When board member emeritus Gloria McNeely joined the Museum’s board in the 1980s an electric typewriter was the latest technology being used for Museum business. By the 1990s, through her advocacy, the Museum upgraded to using a computer. When Assistant Director Cristy Lake started with the Museum in 2006, the Museum had just purchased its second computer which is still in use today as our scanning workstation, eight years ago we purchased our current main computer and several years ago purchased two used laptops for additional volunteer workstations.
Technology is always advancing and computer systems need to regularly be updated and replaced. It is time for the Museum to update its computer systems to a more advanced server system rather than using an individual computer as a server and workstation. Our current system is outdated and no longer meets the needs of the Museum nor the expectation of our visitors.
We were fortunate this spring to be able to request funds through a grant program through the Snoqualmie Tribe to purchase a server, new workstation with video-editing hardware and software, a camera with tripod, and a projector.
The Snoqualmie Valley Museum has been growing its digital resources over the last 15 years. Staff and volunteers have been digitizing our photograph collection, photographing our objects, converting our card catalog cards into the PastPerfect database and inventorying our collection so that we can make our collections publicly accessible online. This has been especially vital over the last year with the pandemic. The Museum was closed to interior visits for over a year but has been able to continue to serve visitors by having material available digitally. We updated our website and are adding more and more materials online, while our Assistant Director kept the Museum operating behind the scenes, answering research inquiries even when we could not have visitors in the building. We now are again reopened to the public.
We now have 8TB of data and each year we are adding additional materials. But, our computer system needs to be upgraded. We are using an eight–year-old computer, which has crashed twice recently, leading to the loss of some data. This computer acts as both a server and a workstation. It acts as a file server for our volunteer workstations. It acts as a workstation for our Assistant Director Cristy Lake. It often plays both roles concurrently, causing everything to slow down to an unworkable speed. Because it was designed to be a standalone computer, it cannot support the demands now placed upon it. Additionally, it has only 2 TB of disk space so our main records are being stored on external hard-drives which increases the risk of losing information if any of these drives fail.
We do not have video capabilities and even though we would like to create videos and host online meetings and programs, we don’t have that capability at the Museum. We have been able to participate in some meetings using Cristy’s personal cellphone, but this does not provide the quality we would like to offer and is not easily available for others to use.
When the computer crashed two years ago we asked several computer experts to recommend an adequate replacement. This is the basis for our grant request. We would like to purchase:
The server would hold 12TB of data and back up the data up on a second set of 12 TB drives to protect it if the first one were to crash. The 12 TB will allow for additional storage space as we expand, but, additionally, the server can also have extra drives added to increase storage capabilities in the future.
Designed for concurrent use, the server will be able to support all volunteer and staff workstations simultaneously. With its responsive file handling and improved network bandwidth, the museum staff and volunteers will no longer encounter unworkable speeds.
The workstation would provide video-editing hardware and software. Additionally, it would provide hardware to support on-line meetings.
The workstation would also provide the software for creating PDFs and other documents to support the Museum’s online presence.
The network bandwidth provided by this new workstation would also address the problems with unworkable speeds that are encountered with the current computer.
We are pleased to announce that we can now move forward with these upgrades thanks to a nearly $13,400 grant from the Snoqualmie Tribe! We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this technological upgrade in the weeks, months and years to come.
Please join us in thanking the Snoqualmie Tribe for their generosity and for partnering with us to preserve and share the history of the Snoqualmie Valley for future generations.
It is with deep sadness that the Museum must share the passing of retired board member Harley Brumbaugh on July 25, 2021. Harley passed away peacefully, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease . He was surrounded by his family, including his wife of 63 years.
Born in Renton, Washington, Harley moved to the Snoqualmie Valley as a youngster. He is one of the “children of the mill” reared in the mill town of Snoqualmie Falls.
Driven by love of music, he began playing trumpet professionally by age of fourteen. Playing for local families during the services for many of the military funerals at North Bend Cemetery during WWII, he long touched so many hearts. His athletic interests were simultaneously encouraged, primarily due to his 6’4″ frame. He worked his way through college by “choker-setting” in the “woods” during the summers and year-round professional trumpet playing.
Upon graduating from what is now Central Washington State University he played full time as a big-band-on-the-road-musician. After being rescued from ‘the road’ by the army draft he became an educator, combining professional playing and public school music teaching in such places as Ketchikan, Alaska; Port Angeles, Washington, Renton and Bellevue Community College. Notably his college vocal group “Celebration” earned international acclamation through world travel and international television.
Shortly after graduation, he married his life long partner Cathy in June of 1958. Together they raised their son and daughter: Blaine and Heidi.
Harley has sung and played professionally with the likes of The Seattle Opera Association, The Seattle Symphony; and scores of “name” show-biz personalities.
Honors bestowed upon Harley include: International Who’s Who In Music; “National Outstanding Educator” and “Lifetime Achievement Awards.”
Throughout his boyhood and career, “the Valley of the Moon” has been his haven. A place to reconnect, to gather a seed of a poem, plant it, nurture the thought, allow it to grow and bloom then simply “pick the promise”!
His poetry has appeared in regional publications, as well as “World of Poetry Anthology and Treasured Poems of America”. Riverside Reflections was his first published volume of poetry!
Harley was continuously active in serving the community, whether through his music, sharing history or participation in his church. He will be greatly missed.
The family is holding a public memorial on Saturday, August 21, from 2pm to 6:30pm at the Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church. They ask that you RSVP using this link:
On the FBI’s most famous cases list is a kidnapping case with a Snoqualmie Valley connection.
