This Month in Edmonds History: The life of Capt. William H. Hamlin

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    Edmonds Mayor William H. Hamlin, 1891-1893

    My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of December, we’ll revisit 1907.

    The Edmonds Review reported in their Dec. 23, 1907 issue that Edmonds pioneer Capt. William H. Hamlin had passed away. Hamlin died Dec. 21 at his home in Edmonds.

    Capt. Hamlin was born in 1828, and came to Seattle in 1876. He owned and operated several freight and passenger boats over the years, including the steamer Augusta, which carried passengers between Seattle and Port Madison for $1. In 1881, he purchased a large piece of land along the Edmonds waterfront. Later, he built a home at Third and Dayton, which was regarded as one of the finest homes and surrounding gardens in all of Edmonds.

    Hamlin was a prominent figure in Edmonds. He engaged in banking and real estate ventures, and was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. He was elected the second mayor of Edmonds on Dec. 2, 1890, and he served on city council almost continuously since the city was formed. The Great Northern (GN) Railway also acquired much of its property from Hamlin. A 1905 article in the magazine edition of the Edmonds Review printed his response to GN’s request for right-of-way: “Take what you need and pay what you think is right.”

    Hamlin always had the city’s welfare in mind, and his generous spirit was seen again with his donation of land for the GN passenger depot. He said, “Because of the more than unusually attractive surroundings, its fascinating view points of the Sound and the delightful ride between it and Seattle on the south and Everett on the north—either by boat of rail, the Great Northern making the entire trip along the beach—seem to aid the prediction that Edmonds will in the future be sought by the wealthy residents of both of the above cities as a place of residence.”

    Hamlin died at the age of 79, after surviving a stroke 19 years prior. He was laid to rest at the Odd Fellows (now Edmonds Memorial) Cemetery.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Thank you for the nice recognition of the contribution of Captain Hamlin to the growth of Edmonds. It captures his quiet, generous, and pleasant nature. Captain Hamlin was an important part of the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest.

      (I am proud to be his great-grandson.)

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