Mukilteo, Washington

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Lushootseed: bəqɬtiyuʔ
The USS Nimitz passing the Mukilteo Lighthouse
Location of Mukilteo, Washington
Location of Mukilteo, Washington
Coordinates: 47°54′58″N 122°18′11″W / 47.91611°N 122.30306°W / 47.91611; -122.30306Coordinates: 47°54′58″N 122°18′11″W / 47.91611°N 122.30306°W / 47.91611; -122.30306
Country United States
State Washington
County Snohomish
Established 1858
Incorporated May 8, 1947
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Mayor Jennifer Gregerson
 • Total 9.50 sq mi (24.60 km2)
 • Land 6.40 sq mi (16.58 km2)
 • Water 3.10 sq mi (8.03 km2)
Elevation 0−596 ft (0−182 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 20,254
 • Estimate (2015)[3] 21,226
 • Density 3,164.7/sq mi (1,221.9/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP Code 98275
Area code 425
FIPS code 53-47735
GNIS feature ID 1512491[4]

Mukilteo (/ˌmʌkəlˈt/ MUK-əl-TEE-oh) is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. It is located on the Puget Sound between Edmonds and Everett, approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of Seattle. The city had a population of 20,254 at the 2010 census.

The current site of downtown Mukilteo was inhabited by the Snohomish people prior to the arrival of American settlers in the 19th century. The Treaty of Point Elliott was signed in Mukilteo in 1855, opening the region to settlement. A new town was founded at Mukilteo and became the provisional county seat of Snohomish County in early 1861. The area remained a trading post for loggers and was home to other industries, but was overshadowed by Everett and grew slowly.

Mukilteo was used during World War II as an auxiliary fueling facility, due to its proximity to the newly-built Snohomish County Airport (now Paine Field). Mukilteo was incorporated as a city in 1947 and saw new suburban development, which accelerated after the opening of the nearby Boeing Everett Factory in the late 1960s. The city annexed large suburban areas on the west side of Paine Field in the 1980s and 1990s, including Harbour Point and the State Route 525 corridor, while also reveitalizing its downtown. Today, Mukilteo is a major terminal for the Washington State Ferries system, with a ferry link to Clinton on Whidbey Island, and is also served by Sounder commuter trains.


The Lushootseed name Muckl-te-oh or Buk-wil-tee-whu (bəqɬtiyuʔ),[5] meaning "good camping ground" or "narrow passage" according to some sources, was given to modern-day Mukilteo by the Snohomish people.[6][7] The Snohomish had a year-round village in the area for at least 600 years before the arrival of European and American explorers and early artifacts were carbon dated to 1,000 years before present.[8]

The Vancouver Expedition, led by British explorer George Vancouver, visited the area on May 30, 1792, and landed at modern-day Mukilteo the following day. Lieutenant William Robert Broughton and botanist Archibald Menzies named the site "Rose Point" after the wild Nootka roses that grew along the shore.[6][9] An American expedition led by Charles Wilkes in 1841 renamed the headland "Point Elliott" for Samuel Elliott, a midshipman.[7]

After its 1853 establishment, the Washington territorial government looked to negotiate treaties with the local tribes of the Puget Sound region to secure land for settlement. On January 22, 1855, representatives from the territorial government and 82 local tribes signed the Treaty of Point Elliott, which ceded tribal territories in exchange for compensation, the establishment of Indian reservations, and access to traditional hunting and fishing areas.[10][11] An American settlement at Point Elliott was established two years later by Morris H. Frost and J. D. Folwer, two merchants from New York.[12] The two men established a store and saloon on the southwest side of Point Elliott,[13] which was renamed to Mukilteo in 1860 by Fowler, using an anglicized name of the Lushootseed campsite.[6][14]

Mukilteo was the area's first trading post and served as the interim county seat of the newly-created Snohomish County beginning January 14, 1861.[6][15] In the first county elections on July 8, 1861, the county seat was moved to Cadyville (now Snohomish) by a 17–10 vote. Mukilteo remained the county's only port and a major trading post for the Possession Sound region, and soon after received the county's first post office and telegraph station.[12] The town was relocated to the northeast of Point Elliott and supported the regional lumber industry, including regular shipments to Whidbey Island and a sawmill of its own.[13] By the 1880s, it had also gained a brewery, a gunpowder plant, and the Puget Sound region's first cannery.[6][12] Mukilteo was planned as the largest port on Possession Sound and a summer resort accessible by steamship, but the efforts ceased after the establishment of nearby Everett by East Coast industrialists.[12][16]

