Eisen’s Corner, Lynnwood


6824 212th Street SW, Lynnwood

Originally, the Eisen brothers, Carl and Frank, came to Snohomish Country with their mother, who was running a resort on Hall’s Lake during the 1920s. (26) Carl Eisen wanted to become a firefighter ever since he witnessed the 1915 fire that nearly burned all of South County due to a lack of firefighters and firefighting resources. (27) In 1929, Eisen and Clarence Crary started the area’s first volunteer fire department, which operated out of Eisen’s service garage at SW 212th Street and Highway 99. The fire department had 25 volunteers, no uniforms, and no equipment. Dressed in old clothes, they used pickup trucks loaded with buckets and barrels to fight fires. In 1932, the department restored a 1925 REO Speedwagon fire truck that was purchased from the Edmonds Fire Department for $300. Eisen’s wife, Adele, operated the station’s hand- cranked siren and speaker from her back porch while she manned the gas pumps at their garage and service station. Whenever there was a fire, residents would call Eisen’s garage and he would drive the truck to the site.

As volunteers heard the siren they would bring extra buckets to refill the truck. (28) Eisen told the Enterprise Weekender that people would joke that the fire truck was so slow they could pass it with a bicycle. (29) In 1945, the station became Snohomish County’s Fire District 1 and Crary became the first fire chief. (30) A major goal on the way to becoming a legitimate fire district was raising the $50 to $75 it cost to install a fire hydrant. However, even the fire hydrant didn’t solve the problems caused by lack of infrastructure. Eisen’s team lost a furniture manufacturing plant to a fire when a water pipe broke as they were connecting their hoses—the underground pipe had been attached by plastic. (31) Eisen was assistant chief until 1955 when he took over; that was also the year it became a paid position. Up until the late 1950s, the fire department was still staffed by volunteers; there were no fire regulations and very few fire hydrants. However, the Firemen’s Ball was the peak of the social season. (32)

In 1957, a formal fire station (6824 212th St. SW) was built, at the same location as Eisen’s garage, with money raised by the Seattle Heights Civic Club. The original garage was demolished in 1963. The Herald reported that Carl Eisen watched sadly as bulldozers demolished the original building he and his brother, Frank, built in 1925. As fire chief, Eisen was there to ensure that fire safety regulations were being followed. It took the brothers two years to build the garage as they had to work in their free time and when money was available. Eisen told the Herald that they used horses to level the hill that used to stand on the land, a process which took over a year. In 1952, Eisen sold his share of the building to his brother and his share of the business to Robert Olson. Under Frank Eisen and Robert Olson, the business was moved to a larger building. The Eisen’s garage was the first building at that intersection, back when Highway 99 was barely used. Carl Eisen also built a house, which has since been demolished, near the garage. The house was sold with the building. Eisen told the Herald that he wished he could save the old buildings. (33)

Eisen remained chief until 1968, when he retired, amidst controversy, and became chief mechanic. When Eisen resigned, fire secretary Bob Davidson turned in his resignation to protest the commissioners who called for Eisen’s removal. (34) It was reported that the commission was responding to complaints from some of the volunteer firefighters. (35)

Carl Eisen was born on October 11, 1901, in Minnesota. He died on January 31, 1993. The Eisens had three children: Gary, Ken, and Patty. (36) Eisen was known by the community as “Mr. Fireman.” (37)

(26) The Everett Herald, “Fire, Dozer Erase Landmark—Another South County Link With Past Goes.” October 9, 1963
(27) Gardiner, Judy, “Old Time Fireman Remembers When.” The Enterprise Weekender, June 24, 1978
(28) Snohomish County Fire District, “History.” 2005
(29) Gardiner, Judy, “Old Time Fireman Remembers When.” The Enterprise Weekender, June 24, 1978
(30) Snohomish County Fire District, “History.” 2005
(31) Gardiner, Judy
(32) Ibid
(33) The Everett Herald, “Fire, Dozer Erase Landmark—Another South County Link With Past Goes.” October 9, 1963
(34) The Enterprise, “Chief Eisen Steps Down.” June 5,1968
(35) The Everett Herald, “Fire Chief Asked to Resign Post.” April 10, 1968
(36) The Herald, Obituaries. February 2, 1993
(37) Haley, Jim, “Fire Fighting Pioneered by Chief 31 Years Ago.” The Everett Herald, April 10, 1968

  • Eisen’s volunteer squad in the 1930s (The Enterprise Weekender)

    Eisen’s volunteer squad in the 1930s (The Enterprise Weekender)

  • C. Eisen at the Firehouse (SCFD1, circa 1950s)

    C. Eisen at the Firehouse (SCFD1, circa 1950s)

  • C. Eisen (The Enterprise Weekender, 1978)

    C. Eisen (The Enterprise Weekender, 1978)

  • 6824 212th St. SW (Hoogkamer, 2013)

    6824 212th St. SW (Hoogkamer, 2013)

  • LEFT: Eisen and Inspector Clarence Crary 
(The Everett Daily Herald, 1956), RIGHT: C. Eisen on the right (SCFD1, 1961)

    LEFT: Eisen and Inspector Clarence Crary (The Everett Daily Herald, 1956), RIGHT: C. Eisen on the right (SCFD1, 1961)