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Edmonds was founded in 1876 and received its first railroad in 1891, constructed by the Seattle and Montana Railroad between Seattle and British Columbia. The Great Northern Railway later acquired the railroad and completed its transcontinental route to Seattle in 1893, bringing long-distance passenger service to Edmonds. The original station was located on the west side of the tracks away from downtown and derided as inaccessible and undersized for the growing city. A formal investigation of stations across Snohomish County by the Washington State Railroad Commission in 1909 led to a court order for Great Northern to improve their depots, including a modernized facility for Edmonds at James Street, which the railroad resisted in their failed appeal to the state court. Great Northern later agreed to build the new depot after further consultation with Edmonds city leaders over its location and amenities. Later visits by the commission attracted crowds of up to a hundred citizens, and the city agreed to a right of way franchise with Great Northern for the new depot in January 1910. The railroad and city continued to argue over the proposed depot's distance from James Street until the chamber of commerce intervened and requested a compromise be reached.
The new Edmonds depot opened in November 1910, constructed with clapboard sidings and had a wooden platform that was connected to street level by a series of ramps, which were later decorated with railroad knick-knacks. It was initially served by eight daily passenger trains: limited transcontinental trains and local service to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Freight services from the new depot also accepted shipments from the Olympic Peninsula, delivered by boat from various shingle mills. By the late 1950s, Great Northern's declining passenger service left Edmonds with only one daily train: the Cascadian from Seattle to Spokane