This Month in Edmonds History: North Trunk Road

Photograph 307.7, Cornish Garage, looking north on North Trunk Road, at King-Snohomish County Line (present site of Campbell Nelson VW).

Photograph 307.7, Cornish Garage, looking north on North Trunk Road, at King-Snohomish County Line (present site of Campbell Nelson VW).

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 October, we’ll revisit 1927.

After a long summer of road work, October is the month when many construction projects come to a close. And so it was in 1927, when the newly paved Pacific Highway from the King County line to Everett opened on Oct. 9. Clearing and grading began more than three years prior, and in March 1927 the state was awarded the contract to pave the first 20-foot strip of the highway. The contractor maintained an office at Edmonds during this time and brought in the sand and gravel by scow, loading it into trucks at the Edmonds wharf.

This popular route was designated by the state as Pacific Highway in 1923, but prior to this was known as North Trunk Road. As early as 1860, locals traveled this trail—which later became a wagon road—between Seattle and Bellingham Bay through Snohomish. The eight-foot-wide road wound its way through thick stands of trees, with only a few places wide enough for two vehicles.

In August 1912, The North Trunk Road was completed north from Seattle to the Snohomish County Line, and the following year the road was paved with vitrified brick for $225,000. Edmonds gained access to the North Trunk Road when county commissioners awarded a contract for a cut-off road connecting the end of the brick road to Edmonds in August 1915. Despite the increasing number of automobiles and the need for good roads, many still opposed its progress, including one County Commissioner, Al Rutherford, who reportedly said, “Why, it doesn’t commence anywhere or end anywhere, and but a few would ever use it.”

Edmonds’ Ninth Avenue was graded and graveled in late 1925, and in 1930 the city announced plans to spend $10,000 on the extension of Main Street to connect with the North Trunk Road at Five Corners. Today, more than a few travel the old North Trunk Road route as we know it: Aurora Avenue and Highway 99.


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  1. What a wonderful series. I look forward to future photos and stories.

  2. I always enjoy learning about the history of the area. Keep up the interesting articles!

  3. So was 84th Ave W the cutoff road? 5 corners is not Aurora Ave.

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