History

PilchuckTownThe Freeborn area once held a small village with an elementary school (land still owned by the Stanwood School District) with the larger logging town of Pilchuck, 3 miles to the east, along with the surrounding farms, north to the Milltown Road and south to the Bryant-Stanwood Road.  The area’s population served today is less than it was 100 years ago: the towns are gone, the farm houses full of children are gone, and most all of the Lutherans are gone.  While 900 apartment units are being built at Exit 206 (9 miles to the south), no new residential development has occurred off Exit 215 in decades.  Our only businesses, other than a gas station, are 2 nonprofits: NOAH Center and the Pilchuck Glass School.

What exists today at Exit 215 in what we call collectively, the “Freeborn Reserve,” are:Daffodils

Daffodil Hill with its 400,000 narcissus bulbs,

the Pilchuck Learning Center Preschool,

the old Freeborn (Lutheran) Church and its Cemetery;
for Weddings & Events,

Bonhoeffer Hall’s Pilchuck Glass School Auction Centerpieces,

beginning of a Living History Farm (with two 1870s’ surviving pioneer cabins),

beginning of a “reboot” of Trinity Lutheran College (Freeborn College),

museum collections of over 100 Pilchuck Glass School Artists,

and

Bonhoeffer Botanical Gardens, the NW America’s native botanical garden.

Europe’s Roman roads endure, as will I-5’s Exit 215 as no one is going to be relocating the I-5 freeway anytime soon.  Whether Exit 215’s Freeborn Reserve will continue to exist long term with a herbarium and/or living history farm … with areas for spiritual contemplation … or look like Tacoma or the Everett/Marysville’s ugly exits … is the question now being presented to Snohomish County Planning (as all the above uses require a Conditional Use Permit).