see.  The Dept of Motor Vehicles has an office in the back parking lot of Thompsons, trackside of the BNSF, and uses this parking lot to test hopeful driver license applicants in their parallel parking skills.


Town Pump

Town Pump

Here’s a pretty good current picture of the Town Pump Tavern showing off this unique style, at least for this part of the country.  They appear to be open, but no cars in the lot!  You can see the motel units behind on the left and the Thompson house behind on the right.

I also have a 1930 photo of this building as a gas station that was shared by someone on the Skagit County History Facebook page.

Thompsons Service 1930

Thompsons Service 1930




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