Edmonds resident Shirley Johnson lived alone for a few years within the residence she liked. Her husband and son had been each lengthy deceased, and for years she lived a principally solitary life in her 1925-vintage home at 9309 Bowdoin Means. Regardless of the house being badly in want of restore, Johnson merely couldn’t convey herself to dwell anyplace else, preferring to get pleasure from what some may describe as a pioneer life amongst the fruit timber and blackberry vines that grew on her one-acre property.
The 83-year-old Johnson handed away in January of this yr.
Having no important heirs, Johnson determined in 2018 to will her residence and property to the neighborhood she liked. It was her approach to make sure that issues she treasured be retained and never enable the property to be bulldozed and developed into one thing unrecognizable.
Accordingly, her will stipulates that her property be bequeathed to the Metropolis of Edmonds “particularly for the needs of getting used as a park and/or neighborhood backyard web site and/or to domesticate and develop crops, fruits, greens and different associated issues all for the Metropolis of Edmonds and for the residents of Edmonds and the local people because the Metropolis of Edmonds deems greatest of their discretion.”
Longtime neighbor, Metropolis Councilmember Kristiana Johnson (no relation), remembers Shirley nicely.
“She attended the previous Edmonds Excessive College on the present ECA (Edmonds Middle for the Arts) web site,” she recalled. “Her residence was proper subsequent to ours on the time, however as we speak there are a couple of dozen homes between us. Shirley’s mother raised chickens and bought eggs, and my mom would usually ship me over to seize some eggs for breakfast. I’d attain proper underneath the chickens to get them, and I let you know, a few of them didn’t like giving up their eggs!”
Johnson went on to narrate that Shirley was an solely youngster, and that her mom, husband and son had all handed on earlier than the flip of the century. Whereas not shut as youngsters, Kristiana and Shirley got here to know one another higher in recent times.
“Sooner or later she was lamenting to me about how she liked her property and was questioning how to reserve it since she had no heirs,” Johnson defined. “Shirley was an actual character, however she knew what she wished.”
In response, Johnson put Shirley in touch with then-Metropolis Councilmember Tom Mesaros after which Parks, Recreation and Cultural Companies Director Carrie Hite to speak about how prepared the property to the town is perhaps a solution to protect it as she would want.
“Coincidentally, Carrie had been fascinated about a neighborhood backyard and was taking a look at a web site in Esperance,” Johnson added. “I steered that Shirley’s property may fill the invoice and be nearer to city and extra accessible.”
In line with Kristiana Johnson, the 1925 residence was by no means transformed, nonetheless has the unique home windows and has a lot moss on the roof that it really retains out the rain. The home water system stopped working “a couple of decade in the past,” however Shirley balked on the expense of fixing it, steadfastly refusing to depart, and selecting as a substitute to proceed “residing off her land,” foraging for mushrooms, apples and berries.
“She was a really decided lady,” added Kristiana Johnson. “She caught to her dream – that the property turn out to be a neighborhood backyard – and made positive that was in her will.”
A draft ordinance to just accept the property has been drawn up, and the Metropolis of Edmonds Parks and Public Works Committee was scheduled to overview it throughout its common assembly on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The total council will probably act on it Sept. 21.
Extra info, together with the draft ordinance and Shirley Johnson’s will, is obtainable in Tuesday’s council committee packet, accessible right here.
— By Larry Vogel