Snohomish County's Centennial Farms and Heritage Barns: A Slideshow

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 12/01/2011
  • Essay 9968

Originating in the Cascade Mountains, the north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River unite at Arlington and flow into Puget Sound. A vital water route and fishing source for Coast Salish tribes for generations, the "Stilly" held equal importance to early homesteaders drawn to the potential and beauty of the Arlington-Stanwood area. Climate here is moderate and good for dairying and the rich, fertile bottom land is ideal for growing crops. A large number of Norwegian and German immigrants chose to settle here and this location continues to support a farming economy.  

Birkestol Farm (Birch Meadow and Gerritzen Barn)
4515 Norman Road, Stanwood
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

One of the oldest barns in the county, the Gerritzen Barn was built by homesteaders Herman and Annette Gerritzen ca.1886. This Dutch Gable barn -- now with metal roofing -- has vertical wood siding. After the Gerritzens, the property was rented until 1906 when it was purchased by brothers Ole and Iver Birkestol, who added sheds to house 23 Guernsey cows that Ole had shipped by boat from his previous homestead at Lake Ozette. When he died in 1930, his wife, Ingeborg, ran the dairy farm, marketing products in Seattle through Dairygold. The present owners are her daughters, Annabelle and Grace Birkestol.

James Long Barn (Eagle Tree Farm)
23224 Marine Drive, Stanwood
State Heritage Barn

Another of Snohomish County's oldest surviving barns stands on what is Eagle Tree Farm, owned by Chuck Hazelton (2011). Built in 1880 by James Long, it has a gable roof with wood vertical siding. It now has a concrete foundation, is unpainted and unadorned, and is currently unused.

Eiseman Barn (Hornberg Farm)
11027 Grandview Road, Arlington
State Heritage Barn

Eric Hornberg built this post-and-beam barn to house livestock in 1918. It has a gable roof with a lean-to addition and board-and-batten siding. Interior walls of the addition are made with drop siding. While it is badly in need of repair, it has retained its original features and is currently used by owners Lyle and Marlene Eiseman for agriculture and storage.

Fourflips Farm Barn
6104 324th Street NW, Stanwood
State Heritage Barn

Norwegian immigrants Amund and Marit Falling began farming in Stanwood in 1919. The present barn was built in December 1935. It has a gambrel-shaped metal roof, board-and-batten wood siding, two loft areas, and a hay hood. Since 1989 the farm has been used to raise horses, llamas, and sheep.

Garden Treasures Nursery
3328 SR 530, Arlington
State Heritage Barn

Built ca. 1930, this heritage barn has had many owners and occupants, and from the 1960s to 2000 it was used for dairying. Over the years the barn suffered from neglect until owner Mike Scoleri renovated it from 2000 to 2003. The following year Mark and Patricia Lovejoy bought the property and began an organic-produce farm and garden center. They sell produce from the barn and also deliver to subscribing customers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships.

Grimm-Jensen Farm
1706 Pioneer Highway E., Arlington
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

Thomas Jensen emigrated to the U.S. from Lowenstedt, Germany, in 1869 and worked as a carpenter in Louisiana, Iowa, and San Francisco before coming to Puget Sound in 1878. He took a 160-acre homestead in Snohomish County that year and was one of the first white settlers in the area that would become Stanwood. In March of 1886 he married Johanna Jens, also a German immigrant. They built a small home and together ran a successful dairy. The Jensen's daughter, Dora, married William Grimm, a worker on the Jensen farm, and the couple purchased a portion of the property and built a home. Thomas and Johanna built a large new home on the southern portion of the land. Upon the death of the elder Jensens in the early 1920s, William and Dora moved into the larger house and slowly expanded the property. The broken-gable-roof barn was built in 1932 by Weyerhaeuser millwright Ralph Forbes, who needed work during the Great Depression. The barn has board-and-batten siding, two cupolas, and a hay hood. It is owned today (2011) by George Grimm.

Hillis Farm
16208 Grant Creek Road, Arlington
Centennial Farm

Charles Hillis came to the Arlington area as a young man, took up residence in a small log cabin, and planted a row of black-walnut trees that marked Hillis Road. He purchased a dairy farm from an early settler and engaged in dairying for a time before building log and shingle mills in Raymond, Washington. Charles and his wife, Florence, continued to work the Arlington farm, which was eventually passed on to their children.

