Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Fred Cruger
Contributing Writer 

What's in a name?


December 30, 2011

Ewald Lake, often half full of logs by 1910.

No wonder fish can’t get mail! Even if they live and spawn in a single lake, people keep changing the name(s) of the lake! Sometimes, it’s a little hard to know when and why.

Early in the history of Granite Falls, the Ewald Brothers had a mill on a lake about a mile and a half miles southeast of town.

Joseph Swartz had a mill on a lake about three-quarter miles further south. Not surprisingly, the two lakes were called Ewald Lake and Swartz Lake on maps from 1910. There were almost a dozen mills in the immediate area, belonging to names like Sobey, Anderson, Robe-Menzel, Chappell, etc.

According to the hand-written history of Granite Falls created in 1917, sometime about 1910 Sobey and Waite bought the Ewald mill, and a year later, Waite bought out Sobey’s interest, so the mill was known and operated as Waite Mill for almost twenty more years.

It became the area’s largest employer, with a daily capacity of 125,000 board feet of cut lumber, finally closing in 1927. Most modern residents know exactly how to get to the mill location— just turn onto Waite Mill Rd and drive to the lake (Ewald Lake, right?).

Swartz Mill, looking from what is today Scotty Rd.

Oops, all the maps now call that lake Swartz Lake! And the original Swartz Lake (where Swartz lived and milled) is now called Boyd Lake. The change shows on maps from as early as 1927, but there’s no apparent reason for the change.

In 1949, Frank Niles, the first Granite Falls newspaper editor, was asked to write a history of Granite Falls, and he mentioned the mystery. In speaking of Waite’s Mill he said, “By the way, I believe this lake should be called Ewald’s Lake and the one below the hill is properly called Swartz’s Lake. The other designation was used as long as I was in Granite Falls.”

So, Ewald Lake became Swartz Lake. Swartz Lake became Boyd Lake, but was known by many local residents as Dexter Lake (the Dexter family lived there for years), and a developer tried to name it Kwaladi Lake.

Aah, fish don’t need mail anyway.


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