From a Snohomish County News Release.
Although the human foot has remained unchanged for thousands of years, what people have worn on their feet has shown incredible diversity. It is in this diversity that some of the most interesting aspects of culture are revealed.
"In Our Shoes: Form, Function, & Fashion 1790-1970," a new history exhibit curated by the Everett Museum of History, features more than 90 shoes worn by Snohomish County men, women, and children for recreation, work, and fashion.
This exhibit created with support from the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission is on view at the Snohomish County Administration West Building located at the corner of Rockefeller and Wall in downtown Everett through October 20, 2016.
“Footwear is more than protection for your feet or a fashion statement; it’s a symbol of empowerment, a glimpse into a time and place, and a reflection of how people want to be perceived,” said Chris Jenkins, Chairman of the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission.
“The footwear on view showcases wonderful examples of simple yet functional shoes and ornate styles of the period.”
Up until 1850, shoes were made straight, meaning that there was no differentiation from the left and right shoe. As the twentieth century approached, shoemakers improved comfort by making foot-specific shoes.
In the 20th century, the face of footwear again changed drastically due in part to a variety of technological advances that made the shoemaking process simpler.
In 1790, the first sewing machine intended for leatherwork was invented by Thomas Saint, allowing for holes to be punched through leather much more quickly. A process for manufacturing stitchless or glued shoes, the AGO System, was developed in 1910.
The shoes presented “In Our Shoes: Form, Function, & Fashion 1790-1970” date from the later 18th century to the later 20th century and are part of the vast personal collection of the Everett Museum of History which archives and preserves more than 50,000 artifacts from Everett and Snohomish County. They represent both footwear chosen for every day and those meant for special occasions.
Established in 2002, the Historic Preservation Commission works to protect and preserve Snohomish County’s archaeological and historic resources, sites, and districts. They meet monthly to develop on-going policies and procedures, and initiate educational programs to promote local history.
The Snohomish County Administration building is located in downtown Everett at 3000 Rockefeller and Wall. The exhibit is free and is open to the public during regular business hours.