Original City Council with City Attorney (far left) Signing Incorporation Ordinance 

Six people at Incorporation Vote signing


Founded in 1954, Mountlake Terrace has changed from a small rural community into a metropolitan suburb with a population of over 21,000 residents. The efforts of the city's pioneers and leaders throughout the decades have created a unique city, filled with many amenities, and a vision for the future.

The residential community of Mountlake Terrace began with the speculative construction of homes for returning World War II veterans and their young families. Within ten years, the population grew to 5,000 and a group of civic-minded residents took steps to create a municipal government. The City of Mountlake Terrace was incorporated on November 29, 1954 under a Council-Manager form of government.

50th Anniversary of Incorporation Celebration

In 2004, the City celebrated its 50th anniversary of incorporation with a year full of special activities and commemorative events, culminating in a Gala Dinner in November. About 400 guests attended the dinner including the first City Clerk, Lucille Foard, original City Attorney William Hennessey, first Fire Chief Patrick McMahan, and former Mayor Dr. Frank Hammer.

Four of the five original Council Members, H. Scott Wilson, Patricia Neibel, Harley McFarland and Lester Steele were present and recalled their fond memories of the City in its infancy while former Mayors Lois Anderson, Dave Gossett, and other past city officials spoke about how the city matured and the challenges they faced. Original Mayor Gil Geiser passed away in 1987. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell addressed the crowd with stories of her Mountlake Terrace roots. Throughout the evening, past and present residents and employees reminisced about the old days.

Four Original Councilmembers in 2004

Four of the original City Councilmembers at city's 50th anniversary gala

City Hall

In 1961, citizens overwhelming approved a bond issue to build a City Hall with a full range of services to serve its growing population. Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson attended the dedication of the new building in 1962, and former Mayor Frank Hammer noted, "It was a big event and a proud moment for the community."

Growth & Development

A bustling town center formed during the early decades that included a department store, pharmacy, grocery store, dry cleaners, beauty shop, and restaurants. The opening of Alderwood Mall in neighboring Lynnwood as well as two fires in the Mountlake Terrace town center in the 1980s resulted in a downturn for some local businesses.

City Hall became part of a Civic Center with the addition of a Police Station and a new public library in the late 1980s and early 1990s and a new Fire Station in 2006.


A spurt of new construction began along the main street of 56th Avenue in 2005 anticipating opportunities to come. The businesses that survived the economic downturn of the 1980s and arson fires of the early 1990s continue to thrive and serve as landmarks to local residents and attract loyal customers from all over the Puget Sound region.

In 2006, the City Council focused on generating economic development through the creation of a Town Center Plan. The City Council worked in tandem with the community to adopt the Town Center Plan in early 2007 with the hope of revitalizing its downtown to create an economically viable city and retain quality of life for its residents. Downtown properties were hot during the real estate boom of 2006-2008 in anticipation of the new Town Center Plan. However, a recession hit in fall of 2008 and many projects were on hold due to lack of financing. The first major mixed-use project, Arbor Village, finally secured funding and broke ground in January of 2012. Arbor Village opened in August of 2013 and is followed by mixed-use projects Vineyard Park (2015) and Mountlake Senior Living (2016).

Several transit projects have come to fruition since the Town Center Plan was adopted including Community Transit's Mountlake Terrace Transit Center (2009) and Sound Transit's Freeway Station (2011). Sound Transit's Lynnwood Link Light Rail Extension will bring light rail service from Seattle to Mountlake Terrace in 2024.

Revitalization of the downtown shopping corridor, West Plaza (232nd and 56th), continues with new businesses locating here -- Diamond Knot's The Brewpub at MLT (2014) and Snohomish Pie Company (2015). The iconic, award-winning Double DD Meats expanded and remodeled their old-fashioned butcher shop in 2012. Double DD Meats was established in the Mountlake Terrace in 1955 and is the oldest business in the city.

New projects are now underway along 236th Street between 56th Avenue and Interstate 5 and the Transit Center. Atlas 236 is under construction across the street from Arbor Village at the corner of 236th Street and 56th Avenue.  Terrace Station is a large, three-building mixed use building with 80,000 square feet of commercial space and 600 living units adjacent to the future light rail station. The city's Main Street Project (Phase I) will connect the transit facilities with the Town Center.  

Town Center

In 2018, the Council appointed a Town Center and Economic Vitality Task Force that made a recommendation on an updated Town Center Plan. The updated Plan will be reviewed by the City Council in mid-2019.

The Rogers Market property, located at 232nd and 56th Avenue and the Town Center's largest parcel, was sold in 2018 and demolished in 2019. The property was sold to Sound Transit for interim parking while the light rail station is under construction to replace the surface parking at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center.

In 2017, voters passed a capital bond to fund a new City Hall and Police Station addition. The project was designed in 2018 and 2019 and will break ground in fall of 2019. The project, located at 232nd Street and 58th Avenue, will help redefine the Town Center. 

First Mayor Gil Geiser and First Fire Chief Patrick McMahan Post New City Sign
October 24 1962_Enterprise Front Page_Congrats on New Civic Center
New Civic Campus Project Street View Concept