Things Have Changed

As one would expect with the passage of time, things change. Here is a comparison of Riverside Drive, just north of the College Way intersection. While there are some similarities between the old (left) and newer photo I took on 05 December 2020, most of the businesses shown are no longer.

Riverside Drive just north of College Way

The photographer and date of the older photograph is unknown.

Older Businesses

I moved to Skagit County in 1990. I don’t recall if Taco Bell was fronted to Riverside Drive or whether it moved closer to I-5 before then. I remember Cascade Pizza before it became a small strip mall. The back side of Cascade Pizza used to have the mural on the back of the building. Sometime in the 1990s, a Blockbuster (remember those?) was built obfuscating the mural.

A little further down on the left side of the older photo, you can see the sign for Riverside Lanes and the Dragon Inn restaurant; though you cannot read the signs.

Just beyond that sign is a neon sign. If memory serves, that was the Elks lodge. I’m not 100% sure on that one.

On the right-hand sige, all five of the business signs are different businesses.

New businesses

Again, starting on the left side, the Verizon business replaced Blockbuster. The sign with the magenta top is for a T-Mobile store, Asian Grill & More, and Natural Way Chiropractic. These businesses are in the old Cascade Pizza building.

Continuing a little further, you can see signs for A&W and KFC sharing the same building. Just behind that is the sign for Days Inn. These businesses are not in the older photo.

The sign for Riverside Lanes and Dragon Inn was replaced and other businesses that face Riverside Drive were added. Cannot quite tell if the older photo has the builsing of the newer other businesses added to the sign.

Beyond that, you can’t see the sign that was for the Elks. Currently, the building that the Elks used is a church.

On the right side of the photo, the Winchell’s was replaced with another donut shop – Darren’s Donuts. The Dentist office is now a nail salon.

Shakeys Pizza became El Gitano for a number of years. Earlier this year, seemingly when the COVID closures started, El Gitano left and it was replaced by COA. Previously, the Mount Vernon location for COA was on the SE corner of 10th & Division.

When McDonald’s left, the building sat empty for a number of years despite getting a remodel. Currently, Sunrise Services uses it as an office.

At the base of the McDonald’s sign, is a sign for Fairhaven Realty. I don’t remember when they left but I have a vague recollection of them being there. Currently, Hart’s Floral is housed in that location.

Beyond that, you cannot really tell, clearly, what businesses are present. You can see some changes in the trees between old and new.

The Bridge

In the old photo, if you look down the middle where the sky hits the mountains in the distance, you can see the upper structure of the bridge that connected Riverside Drive to Burlington Boulevard. That was an old, single-lane in each direction bridge. By the time the bridge was replaced, it probably at or over it’s intended capacity.

In order to minimize some traffic headaches, the existing bridge was left in place while the new one was being constructed. If you ever cross the current bridge and wonder why there is a slight westward curve, this is the reason. After the new bridge was put into use, the old bridge was demolished.

-Michael.

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