The Seattle and Montana Railroad (later part of the Great Northern Railway) was completed in 1891, connecting Mukilteo with Everett, Edmonds, and Seattle.[17] Mukilteo was platted in anticipation of the railroad and was on the shortlist of towns considered for the terminus of the Great Northern, but lost out to Tacoma in 1873.[13][18] Following the 1890s economic depression, the town experienced a major employment and population boom, with a larger lumber mill and gunpowder factory both built along the shore. The iconic Mukilteo Lighthouse was built in 1906 by the federal Lighthouse Service to serve the increased maritime traffic in the area.[6][19]

Japanese immigrants arrived to work in Mukilteo's mills after the turn of the century, establishing a Japantown in modern-day Japanese Gulch.[20] Passenger ferry service between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island began in 1911 and was followed by the introduction of automobile ferry service in 1919. From the waterfront terminal, automobiles were able to continue onto Mukilteo Boulevard, a highway connecting the town to Everett.[6] Until the closure of the lumber mill in 1930, Mukilteo was a company town that relied on the Crown Lumber Company to assist in civic endeavors, including its parks, fire department, and water district; at its peak, it employed 250 men.[21][22]

During the Prohibition Era, Mukilteo became a haven for rum-running and was a major transiting point for alcohol smuggled from British Columbia to Seattle.[23] The town's gunpowder plant was destroyed on September 17, 1930, in an after-hours explosion that leveled or damaged dozens of homes, causing $500,000 in damage. It was felt as far as downtown Everett and injured eight people, but none were killed.[24][25] On August 30, 1938, the vacant lumber mill was destroyed in a fire during dismantling work.[26] The fire came weeks after a mail ferry rammed into the town's wharf, which was destroyed in the collision.[27]

After the United States entered World War II, the site of the former lumber mill was acquired by the federal government and rebuilt as a 1,500-foot-long (460 m) ammunition loading dock for warships.[28] The recently-built Snohomish County Airport (later renamed Paine Field) southeast of the city was converted into a military base while retaining some civilian uses.[6] During the Korean War, the loading dock was expanded with ten large jet fuel storage tanks that were used until the 1980s.[13][29]

On April 29, 1947, Mukilteo residents voted 223 to 137 in favor of incorporating as a fourth-class city and elected school administrator Alfred Tunem as its first mayor. The incorporation was certified by the state government on May 8; at the time, Mukilteo had an estimated population of 775 people and encompassed 794 acres (321 ha).[30][31] The new municipal government took over services that were previously handled by the self-organized Mukilteo Improvement Club, which was established in the 1930s.[21] The area experienced additional growth after the opening of Boeing's Paine Field factory for commercial jetliners in 1967, which was connected to Mukilteo by a short railroad along the floor of Japanese Gulch.[32][33]

Mukilteo completed its first major annexation in November 1980, adding 2 square miles (5.2 km2) to the south along State Route 525 and 2,500 people—doubling its land area and nearly tripling the city's population.[34] Additional annexations by the end of the decade brought the city's population to 6,000.[35] In 1991, the Harbour Pointe area was annexed, doubling the size of the city to 6.25 square miles (16.19 km2).[36] Harbour Pointe had originally planned to incorporate as its own city, named Highland Bay, but found annexation to be mutually beneficial.[35] The annexation increased the city's population to just over 10,000 and presaged a shift from the Old Town commercial center near the ferry to new shopping and banking facilities at Harbour Pointe.[22] With development since the Harbour Pointe annexation, the city's population has reached 19,360 (2005). The city has agreed to an urban growth area that includes approximately 15,000 additional potential residents.

Substantial development is expected along the waterfront in the next five to ten years,[by whom?] with the state planning to build a new ferry terminal east of the current location. The Mukilteo-Clinton ferry provides service for 3 million passengers per year with two ferries currently serving the run.

