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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saving Our Museum - Why it Matters

photo credit Vick Westberg

Shoreline Historical Museum - At the "Hub" of Shoreline's 
Past and Future

Shoreline Historical Museum in the Landmarked Ronald School
Judge Ronald "presiding" in the classroom

The history of Shoreline as a community coincides with the history of the automobile. It is just a fact. Highway 99 (Aurora Ave North), was developed in the early 20th century to promote travel and development, and Shoreline, just north of Seattle became THE route towards Everett, Canada and beyond.  People were moving north. First the Interurban Railway was built, but then with the help of Judge JT Ronald and others with the "Red Brick Road" built in 1913, Shoreline became a hub of "auto-oriented" activity.  Aurora Avenue North developed with car dealers, road houses, vacation cottages and hundreds of other businesses. This development eventually was accelerated when WW II veterans and their families moved in to the thousands of new homes. 

Every year the Golden Wheels Vintage Auto Racing Fraternity has celebrated its past by displaying the mini-racers at the Shoreline Historical Museum, that used to thrill onlookers the Aurora Speedway at Playland Park at Bitter Lake. This is just one of many, many elements of Shoreline that were, and some say still do revolve around the automobile.  

Dick Parker's PavilionexteriorMaywood1939
Shoreline Historical Museum Collection

Businesses on Aurora Ave N near 185th St, circa 1945

Aurora Village Shopping Center- circa 1960 

So many businesses developed on Aurora Ave North, throughout the 20th Century and are an essential part of our history. And they all depended on or revolved around the automobile. Here are just a few that 
are a part of the fabric of our lives: Carter Suburu, Highland Ice Arena, Echo Lake Tavern, Drift On Inn, Parkers, Chuck Olson Chevrolet, Aurora Rents and hundreds of others.

The Museum celebrates this history. They even have a 1926 Model "T" Roadster on display in the basement! An article in the Ronald Bog Blog tells this "Car through the window" fun story.

Now a new era has begun for Aurora Ave North, Shoreline and the Shoreline Historical Museum has a vital role to play.

Shoreline is now redeveloping Aurora Ave North in its Phase II Project. This project is budgeted at over $90 mil (funded largely with State and Fed grants) and the public is looking forward to its completion.
It is planned to emphasize many modes of travel including, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), Pedestrian, Bike and of course proposed to improve vehicle travel. Shoreline is also in the midst of the Town Center planning process. The City Vision emphasizes that the Museum is a part of our Town Center.

Now Shoreline is at the forefront of Renewable Energy Technologies and ideas. Next Saturday is the Seventh Annual Solar Fest, this year bigger than ever at the Shoreline Community College! It is a remarkable event that highlights all the new technologies, including the newest "automobile technology". Shoreline Community College has a 21st Century Auto Technology Training Center that will be featured.

If you care about preserving Shoreline's history, which is actually tied to the history of Aurora Ave N and the history of Washington State in the 20th Century, NOW is the time to make your voice heard!

What can you do? 

     Here is the Agenda

     It is a very good venue to get across the importance of saving our museum as a part of the Town Center. The staff report and the City's Vision crafted in 2009 includes the Museum as an element.
You can send a comment letter to the Planning Commission this week and it will be very timely now.

Write letters - Send a letter to the editor at Shoreline Area News, Seattle Times, Crosscut, Seattle PI,
OR leave a comment here at Of Paramount Importance (below). Or you can contact the group that is advocating FOR the Museum - Save Our Shoreline Historical Museum. You can contact ME @

        Send letters to the City of Shoreline (City Council) 

     City of Shoreline
17500 Midvale Avenue N
Shoreline, WA 98133-4905

Tel: (206) 801-2700

     Shoreline School District Offices

     18560 1st Avenue NE, Shoreline, WA 98155

Call the City and School District  (see above)- 

      749 North 175th
      Shoreline, WA 98133
      (206) 542-7111

And STAY TUNED for more updates and ways to help!

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