The Hewitt Avenue Historic District in Everett is historically significant under Criterion A, as a diverse and cohesive collection of buildings that convey the commercial and social history and development of the City of Everett from the late 1890s through the late 1950s. The district is also significant under Criterion C, as representing the commercial vernacular style along with several examples of late 1940s and 1950s Modernism. The development of the district, which is located along and near Hewitt Avenue—the first major street of the city—exhibits Everett’s historical commercial trends as well as the importance of social and labor elements in the city’s history.
The district is comprised of 42 resources, 30 of which are contributing.
The years between 1900 and 1915 were highly formative for the town of Everett; its population swelled from 8,000 to 30,000. By 1903 Everett had 10 sawmills, 12 shingle mills, a paper mill, a flouring mill, foundries, and several other industries including the port. The San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906 resulted in huge orders for Northwest lumber for use in reconstruction. The central business district along Hewitt Avenue grew, initially with the construction of wood-frame buildings to be replaced largely by brick masonry structures over time. Sixteen buildings within the Hewitt Avenue Historic District date from the first 15 years of the 20th century.
Everett’s history is distinctly built on the legacy of industry, and the opportunity of work that drew many immigrants to settle there. There were significant populations of Germans, Scandinavians, and Canadians, who built churches, residences, and businesses and established many fraternal organizations. Early on, Everett’s working class organized against the poor working conditions in the mills and factories. There was a wide class gap between the rich owners of the factories and mills and the working people of the town, which is embodied by the grand houses that have survived, particularly in the Rucker Grand Avenue Historic District.
During the early-20th-century period of prosperity for the city, tensions and labor unrest became acute. Everett was one of the most unionized towns in the country, with 25 unions in all, the Shingle Weavers union being the strongest. One of the unique resources tied with this is a site in the district called “Speakers Corner” and area where many labor protests occurred.
Between WWI and the Great Depression there was increased demand for building materials, and the industries of Everett once again boomed. Sixteen buildings in the Hewitt Avenue Historic District date from the years between WWI and 1930.