This Month in Edmonds History: ‘Build With the Birds’

Full-page advertisement for the “Build With the Birds” campaign, The Tribune-Review, May 5, 1922

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 May, we’ll revisit 1922.

The spring of 1922 brought with it a campaign for better housing in Edmonds.  Sponsored by a number of local businessmen to increase the number and quality of homes in the area, the “Build With the Birds” campaign was promoted heavily by The Tribune-Review and supported by the community at large. Several years of below-normal building in the area, coupled with the low price of building materials and availability of construction laborers, spurred this campaign.

Mayor F.R. Beeson, one of the more active promoters of the movement, said, “It is really to the interest of the entire community that as many new houses be built this spring as are needed and they be as attractive and well-designed as it is possible to make them. There is nothing which so marks a city as a desirable place to live and a rear a family as to be known as a city of attractive homes.”

Beeson goes on to say that a construction revival would benefit almost every line of business in the city. “Whenever people build homes they immediately begin to need all the other things that go with it and to make up the comforts of home life, and there is scarcely a commercial enterprise in the community that is not called to service,” he said.

The campaign in Edmonds was a reflection of a movement nationwide to promote building and relieve housing shortages, which had seriously affected living conditions in many localities. Many local suppliers of building materials and furnishings, as well as realtors and insurance agents, offered their support to the campaign.

A May 5 Tribune-Review article stated that the campaign was “right in line with the new idea of thrift which is being emphasized all over the country this year. Thrift is now defined as a judicious expenditure of one’s funds, and there is certainly no more commendable object of investment than a home. Given a home, the other necessities and luxuries for the family follow as a matter of course.”

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