Begun in 1936 as a Works Projects Administration effort, Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport originally was just a 2-runway airfield meant to spur development in the surrounding area. The plan was that someday, it would grow into a major travel destination.
But World War II brought greater needs, and from 1936 to 1946 the airfield, located about 20 miles north of Seattle, was an Army Air Corps installation. By 1948 the property was returned to local control, only to be taken over by the military again, from 1951 to 1962, when the US Air Force Aerospace Defense had an active unit there.
In 1966 the Air Force had mostly left, opening the spot to development. At that time The Boeing Company built an assembly plant on-site, realizing some of the hopes for development of local officials and business owners. That corporate move was followed over the years by many others; today, the airport is home to more than 50 businesses.
And now, with the Everett, WA, airport’s recent opening of a new $40 million passenger terminal, the transportation hub has truly arrived at the destination its planners once envisioned. The improvements showcase how far the airport has transformed itself since its humble beginnings. A longstanding destination for people from Seattle and northwestern Washington, Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport is a boutique airport, with all the services of such a spot.
The opening in March of the airport’s new passenger terminal also means that now, daily commercial flights with more than one carrier are offered. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are offering a total of 24 daily flights to nine US locations including Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas.
The 2-gate, 30,000 SF terminal is the creation of Fentress Architects, which designed the base building, with architectural and interior designs done by Clive Lonstein, Inc. The terminal was completed through a public-private partnership between Snohomish County and Propeller Airports.
The feel of the new terminal is meant to be akin to an upscale hotel, its planners said. Comfortable seating areas, high quality furniture, and building materials including walnut ticket counters with onyx countertops, black walnut paneling and a Bose sound system.
The airport’s offerings also have changed, with some local businesses locating in the pre-security and post-security areas. Before passing through the Security checkpoint, travelers can stop for a moment at the Café Vita coffee shop; and post-security, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Café, a Seattle company, and the Upper Case Bar offer other refreshments.