March 14, 2020
Anacortes becomes an All-America City (1962)
Saturday, March 14, 2020
A telegram from President John F. Kennedy broke the news to Anacortes Mayor Eugene “Bud” Strom that Anacortes had won the coveted designation of “All-America City” from the National Municipal League. If you had asked Anacortes residents in 1951 whether their town was qualified to receive such a prestigious national award, they would have laughed. It was a town still recovering from the Depression and dealing with the reality of declining lumber and fishing industries. Something radical needed to change, and about 1,500 community members (especially young residents), were ready to be that change. Infused by new residents and funds generated by the arrival of refineries, the community developed a massive do-it-yourself improvement program. Anacortes built four new grade schools, a hospital and a storm drain system, and paved six miles of poor quality streets in a period of 8 years. The enthusiasm and results earned Anacortes its designation as an All-America City.