History of Index

A Brief History of Index, WA (originally written for Sue Marosite’s 2013 Index Mountain Communities Cookbook – see below)

Index is the creation of Amos and Persis Gunn, who platted the townsite on their mining claim in 1893.  The Gunns realized the potential of its location along a sweeping curve of the newly completed Great Northern Railway.  Bordering the North Fork Skykomish River in the Cascade Mountains, surrounded by scenic peaks, and along the original trail to the gold and silver mines of nearby Monte Cristo, they had visions of establishing a community based on mining, logging, and recreation.

By World War I granite quarrying, the large Index-Galena saw/shingle mill, and copper from the Sunset mine created economic opportunities.  A population of some 600 lived in homes, half a dozen hotels, and nearby lumber camps.

The  1930s Depression closed most natural resource based manufacturing, causing the population to drop sharply.  In 1942 the small high school graduated its last class.  Many early wooden framed commercial buldings also burned or were removed, leaving only a few still standing as reminders of the early years.  Among these are the Bush House hotel (state historical register) and former Index Tavern, now the River House.  Most original homes remain, some moved due to river flooding and erosion.  Among these are the Gunn house and the Index-Pickett Museum.

Incorporated in 1907, the town now has 160 residents, making it the smallest in western Washington.  It is home for the grade K-7 Index School District #63 and Snohomish County Fire District #28, which also serve nearby residents.  With its spectacular river and mountain setting, recreation now dominates the local economy.

David A. Cameron, Ph.D., President, Index Historical Society, copyright 2013.  For a copy of the Index Mountain Communities Cookbook, please contact Sue Marosites, 360-793-six, six, nine, eight or suemarosites *at* w-link.net.  Please put Cookbook in the subject line.

Read more about the town of Index at the website of the Index Historical Society.