Kraetz Farm
21511  59th Avenue NE, Arlington
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

Anton Kraetz emigrated from Bavaria at age 21, settled in the Stillaguamish Valley in 1888, and a year later married Rose Spoerhase, a German immigrant who had come to the Pacific Northwest from Minnesota. They homesteaded near Whitehorse Mountain, Darrington, and farmed there until 1902 when, tired of battling seasonal floods, they moved to Arlington and built a dairy farm. The Kraetzes had seven children, six of whom were girls and all of whom married neighboring farmers. In 1975 the family switched from dairy to raising crops and beef cattle. A. Loren Kraetz currently owns the 50-acre farm (2011), and after years of growing vegetables, wheat, and hay and raising beef, he now raises only cattle. 

Major Farm (Stangeland's)
5411 Pioneer Highway, Stanwood
Centennial Farm

George Major established his homestead claim two miles south of Stanwood in 1883 and ran a farm that produced hay and grain, raised dairy animals, and provided pasturage. While some of the original 160 acres were sold over the years, the farm passed down to George's granddaughter, Janet Stangeland, who continued to farm 63 acres. Today (2011) Louis Stangeland and his family continue the tradition.  
Nakashima Farm (aka Weeda Farm)

32328 SR 9, Arlington
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

The Nakashima farm began as a mill site owned by Daniel Waldo Bass (1864-1936), founder of Bass Lumber Company. Bass converted the property to a dairy farm and imported Guernsey cattle direct from Guernsey Island off the coast of England. The barn was built in 1908 to house the livestock. It carries the historic name of the Nakashima family -- Kazeo, Miye and their children -- who purchased the farm in 1937 and operated it for decades. During World War II, Kazeo and Miye were interned at Minidoka. The family lost the farm and upon being released they began a new life in Seattle. Today (2011) the barn is the sole structure remaining on the property. It is constructed of horizontal wood siding and has a metal, gambrel roof. Other features include a hay hood and a milking shed.

Nordby Farm
Bryant Road, Stanwood
Centennial Farm

Hans Nordby claimed a 160-acre homestead west of Bryant along Pilchuck Creek in 1884. For over a century, this farm has been used mainly for timber and pasture. Today (2011) Nordby's grandson, Louis Stangeland, owns the property, along with Major Farm. The Nordby house, built in 1905, still stands, and a story has passed down through the family that Hans carried its front door on his back from Stanwood to the farm.

Spoerhase Farm
4420 Cemetery Road, Arlington
Centennial Farm

By the time William and Rosamund Spoerhase reached Arlington in 1891, they were both middle-aged. This was a second marriage for Rosamund, who had a daughter by a previous marriage, and 11 more children were born to the couple, nine of whom survived. Arriving by freight car from Minnesota, the family first bought property near Whitehorse Mountain and in 1898 purchased land on Cemetery Road, where for many they had a dairy farm and pasture. The Spoerhase Farm has remained in the family now for five generations.

Thrudvang Farm (Williams Farm)
6510 Pioneer Highway Stanwood
Centennial Farm

Nicholas Thomle, his wife, and their six children emigrated from Norway and settled south of Stanwood in 1890. They ran a dairy farm, cut and sold timber from their property, and raised oats. Their original allotment was 56 acres but over the years they increased their land holdings to 250 acres. Family members continue to operate the farm, which at the time it was chosen as a Centennial Farm in 2000 was producing green peas and seed crops under the ownership of Bill, Erna, and Rick Williams.

Thomsen Homestead (Sunrise Dairy)
15  218 Street NW, Stanwood
Centennial Farm, State Heritage Barn, State Heritage Site

Jens Thomsen homesteaded this land along the Stillaguamish River in 1878 and began the Sunrise Dairy, marketing dairy products to settlers and loggers. He also raised bull calves and trained them to yoke for logging. When he died in 1908, his 175-acre farm, known as the Prussian Land Corporation, was divided into several parcels. Jens' niece and her husband, Katherine and Thomas Sander, acquired the central part of the farm in 1908 and operated it as a dairy until 1923, when they sold it to their son Hans and his wife, Antonia (Kraetz) Sander. The present owner, the Sanders' nephew A. Loren Kraetz, bought the property in 1980. For years Kraetz rotated vegetables and seed crops but curretly (2011) he is leasing out the land.

Jens Thomsen's 1890 cattle barn still stands. With a gable roof and board and batten siding, the barn had a cedar shake roof until 1947, when it was replaced with aluminum. It was reroofed with galvanized steel in 1972. Although the Thomsen homestead has been modified over the years, it is considered an important part of the rural historic landscape.

