Monday, April 16, 2012


At the turn of the twentieth century the North Pacific forests brought lumber mills to external waterways. The logs were floated down rivers and sloughs, tied together to form vast rafts. One of these mills was in established in 1903 in Mukilteo. The next year a mercantile company began to sell supplies to the men who came to work in the mill.

In the early 1900s many Japanese men came to Mukilteo, Washington to work for a large lumber mill, the Crown Lumber Company. Their families followed and a lived in company housing set up in a gulch twenty minutes walk from the mill. Locals referred to it as Japanese Gulch.

With Whidbey Island protecting Gardner Bay from the west and Camano Island to the north, Everett built inland where the logs floated down Snohomish County waterways. Workers resented the cheap Japanese labor and attempted to drive them out. They succeeded in other towns in the County. Only Mukilteo residents developed relationships with the families and supported their presence. School children learned and played together. A strong social fabric was woven through their differences and similarities.

When the Crown Lumber Company closed in 1930, many families moved on to find work elsewhere. Most of the Japanese also moved taking with them fond memories of a camp called Mukilteo.

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