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Centennial Trail Station
Snohomish Then & Now: September 2013
We are flipping the adjectives of our blog title this month over our excitement to be sharing with you a future idea for the Centennial Trail Station and Interpretive Center at First Street.
The original watercolor rendering by J. Craig Thorpe was unveiled this past weekend as part of the celebration marking the first train to reach Snohomish 125 years ago on September 19, 1888. Snohomish City Council Members unanimously approved to commission Thorpe to produce a conceptualization of what a station in downtown Snohomish might look like after some 70 years without passenger train service, although freight service continued to the mid-1990s. The station could accommodate plans for the return of an excursion train to Snohomish.
The Eastside TRailway Alliance was formed in 2012, joining the cities of Snohomish and Woodinville, along with various groups and businesses, including wineries. The Alliance is committed to both rail and trail development and is devoted to seeing the Eastside Rail Corridor improve and expand for public benefit — in other words, building upon the same rail route that was established 125 years ago.
Working with the new rail operator Eastside Community Rail, the Alliance is developing plans to establish a Taste of Washington excursion train. Over the horizon may be commuter rail service, from a station south of the Snohomish River, connecting our city to Bellevue to the south and Everett to the west. Modern self-propelled rail cars called “diesel multiple unit” (DMU), are as quiet as buses, one of which is pictured in the rendering.
J. Craig Thorpe is a well-regarded local artist of landscapes who has been commissioned by Amtrak for original art over the past two decades. Our neighboring city of Skykomish to the north commissioned Thorpe to create a vision for its Town Center expanding on its history as a Great Northern town. The Mayor of Skykomish testifies have a picture of the vision is a valuable “marketing tool with local businesses, residents, possible investors, other stakeholders, and legislators,” according to Thorpe’s website.
Snohomish’s newspaper The Eye published a headline on April 23, 1887, that read: “LET’ER BOOM!” Unbridled enthusiasm anticipating the arrival of the train the following year. With this concept of our future train station in mind, I say, “Let’er Boom Again!”
About the TOBE image: An artist’s concept of the future Centennial Trail Train Station and Interpretative Center on First Street. (Courtesy J. Craig Thorpe.)
About the NOW photograph: The intersection at First Street and Centennial Trail.
Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, September 18, 2013