“On May 24, 1935, George Weyerhaeuser, the nine-year old son of prominent lumberman J.P. Weyerhaeuser of Tacoma, Washington, disappeared on his way home from school.” – FBI
Weyerhaeuser Timber Company owned and operated the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company in Snoqualmie and the Cherry Valley Logging Company in Duvall and was the largest employer in the Valley at the time. The kidnapping came just three years after Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s son was kidnapped and murdered; leaving grave concern for the potential fate of George Weyerhaeuser. It was in 1932 after the Lindbergh kidnapping that the federal Kidnapping Act was passed placing such cases under the jurisdiction of the FBI, which brought the Portland office of the FBI onto the Weyerhaeuser Case in 1935.
George was living with his family in Tacoma at the time of his disappearance.
“Although the students at Lowell School which he attended were released for lunch earlier than usual, George followed his regular practice of immediately walking to the nearby Annie Wright Seminary to meet his sister Ann. The family’s chauffeur generally met George and Ann at the Seminary to drive them home for lunch at noon. Arriving at the Seminary 10 or 15 minutes early that day, George apparently decided to walk home rather than wait for his sister. But George never reached home that day; somewhere between the Seminary and his house, George Weyerhaeuser was kidnapped.” -FBI
“When the Weyerhaeuser family realized that George was missing, they searched for him and notified the police department of his disappearance. That evening, a special delivery letter, addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” arrived at the Weyerhaeuser home. It listed a series of demands, including the payment of $200,000 ransom in unmarked twenty-, ten-, and five-dollar bills in exchange for the boy. George’s signature appeared on the back of the envelope in which the letter arrived.” -FBI
“…Complying with directions given in the note, Weyerhaeuser drove to a designated point…If the money was in order, George would be released within 30 hours… A man ran out, got in the car and drove away with the $200,000 ransom money. Young George Weyerhaeuser was released at a shack near Issaquah, Washington on the morning of June 1, 1935.” -FBI
It was on that morning of June 1, 1935 that dairy farmer and wood cutter Louis Bonifas was getting ready for his morning milking routine at around 4:30 or 5am. He and his wife heard a knock at the door and found the nine year old boy standing there, cold, tired and dirty. Seeing George, the same age as the daughter Betty; their parental instincts immediately took over as they feed and cleaned him up before driving to the closest phone to call for help. Bonifas then proceeded to drive George to Tacoma to meet up with the police and his parents.
George would in the following days reveal the details of his harrowing experience. When he left school on May 24, 1935, he took a shortcut and met a man asking for directions. When George responded, the man grabbed him up and took him to a car parked across the street where a second man awaited. George was put in the back seat with a blanket thrown over him for a journey of over an hour.
After some time the car pulled over, the blanket was removed and George was given an envelope and told to write his name in pencil on the back of it. He was then blindfolded and carried over a stream and led by the hand over the countryside for about three-quarters of a mile. George was then put into a hole which had been dug in the ground and his wrist and leg chained, and then a board was placed over the hole, completely covering it. The men took turns guarding him until night when George was carried back to the car and placed in the trunk, where he rode for about an hour. He was then taken from the car and led through the woods again. The kidnappers made George wait by a tree as they dug another hole to place him in.
On May 26, 1935, the two men, accompanied by a woman, drove through Washington into Idaho with George in the trunk of a car. In the early morning he was changed to another tree and guarded until nightfall when he was taken to a house and locked in a closet. On the evening of Friday, May 31, 1935, George was told that he would soon return home.
Again, George was placed in the car’s trunk and taken to near Issaquah, Washington. At about 3:30 the following morning, his captors left him alone in a shack, telling him that his father would come to take him home. George wandered to several nearby farmhouses seeking aid but as it was the middle of the night he was unable to get an answer at the doors. After several attempts, he next tried the Bonifas house just as they were raising and finally succeeded in getting the help of an adult. The family took him in, washed him, gave him clean clothes, and drove him to Tacoma, Washington in their car.
“When the FBI started investigating this case, every precaution was taken to ensure the safe return of the victim. During the period of negotiation, special agents conducted the investigation quietly. Serial numbers of the ransom bills were sent to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where ransom lists were prepared. Immediately after the kidnappers received the money, these lists were sent to all of the Bureau’s field offices for distribution to commercial enterprises, including banks, hotels and railway companies.” -FBI
In the days that followed, special agents, local police officers and store cashiers kept close watch for any bill that had a serial number from the ransom. Their work quickly paid off, on June 2 a bill was used to purchase railway ticket from Huntington, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah by Harmon Metz Waley. Soon many bills were appearing in stores in Salt Lake City and officers were placed to lay a trap for the next time a bill was passed.
On June 2, 1935, a $20 ransom bill was tendered in payment of a railway ticket from Huntington, Oregon, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Investigation by FBI agents determined the purchaser to be Harmon Metz Waley. “As a result, on June 8, 1935, a police detective stationed at a Woolworth store was notified by a cashier that a woman had presented one of the ransom bills. The detective took the woman, who proved to be Margaret E. Waley, wife of Harmon Waley, to the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office.” -FBI
From their interview of Margaret, the police were able to learn the location of her husband. “Later that day, Harmon Metz Waley was arrested at home. After making several false statements, he confessed that he and William Dainard, whom he had met in the Idaho State Penitentiary, had kidnapped the boy. He added that his wife had no knowledge of the kidnapping until their arrival in Spokane, Washington. She had been at the hideout house and helped them negotiate the ransom.” -FBI
From their interview with Harmon Waley, the FBI learned “that he and Dainard planned to split the money evenly, but that Dainard cheated him out of $5,000. After further questioning at the field office, Waley said that he bought a Ford Roadster, which he registered as Herman Von Metz, when he arrived in Salt Lake City. Under a clump of trees or bushes, he had buried $90,790”. Special agents were able to recovered the buried money on June 11, 1935 but Harmon and Margaret had burned $3700 in their stove trying to cover up evidence.
