10. Heart of Downtown

Heart of Downtown

Engels-AdFifth and Main has long been the geographic heart of Edmonds. Since the days of horse-drawn wagons, the main trunk roads from the east and the south converged on this intersection, making it a natural center for civic, cultural and business activities, and development.

On the southeast corner of the intersection, the Leyda Building's classic red brick two-story facade has witnessed nearly a century of change. Fred A. Fourtner, businessman, entrepreneur and Edmonds' longest serving mayor, built this combined commercial and residential structure in 1924. It was known as the Fourtner Building until he sold it to Dewey and Cecelia Leyda in 1946. Over the years a remarkable number and variety of Edmonds businesses have called this building home, with retail offerings ranging from flowers to furnishings, hairstyles to hardware, dry goods to dry cleaning, and gifts to groceries.

Construction started on the Schneider Building at the northeast corner of 5th and Main St. in January, 1926. The Skaggs United Grocery--later to become Safeway--opened the following April. By the end of the year Skaggs was joined by the Edmonds Post Office, which moved into the northern wing of the building from its former location at 4th and Main St.

SafewayThe northwest and southwest corners of the intersection have been redeveloped in recent years, but for many decades featured wood frame buildings that were typical of Edmonds' early commercial structures. On the northern end of the street, the Reece Building was occupied by Hubbard's insurance office. In the mid-1940s, the Mothershead Building next door held the Bienz Confectionary and Edmonds Diesel Delivery. 

The middle of the street, in many ways, could be considered as important as any of the four corners. In the early 1920s the Park Band of Edmonds performed a series of concerts on a bandstand at the center of this broad intersection. The Kiwanis club installed the first decorated Christmas tree at 5th and Main St. in 1927, a practice that carried on for many years. The Edmonds Arts Festival was held outdoors at 5th and Main in 1960.

A traffic circle was constructed in the mid 70s, and an abstract copper fountain, commissioned from local artists Ed Ballew and Howard Duell, was installed in the middle of the circle in 1974. An errant motorist demolished the fountain in 1998. The following year, a public art panel selected artist Benson Shaw to create a new fountain, “Cedar Dreams,” funded by a private donation from the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation. This project included artwork in the street paving, benches and sidewalks surrounding the fountain. In 2006, this fountain also suffered vehicular assault, but in true Edmonds spirit, was rebuilt according to its original design.




 About the Artist-Made Plaque  

5th main plaque ed6e3

A bronze portrait of Edmonds founding father George Brackett crowns the “Heart of Downtown” panel at 5th and Main. Brackett is flanked by images of his faithful cattle dog Bill, and his bull ox, Bollivar. According to Edmonds lore, these two members of the Brackett family had their names added to the 1889 official census in order to make up the required 300 residents needed to apply for a city charter and incorporate the town.

Tour Information

The Edmonds Stages of History Tour is a walking tour of significant sites that mark twelve different aspects in Edmonds' development. A unique artist-made plaque identifies each site on the tour. We invite you to explore Edmonds history at each location. Photographs on this website are courtesy of the Edmonds Historical Museum, unless otherwise noted. Descriptions of Edmonds history for the Stages of History panels and the website include information from copyrighted articles by Larry Vogel, originally published in the original Patch online newspaper, Edmonds: The First Century by Archie Satterfield (1990), and Edmonds: The Gem of Puget Sound by Ray V. Cloud (1983), and use restrictions apply. Other information sources include individual interviews and information supplied by the Edmonds Historical Museum.  Please contact the City of Edmonds Arts Office at 425-771-0228 with any corrections to information on the website or for inquiries regarding specific sources of copyrighted material.  

Contact Us

The City of Edmonds Arts Commission 
ph. 425-771-0228

Visit the Edmonds Arts Commission's Website 
email: eac@edmondswa.gov

The City of Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission
Visit the Historic Preservation Commission's Website 

The Edmonds Historical Museum 
Visit the Edmonds Historical Museum's Website