Old Gust Olsen Farm
925 300th Street NE, Stanwood
State Heritage Barn

Gust Olsen purchased this 40-acre plot in 1922 and built a small house. Around 1925 he added a distinctive, large English gambrel-roofed barn with board-and-batten siding and two side wings. It is of post-and-beam construction and originally had wood floors (now stone). Olsen was a dairyman, and the barn's center section was used for hay storage. In the 1940s the property passed to Lone Akers and then to Jim and Edna Holbeck, who modernized the farm and barn and marketed milk through the Dairygold co-op. The barn is presently owned by Will and Diane Erickson and used for storage.

Ovenell Farm
28006 Old Pacific Highway, Stanwood
Centennial Farm

Thomas Ovenell stowed away on a ship at the age of 13, bound for California and the Gold Rush. In 1873 he homesteaded 122 acres west of Stanwood, where he and his wife, Carrie, ran a dairy and grew oats and hay. The farm continues to be owned by family members. There is a gable-roofed barn on the property and while the family has not applied for Heritage Barn status, the structure is worthy of the honor.

Robb Farm
5206 Norman Road, Stanwood
Centennial Farm

Robert Robb began farming near the Stillaguamish River, just off Norman Road south of Stanwood, in the early 1900s. He and several generations of his family have engaged in dairying, maintaining a cherry orchard, and selling timber cleared from their land. In recent years, his descendants have taken non-farm jobs to supplement their income, but still manage the farm and grow corn for sale to a neighboring dairy.

Moe Farm (Silwood Dairy)
1403 (dairy) and 1525 (house) Norman Road, Stanwood
Centennial Farm

Ole Moe emigrated from Eidskog, Hedmark, Norway with his family in 1870 when he was 11 years old. His journeys took him to Minnesota and South Dakota before coming to Washington in the early 1900s. He chose land near Silvana (today's Stanwood) and built a dairy. Over the years it has become one of the county's most successful dairies, and today (2011) uses computer technology to help run its operations. It is currently owned and operated by Ole's grandson Luther and his family.

Whispering Winds Farm
24008 Valde Road, Stanwood
State Heritage Barn

Originally built for the dairy business, the barn on Whispering Winds Farm was constructed around 1935 with a gambrel roof. The property changed hands several times, was once in foreclosure, was rented for a time, and was eventually purchased by the present owners, organic farmers Doug and Charlene Byde. They have planted a small 24-tree orchard and have 2.5 acres in organic-vegetable production, selling produce through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships.

Eckstrom Barn (Winje Farm)
13725 Burn Road, Arlington
State Heritage Barn

Built ca. 1920, the farm and barn were originally owned by the Eckstrom family, who kept it until the 1940s. The property was used as a dairy until 1951 when a new owner, Knutson, began using it as a cattle ranch. The heritage barn has a cupola, a weather vane, and a gable roof. Siding is wood board-and-batten. It is currently (2011) owned by Gilbert Winje and used for storage.

Youngren Farms
2320 Norman Rd., Stanwood
Centennial Farm

William and Annie McDougall started this farm near Silvana in 1901, producing dairy products, corn and hay.  The farm has remained under family ownership since its start and, even in hard times, the dairy has prospered.  The Youngrens were chosen as Snohomish County Dairy Family of the Year in 1983.  Grandsons of the McDougalls, Steve and Joe Youngren and their families now (2011) milk around 800 cows on their 650-acre farm.

Some of the richest farmland in Snohomish County lies in the Snohomish Basin, which includes the communities of Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, and east Everett. Early settlers homesteaded here along the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and Pilchuck rivers. Dairying became an important part of the local economy, so much so that Carnation built a condensery in Monroe in the early 1920s.

Much of this agricultural landscape has disappeared. Small farms -- particularly dairies -- have fallen victim to urban sprawl and economic hard times. Large corporate dairies have replaced smaller ones, and many dairy farmers have sold to developers. To preserve farmland, Snohomish County has initiated its Purchase of Development Rights Program, which gives farmers in the Tualco Valley near Monroe cash in exchange for development rights to their land.

Farmers have found ways to survive through co-ops, farmers markets, and specialty niches such as organic produce and home-delivery service. Others have discovered more profit by marketing the farm experience (corn mazes and pumpkin patches) rather than selling produce.  

Saupe Barn (Bartelheimer Brothers Dairy)
11900 92nd Street SE, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

In December 2010 Bartelheimer Brother's Dairy (with operations in several locations) announced it would auction off its equipment, tractors, and 800 cows, thus ending a more than 70-year, four-generation business. On November 15, 2011, fire destroyed the old farm house at this location, but the 1900, gable-roof Heritage Barn originally built by William Saupe survived.  

