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Wednesday, July 4, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bayside and railroad history

1891: Railroad magnate James Hill completes the Seattle & Montana Railway between Seattle and Bellingham, which passes along the bayfront of the future city of Everett, population 35. Just south of Hewitt Avenue, the city's first post office opens and construction begins on a building to double as a train depot and the city's first hotel, the Bay View.

1892: Crews finish paving Hewitt with wooden planks between the Snohomish River and Port Gardner Bay. The Monte Cristo Hotel, the town's elegant social center, is built on Pacific Avenue on the modern-day site of Providence Medical Center.

1893: Everett incorporates. Hill's Great Northern Railway line from St. Paul, Minn., reaches the Pacific Rim at

Everett.

1901: A railroad tunnel beneath Everett's modern-day downtown opens. A wooden railroad bridge is built over the west end of Hewitt Avenue to link the tunnel — and the Great Northern — with the Seattle & Montana line.

1910: An iron railroad bridge, which still stands, replaces the wooden bridge over Hewitt. A Mission-style Great Northern train station opens on Bond Street, just south of Hewitt. The depot sits between two sets of tracks at markedly different elevations. The upper tracks head over the Hewitt bridge toward Chicago, while the lower tracks — reached via stairs and a pedestrian tunnel — run north toward Canada.

1916: The Everett Massacre — the bloodiest labor battle in Northwest history — takes place on the waterfront directly below Hewitt. The steamers Verona and Calista, loaded with about 300 members of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) are met at city dock by about 200 citizen deputies. Gunfire erupts, killing at least seven men and wounding nearly 50, including the sheriff.

1910-1933: Hewitt Avenue's thriving tavern scene first takes a blow when the city enacts a local prohibition law. Its repeal in 1913 gives rise to about two dozen establishments along Hewitt, which then are closed when state prohibition takes effect in 1915. The national Prohibition era of 1920-1933 follows.

1962: A modernization of the historic train station removes its Mission-style tower and ornamental details.

1970: The train station's lower platform and pedestrian tunnel fall permanently out of use after four rail companies, including the Great Northern, merge to form Burlington Northern Railroad. Passenger service continues on the other route.

November 2002: Passenger service at the old rail depot ends when Amtrak moves into the new Everett Station transit hub east of Broadway.

April 2003: A new railroad overpass opens to extend Everett Avenue to the waterfront, significantly streamlining Port of Everett cargo traffic. Railroad crossings at Hewitt Avenue and California Street are closed.

January 2005: The Port of Everett opens a new 0.6-mile trail connecting the Bond Street pedestrian crossing with Pigeon Creek Beach, long a favorite swimming spot but with limited public access.

October 2006: BNSF Railway notifies the city of its intent to demolish the 1910 railroad bridge over Hewitt and replace it with an earthen berm, blocking the historic avenue at its base.

March 2007: Everett issues a "mitigated determination of nonsignificance" for the Hewitt proposal and sets conditions for the berm project, including landscaping and a public walkway leading to a view platform.

April 2007: A group of community leaders files an appeal against the Hewitt proposal.

May 2007: The city hearing examiner sets a June date for BNSF and the appellants to discuss the community's concerns.

June 2007: BNSF withdraws its plans to remove the Hewitt Avenue bridge, citing the city's "questionable and onerous" conditions.

Compiled by Diane Brooks

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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