Edmonds Historical Museum reopens Saturday in restored 1910 Carnegie Library

Museum Board President Bill Lambert on Friday presented Museum Director Tarin Erickson with a plaque recognizing her efforts as the driving force behind the restoration work. (Photos by Larry Vogel)

Museum Board President Bill Lambert on Friday presented Museum Director Tarin Erickson with a plaque recognizing her efforts as the driving force behind the restoration work. (Photos by Larry Vogel)

The hammering has stopped, the dust has settled and the “closed for renovation” signs have come down in Edmonds’ historic Carnegie Library, home of the Edmonds Historical Museum. Timed to coincide with the annual return of the museum-sponsored Spring Garden Market, the museum reopens to the public Saturday, May 3 in a restored space that captures the former glory of this architectural gem.

Museum officials provided a sneak peak of the new facility during a reception for dignitaries, supporters and the media on Friday night.

Edmonds City Council President Diane Buckshnis praised the volunteers who gave so generously of their time and expertise to restore old Carnegie Library to its original interior layout.

Edmonds City Council President Diane Buckshnis praised the volunteers who gave so generously of their time and expertise to restore old Carnegie Library to its original interior layout.

Mayor Dave Earling noted during his brief remarks that when the library first opened in 1910, the city was in a time of rapid growth, mainly fueled by bustling shingle and lumber mills, leaving the city in a crunch for office space. “So the Mayor’s office, City Council, other city offices, and even the police department and jail moved into the basement of the new library,” he noted.

Constructed in 1910, Edmonds’ Carnegie Library was one of more than 2,500 built between 1883 and 1929 with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Edmonds’ library was built along classic Georgian lines, with the exterior and interior reflecting the symmetry and openness typical of this style.

But over the years the spacious interior lost much of its original character.

The paint was barely dry in 1910 when the City of Edmonds reconfigured the entire first level to accommodate city offices. In subsequent years the offices expanded to the main floor, more walls were built, and the open feel of the interior was lost.

“We tore down walls, restored woodwork and floors, and brought back the original character of the building,” said Museum Director Tarin Erickson, the driving force behind the project. “But we did keep and restore one of the basement jail cells to help reflect the history of the building and its place in the early days of Edmonds. Since it opened last year, it’s become one of our most popular attractions. Visitors just love sitting in the jail cell where they can even read some old graffiti left by the inmates!”

Museum Board President Bill Lambert congratulates Board Member Bob Clos, who oversaw and organized the restoration work.  Museum collections manager Caitlin Kelly looks on.

Museum Board President Bill Lambert congratulates Board Member Bob Clos, who oversaw and organized the restoration work. Museum collections manager Caitlin Kelly looks on.

Edmonds City Council President Diane Buckshnis praised “the tireless work of the volunteers of the board of the Edmonds/Snohomish County Historical Society. These remarkable people planned the project, raised the money without even asking for funding from our City’s coffers and then once the money was in place, the hardhats and tool belts came out as did the hammers, crowbars, and paintbrushes — and all worked patiently to uncover the original glory that was hidden in this building.”

As part of the renovation, workers tore down walls and restored woodwork and floors.

As part of the renovation, workers tore down walls and restored woodwork and floors.

As before, museum visitors will see an ever-changing series of exhibits showcasing the evolution of Edmonds from its beginnings as town founder George Brackett’s logging camp to its present place as an emerging regional center of arts and culture. Not to be missed are the wide range of artifacts, photos, dioramas and interpretive materials covering Edmonds’ time as an early industrial powerhouse, when an unbroken line of shingle mills belched smoke and sawdust 24 hours a day and shipped building supplies to West Coast ports from Alaska to California. Other highlights include furniture and artifacts from early settlers’ homes, a restored schoolroom, and early 20th century photos of vintage cars lined up for miles to board ferries to Kingston, Port Townsend and other Olympic Peninsula locations.

“The timing is great for our reopening,” said Erickson. “With the museum-sponsored Garden Market kicking off the same day, you can check out the restored Carnegie Library building, learn about local history, and bring home some first-of-the-season produce all at the same time.”

The Museum and market will be open between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 3. The Museum is open year-round between 1 and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for students.

The Edmonds Historical Museum sponsors two Farmers’ Markets during the spring and summer months. The Spring Garden Market operates every Saturday in May and June between 9 and 2 p.m. in the Public Safety Building parking lot at Fifth and Bell. The expanded Summer Market, now in its 20th season, runs Saturdays from June until October along Fifth Avenue North and Bell Street. Both markets are directly adjacent to the Museum.

Musical entertainment was provided by the Edmonds/Woodway High School Jazz Trio, featuring Jackson Kettel on trumpet, Mason Fagan on guitar, and Luis Ross on bass.

Musical entertainment was provided by the Edmonds/Woodway High School Jazz Trio, featuring Jackson Kettel on trumpet, Mason Fagan on guitar, and Luis Ross on bass.