“Learning that Waley arranged to meet Dainard at the home of Margaret Waley’s parents, agents proceeded to that house. Her grandfather advised that a man answering Dainard’s description had come to the house asking for the Waleys. The grandfather told him that the Waleys had been there earlier to pick up their suitcase but they returned to Salt Lake City and had been arrested. The man exclaimed, “My God, did they get everything they had?” before returning to his car and driving off.”
William Dainard was on the run. After he spoke with Mrs. Waley’s grandfather, he proceeded to Butte, Montana where on June 9, 1935, he was recognized by a police officer who attempted to apprehend him. Eluding the officer his car was found abandoned with $15,155 in ransom money.
An Identification Order, which included Dainard’s photograph, fingerprints, handwriting specimen, and background information, was distributed throughout the United States, Mexico and Australia.
“In early 1936, bills with altered serial numbers began to surface in the western part of the country. The FBI Laboratory’s examination of these bills revealed the true serial numbers to be identical with those of ransom bills. Banks were advised to be alert to any person presenting altered currency for exchange.” -FBI
On May 6, 1936, two different Los Angeles, California banks reported that a man whose license number was issued to a Bert E. Cole exchanging altered bills. After surveilling Bert Cole’s address, on the morning of May 7, 1936, special agents searched the neighborhood and found his car with they disabled.
“Later, a man entered the car and attempted to start it. When it failed to start, he got out of the car and lifted the hood. Agents approached the man, who was readily identified as being Dainard. He submitted to arrest without resistance, and a .45 caliber Colt automatic pistol was removed from his person.” -FBI
Dainard admitted his part in the kidnapping and at the time of his arrest, agents recovered $37,374.47 in ransom money and bills that he admitted he had received in exchange for ransom money. They also recovered $14,000 in $100 bills that he had buried in Utah.
“Further investigation by the FBI revealed that Edward Fliss, an associate of Dainard’s, had assisted him in exchanging the ransom money. Fliss was locate at the Delmar Hotel, San Francisco, California, where he was arrested by FBI agents. He offered no resistance and admitted to helping Dainard dispose of the ransom money.” – FBI
“On June 19, 1935, the federal grand jury, Tacoma, Washington returned an indictment charging William Dainard, Harmon Metz Waley, and Margaret E. Waley with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.” -FBI
Harmon Waley plead guilty on June 21, 1935, and was sentenced to serve concurrent prison terms of 45 years on charge of kidnapping and 2 years on charge of conspiring to kidnap. He was sent to the United States Penitentiary on McNeil Island, Washington, but later was transferred to Alcatraz Island, California for a while. He was paroled from McNeil Island, Washington, on June 3, 1963 at the age of 52.
The next day, Margaret Thulin Waley pleaded not guilty to both charges. She tried in United States District Court, Tacoma, Washington, on July 5, 1935. She was sentenced to serve two concurrent 20-year terms in the United States Detention Farm, Milan, Michigan.
William Dainard was sent back to Tacoma, Washington, where he entered a guilty plea on May 9, 1936. He was sentenced to serve two concurrent 60-year prison terms for kidnapping and conspiring to kidnap and sent to McNeil Island, he later transferred to Leavenworth, Kansas. In Leavenworth, prison authorities determined him to be insane and confined him to a hospital.
Edward Fliss was also sent to Seattle, Washington for indictment. On November 10, 1936, he was charged with assisting in the disposition of ransom money. He plead guilty and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and to pay a fine of $5,000.
The kidnappers and their accomplices were sentenced to actual prison terms aggregating 135 years. During the course of the investigation, special agents of the FBI recovered a total of $157,319.47 of the ransom.
On the way to return George to the FBI and his parents, Bonifas had phoned ahead to let them know of their coming.
One reporter, Johnny Dreher claimed that word quickly spread while on the way he flagged down and convinced Bonifas that he was a police officer sent ahead to recover the boy. The reporter continued to claim, that he, Johnny Dreher, took George the rest of the way to his family all the while interviewing him. Bonifas never forgave the media for that deceit of implying that he would allow George to be taken a second time nor for the many misrepresentations of him and his family within the reports.
Additional stories included that “He (Johnny Dreher) drove back to the Weyerhaeuser mansion to deliver the kid expecting to be swept up and greeted and, ‘Oh, thank you for bringing a child back,’” newspaper columnist Emmett Watson would later say. “But he said that he got pushed in the face.”
The Bonifas grandchildren have various recollections of the story. One saying that reporter didn’t take George and the other saying he did. This is not surprising as the Bonifas family refused to talk about the incident for decades and younger family members relied on learning about the connection via newspaper articles.
In a 2017 interview Mr. Weyerhaeuser told reporter Isolde Rafterty:
“Although his story is part of Northwest lore, his family chose not to dwell on it. It wasn’t a sensitive subject for him, he said, but it wasn’t something they discussed. He didn’t remember Dreher. He said it had been too long for him to say definitively whether the reporter had made up or embellished the account, but he said the story seemed off to him, too. He was a reserved child, he said, so his quotes didn’t make sense – and he certainly wouldn’t have kissed a stranger.”
