In 1903 Snohomish had many dirt streets, and if there was a sidewalk, it was a wooden sidewalk. There was a plank road on some of the downtown streets for a ways. The planks were about three inches wide running across the street. This is were you walked and if you stepped off the planks you stepped into water or mud. These planks were torn out and First Street was paved with brick. When the brick pavement was finished there was a three day celebration! Every Saturday they would wash First Street witha fire hose. It was kept cleaner than it is today.
First Street between Avenues B and C, was destroyed when a small blaze in the Palace Cafe on the South side of the street got out of control on Memorial Day, 1911 at about four a.m.
Thirty-five business structures were put out of business, with $173,000 worth of goods destroyed.
Fire Department Established
The earliest fire fighting in Snohomish was the so called "Bucket Brigade", with buckets and wet sacks. In 1883, the first move towards concerted fire protection in the small community was taken, with the installation of a force pump and 100 feet fo hose on th bank of the Snohomish River. In 1887, the first city water system from Blackman's Lake was put into service. On August 8, 1890 the City Council established a fire department. G.W. Head was elected the first Fire Chief.