Behling Barn a.k.a. Micheels Barn (Sams Farm)
11018 Springhetti Road, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

German immigrants Herman and Ernestine Micheels were the first owners of this 40-acre dairy farm. A few years before his death, Herman passed on the property to his daughter Martha and son-in-law Fred Behling. Ben and Cynthia Sams (Lavendar Moon Society) currently own the property and have converted it to a worm farm and ceramics studio.

The barn is of Gothic design, with a miniature replica milk house beside it. Both are in fair condition. The barn has horizontal wood siding and a hay hood.    

Cedergreen Farm
12325 Snohomish-Monroe Road, Snohomish
Centennial Farm

After sailing around the world, English immigrant John Alfred Constans Cedergreen reached the West Coast in 1867, settled for a time in the San Juan Islands, and married Amelia Frederickson in 1876. The couple eventually had 14 children. In 1889 the Cedergreens homesteaded 160 acres of heavily timbered land a few miles outside of Snohomish. With the help of the older children, John began clearing the land and began one of the earliest dairies in Snohomish County.

The Cedergreen family has owned the property for five generation. The dairy was expanded in the dairy in the 1930s, and Clarice Cedergreen began managing the farm in 1937. In the 1960s he quit the dairy business to grow peas for a frozen food company that the family owned in Wenatchee. The company moved its headquarters to Snohomish in the 1970s.

The original family house was replaced in 1910 with the house that still stands (2011).

Jensen Barn (Gerspacher Farm)
6306 60th Street SE, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

Built in 1948 by owners Roy and Edna Jensen, this dairy barn often draws the attention of passersby due to the unusual design of its roof, which is listed in the state's barn register as being round. It still has its original cattle stanchions that hold animals in place while feeding or resting. The barn siding is horizontal wood and was originally painted white with red trim, but current (2011) owners Steve and Rebecca Gerspacher have painted it red. They currently use the barn for storage.
Morgan Barn (Hagen Dairy)
6904 E Lowell Larimer Road, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

This Gothic-style Heritage Barn was built in 1930 and was once part of an 80-acre farm owned by Bill Morgan. Morgan used the barn for raising young stock for the Hagen Dairy, and in 1961 Jay Hagen became the farm’s owner. The barn includes a loose hay hood, a weather vane, the original drinking cups (still in use), and the original lighting system. It has been reroofed with metal and has both horizontal and vertical wood siding. Hagen has kept the farm’s old fire extinguisher and many of the original farm tools.

Bounds Barn (Hagen Dairy)
6726 E Lowell Larimer Road, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

Fire in the late 1920s destroyed an earlier barn on this property, then owned by the Bounds family. In 1930 they built a new gable-roofed structure. Richard Hagen and his son Ray purchased the Bounds property (120 acres of land, a barn and two houses) in 1949 for the purpose of dairying. They built a new milk house and hay stalls in 1957.  The farm remains in the Hagen family (2011) and is used to raise beef cattle.

Harvey Homestead
10424 Airport Way, Snohomish
Centennial Farm

After immigrating to the United States from England, John Harvey and his wife, Christina, established a homestead near the Snohomish River in 1859, two years before the incorporation of Snohomish County. John served as one of the county's first commissioners. Harvey built an airplane landing strip on his property and it eventually became known as Harvey Airfield. John's son Noble inherited the property, which has been passed on to later generations. In the early years the family raised fruit, corn, potatoes, cattle, chicken, sheep, and horses, and later, hay, corn, and green feed. The property is near the town center and consists primarily of the airfield and the old farm house. The house is badly in need of repairs but changes cannot be made because the county has designated this location as flood plain.    

Snohomish, cont.

Hereth Farm
Springhetti Road, Snohomish
Centennial Farm

Situated near the location of Snohomish's famous Bicycle Tree (popular in the 1900s), the Hereth Farm sits on land between Springhetti Road and Highway 9. Philip Rohsnagel purchased the property for farming in 1904 and began growing oats and potatoes and raising chickens for eggs. Although a raised railroad bed near the farm gives some protection from seasonal flooding of the Snohomish River, each year the family worries that the waters will rise and damage the original farmhouse, although this has not happened.  In recent years Mark and Lynne Hereth have used the farm for raising replacement dairy heifers and growing “haylage," a form of silage. Today (2011) this is a thriving farm. 
Lloyd Family Farmstead
23210 Paradise Lake Road, Woodinville
Centennial Farm

When the Lloyd Farm was added to the heritage list, its owners David and Elizabeth Lloyd were still living in the house where they were born. Their grandparents established a dairy on this property in 1888, and the surviving home dates to that time. Snohomish County purchased 664 acres of the Lloyd Farmstead for conservation and passive recreation. Today it has been developed into Paradise Valley Conservation Area, the newest Snohomish County park.

