The Port of Edmonds is located on Puget Sound in Snohomish County, Washington, just 15 nautical miles (23 kilometers or 14 miles north) from the Port of Seattle. Part of the Washington State Ferries system, there are several scheduled trips between Kingston and the Port of Edmonds each day. The 2010 US Census reported a population of over 39.7 thousand people living in the Port of Edmonds.
The Port of Edmonds is Snohomish County's oldest incorporated city. Founded by logger George Brackett when his canoe was beached by a gust of wind on the beach that was later known as "Brackett's Landing."
The Port of Edmonds got its name in 1884 but was not incorporated until 1890 when Brackett sold 455 acres to a realty and investment company. Soon, a few homes, commercial structures, and a wharf grew up on the waterfront.
The Great Northern Railway came to the Port of Edmonds in 1891, bringing promise of prosperity to the young community. Town owners foreclosed after the Panic of 1893, and Brackett repossessed his land. Despite the setbacks, town residents and Brackett worked to develop the Port of Edmonds infrastructure. By the turn of the century, there was regular steam-powered ferry service between Seattle and the Port of Edmonds operated by private ferryboats.
The first automobile came to the Port of Edmonds in 1911. As roads were added, the Port of Edmonds began to grow with both commercial and residential development.
Until the mid-1900s, the Port of Edmonds was primarily a collection of boathouses and lumber mills. From the 1890s, as many as ten shingle mills operated on the waterfront until 1951. By that time, the area was in bad shape after many years of neglect.
In 1923, a car ferry began to operate at the city wharf, providing service between the Port of Edmonds and Kingston. In 1951, the privately-operated ferry service was acquired by the Washington State Ferry.
The Port of Edmonds Harbor and Breakwater Improvement Club was organized in 1945 to get a breakwater for the waterfront. The same year, Edmonds Marine Ways opened, building cruisers and small fishing boats adjacent to today's ferry dock. In 1947, the Northwest Fur Breeders Cooperative built a building for freezing fish scraps for its members to use as animal feed. The building was the last of the old Port of Edmonds industrial waterfront buildings to be demolished in 1994.
The Edmonds Port Association was formed in 1947 by representatives of the business and industrial community with the goal of providing better street access to the Port of Edmonds. In 1948, citizens voted to form the Edmonds Port District, approving taxes to support the port district. Three port commissioners were elected. For the following 13 years, the new port district acquired plots of land from private owners. By 1960, the Port of Edmonds owned 14 acres of uplands and controlled about 18 acres of tidelands.
In 1961, the Port of Edmonds started building the Edmonds Boat Harbor and, with the help of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the breakwater and today's south marina were developed. The north breakwater and marina were completed in 1969, bringing moorage capacity in the Port of Edmonds to 741 slips.
The Port of Edmonds expanded in the late 1970s to include 198 port-owned and 265 privately-owned dry storage spaces. By that time, the Port of Edmonds included transient moorage, a fuel dock, and equipment for launch and haul-out. By 1979, several business tenants were operating in the Port of Edmonds.
In 1985, the Port of Edmonds developed the mid-marina area. In 1994, the Port of Edmonds acquired additional property, bringing its operating area to 33 acres. Old facilities were demolished, and the Dry Stack Storage facilities were installed with two Minuteman Boat Launchers.
In the 1990s, a coalition of local, state, and federal agencies undertook efforts to clean up the Port of Edmonds and rebuilt the marina. Investing $13US million, all but one covered dock were rebuilt with new concrete and steel facilities. The Port of Edmonds promenade to the south marina was rebuilt as well, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Port of Edmonds and Marina Beach Park was completed. The new promenade allows pedestrians to walk the half mile from the fishing pier to Marina Beach Park without obstructions. In 2001, the new dry storage facility with capacity for 300 boats was completed.
Today, the Port of Edmonds owns and manages more than 65 acres of land and water, 700 wet moorage slips, and 300 dry storage spaces. The Port of Edmonds has as many as 50 slips available for guests at any one time. Over 50 businesses lease Port of Edmonds property including several restaurants, Edmonds Yacht Sales, Bud's Bait, and the Best Western Edmonds Harbor Inn.
In 2001, Port District voters approved the addition of two Port of Edmonds commissioners to assure a broad base of representation for taxpayers and citizens. Port of Edmonds improvements were completed in 2003. In 2005, the port embarked on the "Destination Port of Edmonds" program to attract visiting boaters, increase the use of transient moorage facilities, and bring more business to downtown businesses and restaurants. Part of the program is the new courtesy van that carries visitors between the Port of Edmonds and downtown entertainment, shopping, and dining venues. In 2006, the local Rotary Club provided funds to create the Port of Edmonds Weather Center to provide real-time information on local conditions for residents and visitors.
The Marina Dock Age magazine named the Port of Edmonds the National Marina of the Year in 2006. It was the first time a West Coast marina received the award. In 2007, the Port Commission approved the creation of a public plaza in the Port of Edmonds. This new family-friendly facility provides space for people to socialize and enjoy marvelous views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. In 2010, the Edmonds Yacht Club opened its new building on Port of Edmonds property.