Our History

Stanwood was first known as Centerville. It was a small trading post located on South Pass of the Stillaguamish River. To avail itself of trade coming in from West Pass as well, Centerville was moved to its present location along the waterfront of the Stillaguamish River. A wharf was built along with businesses that lined the waterfront to supply the needs of the citizens of the area. D.O. Pearson came to Centerville in 1879 and constructed a mercantile store on the waterfront. He became Centerville’s seventh postmaster and changed the name of the town, at the request of the United States Government, to Stanwood in honor of his wife’s maiden name, Clara Stanwood Pearson.

Agricultural products and lumber were shipped out of Stanwood by steamboat. In 1890 the Great Northern Railway came to town-not through Stanwood, but a mile east, hugging the base of the hill. A separate town, East Stanwood, sprang up to meet the needs of shipping goods by rail. Steamboat traffic began to dwindle over the years as a result.

Stanwood incorporated in 1904. Businesses had begun to move north from the waterfront, relocating along Market Street (102nd Avenue Northwest). The H&H Railroad was built to transport lumber and farm products from Stanwood to the main rail line in East Stanwood. The waterfront became a place for warehouses and a processing plants. In later years the Lien Brothers purchased the plants for processing vegetables. In 1949 the Lervick family purchased the plant, naming it Twin City Foods. By 1915 the Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company moved from the waterfront to East Stanwood at the base of the hill. Later it became a vegetable cannery.

The road to Camano Island was created when a bridge was built in 1909. By 1913 roads in Stanwood and East Stanwood had been paved with brick. Automobile and bus traffic would come from the South up the Pacific Highway to East Stanwood, go west to Stanwood, and then north to Skagit County.

East Stanwood, incorporated in 1914, along with Stanwood was the hub for all of the small towns surrounding them-Warm Beach, Florence, Woodland, Victoria, Freeborn, Cedarhome, and Camano Island. Each had their own grade schools, but students would come to East Stanwood or Stanwood for high school. In 1944 East Stanwood and Stanwood school districts consolidated, becoming Twin City High School.

Soon major changes came to Stanwood and East Stanwood. Because of new requirements for waste water facilities, which neither town could afford on its own, they consolidated into one entity in 1960. In the late 50s Highway 532 had been constructed from Terry’s Corner to the top of the hill in East Stanwood (72nd Avenue). Then in the early 70s it was extended to Interstate 5 and is the 532 corridor we have today. In the 1990s a third business district was built on the hill, and large subdivisions were allowed into annexations north and east of the original towns.

History Summary by Dave Eldridge, former Planning Commission Member of 19 years and a trustee with the Stanwood Area Historical Society.


Stanwood is a city located in north Snohomish County. The City of Stanwood was incorporated in 1903, and its form of government is Mayor-Council. The land area is 2.93 square miles.

Source: 2017 Office of Financial Management
View Stanwood Demographics (PDF) from the 2010 United States Census.

Source for Population 1920 through 2010: Decades of Growth, Everett Herald (February 1, 2013)
Source for Population 2011 to Present: Washington State Office of Financial Management.

1920     704
1930     715
1940     600
1950     710
1960     646
1970   1,357
1980   1,646
1990   1,961
2000   3,923
2010   6,231
2011   6,220
2012   6,300
2013   6,340
2014   6,530
2015   6,585
2016   6,635
2017   6,785
2018   6,835
2019   7,070

Parks & Recreation

The City has 3 parks totaling 62.5 acres. Amenities within the parks include:

  • 1 skateboard park
  • 1 softball field
  • 2 basketball courts
  • 3 playgrounds
  • 3 soccer/lacrosse fields
  • 4 baseball fields
  • 4 miles of bike/walking paths
  • 18-hole disc golf course
  • Wildlife sanctuary
Future Parks

Two future parks, Ovenell Farm and Hamilton Landing, totaling 15 acres, are in the planning stages and will be open to the public soon. These parks will provide:

  • Indoor/outdoor venues for local events
  • A non-motorized boat launch
  • Open space
  • Playground
  • Walking trails


The City of Stanwood is home to many annual events:

  • Snow Goose and Birding Festival
  • The Great Northwest Glass quest
  • The Stanwood Farmers Market
  • Twin City Idlers Car Show
  • Art by the Bay
  • Summer Arts Jam
  • Stanwood Summer Concerts
  • 4th of July Parade
  • Movies in the Park
  • National Night Out
  • Stanwood-Camano Community Fair
  • Rotary Community Parade
  • Stanwood-Camano Historic Sites Tours
  • Light Up Your Holidays

Events are posted on our online tourism and marketing platform, This site is also host to our local business directory PLACES.


Stanwood’s zoning is predominately single family residential; however we do allow accessory dwelling units and cottages in SF residential zones,” Love said.  “The Traditional Neighborhood zone is an attempt at addressing the missing middle housing issue by requiring three housing types within a plat.  The city also has mixed-use zoning in the commercial Mainstreet Business I & II zones, which could provide that low density MF density housing.

The average 2019 sale price of a single family home in Stanwood was $387,918.

  • The average rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Stanwood, WA is $1,309
  • The average rent of a 2 bedroom apartment in Stanwood, WA is $1,504
  • The average rent of a 3 bedroom apartment in Stanwood, WA is $1,818

*source -September 2020

Stanwood-Camano School District

The Stanwood-Camano School District serves the Camano Island portion of Island County and the northwest portion of Snohomish County, bordering on the Skagit County line to the north and sharing boundaries with Arlington, Lakewood, and Marysville School Districts to the southeast..

The district consists of:

  • 5 elementary schools serving kindergarten through grade five
  • 2 middle schools serving grades six through eight
  • 1 high school serving grades nine through twelve
  • 1 alternative middle school serving grades seven through eight
  • 1 alternative high school serving grades nine through twelve
  • A variety of on-line courses for students in grades nine through twelve
  • A parent partnership program for students who benefit from a non-traditional educational experience where parents are the primary teachers
  • Service for preschoolers from age three with developmental delays

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