The South County Senior Center (SCSC) was founded in 1967 and began offering programs on our present waterfront site and obtained 501c3 status a year later. It was the first non-profit senior center in Snohomish County.
In 1971 SCSC was featured at the Second White House Conference as the model for the multipurpose senior center concept which led to the formation of thousands of senior centers throughout the country. The present waterfront property was purchased in 1972 with a $300,000 HUD grant obtained by SCSC and a $100,000 local match from the City of Edmonds. As a result the City came to own the property and declared it would be the permanent home of the senior center.
The early years saw a number of innovative programs including performing musical and drama groups, the Job Bureau, a robust long distance travel program, the creation of the Thrift Store and Country Boutique for senior crafts, partnering with Edmonds Community College to offer seniors education classes, a mentoring program at the Edmonds School District, and the creation of many health & wellness activities/services.
From 1975 through 1985 a number of State grants enabled the connection of the two original buildings and the creation of the present senior center. Much of the work was performed by community volunteers. In 1996 SCSC was contracted by the City of Lynnwood to help it create the Lynnwood Senior Center.
In 2008 SCSC underwent a significant governance change and became a membership driven organization with 18 of 21 Board positions elected by the membership. After a year of political and legal action and debate within the Center and the community, the November 2008 election, monitored by the League of Women Voters and over 600 voters, decisively established this form of organizational structure. In 2011 the legal name was changed to the Edmonds Senior Center (ESC).
2012 saw the establishment of three key programs which continue to this day: the Bastyr University Natural Medicine Clinic - the first (and still only) of its kind in Snohomish County, the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter for the Homeless in partnership five local churches, and Enhance Wellness and later PEARLS in partnership with the financial support of the Verdant Health Commission.
In 2013, with the passage of the City’s Strategic Action Plan, ESC began work to replace the existing aging structure with the new Edmonds Waterfront Center serving all ages.
Originally designed as a boat storage facility. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Historical Museum).
Edmonds 1955 (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Historical Museum).
A Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome that was used in the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle once graced the Edmonds waterfront. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Historical Museum).