County seat of Snohomish County, lumbering center, seaport, and distributing point for a fertile agricultural and dairying area, the city lies on a promontory between the sluggish Snohomish River, with its muddy delta, on the east and north, and Port Gardner Bay, an arm of Puget Sound, on the west.
In the business district, near the center of the city, substantial buildings border broad avenues that run east-west across a ridge extending southward from the river to the high bluffs of Rucker Hill.
On the hill and along the bayside to the north are attractive residences, surrounded by broad, close-clipped lawns, brightened in season by daffodils, rows of irises, blossoming shrubs, roses in profusion, beds of flaming gladioli, and golden autumn leaves; even the somberness of winter is broken by the sheen of laurel leaves and the orange and red berries of thorn and holly.
The prevailing westerly winds are usually brisk and occasionally become gales that whip the slate-gray waters of the bay into whitecaps. Sometimes a pall of fog settles over the area, and then foghorns moan their warnings to shipping. The salt air is charged with the pungent odor of seaweed from the brine-soaked tidelands. In the 1940s when the sawmills were still active the resinous tang of newly cut lumber and of smoke from the burning slabs and sawdust, the clean odor of tar from nets and creosoted pilings, and the musty smell of rotting logs, heavy with barnacles filled the air. At night the low, musical throb of Diesel engines and the impatient chugging of gasoline motors float across the water, or the whistle of a train, clear and resonant, echoes through the moisture-laden air.
The city was named for Everett Colby of New Jersey, son of Charles L. Colby, who invested in the Everett Land Company in 1890. Mr Colby established several of the town’s first industries and was a member of the syndicate which built the Everett & Monte Cristo Railroad.