“’If you had talked to me before all this’ – before reading The Seattle Times’ version – ‘I would say the farmer took me home.’”
“He said he doubted the farmer would have given him up so easily. ‘He was a welcome man, and a nice one,’ Mr. Weyerhaeuser said. ‘I felt that he really did me a great favor. I would say that was an unusual effort he went to. I do remember him and always will.'”
Once home, George had to endure multiple press conferences and interviews by the police, but as quickly as possible he and his family stopped talking about the kidnapping to help George move past the trauma.
After his return the media stalked the Weyerhaeuser and Bonifas families. For a time Bonifas’ wife and four children had to move in with relatives in Enumclaw to hide from the reporters. But life carried on. George’s father offered Bonifas a job at the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co in thanks for helping return his son; the Bonifas family moved from the Hobart Road to Snoqualmie Falls and later North Bend. All of the Bonifas children worked for Weyerhaeuser over the years. When the kidnappers were released, each were also offered jobs at the company.
George returned to his family and continued his education. Graduating during World War II, he joined the Navy. Having completed his naval service during World War II, Mr. Weyerhaeuser took as summer job in the woods of Washington state as a choker setter—the logging crewman who wraps the cable around the log before it is hauled to the landing.
Attending Yale University, graduating with honors in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Administration. He and his wife, Wendy, were married on July 10, 1948. Upon graduation, he began working at the pulp mills in Longview, Washington, before transferring to Springfield, Oregon, lumber manufacturing operations in 1951 where he progressed from foreman to assistant manager and then to wood products area manager in 1954.
In 1957, he became assistant to the executive vice president at corporate headquarters in Tacoma, Washington before becoming manager of wood products the next year and a member of board of directors in 1960. Soon he became executive vice president for wood products and timberlands in 1961, followed by executive vice president for all manufacturing and timberlands operations in 1964.
In 1966, Mr. Weyerhaeuser became the company’s chief executive officer and ninth president. He served as chief executive officer until 1991. He became chairman of the board of directors in 1988 and continued in that role until his retirement in 1999. George and Wendy went on to have four daughters, Leilee, Susan, Phyllis, and Merrill; and two sons, George, Jr., and David.
For more information on the case visit the FBI’s website.
by Cristy Lake
Cristy Lake is the Assistant Director at the Snoqualmie Valley Museum but is also the great granddaughter of Louis and Willena Bonifas. She first learned of her families connection to the case at the age of 7 when her mother warned her there was to be a story in the newspaper about her great grandparents on her dad’s side of the family in a Centennial of Washington State history edition in case the other kids at school mentioned it. At the time she was told that the family did not talk about it and not to ask questions about it. It wasn’t until Lake was an adult that she ever heard the connection mentioned by a member of the family who was present and that was only to hear her great aunt Lucille (Louis and Willena’s eldest) shut a conversation on the topic down when Lucille’s cousin Gene tried to bring it up.
The first documented doctor serving the Upper Valley was a Dr. Adams, who came on horseback. He was almost like a circuit rider, galloping through the communities periodically to check his patients.
The most prevalent major medical emergency was childbirth, which rarely rated the luxury of a doctor. Most infants were born at home with the help of a midwife. Midwives were “experienced” neighbors who helped you through. Those from the Upper Valley whose names have been remembered are Grandma Wieting, Grandma Kinsey (Louisa), and Grandma Flint.
“Local” medicine began in 1889, when a Dr. William Ellery Gibson and a Dr. Corson began a practice in Issaquah. Dr. Gibson made calls to Snoqualmie and North Bend on horseback. He removed a man’s eye in his office/operating room in 1890 — with satisfactory results.
Beginning in 1890 and lasting until about 1905, a Dr. Hopkins practiced in Snoqualmie. He was replaced by Dr. Adams, who later moved the practice to North Bend. Dr. Adams had his office in the Boxley home until 1910, when he was bought out by Dr. Richard Burke.
Another doctor, Dr. Richards, moved to Fall City around 1890 and also made calls in Snoqualmie. He treated Otto Reinig in 1891 when Otto was thrown from a buggy. He applied a tin splint, but Otto’s arm swelled within it, causing excruciating pain. Otto telegraphed a Seattle doctor, and went to see him on the train (a seven or eight hour trip) to get relief.
Originally written by David Battey and updated by Cristy Lake
With the Covid-19 pandemic, it is a good time to reflect on the perils to physical well-being that were ever present reality to past generations. Let’s look at a few of the challenges facing some of our early medical practitioners.
In 1891 a Dr. Lee located in North Bend. It was this doctor who operated on Snoqualmie Tribe member and friend of Dio Reinig, who Dio found with mortal stab wounds (name redacted to protect the victim and his family). It was difficult to persuade the doctor to help because of prejudicial rumor that a doctor would be killed if his patient expired, a fate that had befallen a local Native American doctor shortly before. Dr. Lee’s patient lived for about a month after the operation. It was alleged that if the other doctors who were called first had attended the victim he would have survived; but by the time Dr. Lee was called, infection had taken hold.
A Dr. Milliken was brought in during the building of the railroad and the first mill in Snoqualmie in 1889/90. The contractor hired him to care for the men during the construction and he left as soon as it was completed.
A Doctor Bump also arrived about 1890 and stayed in Snoqualmie until 1909. He is mentioned in early Snoqualmie Town Council minutes.
Doctor W. W. Cheney set up practice in Fall City in 1905 and practiced medicine here for sixty-four years. He used a horse and buggy until 1912, when he bought a second-hand Ford with acetylene head lamps. His “circuit” included Tolt, Cherry Valley, Duvall, Snoqualmie, and North Bend. He started using anesthetics in surgery in 1912. Quite an innovation for the Valley!
