1950 - 1959
The Korean War begins when North Korea invades the South. The conflict prompts the U.S. federal government to reactivate military operations at Paine Field, where a fighter squadron is stationed. To supply the planes with fuel, the government builds 10 large fuel tanks, dubbed the Mukilteo Tank Farm, on approximately 3,200 linear feet of Mukilteo’s prime waterfront property.
The new state-run Washington State Ferries begins operations on Puget Sound, taking control at 3 a.m. on June 1 from the Puget Sound Navigation Company (the Black Ball Line), which had been operating privately run ferries in the region for decades. The new ferry system leases the Port’s holdings at the Mukilteo ferry landing and dock. Lease terms are $1,800 per year for the Port’s entire tract at the landing.
The Port authorizes an operator to rent space for a seaplane base at the 14th Street boat moorage, “at regular boathouse moorage rates.” There’s not much mention of it in Port records after that — but at least one photograph of a seaplane at the docks remains.
Perhaps in a sign of the growing recreational use of the marinas, the Port begins hearing complaints from the public about boats speeding in the 14th Street moorage basin. The Port’s response: it will do what it can to “curb this speeding menace.”
In December the Port purchases Pier 1 from American Tug Boat Company for $105,000. The following year the Port rehabs the structure so that ships can be berthed on both sides of the pier at the same time.
An armistice brings a cease-fire, but not a true end, to the Korean War; fighter operations at Paine Field will continue into the next decade and the Mukilteo Tank Farm remains in use.
Scott Paper Company (which had merged with Soundview Pulp Company in 1951) opens a paper-making plant next to its pulp mill. By 1955, the mill had been expanded to accommodate four paper-making machines. Employment at the site increases to more than 1,600.
The pleasure boat marina moves north to the 14th Street area (now called Central Docks), but the old marina at the foot of Hewitt Avenue, between piers 1 and 2, still remains in 1954. By the early 1970s, the area had been filled to create Hewitt Terminal (which today is host to a former refrigeration/chill facility, as well as the former Alumina Dome, now used for cement storage and distribution).
The Equator, a former schooner and steamer built in 1888, is left on Jetty Island the week of August 15 as part of a breakwater with other discarded vessels. (The boat would later be rescued and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its colorful history includes an 1889 voyage through the South Pacific with the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, and service as a Puget Sound tug until the mid-1950s.)
The beloved yet timeworn Black Prince is razed to make space for a new Everett Yacht Club addition. Hereafter, the club promises that its meeting room, wherever it might be, will always be known as the Black Prince — as of 2018, it still is.
In August, the Hulbert Mill is destroyed by fire, taking with it around $500,000 worth of buildings and lumber, as well as the neighboring Jamison Mill office. The searing blaze buckles nearby railroad tracks and threatens businesses and homes along Grand Avenue on the bluff above the mills. The Collins Building remains unharmed, however, because of its elaborate sprinkler system — such systems had already been in regular use since the 1880s. The fire marks the end of the connection between the casket company and its parent mill.
After decades of trying to purchase the City Dock property at the foot of Hewitt Avenue, the Port is finally able to buy it from the City of Everett. The cost: $36,500.
The Bozeman/Pictsweet Canning Company on the north bayfront becomes the Everett Fish Company; its seafood processing business is thriving.
Spurred on by requests from members of the Everett Yacht Club and the community at large, the Port starts the process to create a bathing beach on Jetty Island, with a launch at 14th Street. There’s also a proposal for a private ferry service to the island and concessions on the jetty.
The Great Northern Railway gives Pier 3 to the Port of Everett.
Booming Postwar — and Korean War
Even with the Korean War breaking out at the start of the decade, the 1950s brought a growing sense of prosperity and confidence to the region. Returning World War II veterans were settling the area, and the U.S. economy was on an upswing with people feeling optimistic and ready to relax.
The Port felt these changes, too. At the beginning of the decade it was busy trying to regain control of properties that had been taken over by the U.S. armed forces during World War II — along with those that came available from any source post-war. In April 1951 the Port manager was instructed to “notify the city commissioners that the Port of Everett is interested in purchasing any waterfront property which they now own, or may own in the future.”
And it worked. Throughout the decade the Port collected several longtime waterfront properties, including Pier 1 (from American Tug Boat Company), the City Dock property at the foot of Hewitt Avenue (from the city of Everett) and Pier 3 (given to the Port by the Great Northern Railway).
In Mukilteo, two major activities were underway. The United States Air Force built a "tank farm" in 1950 to provide fuel for a fighter squadron stationed at Paine Field in Everett. And in 1952 the Port of Everett began constructing a new ferry dock and landing just south of the tank farm to serve the nascent Washington State Ferries system, which in 1951 had taken over the Black Ball Line.
Pleasure boating took off like a speedboat. Everett Yacht Club membership swelled, and local boat builders, like the Morris brothers, were busy cranking out well-crafted boats to a community that couldn’t get enough of them. In 1954 the Port Commission began working on plans to redesign the 14th Street small boat basin, reporting that they’d had to turn away many pleasure boats for lack of moorage space — hence the need to increase capacity. The work continued throughout the decade. And for a time, seaplane flights operated at Port property, too, at the 14th Street boat moorage.
A few mills remained, and they encountered a variety of fortunes. The Hulbert Mill was snuffed out by a fire in 1956; around the same time, C-B Lumber sold out to the Summit Timber Company. Jamison kept busy pumping out shingles, and Super Shingle remained rooted on its 14th Street Dock site. On the south bayfront, the Soundview Pulp Company continued under that moniker into the early 1950s, but then changed to Scott Paper-Soundview, and later to Scott Paper Company, followed by Kimberly-Clark. The arrival of Scott Paper during this era was a major boon for Everett. The facility expanded several times over the ensuing few years, pushing the work force to more than 1,600 and boosting local building construction.