Matson Farm and Barn
1001 Russell Road, Snohomish
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

Built in 1918 by the Mattsons, a Swedish immigrant family, the barn has a metal gambrel roof. The Matson Farm was one of the first small family farms along the Pilchuck River, and its features include a cupola, a weather vane, and a hay hood. The farm is now (2011)  called Pilchuck Moresians and is owned by Barbara Collins.

Ricci Farm
10917 Elliott Road, Snohomish
Centennial Farm

Italian immigrant Michael Ricci began farming here in 1889 with an extensive orchard and dairy, and under his son's ownership the family began growing corn, marketing it to Safeway. For years the dairy was their most profitable business, but in 2001, as small dairies struggled, the family had to sell their cows. Michael's grandson Bob decided to turn the farm into a corn maze, marketing an experience rather than a product. Today Bob and Sarah Ricci operate Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm and have converted their 1898 dairy barn into a country store. The business has been lucrative enough that Bob was able to leave a non-farm job, stay at home, and help raise five daughters.

Rocking Crazy K
816 Machias Road, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

This broken-gable-roof barn, built for dairying ca. 1900, still has many of its original features, including the wood window frames, hay hood, and manual stanchions once used for milking. Currently (2011) the structure is in poor repair but is still a working barn. Those traveling the popular Centennial Trail have a view Rocking Crazy K, with a backdrop of the Cascades Mountains.

Townsen Barn (Todd Farm)
15407 Dubuque Road, Snohomish
State Heritage Barn

Unpainted, gable-roofed, and presently abandoned, the Townsen Barn is thought to have been built in 1898. It definitely appears on a plat map by 1910, the property owner at that time being C. A. Townsen. The Townsen Barn has vertical wood siding and a metal roof and is now (2011) owned by Jeffrey and Heidi Todd.

Wanser Farm
4621 171st Avenue SE, Snohomish
Centennial Farm

William Henry and Fannie Lora Wanser came to Snohomish County from Illinois in 1905 and settled near Flowing Lake. Their orchard produced a variety of apples, cherries, plums, and pears, but dairy cattle were the farm's mainstays until the 1950s, when the family transitioned to beef cattle and sheep. Today (2011) Anna Rose Wanser, wife of third-generation farmer William David Wanser, maintains a small orchard, raises sheep, and keeps a few chickens.

Arial Foye Homestead (Snow's Berry Farm)
Tualco Road, Monroe
Centennial Farm

James Foye Homestead
Tualco Road, Monroe
Centennial Farm

Two Centennial Farms on Tualco Road are connected with the Foye family. Arial Foye took a homestead claim here in 1877 and began a dairy. His son James purchased property adjoining the family homestead and expanded the dairy to 200 acres. James married Bessie Peterson in 1906 and the couple had 10 children. The Foyes got out of dairying in the 1930s, and the Arial Foy farm grew strawberries. Arial's great-granddaughter Joan Snow has owned the farm for many years and in the past has raised strawberries, flowers, and nursery stock. In 2011 Snow's Berry Farm, specializes in raspberries. The descendants of James Foye now raise beef cattle on their property.

Reiner Farm
17503 State Route 203, Monroe
Centennial Farm

The Reiner family has farmed at this location in the Tualco Valley since 1873, when Grannis and Amelia Reiner homesteaded here. Two of their sons, George and Ernest, were dairymen who were connected with the Carnation Condensery in Monroe. The Reiner farm lies between busy Highway 203 and the Skykomish River, with two miles of river frontage and two miles bordering Haskell Slough. Current owner Dale Reiner participated in a project to restore the slough (an important habitat for salmon) and reconnect it to the river. Today (2011) Reiner is farming about 420 acres and raising more than 30 head of beef cattle, and has 18 acres of Christmas trees and native nursery-tree stock. He also is active in a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Project for habitat and river bank restoration, cultivates 15 acres of canola for biofuel, and rents out 60 acres of his farm to a local dairy for raising field corn and hay.