In 1993, the government of Mukilteo opposed plans to expand Paine Field; Mayor Brian Sullivan said that the city disagrees "with the idea of a Sea-Tac north" and supports upholding a 1978 agreement between residents around Paine Field and Snohomish County.[37]

The transportation hub will use some of the land being turned over by the federal government on the site of the old fuel docks. Included is an $18 million upgrade to the commuter rail station and a rebuilt ferry terminal.

On July 30, 2016, a mass shooting occurred at a house party in Mukilteo, around midnight.[38]


Mukilteo is located in southwestern Snohomish County, approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of Seattle.[39] The city is bordered to the north and west by the Possession Sound, a section of the Puget Sound whose shore is used by a freight and passenger railroad. Mukilteo's eastern border with Everett is defined by 44th Avenue and Japanese Gulch until it reaches State Route 526. From there, the city's eastern boundary continues along State Route 525 along the west side of Paine Field in unincorporated Snohomish County. Mukilteo's southern border, also facing unincorporated neighborhoods, is defined by Beverly Park Road, the Picnic Point Ravine, and Hulk Creek, which drains into Possession Sound.[40] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.50 square miles (24.60 km2), of which 6.40 square miles (16.58 km2) is land and 3.10 square miles (8.03 km2) is water.[1]

The city also has an urban growth area that extends south to 148th Street Southwest and east to State Route 99.[41] An advisory vote on whether to annex the entire urban growth area (with a population of 11,000 people) was rejected by Mukilteo in 2010.[42]

The Mukilteo waterfront, including Point Elliott, is sited below a coastal bluff that was formed approximately 5,000 years ago.[13]:21 The city is traversed by the Southern Whidbey Island fault zone, discovered in 1996.


Harbour Pointe is a mixed-use neighborhood at the south end of Mukilteo on land originally owned by Port Gamble Lumber Co. Harbour Pointe is the location of Kamiak High School, Harbour Pointe Middle School, and Columbia Elementary School. After cutting timber from the area, Port Gamble sold it to Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) in the 1930s with the petroleum company planning to put a refinery on the property.


Climate data for Mukilteo, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46
Average low °F (°C) 34
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.37
Source: The Weather Channel[43]


The Rane Corporation, a pro audio equipment manufacturer, is headquartered in Mukilteo.[44] Boeing has a factory in Everett, WA where the 747, 767 and 777[45] are built that is directly adjacent to Mukilteo, WA and employs many residents and visitors of Mukilteo. The tours of this factory leave from the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, WA.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201621,462[46]6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[47]
2015 Estimate[3]

Mukilteo is the ninth largest city in Snohomish County, with an estimated population of 21,240 in 2017.[48] Mukilteo is one of the most affluent suburbs of Seattle. According to 2012 estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, Mukilteo has a median household income of $91,204 and a per capita income of $42,910, ranking 21st of 281 areas within the state of Washington.[49][50] Approximately 4.9 percent of families and 5.7 percent of the overall population were below the poverty line, including 9.3 percent of those under the age of 18 and 4 percent aged 65 or older.[49] In 2009, Mukilteo was ranked as number 10 of Money magazine's top 100 small towns of America to live in.[51] In 2011, Mukilteo rose one rank to number 9.[52]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 20,254 people, 8,057 households, and 5,660 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,164.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,221.9/km2). There were 8,547 housing units at an average density of 1,335.5 per square mile (515.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.9% White, 1.7% African American, 0.6% Native American, 17.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.4% of the population.

There were 8,057 households of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 41.8 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.9% were from 25 to 44; 34.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 18,019 people, 6,759 households, and 4,981 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,842.5 people per square mile (1,097.3/km2). There were 7,146 housing units at an average density of 1,127.3 per square mile (435.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.06% White, 1.48% African American, 0.79% Native American, 10.97% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 1.13% from other races, and 3.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.90% of the population.

There were 6,759 households out of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.8% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 28.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.

Government and politics[edit]

The City of Mukilteo incorporated in May 1947 and operates as a non-charter code city with a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor and seven City Councilmembers are part-time non-partisan elected officials who serve four-year terms. Municipal elections are held in November of odd-numbered years and terms are staggered so that no more than four positions are up for election every two years.

