The lush peninsula at a site named Port Gardner Bay was for centuries home to Native Americans of the Snohomish tribe. Following the Indian Wars in the 1850s, the Snohomish and other local tribes restructured as the confederation known as Tulalip and were moved to a reservation established at Tulalip Bay.
Non-Native settlers came to the peninsula to homestead and extract local timber and ore. Nearby mills such as the ones at Port Gamble and Utsalady found that this location provided easy access for cutting and transporting timber, and for two decades the area was logged.
In the fall of 1891 work crews began clearing land to build an industrial boom town planned and funded by East Coast and local investors; it was hoped that the Great Northern Railroad would choose the site as its terminus. Named after the son of investor Charles Colby, Everett was planned with a diverse economic base that included a paper mill, a nail factory, a bargeworks, and a smelter to refine the ores that were expected to come from the Cascade range town, Monte Cristo. Lumber and shingle mills also began business near the waterfront.
Everett was incorporated in the spring of 1893, however development was soon curtailed by a nationwide financial panic. During the next five years many community services such as hospitals, schools, and libraries were founded in response to the needs of Everett's inhabitants.
Today, Everett supports a healthy economy, utilizing the pluses of aerospace, telecommunications, computer technology, electronics, health care, tourism, education, government business, and numerous small businesses. Citizens and city officials are working on plans for the former Kimberly-Clark mill site. Early proposals indicate a desire for the waterfront to remain a center for industry and shipping. Time will tell how Everett will continue to change to meet the challenges of a 21st Century global economy.