Harry Tracy

Téa Schmid, Design Editor

Back in the late 1800s to early 1900s there lived an outlaw named Harry Tracy. Tracy was from Vancouver, Washington. He engaged in many criminal activities, including murder. While on the run from police officers, he happened to pass through Bothell.

When he arrived at Bothell, Tracy held a family hostage. He also had a shootout where he killed a couple police officers. He died near Creston, Washington, about two hundred miles from Bothell only a few months after passing through.

Nearly a decade later, the Bothell Sentinel (now known as the Bothell Reporter) wrote many articles and sermons — yes, actual religious sermons printed in the newspaper — about the outlaw. For some odd reason, Bothell had an obsession with him.

Reporters talk about how his coming to Bothell “woke the town up” and before he came they were “sleeping”. Considering Tracy died about a decade before they were reporting on it, these kinds of statements seem very strange. Some even stated in their articles that “if a man like Tracy ever came to Bothell again, he would be made mayor.” This was also a strange sentiment as Tracy was an outlaw with many criminal charges.

The biggest reason Bothell citizens were obsessed with Tracy was not for his despicable actions but for the fact his coming put them on the map. Suddenly Bothell was being reported — before it was even incorporated! Before his arrival, the town was unknown to the rest of the country.