Murphy’s Corner, Mill Creek


Intersection of 19th Avenue SE and 132nd Street SE, Mill Creek

Robert A. Murphy, the son of Allen and Harriet (McClay), was born in 1864, in Ottawa, Canada.56 Allen and Harriet were both from Northern Ireland.57 Allen Murphy was a lumberman and a farmer; he died in 1893. 58 Robert Murphy worked with his father until he ran away from home at the age of 17. He secured a job at the Russell House, of Ottawa, as a bellboy. After three years, he moved from hotel to hotel until he arrived in Spokane. In 1902, he moved to Seattle and then to Alaska where he worked in another hotel for two years. Upon his return to Seattle, he found a job at the Sergian Hotel. By 1915, he had purchased the 44 acres which would become known as Murphy’s Corner. Murphy lived in a log cabin for a year while he built his own hotel. The building had a large ballroom and the latest guest facilities. Murphy’s wife, Mary (Mamie) A. Lauer, managed the hotel meals. The establishment was well known for its chicken dinners and “home cooking.” Mamie married Robert Murphy in 1910; she was from Los Angeles, California. Their resort was one of the most popular in the region. (59)

Robert Murphy had four brothers—T.H., Easton, Cecil, and Arnold—and two sisters, one of which was Mable Beyeres. Robert died on June 19, 1942. (60)

Archie Arnold, age 95, grew up on a 20-acre farm on 132nd Street SE, near Murpy’s Corner. (61) He remembers both the Murphys and the Osborns of Osborn Corner. Arnold describes Robert Murphy as man who always wore a suit and seemed wealthy. Likewise, Mrs. Murphy was “sharp,” well educated, and well dressed. The Murphy hotel was known as the “roadhouse” and it had a gas station. The Murphys planned to open a golf course, but this plan naver came to fruition. According to Arnold, there were aproximately 13 residences between Murphy’s Corner and Osborn’s Corner during the 1920s and 30s. The Arnold family paid for the rights to pick and sell blackberries from the 100 acres that the Osborn’s owned. Archie and his siblings sold the berries for $1 a gallon and earned enough for their school supplies, clothes, and entertainment. (62)

Archie’s parents Marguerite Elise (Arsenault) Arnold and Emanuel Arnold were French, but came to Snohomish County via Canada. Archie has since travelled to France several times to see his mother’s birthplace. In 1928, the Arnold’s home in Arlington was destroyed by fire. They then moved to a farm between Murphy Corner and Osborn Corner. It was difficult transitioning from the town of Arlington to a rural farm. They had no power or water lines and they lived in a house that was too small for the Arnolds and their five children: Rose, Felix, Archie, Ernie, and Rena. Marguerite and Emanuel had to clear the land, dig their own well, and build a bigger house. At first, the children attended the Thomas Lake School. It was a one room school for eight grades that were all taught by Mrs.Hover; Mr. Hover drove the school bus. The Arnold children later attended the Silver Lake School. (63)

Arnold remembers that both women and children worked hard to survive the difficult depression era. As a boy, Archie picked berries for his family and delivered the Seattle Star newspaper.The local grocery store and gas station, owned by the Oberlanders, let people buy food on credit and women worked together to provide lunch for the school children. Mrs. Oberlander also bought 10 acres from the Arnold family for her brother who was very old. During this time, people created their own entertainment. The Femestra family sang and played the violin and banjo for neighborhood dances. Archie recalls that no one had any modern appliances— neighbors cleared their land with teams of horses.

Archie also did gardening for Mrs. Oberlander. While he worked, Mrs. Oberlander and Mrs. Murphy gave him plenty of life advice, such as encouraging him to go to law school. As a teen, Archie didn’t take their advice. He entered the Civilian Conservation Corps, but his captain and lieutenant, against CCC rules, enrolled him in high school and encouraged him to graduate. The captain and lieutenant even attended his graduation ceremony. Upon enrolling in business college, Archie realized “he had to get serious about life.” He was drafted into the military at Fort Lewis but was discharged after an hour because of knee injuries from playing baseball. In 1945, Archie decided to become a mechanical engineer. He has since designed many hot water and heating systems. One of his projects was the Red Hook Brewery in New Hampshire. Additionally, he also worked on several retirement homes. Archie married the daughter of one of his childhood neighbors, the Welch family. Although they are now divorced they still visit with each other. (64)

(Additional research provided by David Dilgard and Archie Arnold, who is writing his family’s history.)

(59) Whitfield, William, ed. History of Snohomish County, Washington. V2 Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 1926. pg. 752
(60) “Robert A. Murphy.” The Everett Daily Herald, June 20, 1942. pg. 11
(61) Hoogkamer, Lauren Perez, Interview with Archie Arnold. October 30, 2013
(62) Ibid
(63) Ibid
(64) Hoogkamer, Lauren Perez, Interview with Archie Arnold. October 30, 2013

Robert A. Murphy (NW Room, 1939)

Robert A. Murphy (NW Room, 1939)