Marks Building

1024 First Street

Marks Building facade, 2022, HistoryLink photo by W. Blake
Marks Building on the right in the historic snowfall of 1916, Snohomish Historical Society

In the accompanying photo, captured while documenting the record snowfall that began on February 4, 1916, and ended three days later, John Otten’s clothing store is on the right, across Avenue B from the Blackman Building on the left. The story has it that when Otten defaulted on his mortgage, pioneer real estate agent Tom E. Marks took the building back and had his name set in stone over the doorway. When Marks served as the city clerk in 1910, council members met in his office in this building, rumored to have the first flush toilets in town.

Lot Wilbur, the pioneer druggist (tour stop No. 11), invented an instrument for measuring the depth of the snowfall, “43 inches,” he reported in the Tribune. The double horse-drawn wagon in the center of the image belongs to the R. A. Windski Ice operation! The handmade sign stuck in the snow in front of the wagon is announcing “To the Post Office and News Stand” — pictured on the left where a number of people are gathered to watch the photographer at work.

Many Snohomish residents remember it as Harmon’s for “Ladies and Gents’ Furnishings.” An early version of the department store featured separate entrances, one for the Ladies and another for Gents. Raymond Harmon started out selling dry goods in the Eagles Hall Building in 1913 and moved to this location in 1921. The homegrown business notched up again, moving to a larger facility on Second Street, finally calling it quits in 1989.

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