Smallman Homestead (Frohning Dairy)
17506 190th St SE, (Frohning Road), Monroe
Centennial Farm

Robert Smallman served as a Territorial volunteer under Col. Isaac Ebey (Ebey Island, Snohomish River) in 1855-1856 during the government's attempt to keep hostile Indians from reaching Puget Sound. Smallman decided to settle in Snohomish County, and in1870 he took one of the first homestead claims in the Tualco Valley, south of Monroe. In 1883 Smallman had 60 acres in cultivation and he was cutting hay and raising sheep, horses, and cattle. Since 1939 the farm has been operated by Frohning Dairy.

Smallman Homestead (Schmidt Farm)
Tualco Loop Road, Monroe
Centennial Farm

Sixteen acres of the Robert Smallman homestead were sold to Gerald Smallman and his wife Margaret Schmidt Smallman in 1889, and they began growing hops and raising pigs and dairy cattle. When the homestead was honored in 2000 as a Centennial Farm, four generations of the Smallman family had lived and worked there.

Steffen Farm
22013 Ben Howard Road, Monroe
Centennial Farm

In January 1900 settlers Herman and Lena Steffen paid $1,700 in gold for a 75-acre farm, cattle, machinery, and buildings on Ben Howard Road along the Skykomish River southeast of Monroe. At first the Steffens sold eggs, butter, and vegetables, but in 1908 they began raising registered Holstein cattle. In 1942 they sold the farm to their son Albert, his wife, Alma, and grandson Donald, who expanded the property to 130 acres of farmland and 160 of woodland. In 1963 Alma and Donald became the farm's sole owners. After many years of raising cattle and producing milk, the Steffen Farm now boards a small number of cows at other farms and brings the heifers home to raise for dairy replacements.

Granite Falls, situated in the foothills of the Cascades, lies between the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River and the Pilchuck River. Today the town is the gateway to the scenic Mountain Loop Highway, and in earlier years it was the last commercial stop for loggers and miners on their way to work sites near Robe, Gold Basin, Silverton, and Monte Cristo. Settlers found the Robe Valley (10 miles east of Granite Falls) particularly good for farmig, and a few farms remain that have a long histories.

Hageman Barn (Thompson-Hageman Farm/Goebel Hill Farm)
15201 Goebel Hill Road, Granite Falls
State Heritage Barn

Orwin Hageman recalls moving with his family to this location in 1923, when only a house existed on the property. The following year he helped his father build the barn. Orwin operated the farm for 34 years following his father's death, selling eggs to a hatchery in Mt. Vernon and keeping two cows and a small garden. After 34 years Hageman sold the property to Itha Marie Frane, and Frane sold to Roderick Latham in 1969. Latham and his family lived on the farm for the next 40 years.

The current owner, Heather Robinson, a science teacher in Lake Stevens, purchased five acres adjacent to the barn property in 1990. Six years later she and a fellow science teacher, Hall Buttery, began farming together, raising raspberries and poultry. In 2009 they purchased the Hageman barn, built in 1924, and have plans to restore it (2011). The barn has a gambrel metal roof, a concrete foundation, a hay hood and some of its original windows.

Hemstrom Homestead
4329 Robe Menzel Road, Granite Falls
Centennial Farm

In 1886 Swedish-born August Hemstrom, his wife, and their son, Charles, homesteaded on 150 acres south of Granite Falls in the Robe Valley. They cleared the land, sold the timber, began a small dairy, and raised beef cattle, potatoes, and hay. Their descendants continue working the farm, and are currently (2011) raising beef cattle.

Macomber Farms
10112 159th Ave. NE, Granite Falls
Centennial Farm

Swiss immigrant Jake Spichiger and his German-immigrant wife, Theresa, purchased 40 acres in Granite Falls in 1908 for farming. Jake was a butcher and he and Theresa also ran a restaurant. Their descendants continue to farm here today (2011).

In the early years the farm had three chicken houses and in 1923 the Spichigers added a Holstein dairy, selling milk to Darigold. They purchased additional land in 1928 and again in the 1940s. In 2010 Todd Macomber was operating the farm with his mother, Jackie Spichiger Macomber. Jackie has served on the Snohomish County Agricultural Advisory Board and is known for her horsemanship as well as her work with the local 4-H Club.

Ulrich Scherrer Farm
5300 Menzel Lake Road, Granite Falls
Centennial Farm

Ulrich Scherrer emigrated from Switzerland to California, then came north to Granite Falls in 1889 and purchased an abandoned homestead on the upper Pilchuck River. Here he raised vegetables, hay, and potatoes, kept sheep and goats, and operated a dairy. After Ulrich Sr.'s death, his son, Ulrich Scherrer Jr., continued to run the farm with his wife, Pearl. Today the family still owns and operates the farm but has switched to raising beef cattle and quarter horses.