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8 Comments

  1. Can hardly wait to get down there today and see the great renovation. Just another reason to be proud of this fantastic city that we get to call home.

  2. Most excellent, fun and helpful as history should be…

  3. The Andrew Carnegie library GRANTS were need based $5,000 grants from Mr. Carnegie , and as such, had SPECIFIC CRITERIA (even in 1910! and this is easily looked up) and very SPECIFIC inqueries in regards to the getting the grant, the USE of the money, making sure it was being used for a FREE Public Library for the community and surrounding areas. Very few communities received this grant money (2500 U.S.) and it is surprising to read that in 1910 the City of Edmonds used this FREE LIBRARY GRANT money for also accomodating City Hall and the Jail the same year the Carnegie building was applied for and built. This grant money was only given out for Carnegie Libraries! and Mr. Carnegie was very specific that this money was spent only for FREE LIBRARIES for the masses, and it was generally in a certain type of community that really NEEDED libraries and books readily available and free, so people could educate themselves and have a place to keep their books.

    Today we are still using NEED BASED GRANTS for other then its intended use. I think the City of Edmonds needs to have a discussion about the DISHONESTY of this, and if the City and its Citizens wish to continue this type of dishonesty. They are NEED based grants and as such, should be only used when NEEDED. ………There are no gray areas in regards to need based.

  4. Zzzzsh, Tere. I would think Mr. Carnegie STOPPED rolling over in this grave about that a long time ago. Give it a rest, woman.

  5. Tere,

    Would you please be wiling to spend a portion of the time you take offering your ‘Chicken Little” responses to many posting’s on this site, gaining an understanding of the fact that your constant use of CAPS LOCK, is equal to yelling at everyone?

    I know for a fact you don’t yell at your fellow citizens, while on your walks collecting all of the faults of Edmonds you spout on this site. Let a lone, in one of your recent rants you admitted to sitting in your car in Millcreek, people watching. I’ll bet you didn’t get out of your car and yell at the people that didn’t meet your expectations.

    I’m all for free speech and don’t want to discourage the free sharing of opinions. But, how about if you just show a little respect to the people that might consume your rants.

    None of us deserve to be yelled at because you have an opinion.

    Thanks and take care.

  6. My use of caps has nothing to do with “yelling”. This is not a format where one can highlight an issue, hence the caps. …..Im also an artist, so get over it. I am not yelling, just highlighting points.

    And the issues I raise have to do with running a government entity with HONESTY, FAIRNESS, EQUALITY, AND FOLLOWING THE RULE OF LAW and updating codes, and particularily NOT breaking laws that we ALL are expected to live by,, ALL of us, not just some of us

    I believe the citizens of this town believe that PUBLIC SAFETY is important (recently having 2 dead elderly on our streets IS alarming and a t the very least should cause some change), and it is written in the Constitution in regards to government entities and operation, to ensure PUBLIC SAFETY. Millcreek is just an idea of how our town could be more pedestrian friendly to bring MORE people to Edmonds to shop, etc. I have read HERE over and over that Main Street (and one can see by the short period of time many businesses are able to keep their doors open on Main Street) does not produce the bulk of the revenue for this city. It is Highway 99, with 80 percent of the revenue is from 99. We have so much RIGHT HERE by the beach, water, mountains, etc. that we can count on for bringing people here also. Why would anyone not want to get ideas of how to make this work without having to always depend on tearing down buildings, building new, development, etc. The citizens have the RIGHT to at the very least expect basic infrastructure items that make our street/sidewalks safe. Cities and towns all over the world right now are trying to figure out how to make their cities LESS car friendly and more intimate (to say the least of the environmental issues right now in regards to cars and our environment) and pedestrian/people, bicycle friendly. This is easy to research. THIS is what progressive people are doing all over the world and I see it as an excellent idea for Edmonds to bring more people/revenue here.

    Perhaps a number of you don’t like what I say, (I’m not here for a popularity contest) and don’t want things changed from the old guard. Well, I would like to live in a town that puts its citizens FIRST (being as the government works for the citizens, NOT the other way around!) and spends their hard earned tax dollars the way the citizens wish it to be spent and appropiately. I get the people who don’t want things changed, because THEY are the ones benefiting from old ways, old guard, and what works for the SELECT FEW.

    Do the research…….most younger people now are looking and thinking about the MANY, not the FEW. Very easy to research this.

  7. Once again you are right and the request, thoughts and opinions of others is incorrect.

    I’ll now just scroll past your posts to others that actually don’t yell at us.

    BTW, if you were to truly do the research, like you don’t regarding the rise of the oceans, global warming and the other rants you deliver. You would find that the younger people are actually the “me” generation and are living their lives based upon a sense of entitlement.

    Have a great weekend.

  8. And a big shout out to all of the people who made this happen. These renovations are not simple, and the results here look fabulous. THANKS !

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