A long-time Edmunds resident donates her property to the city community garden

The property was handed over by Shirley Riley Johnson as a community park to the city of Edmonds.

For many years, Charlie Johnson, a Edmonds resident, lived alone in her beloved home. Her husband and son were both long-dead, and for many years in 1925-Vintage lived most of her life on 9309 Bowdoin Way. Although the house needed repairs, Johnson could not live on her own, as some among the fruit trees growing on one hectare of property and black strawberry grapes chose to describe it as a pioneer life.

Johnson, 83, passed away in January of this year.

With no significant heirs, Johnson decided to give her home and property to her beloved community in 2018. It was her way of keeping her burdens intact and her property to be known as a bully and to grow into something unknown.

Accordingly, the estate is to be inherited by the City of Edmonds, “specifically for the purpose of cultivating and cultivating crops, fruits, vegetables, and other related items, such as parks and / or community gardens. The city of Edmonds and the people of Edmonds and the surrounding community seem to be better off voluntarily.

Long-time neighbor, City Council member Christina Johnson (no contact), Shirley remembers well.

Shirley Johnson was educated at Edmonds School, and in the 1950’s he performed with a sixth-grade band. According to Katie Kelly, director of the Edmonds Historical Museum, Johnson is third in the middle row with the French horn on the right.

“She attended the old Edmonds High School at the current ECA (Edmund Arts Center),” she recalls. “Her house was next to ours, but today there are about a dozen of us. Shirley’s mother raised chickens and sold eggs, and my mother often sent me eggs for breakfast. I get under the chickens to find them, and I tell you, some of them did not like to leave their eggs! ”

Johnson went on to say that Shirley was the only child and that her mother, husband, and son all died before the end of the century. Although they were not very close, Christina and Shirley became well-known in recent years.

“One day she was thinking about how she loved her property and how she could save it because she had no heirs,” says Johnson. “Shirley was a real character, but she knew what she wanted.”

In response, Johnson Shirley spoke to City Council member Tom Mesaros and then-director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, Carrie Heit, as a way to keep the property afloat for the city.

Johnson added: “Coincidentally, Carrie was thinking about a community garden and was watching a station in Esperance. “I recommend that Shirley’s property be filled to the brim and closer to the city.

Shirley Johnson’s house was built in 1925, and is said to still have the original windows and shutters. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

According to Christana Johnson, the 1925 house has never been renovated, it still has the first windows and has a lot of glue on the roof, so it will withstand the rain properly. The home water system stopped working “ten years ago,” but Shirley said she had to pay for it, refusing to let it go, and chose to “live off her land” by eating mushrooms, apples and berries.

“She was a very determined woman,” added Christa Johnson. She clung to her dream – the property would be a community garden – and she made sure it was in her will.

There are many constructions on the property, especially covered with black strawberries. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

A draft ordinance has been prepared for the acquisition, and the Edmund Parks and Public Works Committee is scheduled to review it at its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 14.

More information, including the draft resolution and Shirley Johnson’s permission, is in Tuesday’s House Committee Committee package, available here.

– By Larry Vogue

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