In 1863 Eugene D. Smith, his wife, Margaret, and her parents, Martin and Olive Getchell, began creating Lowell, a town they platted but never incorporated, on the west bank of the Snohomish River. Lowell is now a neighborhood of Everett. Industrial development in the 1890s boom that built Everett brought great changes to Lowell, with the addition of a paper mill that would last into the 1970s. There are still a number of working farms along the old Lowell-Larimer Road that runs to Snohomish, as well as on the flats east of Everett off of Highway 2.
Getchell Ranch
3914 52nd Street SE, Everett
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

Situated on the east bank of the Snohomish River across from Everett's Lowell neighborhood, an 1880-1882 farmhouse built by Martin and Olive Getchell, still stands on Getchell Ranch. The Getchells figure prominently in the early development of Snohomish County. Granddaughter Ruth Alexander built a newer house on the land, and her son Alex Alexander now (2011) lives on the property and raises cattle. The Getchell Ranch is the oldest intact farm in the Snohomish River Valley. Alexander has renovated both the old farmhouse and the gambrel-roofed barn, built in 1926-1927.

Johnson Farm/Jackknife Ranch and Johnson Barn
5205 52nd Street SE, Everett
Centennial Farm and State Heritage Barn

Iver and Caroline Johnson homesteaded here in 1887. They raised cattle, poultry, and pigs and grew hay, fruit and vegetables. Over the years, they expanded their farm to 400 acres, clearing and diking where necessary as the farm is in the Snohomish River flood plain. Bob Johnson and his wife, Laura, once gave educational farm tours but later converted their business to a U-Pick produce farm. The Johnson Barn was awarded a state grant of $11,900 in 2010 that has allowed the owners to put on a new roof. The farm is also called Jackknife Ranch due to its proximity to the Jackknife Bridge, a Strauss-designed bascule railroad bridge. Once on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge has since been torn down.

Walther Barn (Craven Dairy)
5332 Lowell-Larimer Road, Everett
State Heritage Barn

Bernard Walther was the farm's original owner and reportedly built this barn ca. 1890 to house dairy cattle. It has board and batten siding, mortise and tenon joinery, and a gable roof. Bernard deeded the property to his wife, Luiza, in 1890 and it was later deeded to their children, Rudolph, Clara, and Luise. In the 1930s the property was transferred to Carl Hansen who sold it to Al, Larry, and William Craven. Craven Dairy owned the property from 1960 to 2000. Today (2011) it is owned by Larry Jensen and used for agriculture.

Weiser Barn (Heineck Farm)
930 Sunnyside Boulevard NE, Everett
State Heritage Barn

Howard Weiser purchased this farm in 1925 to grow fresh vegetables for his restaurant at the Monte Cristo Hotel in downtown Everett. Around 1930 he built this Dutch-style gambrel barn with horizontal wood siding and a hay hood. The Weiser farm continued under several owners and was purchased in 1964 by Joe and Catherine Heineck. Joe Heineck, a Boeing employee, owns and manages the farm today (2011) with help from his grandchildren.

Nelson Farm (Lavender Hills)
Kellogg Marsh, Marysville
Centennial Farm

Today the business called Lavender Hills is located on a Centennial Farm that was founded by Lars and Netta Nilson and their four children. The Nilsons raised livestock, vegetables, and fruit. Son Adolph became the next owner, and he changed the spelling of the family name to Nelson. Seeking a new direction for the farm business, granddaughter Carol McCrorie and her husband, Mike, went into lavender production. Although the farm is not open to the public, Lavender Hill Farms participates in local garden events.

Snohomish County has a dozen local-heritage museums and all have artifacts relating to local agricultural history. The following five have especially strong collections that record and interpret the county's rural past.

Western Heritage Center, located on the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, is a hands-on museum of rural history. The project of retired Snohomish County dairyman Jerry Senner, the center opened in 2007 and houses a large and growing collection of old farming, mining, and household equipment. Most are operational, including many vintage tractors. The center hopes (2011) to expand the museum to accommodate a large and important collection of tractors and cars that has come into its possession.

Heritage Park, located east of I-5 on the corner of Poplar Way and Alderwood Manor Parkway in Lynnwood, is maintained by the City of Lynnwood and several community organizations, including the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association and the Sno-Isle Geneological Society. In 1917 the Puget Mill Company began selling their logged-off land for residences in a development they called Alderwood Manor. For promotion, the company created a 38-acre demonstration farm that included a hatchery, demonstration gardens, and orchards. Today, Heritage Park sits on 2.8 acres of land and preserves what is left of Alderwood Manor's past. It showcases several historical properties that were rescued from destruction when the I-5 interchange was built. The Superintendent's Cottage from the demonstration farm houses the local history collection.

