About This Place
Mount Vernon is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The population was 31,743 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the county seat of Skagit County. Downtown Mount Vernon is known for its annual Tulip Festival Street Fair which is part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The climate of Skagit County is similar to that of northern France. While millions of tulips are grown in the Skagit Valley, none are shipped to the European Union, which has strict import-export laws that protect its markets. In 1998, Mount Vernon was rated the #1 "Best Small City in America" by the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities.
Jasper Gates and Joseph Dwelley first settled on the banks of the Skagit River, where the city of Mount Vernon now lies, in 1870. Later on, Harrison Clothier came to the community in 1877 to teach school and join in business with a former student, E.G. English. They were later recognized as the city's founders and pioneer businessman. A post office was established in November 1877 with Clothier appointed postmaster. The city was named after Mount Vernon, the plantation estate and resting place of George Washington. The two men laid out the city's first plat while the area was still heavily timbered.
Mount Vernon's first industry were the logging camps set up to log the townsite. The community grew quickly following the loggers and hotels and saloons opened up along the Skagit River next to English & Clothiers' store. While poised to grow, river access to the community was stymied by a massive and ancient log jam in the river which prevented large ships from being able to port. Mail carriers instead had to paddle canoes down-stream to nearby Skagit City. The mining activity at nearby Ruby Creek spurred growth for a short time in 1880, gaining the city a new hotel, but little else was accomplished when the mines proved to be shallow. More logging operations were established but were not profitable due to the low price of logs at the time. By 1881, Mount Vernon's permanent population was 75.