Snohomish prides itself for its historical downtown, and is known for its many antique shops. Snohomish is also referred to as the "Antique Capital of the Northwest. The historic business and residential center of the town constitutes the Snohomish Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many houses bear plaques with the year the house was built and the name of the people who originally occupied it. Each year the city gives tours of the historic houses; one of them, the Blackman House, is a year-round museum. A general aviation airfield, Harvey Airfield, is less than one mile southwest of downtown Snohomish.
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Snohomish was founded around 1858 by Emory C. Ferguson, E. F. Cady and others. It was originally known as Cadyville, and changed its name to Snohomish City in 1871. The name Snohomish comes from the name of the dominant local Native American tribe "sdoh-doh-hohbsh", whose meaning is widely disputed.