History: The Meadowdale Community Club and Preschool legacy  

The beginning

In the spring of 1945, residents of unincorporated Meadowdale, north of Edmonds, convened to discuss how they could improve the welfare of their community. At the end of several meetings they formed the Meadowdale Improvement Association. The organization’s first formal meeting was May 1, 1945, and the residents agreed upon this mission statement:

“The purposes of the Association shall be to promote and further the general welfare and the community interests of Meadowdale and its environs in Snohomish County.” 

At the initial meeting, 58 individuals representing different families in the community signed up to become an association member. An initial entry fee of $2.50 was agreed upon, and the association in the following weeks elected a board and drew up a constitution and by-laws.

First page of the 1945 Meadowdale Improvement Association’s constitution and bylaws. (Courtesy John Quast)

After the constitution, bylaws and rules governing the Association were finalized, two primary association goals were established:

– to improve the opportunity for the community’s children to have a wide range of recreation available to them.

– to establish better roads for safe travel throughout the community.

At the end of 1945, an audience with the Snohomish County Road Commissioner was held in a Meadowdale residence. The road commissioner assured association members that grading and black-topping of the roads leading into and out of Meadowdale were a certainty right after the war ended.

That promise was fulfilled, and the roads in and around Meadowdale were greatly improved by 1950.

While the road improvements were taking place, the association organized community clean-up dates, and members worked together to clear away brush on various properties and provide easier access to the beach along the eastern shore of Puget Sound.  The goal was to provide safer places for children to explore, learn and play. Additionally, the association organized and promoted community get-togethers through annual neighborhood Fourth of July picnics, community trick-or-treat events and Christmas parties.

A community clean-up day. (Photo courtesy Gale Andre)

Gift of property and clubhouse established 

On April 2, 1952, the association received a gift of an undeveloped lot — approximately twice the size of a normal residential lot — from Ruth B. Rushmore. The land sans the mineral, oil and gas rights potentially under the property were deeded to the association for the community’s recreational use.

The deed stated:

“It is expressly understood that the grant herein made is for the sole purpose of the grantee constructing, maintaining, operating and keeping available, a country club house, and club grounds for its members, and their guests”. 

With the gift of the property, the association’s membership over the next two years worked to clear the land and construct a two-story clubhouse, inclusive of a large upstairs dining/recreation room, kitchen, restroom facilities and additional downstairs meeting rooms.

As the Meadowdale Tattler (the local newsletter at the time) reported:

“On December 6th, we were busy putting in windows, door jams and shakes on the room. Ken, Mac, Art, Hank, Del, Stan, Grant and Norm were all lending a helping-hand throughout the day.”

After the club house was finished, it became the center for a wide range of activities, hosting everything from bridge parties, to reunions, wedding receptions and numerous community events.

Annexation and sale of property and clubhouse to the City of Edmonds 

According to the club’s monthly meeting notes, operations and services of the organization and clubhouse remained basically the same over the next decade. Children grew up in the neighborhood, and the ever-increasing number of families in the area took advantage of the club house and its activities.

In the late 1960s, Meadowdale citizens living around or near the clubhouse voted to be annexed into the City of Edmonds, while turning down similar offers from the cities of Mukilteo and Lynnwood.

Soon after the annexation, the City of Edmonds and other parties expressed interest in purchasing the property and clubhouse.

Author’s note: By this time, the original organization had changed its name and operating structure from an association to a corporation — the Meadowdale Community Club.

Financial offers were entertained from the Knights of Columbus, the Casey Club and the City of Edmonds. The City of Edmonds stated that it was interested in purchasing the property for the development of a large community-based recreational center.

In the end, the sale of the property and clubhouse to the City of Edmonds was agreed upon, and was finalized on Sept. 30, 1971. The sales price was $10, along with other valuable considerations.

Those considerations included:

– The City of Edmonds would pay off any existing debts inclusive of pending property taxes (approximately $2,500).

