It lies in gently rolling country adjacent to the Skykomish River. Monroe is exceptional among Washington towns in that no speculative frenzies or booms stimulated its gradual transition from a logging center to a rich farming community. Nurseries and greenhouses were maintained by the Great Northern; other industries included a large cannery and a milk condensery.
In 1873 Salem Wood began a settlement one mile from the site of Monroe, naming the region Park Place. John Vanasdlen, who opened a store and post office here in 1889, renamed it Monroe at the request of postal authorities. Another town, plotted when the Great Northern arrived, was called Tye, although the station was designated Wales. Vanasdlen moved to the new site, and railroad officials changed the station name to that of the post office. Sawmill construction moved into the region. During the chaotic period in the early 1930S, a study group of farmers and unemployed emerged, which finally became the Self-Help Co-operative of Monroe, and operated a cannery, wood-yard, and distributing agency.