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Mukilteo is widely believed to mean "good camping site.", but the HistoryLink.org site notes that in the Snohomish dialect Muk-wil-teo means “narrow passage”, a reference to the sand spit that formed the original Mukilteo landing. Mukilteo was officially incorporated on May 8, 1947 but the city has a historic role in the development of the Puget Sound. It was at Mukilteo that the Point Elliott Treaty was signed between Governor Isaac Stevens and the chiefs of 22 Puget Sound tribes on January 22, 1855. The treaty ceded land to the United States from Point Pully (now called Three Tree Point south of Seattle) to the British (Canadian) border in exchange for a variety of benefits, including land, education, health care and hunting and fishing rights. The treaty was signed before more than 2,500 Native Americans. According to the Mukilteo Historical Society, the town became the first settled by Europeans in 1858 and was the county seat of Snohomish County from 1861 when Snohomish County was created from Island County to 1867, when the city of Snohomish became the county seat. Initially the settlement was called Point Elliott, the name given the location by the Wilkes Expedition in 1841. In its early years, Mukilteo was a fishing village, trading post, and a port-of-entry. Surrounding wooded hills filled with Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock supported a lumber mill and the town also had a cannery, a brewery, and a gunpowder plant. Traces of the powder mill remain in the name of Powder Mill Gulch, a ravine that is located about one mile (1.6 km) into the city limits of Everett. Japanese Gulch provides rail access from the Mukilteo waterfront to the Boeing's Boeing Everett Factory at Paine Field. In 1900, the population was only 350. The next year, the federal Lighthouse Board decided to put a light and fog signal at the point in Mukilteo. The lighthouse, which still stands today, was completed in 1906. Even at incorporation in 1947, almost a century after the Point Elliott Treaty, Mukilteo's population stood at only 775. But by 1947, there was ferry service to Whidbey Island, a fuel storage facility for the Air Force on the waterfront, and a major rail line for the Great Northern Railway along the city's entire waterfront. The first growth spurt for the city came with the 1980 annexation of an additional 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) to the south along the Mukilteo Speedway or SR 525, which increased the population to 4,130 people. In 1991, the Harbour Pointe area was annexed, doubling the size of the city to 6.25 square miles (16.19 km2). The annexation increased the city's population to just over 10,000 and also presaged a shift from the Old Town commercial center near the ferry to new shopping and banking facilities at Harbour Pointe. With development since the Harbour Pointe annexation, the city's population has reached 19,360 (2005).
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