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Council selects Emma Yule for honorary park name

EVERETT — A leading woman of the city’s past will be recognized at last, city leaders said when naming Everett’s newest park.
Meet Emma Yule. She arrived in 1891 to become one of Everett’s first schoolteachers, and had a stint as school superintendent during the late 1890s before school board politics prompted her to leave. She then became an accomplished author and professor.
Her name will grace the future park that will be adjacent to the Everett Y at 4730 Colby Ave. The City Council last week unanimously selected Yule’s name against two other choices.
It’s only right, advocates said. Some called Yule a “founding mother” for Everett. A so-far unsung hero. An online petition to recognize Yule had 286 signatures.
Resident Deb Fox set up the petition. She and other speakers noted that this year marks 100 years since women won the formal right to vote.
People need to made more aware of Yule’s importance, resident Paula Townsell told the council last week. “We’re a little tipsy on the Colbys, the Rockefellers, the Ruckers.”
Yule left to teach in Alaska before becoming a professor and author, Everett Schools historian Larry O’Donnell wrote in an online essay. Yule was buried in Everett at Evergreen Cemetery in 1939.
The other person considered for the park’s name was Dr. Art Grossman, who birthed hundreds of babies and held a strong enthusiasm for bicycling. Grossman avidly bicycled more than 10,000 miles a year, from newspaper accounts.
Grossman deserves recognition, but “Yule’s compelling story has been forgotten by all but the historians,” local historian Steve Fox, who is Deb Fox’s husband, said.
Councilman Scott Bader and others suggested naming a city bicycle trail for Grossman may be appropriate.
Emma Yule Park is not the first city’s park named for a woman. The first is the Viola Oursler Viewpoint in the Delta Neighborhood. Oursler was a neighborhood activist and schoolteacher whose largest fight may have been to have Asarco pay to clean out toxic contamination in the soil across northeast Everett left by the former Everett Smelter.

Who are some of Everett's parks named for?

* Clark Park: City founding member John Clark
* Drew Nielsen Park: City councilman who died in office
* Hauge Homestead Park: Site landowners' family name
* Howarth Park: William and Leonard Howarth, pulp mill co-owners and philanthropists
* J.J. Hill Park: Railroad magnate and city founding member James J. Hill
* Kasch Park: Bill Kasch, local Little League co-founder
* Langus Riverfront Park: City Councilman Bill Langus
* Thornton A. Sullivan Park: City parks board president
* Viola Oursler Viewpoint: Local activist and schoolteacher
* Walter E. Hall Park: Longtime city parks superintendent
* Wiggums Hollow Park: Arnold Wiggum, past Hawthorne Elementary principal

- Includes information sourced from "The History of Everett Parks: A Century of Service and Vision" by Preboski and May (published 1989)



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