The former house of Lowell DeYoung, which was also his birthplace, was moved to make room for a new Shoreline Savings Bank (now Wells Fargo).
Photo by Oscar Roloff.
by Oscar Roloff
[Editor's Note: In 1983, columnist Oscar Roloff (left) interviewed one of Woodinville's first citizens, Lowell DeYoung, about the past and future of the community. This is a reprint of Roloff's article, which contains some startlingly accurate predictions, and also describes a Woodinville that--while it seems unfamiliar now--was not so long ago.]
"Talk to Lowell DeYoung if you want to find out more about the present and future of Woodinville," Elmer Carlberg told me. Carlberg, who knows the past like a book, said DeYoung is one of the area's most knowledgeable leading citizens, and he knows what is going on. [Editor's Note: Elmer Carlberg died during the intervening years between Roloff's article and the present.]
So I asked DeYoung for his thoughts on Woodinville.
"As a starter, we have Highway 405 running through our area," DeYoung said. "It has been a financial lifeline for us. The highway between Woodinville and Monroe has been an additional asset. Travelwise, it sure helps for those coming and going."
DeYoung pointed out that during the past few years, a number of companies have moved to the area, such as General Telephone, Fentron, Universal Manufacturing, Heck Window and Screen, Chemical Tank Manufacturing, Lewis Refrigeration, Sepco, Agcrete, Standard Tire Service, Shoreline Construction, Georgia-Pacific, Prairie Market, and numerous others.
DeYoung hastened to add that this is in addition to the various other businesses already established, and includes service stations, grocery stores, restaurants, garden stores, lumber companies, banks, real estate offices, and insurance firms.
He added that the town's only true tavern, Woodinville Tavern, recently moved into new quarters directly behind its former site, which is being demolished.
A local product, DeYoung, backtracking a bit into the past, said his father John started Woodinville Mercantile Company in 1925. In 1944, Lowell took over the feed and fuel part while his father continued operating the hardware store. In 1961, the elder DeYoung sold out to Bill Woods.
A firm believer in the area's expanding future, DeYoung recently opened a new 5,000-square-foot farm and garden store along Main Street [NE 175th]. He occupies the space formerly used by Heck Window and Screen Company. The store caters to retail needs, while his initial feed and fuel plant will continue wholesaling to regular and new customers.
A nostalgic scene appeared as he glanced out of the window. A huge, two-story house was being moved from its Main Street location to a new site farther out of town. It was his former boyhood home, built by his dad in 1932. DeYoung predicted that eventually all the houses still remaining along Main Street would be vacated and moved elsewhere, and stores and shops would be erected in their place.
DeYoung also prophesied that as time went on, the business block would greatly expand, mainly down the valley in the direction of Redmond. The current bottleneck has been the short and narrow Main Street, he said. A change is in the offing to widen it to three lanes.
Pointing to the huge sewer line slicing through the area, DeYoung remarked, "We should have had that long ago. It's going to be a tremendous boost for us. Once we are hooked up, watch for the influx of people and light industry."
Commenting on the future, DeYoung said that from a geographical viewpoint, Woodinville is unexcelled as a key distribution center for many companies. More and more Seattle-based industries have indicated a desire to move to the area, which he sees as a mecca for light industry, warehouses, and transfer and storage companies.
A Shoreline Savings and Loan Association currently is being built on the site of his former home, DeYoung said. Bryant Corporation is also in the process of moving in. Also, several other concerns are transferring their allegiance to Woodinville, such as Formost Packaging Machines, Inc. and Race On.
What do local residents think about the expected influx of man and his products?
"Businessmen welcome it, because it means a boost in the local economy and money in the till," DeYoung replied.
DeYoung did say that some people, especially those who live on the outer fringe, aren't too happy. They would like to see the area remain rural and free of man's noisy machines.
Has the area noted an increase in postal patronage?
"Gosh! Yes," exclaimed Postmaster Wayne Gibbs. "So much so that last year (1982), we obtained the status of a first class post office."
Gibbs, who came to the area in 1955, said his office provides services to about 10,000 people. Over the past five years, he has evidenced an increase of nearly 1,000 rural route boxes, making a total of 2,850 boxes for carriers to open and close each day. He anticipates a gradual build-up in postal work. The office now employs nine people, he said.
Frank Navin, Woodinville's only Main Street barber, commutes a total of 60 miles each day from his south Seattle home to his shop. However, Navin has decided to buy a home in the area and will move as soon as possible. He firmly believes that Woodinville is going to grow--clipper-wise.
Beryl Johnson, member of the citizen's board of trustees for Woodinville Memorial Park and a member of the Lions Club, which is also charged with looking after the cemetery, said he is working with the county to see that the cemetery is not touched when Main Street is widened.
"In fact, some of the relatives who have members buried near the fence line have definitely stated they won't allow the interred to be disturbed," Johnson emphasized.
Donations from relatives of those buried in the cemetery and from the Lions Club maintain the Memorial Park. Boy and Girl Scouts also aid in keeping it presentable. Local youths are hired to mow the grass at frequent intervals, Johnson said.
As a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, Johnson is working with county officials to see that Main Street does not become a high-speed thoroughfare. The head of Woodinville Motors for the past 27 years said his business and others will suffer only slightly from the widening. Those businesses located close to the street will have parking curtailed in front of their establishments.
According to Johnson, a King County-Woodinville master grid plan calls for a bypass north of Main Street and business block layouts to the southeast. [Editor's Note: Beryl Johnson has also since passed away.]
'Heavy' industry foreseen
While at the same time hopefully protecting themselves against the inevitable onslaught, Woodinville residents do foresee encroachments, complete with new fronts, faces, and traffic lights.
Some look forward with anticipation, others with long, gloomy faces. But America is comprised of a heterogeneous race of people who somehow manage to exist in spite of their differences in beliefs. No doubt Woodinville will survive dissent and prosper, the majority concur.
In the minority corner, however, an old-timer grumbled, "And right behind the light industry will be the heavy industry, like go-go girls and topless dancers."
A young bystander, who overheard the comment, grinned from ear to ear, "Yeah. That's for me."
And that's Woodin's Ville for you.