Tracing the History of a Home or
Are you curious about the history of your house? When was it built,
and who was its builder? Who designed it? What did it look like when it was new?
Has it been remodeled? Who lived or worked there? What events took place within
its walls? Are there any ghosts? Has it retained enough of its original character
to be considered for a local historic register and possible tax incentives for
The search for answers to these questions may be challenging. Early
building permits in Snohomish County have not been kept, and
blueprints are not on file. If you are willing to do some research,
you may be rewarded with some history about the structure.
What to Look For
▪ Photographs of the house
and the people who lived there
▪ Architect or builder
▪ Architectural style
▪ Dates of construction and the
years people lived or worked there
▪ Owners and residents
▪ Stories about neighborhoods, structures and
the people associated with them.
Where to Look
The Everett Public Library Northwest Room is the best place to start for
Everett properties. The staff can help search for information on county properties as well.
Some of the answers—architectural style, building materials and artifacts—will be found in the house itself. The building
blueprints are to be had, they could turn up in the attic.) The building
or house may have been remodeled, so you will need to look for
modifications. Other information may be
found in public records (plats, deeds, mortgages), photographs;
newspaper articles; biographical and historical resources; neighbors and
Historic Register Records
All properties and districts that have a local, state or national
register status will have an accompanying nomination form that was
originally filed upon application. These typically include history about the
property, architectural information and a bibliography citing newspaper articles or other resources. The Everett Public Library
has all official and unofficial historical surveys of Everett properties
as well as basic information about National and State Register
properties in Snohomish County. For historic register records in the
County, contact the
Snohomish County Historic Preservation & Cultural
For more specific help, contact local
Everett Historical Commission
Snohomish [city] Historical Commission
Snohomish County Historic
State Office of Archeology and Historic
Maps, Plats, Atlases
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Snohomish County towns show the
footprints of buildings and houses and indicate building materials. While they cover only the incorporated areas at the time the map
was drawn, some supplements and updates that extended
the boundaries. Sanborns provide basic information about the structure.
They can help prove "pre-existing" or "non-conforming" use because they
predate 1955. This may be helpful if you want to remodel or rebuild an
older garage or outbuilding. The Everett Public Library has physical and
digital color copies of the 1914 and 1955 Everett Sanborn maps. The
library also has microfilm copies of all Sanborns issued for Arlington,
Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Marysville, Monroe,
Mukilteo, Silvana, Snohomish, Stanwood, Startup and Sultan.
The King County Library System and the
Seattle Public Library provide online versions
of the Sanborn maps for cardholders. (Everett Public Library cardholders are eligible for cards at both
The historic editions of the Kroll & Metzger plat books and the 1910
Anderson Map Company Plat Book of Snohomish County. These are most
helpful for areas outside of Everett. Details include property
owners and, in the Andersons, may show building details. Many of the
old editions are available at the Everett Public Library Northwest Room.
The Snohomish County Courthouse Assessor's and Auditor's offices
have copies of these maps.
Original Plats showing property lines, dates, neighborhoods and property
owners can be found through the
Snohomish County Auditor's office.
The Polks city directories were issued from 1893 to 1999. They provide an
alphabetical listing of residents and businesses as well as listing by
address for Everett properties. County communities were included
in the early years; however, county addresses are often vague or nonexistent.
The householders index—listing a property by address—started in 1932.
Before that time, you can only search by occupant name. City directories
document occupations, families, homeownership, phone numbers and other
details. The Everett Public Library has copies of the city directories in print and on microfilm.
City & County Records
County Property Records
Tracking a deed—also called a chain of title or a title search—often
reveals or verifies names of owners, transfer dates and clues
to additions and purchase prices. Snohomish County Assessors records are
searchable online. Entering a property address will give you information about
ownership, structural data, valuation and a "guess date" of when it was
built. The build date is frequently incorrect, so it is best to confirm
this information with other resources. At the Auditor's office,
you can track the records back through the
years, owner by owner, through deeds,
mortgages, and land patents until you come
to the origincal recording of the property.
Call (425) 388-3411 ext. 2632 for details.
City Water Records
For Everett properties, Water Department records
contain the earliest water hookup date, which usually indicates the year
the structure was built, additions, roofs and water and sewer hookups.
Properties can be searched by address. The person who requested the
permit will most likely be the owner or builder. You can
find these records at the City of Everett Public Services Office (3200 Cedar Street).
Call (425) 257-8810 for details.
For other resources, check
Newspapers can be a great
resource. Everett Public Library has copies of the Everett Herald,
Everett Morning Tribune, Monroe Monitor, Stanwood Tidings,
EYE and Northern Star. Unfortunately indexing is limited
and often non-existent. Computer indexing began for the Herald in 1992,
and while an Everett Public Library library indexed the Herald from 1971
through 1991, articles are listed by subject and not easily searchable.
If the property is on the
National Register, news items may be indicated in the
application bibliography. If you know approximate dates, sometimes
events such as a house moving, fires and remodeling may have made the
news, especially in the small community newspapers.Washington
State Library has a large collection of state newspapers, many of
which have been digitized.
Pictures of street views, buildings, neighborhoods and residences may be
available at the Everett Public Library Everett properties.
Some of the local historical societies may have photograph collections.
Often past residents, neighbors or people
associated with a particular property will have old photos of the place
Architectural Resources - books and periodicals
Public Library attempts to add all books printed on Snohomish County
history. Even if you dont
find information about your property or the people connected with it,
these histories provide a context for your research. For instance,
knowing the years that building booms happened or that economic hard
times occurred may shed light on why the property youre researching was
built or remodeled when it was, or why it became a rental, etc. Books on
architectural styles and historic design plans are also available.
A Survey of Everetts Historical Properties by David Dilgard and
Margaret Riddle (1996).
Hands On! The Rehabilitation Handbook for Everetts Historic Homes.
Everett Historical Commission and the Everett Planning Department (1992).
Renovating Old Houses by George Nash, Taunton Press, 1992.
Snohomish County Cultural Resource Inventory by Brent Lambert
Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood by
Betsy J. Green (2002).
House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home by Sally
Small Houses of the Twenties : The Sears, Roebuck 1926
House Catalog, Dover (1991).
500 Small house of the twenties (also called Books of a thousand homes,
vol. 1), Dover (1990).
Old House Journal
Old House Journal Interiors
The Everett Public Librarys Northwest Room maintains a
card file for many of Everetts older residences and
files on prominent Snohomish County
Vital statistics records give death dates that will allow you to
search the newspapers for obituaries. This can give background
information on the people who are linked to a property. Search in the
Digital Archives for birth, death and marriage dates or use Ancestry
and HeritageQuest through the library to find this information.
Internet & Special Resources
The League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations has links
for those interested in
historic preservation and a
list of museums and
heritage groups in Snohomish County.
member organizations maintain collections that relate to the history of
specific county communities. These may include photographs, written
accounts, maps, artifacts and oral histories. Older members of each
group are great resources, particularly for stories relating to a house
or building history.
sponsors and promotes historic preservation programs in Everett.