Dr. Richard Burke, who founded the first hospital, came to the Valley in 1908. His first home/office was in Snoqualmie. His early calls were on horseback unless someone came for him in a buggy. Even after automobiles were available, Dr. Burke often rode horseback during high water — horses being, “more dependable than cars.”
It was Dr. Burke who started the first official hospital in the Upper Valley at the “former Joyner residence of North Bend” in 1910. This hospital moved across the railroad tracks into the old Taylor residence in 1912, and remained there until 1920 or 1921 when Dr. Burke moved to the brand new modern hospital facility built in the town of Snoqualmie Falls on the hill above the mill. This facility was built for the use of Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (later Weyerhaeuser) employees and their families, but was open to all Valley residents.
So, our first crude Upper Snoqualmie Valley hospital opened 110 years ago and was replaced about ten years later by a modern, up-to-date (for its time) facility .
Around 1890, Dio Reinig tells us, a young man tried to jump off of Snoqualmie Falls in a parachute as part of a tourism promotion stunt. A gust of wind blew him against the rocks. They took him to a Seattle hospital by train, where he died without regaining consciousness. The trip by train to Seattle took seven or eight hours. There were, of course, no reasonable alternatives. The train was the quickest mode of transportation. But then, after the introduction of the automobile, Dio also gives us a graphic picture of the challenges involved in motoring a patient to a Seattle hospital:
In 1909, in Snoqualmie, the Reinig Brother’s Store (now the Coast-to-Coast) burned, along with the Howard Johnson Hotel (a big wooden three-story affair). Two large men jumped from the hotel during the fire and both broke their hips. Doctor Burke called Dio Reinig and asked if he could take one of the men to a hospital in Seattle in his EMF. Dio removed the top from his car, and the man, placed on a stretcher, was strapped crosswise on the tops of the car doors. Doctor Burke and a Mr. McLeod (pronounced McCloud) rode with Dio to help out.
To quote Dio, “It was a bad road in those days. We had to go over the steep Duthie Hill below Fall City, then to Renton and along the water front on a mile of very rough road, then across the Grant Street bridge to the Providence hospital on Fifth and Madison Street.
Before we started up Duthie Hill I asked the doctor and Mr. McLeod to get out and walk up the hill. The engine died about half way up, and as we had no starter in those days, I asked one of the men to crank the engine. Both said they didn’t know a thing about doing that. I did not dare get out of the car as I had to use both brakes to hold it from going back down the hill. After quite some time one of the men helped and we got it started and on up the hill and on our way again.
Our patient was in great pain and every now and then the doctor had me stop while he gave the man a drink of whiskey. He said he had never killed a man yet with whiskey. We arrived at the hospital at midnight, all of us very tired.”
According to Dio, his EMF had a terrible habit of stopping on both hills and railroad crossings. The tires were guaranteed for 3,000 miles, but you were lucky to get 300 on the gravel roads of the day.
Another story begins with this comment: “Trips to Seattle over rough roads, through deep mud, were very agonizing to patients.” A man was shot in the back during a quarrel on Snoqualmie’s main street. Dr. Burke asked for help from Claude Northern this time, and Mr. Northern volunteered his Ford. They didn’t get very far. The Ford skidded off of the road on the Falls’ hill and (luckily) the rear axle hung up on a stump, keeping them from tumbling down the hill. They finished the trip in another Snoqualmie car. Snoqualmie had three automobiles at the time.
A locomotive was once sent to bring Doctor Burke back to the hospital during a blizzard. The good doctor arrived with “icicles hanging from his mustache, but after warming up, proceeded with an emergency operation at two in the morning.”
So there you have it — a short course in early medical transportation in the Valley. Isn’t it comforting to have our modern, fully staffed facility at our doorstep?
Addendum: In January 1948, the Nelems Hospital replaced the 1920 Snoqualmie Falls Hospital reducing down to a 16-bed hospital. Bernice Nelems, a nurse at the former Snoqualmie Falls Hospital, named the facility in honor of her parents and sister. She ran the remote 16-bed medical facility for more than 20 years before financial problems befell it. This facility operated until 1976, when it closed a new Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District was formed to replace the hospital. In 1979 Governor Dixy Lee Ray signed legislation allowing the hospital district to get funding to build a new hospital as the Valley was without one. This new hospital opened in 1983. It was replaced by the current hospital in 2015.
Ten years ago Lucille Bonifas Smith was kind enough to answer some questions about her life in 1940 for Assistant Director Cristy Lake during a dinner visit to the Eagles in Snoqualmie when the Museum had been working on a 1940 exhibit. Lucille was Cristy’s Great Aunt. Below is what she had to say:
My name is Lucille Lois (Bonifas) Smith. I was born in Eastern Colorado in Yuma County, the oldest of born to Louie and Willena Bonifas. I was the only one of the four of us children that had a doctor attending. I was named after mom; Lucille, her middle name. I don’t know if my middle name was after my father, an aunt or just because they liked it.
In 1940, I was about 16 years old. I was still in high school at North Bend High. It was fun. I was involved in the YMCA. We did parallel bars, tumbling and Indian Clubs (kind of like bowling). I also belonged to the Girl Scouts; we went camping and spent a week at Lake Sammamish and a week up in the hills at Lake Hancock.
In 1940, I baby sat by the month for people by the name of Van Dykes. She worked at Thompson Café and he drove a truck. They had one child, I think he lives in Monroe now.
