10. Fifth Ave and Main St

Stages of History 5th and Main plaque


A bronze portrait of Edmonds founding father, George Brackett, crowns the “Heart of Downtown” panel at 5th Avenue and Main Street. Brackett is flanked by images of his faithful cattle dog, Bill, and his bull ox, Bolivar. 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 to incorporate the town. 

Since the days of horse-drawn wagons, the roads from the east and the south converged on the intersection of 5th Ave and Main St, 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 façade 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. Currently home to Starbucks and Mar-Ket Fish, a remarkable number and variety of Edmonds businesses called this building home.

Construction started on the Schneider Building on the northeast corner of 5th and Main St. in January, 1926. The Skaggs United Grocery--later Safeway--opened the following April. By the end of 1926, Skaggs was joined by the Edmonds Post Office, which moved into the north wing of the building from its former location at 4th and Main St. The business currently occupying the building is Sound Styles, Garden Gear, Pelindaba Lavender and Advanced Hearing.

The northwest and southwest corners of the intersection have been redeveloped, but for many decades those corners 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 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 in 1927, a practice that carried on for many years. In support of the war effort in the 1940s, volunteers set up a metal recycling drive-in at the center of the intersection. The Edmonds Arts Festival was presented as a street fair, held at 5th and Main in 1960. 

A traffic circle was constructed in the mid-70s, and an abstract copper fountain, a commission of 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, public artist Benson Shaw created a new fountain, “Cedar Dreams”. The project includes artwork in the street paving, benches and sidewalks surrounding the fountain. In 2006, this fountain also suffered damage by a car accident, but in true Edmonds spirit, was reconstructed.