Welcome to Bothell… Private/public effort brings back iconic sign

  • Written by Susan Gardner
Years ago, welcome signs graced the SR-522 entrances to Bothell.  The signs welcomed visitors to Bothell “for a day or a lifetime.”  Over the years, they disappeared.  The sign at the west entrance fell victim to an accident on the highway.  The sign at the east was removed when the entrance to the UW-Bothell/Cascadia campus was constructed in the mid-2000s.
Bothell signNew Sign with Richard Olson and Susan Gardner Posing on Each Side (Courtesy photos)When McMenamins Anderson School opened in October 2015, residents and visitors were treated to snippets of Bothell history…in the artwork, the names of the hotel rooms, and even the buildings themselves.  Bothell merchant Richard Olson decided it was time to resurrect another part of Bothell’s history…the iconic welcome sign.
Olson spearheaded a petition effort to gauge the amount of public support; hundreds signed them.  He even created a Fourth of July parade entry to publicize the effort.  He and wife Susan Gardner then approached City Hall to discuss the feasibility of the return of the sign if its design, construction, and installation were funded privately.  They got a green light and fundraising commenced.
Over the next two years, funds were collected by soliciting donations through various channels with strong support from the Bothell/Kenmore Chamber of Commerce and Northshore Rotary.  At a fundraising party, additional community supporters provided in-kind donations as well as gifts that were used in a raffle. 
Stories of what the sign meant to citizens abound.  Case in point: Pete Anthony, Uncle Peteza’s Pizzeria, recounted last year: “When my wife and I first pulled into Bothell 26 years ago pulling a U-Haul, that sign was the first thing we saw.  We knew then we had arrived at the right place.”
Olson’s efforts paid off.  Crossroad SIGN designed, created, and installed a new welcome sign in the style currently used by the City of Bothell.  It was erected in the Park at Bothell Landing, where Bothell Way and the Bothell-Everett Highway meet, in time for Bothell’s Fourth of July parade.  Welcome to Bothell…for a day or a lifetime.

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