I lived in North Bend; it was a farm with a nice big house. Ralph Freeman now lives in our grape patch. We raised cattle and had a dairy. We had about 10 milk cows, a couple of horses, a dozen or so chickens and 2 or 3 pigs. Our family was made up of my parents, my sister Betty, and my two brothers John and Walt.
We spent our summer afternoons down by the river; it was the Middle Fork. We would go down to that bridge too, there were some good swimming holes. We lived by the Thrashers, Offields, Bluhers, Fullers, Currys, Harris’, and Harts. The Bluhers and Currys had kids our age. We would have bonfires at the beach.
We had been in the house about a year, we moved there in 1939, before that a mill house. The community was close and friendly. Every Wednesday night was the discount night at the North Bend Theatre, I think 10 cents.
My father worked at the Bremerton shipyards. He stayed over there with an uncle. My grandparents moved there too. Dad drove a bus there most of the time for the other employees. He left working at the Mill in 1939 because he and the union didn’t get along. They had slashed his tires at one point because he wouldn’t join.
John worked at one of the neighbor farms occasionally. Betty and I also waited tables at the Alps Café and then the Monogram. We worked the Swing Shift and during school breaks during the day too. The Swing Shift was usually about 5:30 pm until Midnight. We worked both during school and on breaks. We worked the same shifts together and walked back and forth. We would eat at the diner when we worked there, but otherwise didn’t eat out much. Frank (Marsalis) would cook us up a nice T bone steak. I would eat mine and Betty’s both because she didn’t like hers. She would sometimes eat a hamburger instead, but we didn’t get much choice because he would cook it up and give it to us. He owned the Alps Café and later Thompsons (co-owned).
We walked to school most the time, but had the bus if we wanted. We could get out of bed later if we walked. Betty and I went to the Baptist church in North Bend. I played the piano there. Betty and I also went to Youth Club on Wednesday Nights at the church. We went to that church because it was the closest church, we walked. Mom would occasionally go to the Catholic Church and Masses. She wasn’t Catholic, dad was; she just like it; but she didn’t go to church much. Dad never went.
North Bend had quite a few cafes then like now. We would grow some of our food and buy the rest. Mom always had a garden. Lee’s Grocery, Glaziers Dry Goods, the Bakery, the Gas Station we all went to. That George Wyrsch was a heart throb, he had a nice red convertible; he was too old for us though. The Dry Goods carried material and clothing. We bought most of our clothes. Betty, Fern Bonsgaard, and I would spend most of our time in Seattle buying clothes with our $15 a week paychecks. We took a bus to Seattle from North Bend; it went down through Fall City. It took about an hour. Lenners was my favorite shop; they carried the clothes we could afford and liked. We couldn’t afford Fredricks but we were there and Fern would try on shoes.
We wore dresses and slacks. We would were nylons with seams or we painted our legs and drew on seams. We all wore girdles with slacks and dresses. Our shoes were saddle shoes and 3 to 4 inch high heels. We did our own hair and I wore mine back. At night we did it up with pin curls all over our head. We occasionally wore hats for dress, like going to church.
Heavens yes, we had a car. Mom drove once and a while but she didn’t have a drivers license and didn’t drive too much. I think dad intimidated her. I had just gotten my license in 1940. I drove all I could. We would go to Seattle and just around. Our car was a Studebaker. If you drove to Snoqualmie, that was really getting around. Dad had a Hudson Terraplane before the Studebaker. He was always changing car, upgrading. He loved to drive. I don’t know where he bought them all.
Mom, John and Walt’s job was milking the cows. Mom made sure Betty and I never milked a cow. She had always had to milk cows and wanted to make sure we never HAD to. We got to drive horses to pull the hay up to the barn. We had to pump the water for the cattle from a well in the pasture fairly close to the house. My mom didn’t belong to any organizations, she just took care of us kids. She always canned.
At some point I would go up to the Mount Si Rec building and man the phone in case of attack. That didn’t last too long, but I don’t remember exactly when that was. I didn’t go to any of the lectures about the war in Europe or help pack care packages. The war did not really affect me at that point.
We were always involved with family, both sides. Aunt Clara lived in Seattle. We saw them about once a month. Her sons would come out and stay and we would go stay there. Joe and Herb would give Betty a hard time because she couldn’t take the teasing. Joe got killed in the war. He had a job delivering news papers. He kept us informed, told us were babies came from and all of that. He was few months younger than me. He was nice. Herb was a couple years older than me. The first time we met, Herb took me by the hair; Joe, Betty; Neil took John and Gene took Walt by the hair and led us around the room. Then we were all fast friends. That was about 1933. Their youngest brother Dickie wasn’t born yet. Mom’s side was in Enumclaw; they moved out from Colorado in 1934.
Fifteen Mile Crossing was the first fording over the Snoqualmie River after leaving North Bend going over Snoqualmie Pass. It is located about 15 miles east of North Bend.
James Beard became one of the toll collectors when the Snoqualmie Pass Wagon Road became a toll road in 1883. Beard built a cabin at the 15 mile crossing about 1890 and he ferried travelers across the river for an additional fee. Later he built a toll bridge over the river and named it Fifteen Mile Bridge.
A few years later, Beard built some log cabins for tired travelers and called the new camp “Bide A Wee”. This rest stop served weary travelers for many years.
In 1893, the County took over the wagon road and it became County Road No. 353 and all tolls were removed.