Stanwood Area History Museum and D.O. Pearson House Museum, 27108 102nd Avenue NW, Stanwood, has an excellent collection interpreting the rural communities of Stanwood and Arlington. Much of the museum's collection is about agriculture, logging, and railroading. The group maintains an excellent archive and library.

Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum, 20722 67th Avenue NE, Arlington, preserves artifacts and documents the history of the Stillaguamish River Valley. The artifacts include household, logging, dairy, and farming items, and the collection includes thousands of early black and white photographs of the area. The Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association is Snohomish County's oldest heritage group. Its collection also includes the story of the small rural community of Jordan, near Arlington.

Monroe Historical Society Museum, 207 E Main, Monroe, is located in the town's old city hall. Much of its collection relates to the pioneering families who built Monroe and ran its businesses, including farms, dairies, and the large Carnation Condensery. Some of their collection is available online.

This slideshow presents a number of Snohomish County's heritage farms and barns, some that have been in continual use for over a century.  It was written by Margaret Riddle and  funded by the Snohomish County Community Heritage Program.

Honoring Rural Heritage

Decades before there was a city of Everett, Snohomish County pioneers began farming the lowlands of the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Stillaguamish river valleys. Trees were abundant for harvesting, and when land was cleared the soil was rich, giving promise to early homesteaders. By the time Washington became a state in 1889, nearly 20,000 acres in Snohomish County were in cultivation. Agriculture had become second only to the booming logging economy, and dairying rapidly grew from the early 1900s.  

Agriculture is still an important part of the county's economy, although recent years have been challenging, especially for dairies. Farmers have needed great resilience and adaptability in order to make a living. A 2007 census of agriculture counted 1,670 farms in Snohomish County, with 76,837 acres in cultivation, an increase of 6 percent over a census taken in 2002. But although the number of farms had increased, farm revenue declined. 

Snohomish County farms have often been family businesses, some lasting for more than a century. These farms today grow vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries, alfalfa hay, and winter wheat; operate nurseries and greenhouses for floriculture and aquaculture; raise poultry, cattle, hogs, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, ponies, mules, burros, and llamas; and produce eggs, milk, dairy, and animal products. Farmers today have also found profit in renting out acreage, both to other farmers and for other purposes, such as radio towers.      

Although vintage homes have been officially recognized at the state and local levels for many years, heritage farm and barn registration has come mostly in the early years of this century. Barns with various roof types and cupolas, hay hooks, milking sheds, and outbuildings often reflect European architectural roots. Vintage farm equipment remains on many farms. Currently both Snohomish County and the state of Washington have programs to recognize, honor, and preserve this important rural heritage. 

Snohomish County's Centennial Farms

Snohomish County officially initiated a Heritage 2000 Program, which includes annual recognition of Snohomish County Centennial Farms. To qualify, farms must have been in constant production and under the same family ownership for 100 years or more.

Centennial Farm families are honored each year by the Snohomish county executive during the opening ceremony of the Evergreen State Fair. As of 2011, 31 farms have been so honored.     

Washington State's Heritage Barns Program

In May 2007 the Washington State Legislature passed Substitute HB 2115, which established the Washington Heritage Barn Register to honor and recognize barns as historically significant properties that represent the agricultural, economic, and cultural development of the state. The Heritage Barn Grant Program is administered by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. The program supports the preservation efforts of those who own recognized barns and helps to maintain them as significant historic properties.   

Since the program was initiated, 23 heritage barns have been listed in Snohomish County and the owners of the Jackknife (Johnson) Ranch in rural Everett have received an $11,900  grant to help with barn restoration.   


"Snohomish County Centennial Farms," Snohomish County, Washington Focus on Farming website accessed October, 2011 (
Information/Centennial_Farms.htm); Heritage Barns of Washington State, Heritage Barn Advisory Committee Report, 2010, Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation website accessed October 2011 (; David A. Cameron, Charles P. LeWarne, Alan May, J. C. O'Donnell, Lawrence O'Donnell, Snohomish County: An Illustrated History (Index: Kelcema Press, 2002), 78-80, 120-122, 190-191; "Quick Stats," United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS) website accessed November 10, 2011, (; Margaret Riddle interviews with Louise Lindgren, October 15, 2011, and A. Loren Kraetz, November 14, 2011.

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