Snohomish arose in 1859 in typical Northwest fashion: around a shack in the woods. When E.C. Ferguson transported his Steilacoom mansion here, through the sound and upriver, it was reassembled as the town's first store and hotel. More settlers arrived to construct a gathering of architecturally mismatched but stylish homes, and Snohomish soon became both the county seat and a major riverboat landing. However, the town lost the seat to Everett in 1896, and life slowed further when Everett became the region's major port and industrial center.
Snohomish is an undeniably quaint and quiet residential town. First Street is the center of the historic district, where elegant 19th-century buildings now house shops, restaurants, and small inns. Dutch Colonial–style homes, English-style cottages, and gingerbread Queen Annes are close-set along the narrow lanes. Not surprisingly, the town is the self-proclaimed "Antiques Capital of the Northwest," with dozens of stores, shops, and vendors selling old treasures.