Port of Everett: A Historic Gateway to the Pacific


The Early Days

The Port of Everett’s 100-year history is rooted to USA’s military. From the very founding of the Port District during World War I with focus on capturing wartime industry, to the Port’s largest military cargo operation to cross the docks this year with nearly 300 pieces supporting joint training missions with U.S. allied armed forces — military operations have always been and continue to be a key element of the Port’s work.

While the early waterfront had included a diversity of industries — from the Puget Sound Wire Nail and Steel Company nailworks to timber-based industries to a flour mill — by the 1920s the lumber and shingle industry was firmly the main driver of Everett’s economy with the canning and packing industry chasing after. Everett packing businesses were extremely busy.

In the 1920s, American Packing Company and Everett Packing Company (which had taken over the old nailworks plant on Pier 1) were located along the south bayfront on the piers near the Tract M home of the fishing fleet. In 1928 alone, the fish canneries processed 69,000 cases of salmon. That same year, local fishermen organized Fishermen’s Packing Corporation and bought Everett Packing Company, putting themselves at the helm of not just their boats, but their canning operations, too.

A Peep into the History

Considered the largest shingle mill in the world when it opened in 1907, the Clough-Hartley plant had the capacity of producing at least 500,000 shingles a day. The plant dwarfed any previous shingle mill in Everett. By 1912, the mill was putting out 80,000 feet of cedar siding and lumber per day.

With 163 employees, Clough-Hartley had more workers than all the 14th Street Dock mills combined. By 1916, Clough-Hartley’s daily shingle production was reported at 1.5 million. David Clough was still president and Roland Hartley, vice president; H.J. Clough became secretary-treasurer after his father’s death in 1915.

From 1919 to 1923, Bayside Shingle Company also operated at either 18th or 19th Street and Norton Avenue with Clough and Hartley as officers. When David Clough died in 1924, Roland Hartley became Clough-Hartley president, H.J. Clough’s name was dropped as a company officer, and the Bayside Shingle name vanished as well.

Roland Hartley remained president for the next several years, but it is unlikely he was directly involved in the mill’s operation, he was elected Washington State’s governor in 1924 and was re-elected in 1928. In 1929, the massive Clough-Hartley mill closed its doors.

Reasons cited included obsolete machinery, competition from composition roofing and difficulty in getting enough quality red cedar — a mill staple.

The Port Today

All basins combined (North, South & Central), the Port of Everett operates the largest public marina on the West Coast with 2,300 moorage slips, including 10 guest docks throughout the marina. The North Docks, the Port’s newest marina facility, built in 2007, with 220-slips was designed for yacht class vessels offering slips ranging from 40’ – 143’. This is one of the newest marina facilities in the Puget Sound and a place some of our slip holders call home as liveaboards.

Prior to its development, historically this open space was used for log raft storage to support the mills located along the waterfront, and also, storage for the timber exports shipped out of our Seaport.

Today, there is a new wall display inside the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Center. The mural, painted by local artist Sherrill Hull, showcases panels separated into three time periods highlighting major milestones and events over the course of the Port’s first 100 years. The mural is now a permanent fixture inside the building.

The 7th annual ‘Wheels On The Waterfront’ car show on Saturday at the Port of Everett’s Boxcar Park showcased more than 285 cars in 24 classifications ranging from American Muscle Cars to Rat Rods. All event proceeds benefited the Providence General Foundation Cancer Patient Assistance Fund.

Sea News Feature, September 10