  • Mayor: Jennifer Gregerson (2014–present, next election: 2017)
  • Councilmember, position 1: Ted Wheeler (2014–present, next election: 2017)
  • Councilmember, position 2: Bob Champion (2014–present, next election: 2017). Formerly: Marko Liias (2006–2007, next election: 2013)
  • Councilmember, position 3: Randy Lord (2006–present, next election: 2017)
  • Councilmember, position 4: Steve Schmalz (2012–present, next election: 2015)
  • Councilmember, position 5: Emily Vanderwielen (2007–present, next election: 2015)
  • Councilmember, position 6: Linda Grafer (2008–present, next election: 2015)
  • Councilmember, position 7: Christine Cook (2014–present, next election: 2015). Formerly: Jennifer Gregerson (2004-2013)

Past mayors[edit]

  • Joe Marine (2006-2013)
  • Donald Doran (1998–2005)
  • Brian Sullivan (1990–1997)
  • Emory Cole (1986–1989)
  • John Corbett (1982–1985)
  • John Sweat (1978–1981)
  • James Huetson (1974–1977)
  • Jeremiah F. Lavell (1972–1973)
  • J. O. Simpson (1970–1971)
  • Ronald Kane (1964–1969)
  • Dick Taylor (1956–1964)
  • Alfred Tunem (1947–1956)


Parks and recreation[edit]

The major parkland in the city is the former state park and lighthouse, next to the ferry docks. In 1954, the state acquired 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land around the lighthouse and made it into a state park, including a popular boat ramp. In 2003, the state faced a budgetary crisis and offered to cede the park to the city, which the city accepted. The city renamed the park Mukilteo Lighthouse Park and has plans for redevelopment that may ultimately spend $6 million for new facilities.[citation needed]

When the Alaskan oil fields were developed in the 1960s, Standard Oil decided that there was adequate capacity for refining at Anacortes and set aside plans to build a refinery on the property. In a locally published book, "Picnic Point Pathways," author Sandy Sandborg says that the decision was probably influenced by the environmental battle that Richfield Oil Company had with its planned refinery development at Kayak Point, north of Everett, during the 1960s.

A parcel of 460 acres (1.9 km2) that would become Picnic Point Park, just south of the city's border, was leased to Snohomish County in 1970. Then, in 1977, Standard Oil donated it to the county. Another 2,350 acres (10 km2) were purchased by Harbour Pointe Limited Partnership in the 1980s from Standard Oil. It would become the mixed-used development anchored by Harbour Pointe Golf Club, opened in September, 1989.

Notable people[edit]


The Mukilteo School District includes all of the city, but also a portion of south Everett and unincorporated areas to the south of the city. The district serves a population of 68,000, or more than 3 times that of the city alone. The district had more than 14,163 students in 2004-2005 and a budget of $104.7 million. There are three high schools (one alternative), four middle schools, and eleven elementary schools in addition to other education programs such as the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. Nine of these schools are award-winning, with seven receiving Washington Achievement Awards between 2009 and 2011. These schools currently serve around 14,000 students.



Mukilteo is at the intersection of several transportation systems, including state highways, ferries, airplanes, trains, and buses. The city is bisected from north to south by State Route 525, also known as the Mukilteo Speedway. It, along with State Route 526 (the Boeing Freeway) provide connections to Interstate 5, which runs to the east of city limits. State Route 525 continues north to Whidbey Island on the state-run Clinton ferry, which terminates in downtown Mukilteo. The ferry terminal is the state's busiest for automobile traffic and was built in 1952; it is planned to be demolished and replaced with a new terminal by 2019.[53]

Snohomish County Airport is located to the east of Mukilteo and home to Boeing's Everett factory.

Train service is provided by Sound Transit through its Sounder commuter rail route to Seattle, stopping at Mukilteo Station east of the ferry terminal.[54] Community Transit operates local bus service on the Mukilteo Speedway toward a park and ride in Lynnwood, as well as commuter routes to Downtown Seattle and the University of Washington.[55]

Health care[edit]

Mukilteo is located near two general hospitals: the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett and Swedish Edmonds Hospital in Edmonds.[39]


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External links[edit]