According to Fred Schechzer’s obituary “In 1907 he saw the first automobile come over Snoqualmie Pass on its own wheels- a White Steamer that gave its last dying wheeze near the 15 mile crossing and was towed ignominiously to North Bend by a contemptuous freighter. But it was the forerunner of the unending stream of motor vehicles that now streak across the old homestead on the broad ribbon of concrete that has supplanted the old rutted wagon trail.”
In 1915, when the Sunset Highway was completed. The crossing at 15 mile was bypassed by the new highway that remained on the north side of the river toward the summit. Bide A Wee continued to flourish with travelers going over the mountain and campers who came in from Seattle for a relaxing weekend.
In the early 1920’s, M. C. Mason purchased the camp from Beard and renamed it Camp Mason. He soon built better cabins, a restaurant and grocery store next to the Sunset Highway. The camp lasted until the 1950’s, when the property was purchased by the State Highway Dept.
The camp was then bulldozed to make way for the new 4 lane highway. Nothing remains of the once vibrant camp and rest stop. At north side of location of Exit 42.
Deo Reing told a story about going to James Beard’s to purchase a colt about 1891 or 1892:
“It was some time in the 1890’s, when I was quite young. I was at the Hop Ranch (now the Meadowbrook farm) watching a band of horses passing by. They had just come over the mountains from Eastern Washington. One of the men who was driving them rode over to where I was standing and told me that they had left a fine colt at the Toll Bridge. (This was also called the 15-mile crossing because it was 15 miles east of North Bend.) He said that it had come from fine stock and that I could buy it from the keeper there for two or three dollars.
The next day I took my brother Eddie’s donkey and five dollars and left quite early as the road in the mountains was very rough and hilly, and I didn’t know what kind of horse I would bring back. When I arrived there and looked the colt over, I decided to take it. It was a bay filly some six or seven months old and was played out and could not go any further.
The keeper, whose name was Beard, said he would have to have five dollars for it. I agreed and after giving him the money we tried to catch her. She never had a halter on and knew nothing about leading. After a lot of chasing we caught her and put the halter on. I put the rope around the horn of the saddle and started to pull. Mr. Beard took a stick to get the colt to move, but she only pulled back harder. There was quite a steep hill we had to go up right at the start and I never thought we would make it. The little donkey pulled with all his might, and when we got near the top the colt seemed to give up and ran right to the side of the donkey and stayed close by the rest of the way home. I surely felt relieved.
When we got home I rode up to the house to show the new little horse to my mother and the rest of the family. My mother soon found that the young one was covered with lice, so she melted some lard and mixed it with kerosene and I applied it over most of her body. I put our other horses in the pasture and kept the filly in the barnyard. When the other horses were gone the new one stayed right by my side. When I left to go to the house she ran up and down along the fence and whinnied with all her might. I went back several times to calm her, and she was fine as long as I stayed with her. It surprised me to learn that a colt could be tamed in such a short time. The next day when she saw me she came running up to me. I always had a little feed for her.
After my horse was about two years old I rode her just a little. I also hitched her to our two-wheel cart. After she was three I could drive her hitched to the cart, or ride her. She was never afraid of anything. I used to hitch her to the cart in the evening and drive to the road by the Hop Ranch where the ground was level and smooth. It was easy to see that the colt had come from good stock, the way that horse stepped out. She could trot faster than any horse around. The cowboy had told me the truth when he spoke to me about that colt.
We had seven horses at the time and my father said we had to get rid of some. Since I had two, I thought I should sell one of mine, so I sold my young mare for $75 to some one else. I never saw her again. I had named her Flora.”
– Deo Reing, Grandpa Tell Me A Story
By Dave Battey
Have you ever had a vision, a hope, or a plan, that you felt was important to your community? One dream that has come to fruition after many years of work by Valley citizens and businesses is the log shelter and interpretive center north (toward the Falls) of the Snoqualmie depot.
Starting about 1976, the idea for a sawmill display began to take form. A single giant Douglas Fir, enjoyed by generations of Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company and Weyerhaeuser employees and visitors had been struck by lightening. The top half was dead. This venerable giant, which had proudly withstood the primary dangers to tall trees from humankind, high winds and gravity, was now more vulnerable to disease and a threat to its own offspring. As a snag ages and rots, the wood takes on a punky texture. Future lightening strikes could ignite this punk, spewing live coals for hundreds of feet around the tree and triggering forest fires. So after being treasured as a symbol of the past by woods bosses Don Schriver and Ole Grette for these many years, the decision was made to fall her.
Snoqualmie Mayor Charles Peterson heard the news. He dreamed of a specimen log for the city. This log would help everyone understand the challenges and opportunities that the virgin forest had given to our ancestors, whether they worked in the woods or mill, or were the consumers of the straight grained, clear (of knots) lumber for their homes, farms and businesses. The Mill was interested in helping, but initially perceived the town’s requirement as the normal two foot “chunk” from the butt of the log, which could be mounted on a base as part of an exhibit. Snoqualmie wanted the whole butt log. Mayor Peterson and Harry Shook from Weyerhaeuser began negotiating. As the dream of a uniquely impressive log display grew, the Snoqualmie Park Board made a site available and the Mill challenged the City. If Snoqualmie could find a sawmill carriage to put the behemoth on, Weyerhaeuser would donate at least twenty feet of the log (containing enough lumber to build two average houses.)
Snoqualmie found a surplused Weyerhaeuser carriage in Aberdeen. It was a big carriage, far too big to efficiently cut most of today’s second and third growth timber, but still dwarfed by The Log. It was brought to the Mill by railroad, and to the site by Puget Sound Railway Historical Association locomotive. Then, no easy feat, The Log was moved to the site and onto the carriage. Being significantly larger in diameter than a normal log, steel beam braces were installed to keep her on the carriage. It was 1979.
