[EDITOR’S NOTE: From our sister site The Waterland Blog comes this interesting story on a piece of history that was uncovered by grinding work being done in Des Moines this last weekend:]
This last weekend, at the intersection of 216th Street and Marine View Drive, road crews doing grinding work uncovered a piece of Des Moines History – a segment of the original Des Moines to Seattle Brick Boulevard.
According to the Des Moines Historical Society, from the founding of Des Moines in the 1880s until 1916, almost all local travel was by foot, or horse and buggy. If you wanted to go to Seattle, you went to the dock at the foot of 227th Street, or the one in Zenith at 240th Street and boarded the Dart, or Daring, or Defiance or Dove, or another of the many steamboats that provided transportation on Puget Sound.
However, the advent of paved roads spelled the beginning of the end for the Mosquito Fleet era.
In the summer of 1916, all the motorized vehicles from miles around gathered on 227th Street in Des Moines to celebrate the opening of our first paved (with bricks) highway to Seattle.
By the 1930s, downtown Des Moines had begun to move its original main street away from 6th Ave. South, onto the brick road, which was later paved over with blacktop, and renamed Marine View Drive.
Del’s Service station was built in 1939 at 225th Street, and later served the community for decades as Butlers Garage, and more recently as Butlers Bar & Grill, and currently as The Scotch & Vine.
The portion of the brick road continuing north beyond Des Moines Creek and the flagpole became Des Moines Way, then later Des Moines Memorial Drive, and continues to serve surrounding communities more than 100 years after its beginnings as a pioneer footpath through the forest.
The Waterland Blog would like to thank Carmen Scott, who took the color photo of the exposed bricks, and compiled information gleaned from DMHS and Mosquito Fleet history books and old (1916) newspaper clippings.]]>