Everett is best known for the Boeing Aircraft plant and for having the second-largest Puget Sound port (after Seattle). The naval station here is home to the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier and a support flotilla of destroyers and frigates. Much of this industrial town, the county seat of suburban Snohomish County, sits high on a bluff above Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River. The waterfront was once lined by so many lumber, pulp, and shingle mills that Everett proudly called itself "the city of smokestacks." Downtown Everett has many elegant old commercial buildings dating from the period when John D. Rockefeller heavily invested in the fledging town, hoping to profit from the nearby Monte Cristo mines—which turned out to be a flop. Another scheme failed when James J. Hill made Everett the western terminus of the Great Northern Railroad, hoping to turn it into Puget Sound's most important port.
The pleasant waterfront suburb of Mukilteo, about 5 miles southeast of Everett, is the main departure point for ferries to Clinton, on Whidbey Island. The old lighthouse and waterfront park are fun to explore. An important Native American treaty was signed in 1855 at nearby Point Elliott.
Marysville, 6 miles north of Everett, was set up as a trading post in 1877. Pioneers exchanged goods with the Snohomish people, who once occupied southeastern Whidbey Island and the lower Snohomish Valley. Settlers drained and diked the lowlands, raised dairy cows, planted strawberry fields, cleared the forests, and in no time a thriving community was established. Marysville kept to itself for a century, until the Interstate 5 freeway was built; today it's a thriving community and the home of the popular Tulalip (Too-lay-lip) Casino.