Jet City: A well-deserved nickname for a city that takes to the skies

Bonnie Johnson - Monday, August 14, 2017
Jet City: A well-deserved nickname for a city that takes to the skies

Measuring the passage of time doesn’t seem like it should be subjective, but it is. For instance, some time is metered in heartbeats; the sting of your annual flu shot, the chilly tap-tap of a stethoscope hopscotching across your ribs. Sometimes, a lifetime can pass in a breathless nanosecond, as a dump-truck crosses into your lane on the outside of a double yellow, or the belly-gripping plummet of unexpected flight turbulence.

Time passing on a grand scale is marked by eras or even epochs, characterized by events and identifying factors, like the Great Depression or the Age of Aquarius. Everett has had more than one titled era, beginning even before our first platting in the 1890s. As our city was a planned city, backed by East Coast dollars rather than the traditional model of a Western pioneer town, it had to be pitched with the ring of promise in order to garner financial backing. The dream was pitched as a potential “Pittsburgh of The West”, to be followed over the years as the “Magic City”, “City on The Sound”, and most recently, the “City of Smokestacks”. When the Lowell Papermill was dynamited in February of ‘74, just about 30 years after the shipyard arrived and a decade since Boeing had begun laying stakes, it was clear that the era of Smokestacks was in marked decline. Kimberly Clark closing their doors was the last holdover, a final throwback to an industry that was bowing down to a modern and newer technology. Aerospace and manufacturing, to be more precise.

Each moniker has been suited. “Magic City” because of our unprecedented population boom. “City on the Sound,” for obvious reasons, and the “City of Smokestacks” was compelling and blunt in its visual tribute. So, if the naming process over the years represents a cultural identity related to industry, woven into the sanctum of our city’s character and history, what comes next? Jet City.

If we were to gather ourselves shoulder to shoulder in a roundtable discussion, we’d have plenty of subject matter to draw from as part of our identity. But our cultural hearth, where we raise our glasses and gather, has always been related to principal commerce. It’s the fertile vision from which we sprang, buoyed by lumber and financed by Rockefeller and his ilk. It’s where, in the shadow of evergreens, timed to the tune of the tide, a cityscape took shape; a city of workers, doers, shingle weavers, millers, and timber fellers, whose modern reincarnation is machinists, riveters, programmers, press operators, and CNC whisperers, eeking flight critical components from alloy.

These days, instead of puffing smokestacks in the skies, we see planes and contrails rising and dissipating. Rather than hosting a million shakes per day on the shingle weaving line, we’re now the largest sole-sourced production and export city per capita, defined by highest dollar volume in all of America. We may no longer carry the title of the Magic City, but standing before the largest mural in the entire world, showcased on the façade of the largest building on the globe, is magical in its own right. It’s a testament to our heritage, our workers, planners, and doers.

We at the Everett Post are underway highlighting the multitude of aspects specific to Everett that has propelled us to the new era of Jet City. Please join us! Over the next several months, we’ll be reaching out for feedback and interviews, while rolling out articles dedicated to Jet City, and would be honored by any feedback our readers or listeners contribute to the cause. As usual, you may submit content here: http://www.everettpost.com/submit-content, email news tips or story ideas to editor@krko.com.

 


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