After the depression and war, industry did not return to the city and the town became ever more oriented towards agriculture. It continued to grow, albeit slowly, throughout much of the 1950s and ’60s. In April 1965 a major earthquake struck Western Washington. During the first decade of the 21st century, Monroe saw growth in unexpected new proportions as many large strip malls and major retailers have built new complexes along Highway 2. The city’s residential areas have greatly expanded as well and the highway has become the scene of major gridlock, especially during summer months and major holidays. At the time of this writing, a bypass is being considered but no firm plans have been agreed upon. The new developments have added to the city and the influx of people into the surrounding area has changed, but not erased much of the city’s charm. The old part of town stands much as it always has, on Main Street away from the busy highway, and has managed to preserve much of its small town character. Trains still regularly pass through the town on their way across Stevens Pass and the sound of their horns is a common feature of life in the city.
Since 2007, Monroe’s Old Town district has begun a revitalization program. Monroe has also been host to a few Hollywood films, such as The Ring (2002), The Ring Two (2005), and The Butterfly Effect(2004).
Photo’s: Siebrand Wiegman