The seat of Skagit County, it was named for Washington’s Potomac home. The Skagit River has played an important part in the development of the town; in 1870 fur traders, finding it navigable, established a post here. Prospects of gold along Ruby Creek stimulated the activity of the settlement, and when hopes of striking pay dirt faded many of the prospectors began logging and farming in the Skagit Valley. By the 1940s, the bulk of Mount Vernon’s pay roll was provided by two pea canneries, two milk condenseries, an egg-storage and poultry plant, and a chicken and turkey hatchery. A shingle mill and a brick and tile plant added to the income of the city.
During the last week-end in July, Mount Vernon has an annual celebration, whose official insignia is a work hat worn with a hickory shirt. Gay booths line the streets; considerable hilarity is added by the ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary, who in gala attire police the town, “arresting” and trying “offenders” who fail to wear the official Hickory Shirt and Hat.