Historic Downtown


Welcome to Downtown Arlington, Washington

With a Hometown Feel after all these years.

Incorporated in 1903, the City of Arlington is located in northern Snohomish County approximately 10 miles north of Everett and 40 miles north of Seattle.

The City of Arlington is situated at the forks of the Stillaguamish River. Coast Salish people from prehistoric times, primarily of the Stillaguamish Tribe, stopped to camp at the forks as they passed up and down the river following the abundant fish runs and otherwise using the river as a primary travel corridor. The Stillaguamish called the place Skabalko.

Exploration of the future Arlington area by settlers of European descent began around 1851 with a prospector visit followed in 1856 by a U.S. Army trail from present day Snohomish crossing the river just below the forks. A rough wagon road closely following the old trail brought pioneers coming from the Marysville area in the mid-1880s; others came by canoe. A store was opened at the forks in the spring of 1887 by Nels K. Tvete and Nils C. Johnson. The White House Hotel owned by loggers Lee Rogers and Al Dinsmore opened about 4 months later.

In the spring of 1890, two rival towns were actually platted within one month of each other in what is present-day Arlington. Arlington was platted in March of that year and Haller City in April. Haller City, including the store and hotel, was located on the riverbank with Arlington on higher ground to the south. It was Haller City which contained the much of City’s present-day shoreline areas since it was located along the river with Arlington farther inland.

Rivalry between the two towns continued for a several years, with Arlington apparently having a distinct advantage with respect to the location of a critical railroad depot. Haller City’s location along the river bank was not as suitable for a depot, so it was built on higher ground farther from the river, in Arlington. By year’s end, Arlington also had an express office, a warehouse, telegraph, and a post office while Haller City had a blacksmith, hay dealers, shoemakers, stage line, meat market, livery, hotel, and vet surgeon. By 1895, however, a number of businessmen in Haller City conceded that it would be better to be up in Arlington. Leading were Tvete and Johnson who moved their original general store by ox team up to a lot on 4th Street in Arlington, and others followed. Eventually, all that was left in Haller City were the shingles mills and housing.

The two towns were incorporated into one in 1903 (taking the name of Arlington), with Division Street serving as a reminder that there were once two towns.

The community of Smokey Point itself got its name back in the 1950s from a restaurant named the Smokey Point Café. Located on the northwest corner of 172nd Street NE and Smokey Point Boulevard/SR 531, the café generated a plume of smoke, hence the name Smokey Point.

TODAY, our town still has the old town feel but we have many exciting things happening, you’ll find our historic city full of adventure, activities, music, art, and many wonderful festivals. From our Eagle Festival in February, to our Hometown Holidays and wagon rides in December….every month we have something for everyone to share and enjoy.

Downtown Arlington showcases the true spirit of ‘small town’ living. Stroll along our beautiful streets of Olympic and West Avenue and you’ll find yourself feeling like you’ve lived here all your life. Visit quaint shops, antique stores, tasty diners and gourmet restaurants. Come enjoy our vintage buildings, local artwork, live music at our Gazebo, and walk along with us in one of our many fun parades.

While you’re here, be sure to take a walk or bike along the Centennial trail from Downtown to the Stillaguamish River. Enjoy the artwork created by local artists on display along the way. Just a short drive from downtown, you’ll find excellent river and lake fishing as well as miles and miles of hiking trails.

Come and celebrate the good life here in Downtown Arlington.

Arlington Pictorial History Presentation [14.2MB .pdf]

Arlington History  – from the ages of An Illustrated History of Skagit & Snohomish Counties, 1906

1903 Election Ad – Arlington Times

Arlington History – author unknown