– The city guaranteed that through its parks department it would provide the continuing necessary repairs and maintenance of the building and grounds.

– The city agreed that the Meadowdale Country Club would have free access to the building every third Tuesday of the month for its monthly meetings.

– The city additionally agreed the Country Club could hold once-a-quarter social gatherings in the clubhouse, given 30 days notice, at no charge.

1972-1977

During the next six years, the clubhouse continued to be serve the community operating under the umbrella of the Edmonds Parks Department.

The clubhouse was used as a recreational hall in cooperation with the Edmonds School District, a day-care center and a social hall/venue that was rented out by various groups in the Edmonds area.

1978-1992  

At the end of 1977, then-Edmonds Mayor Harve Harrison proposed that his 1978 budget include the sale of the Meadowdale Community Clubhouse for $60,000, which would offset the loss of gas and food tax revenue that had been repealed by voters on Nov. 8.

Nov. 17, 1977 Everett Herald article that outlined proposed sale of the Meadowdale Community Clubhouse. (Article courtesy John Quast)

Mayor Harrison’s proposal was rejected by Edmonds citizens, and the clubhouse and property continued to function in a similar manner for the next 14 years.

1993-2024

Adding to the clubhouse’s use, in 1993 the Meadowdale Preschool program was established. Initially the preschool served one class of 14 students in the morning. As the demographics changed and the needs grew within the Edmonds School District, the preschool expanded to two classes of 14 students (a total of 28), operating Monday through Thursday. The classes were comprised of students from the nearby vicinity, and students on IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) who had been identified by the Edmonds School District and transported to the Meadowdale Preschool.

The program’s stated goal was “to create a fun, caring, secure and positive learning environment for your child. Each day will be one filled with patience and care for each child entrusted to us. It is our aim to assure quality and meaningful learning experiences through play, daily structure and creative activities.”

The preschool operated for 30 years. During the past 15 years, the students were taught by Michele Parker and assisted the past six years by Jennifer Livesey.

Michele Parker on the left, Jennifer Livesey on the right and 4-year-old Aurelia Briesemeister in the middle. (Photo courtesy Larissa Briesemeister)

The preschool not only provided classroom educational activities, but also field trips, such as those to the shoreline to meet with beach rangers.

Meadowdale Preschool low-tide field trip. (Photo courtesy Larissa Briesemeister)

Today – moving forward:

At the end of the 2024 school year, the City of Edmonds terminated the Meadowdale Preschool program due to budget shortfalls.  The building and the property are still owned by the City of Edmonds, which has an obligation to maintain the property per its agreement with the Meadowdale Community Club.

Blackberry bush removal next to the Meadowdale Preschool, circa 2018.

It should be noted that the number of Meadowdale Community Club activities have diminished over the years as the area’s demographics have changed. There are fewer active members, but one thing should be recognized: As a continuous program, the community club’s members each year award scholarships to graduating Edmonds School District students to help further their education.

The property and clubhouse has served the Meadowdale/Edmonds Community for 70 years. Its future is unclear at this juncture.

According to the City of Edmonds, the clubhouse will continue to be utilized as a rental space for the public. The city will evaluate the space and its potential uses as part of the citywide 2024 Comprehensive Plan update.

A final note: For the second year in a row, readers chose the Meadowdale Preschool as the best preschool in the 2024 Best of Edmonds contest. You can find the final results for all categories here.

Fortunately for the Edmonds area, both of the preschool’s teachers — Michele and Jennifer — said they are planning to look for other opportunities where they can help improve the lives of young children.

Teacher Michele Parker holding her blackboard, where one of her preschool students wrote a final “Goodbye” note. (Photo by Byron Wilkes)

This article was researched and written by Byron Wilkes. Thanks go to John Quast for providing a wealth of information and records regarding the history of the property and the clubhouse. Thanks also to Michele Parker and Jennifer Livesey for their insights and memories regarding the Meadowdale Preschool’s history and goals. 

 

 

 

 

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