Over the years, covering the log and carriage to protect them from the elements became more and more important. In 1988, as the Snoqualmie Centennial year neared, renewed interest and resources began to come forward. Puget Power provided an architect. Weyerhaeuser supplied huge beams and other historical building materials from Mill #1. Many businesses came forward with donated or at‑cost materials. Individual citizens donated their time and talents. Money paid by those producing the television series Twin Peaks was donated.
Supported by Mayor Jeanne Hansen and directed by city administrator Kim Wilde, this dream of a unique memorial to our past provided a foundation for the structure that now covers the log in 1989 and a completed roof by 1992. Over the years additional features have been added including a fence to deter vandalism, lighting to show off the log at night and interpretive signs to tell the story.
So the next time you have an idea that you think is important for your community ‑ and consider the project to be too big or too difficult, remember this log shelter, or the Farm Shed at the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society Museum, or the protected King County Historic Sycamore Corridor on Reinig Road, or the North Bend depot, or the Snoqualmie Hospital. These and hundreds of other legacies all began as citizen’s dreams for our Valley.
LOG VITAL STATISTICS
LENGTH: 26 Feet
DIAMETER LARGE END: 11′, 6″
DIAMETER SMALL END: 8′, 10″
BARK THICKNESS: 4″ average
THICKEST PART: 7″ inches
WEIGHT: Approximately 39 tons
AGE: Approximately 400 years
CUT: In 1976, Seedling in 1576
Originally written by Dave Battey for the Valley Reporter Newspaper in 1992, updated in 2021.
The building that Buckshot Honey now occupies is unique in that it was the first and one of the few brick buildings built in Snoqualmie. Built in 1923, it has served as a bank, city hall, chamber of commerce and more recently restaurants.
The opening of the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company mill in November of 1917 created a stronger economy in the area and led to the founding of the State Bank of Snoqualmie on April 10, 1919. Home for this bank was in the back of Otto Reinig’s store in Snoqualmie (now Carmichael’s Hardware). The bank was established by W. L. Peters and Associates, with a capitalization of $15,000. Incidentally, Peters was also president of the First National Bank of Lyons, Iowa.
By 1920, the mill payroll kept the bank open late in the evening on paydays, and ready cash of “$30,000 to $35,000” was required per payday. Bank officials in 1920 are listed as J. H. Peters, president, with W. L. Peters as cashier, S. R. Archibald as vice president and the Nye brothers as directors. In a letter dated December 6, 1920, mill manager W. W. Warren suggests that the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company make use of the local bank for some of their banking needs and quotes Seattle First National Bank president, “Mr. Arnold” as regarding the local Snoqualmie bankers as “substantial.”
By July of 1923, several eastside banks had been coupled together and it was decided to construct a new headquarters for the chain in Snoqualmie. The building would be built on the corner of River Street and Falls Avenue, just across from Otto Reinig’s store, on a lot just north of the Case and Hepler Ford Garage. The 60’ x 120’ lot was purchased from Herbert Knowles.
The bank was built along pleasing classical lines and engineered to be the most solid and substantial building in town. Built of brick, its walls were a foot thick and the building exterior was twenty-six feet wide and forty feet long. An upstairs balcony, fourteen feet wide, overlooked the main room, which was twenty-four feet square and had a eighteen foot ceiling. Eight inch wide clear fir cove molding dressed the corners between the walls and ceiling. Multi-paned wood windows ten feet high graced three walls, bringing cascades of sunlight into the main hall.
An essential part of the new bank building was an 8’ X 12’ vault with walls of 18” reinforced concrete. To quote from the October 19, Snoqualmie Post, “From the dimensions of the steel bars and plates that entered into its construction it would seem that it is impregnable as the Rock of Gibraltar.” The door to the vault was shipped from San Francisco and weighed over 6,000 pounds. It was originally engineered to swing to the right — which blocked access. It took workmen an entire week to change the hinges on the vault door.
To make matters more challenging, the lead contractor on the bank, Marcus B. Arvesen, died in mid-October. No announcement for the opening ceremony has been found, but earlier news stories predicted December, 1923.
Also in 1923, Valley resident C. Beadon Hall, owner (along with his sister Isadore) of the Tolt State Bank, and the Duvall State Bank, purchased the State Bank of North Bend. C. Beadon Hall and his sister Isadore founded the Duvall State Bank in 1912 and carefully added seven more banks to their chain until they covered the Eastside all the way to Bellevue.
In 1929, C. B. (as he was called around the Upper and Lower Snoqualmie Valley) purchased the State Bank of Snoqualmie whose officers at the time included J. H. Peters, president, A. J. Peters, vice president, and W. L. Peters, cashier.
Weathering the Great Depression (no small feat for small banks), the Hall’s moved to Snoqualmie and in 1943, reorganized their individual bank branches into The Washington State Bank, headquartered in the brick building in Snoqualmie.
By the 1940’s a wooden structure (later the mayors’ office) had been added to the back of the bank and is listed in assessor’s records as a “boiler room” equipped with a Risdon Automatic Coal Stoker. Some folks today refer to this addition as the “jail”.
In 1943, C. B. began the Issaquah State Bank. This was followed by Washington State Bank’s Bellevue branch in 1944, their Mercer Island Branch in 1950, and an Eastgate branch in 1955.
C. Beadon Hall, our local banker, had carefully built his small town operation into a virtual monopoly of banking on the east side of Lake Washington. When they consolidated as Washington State Bank in 1943, their business was headquartered in the brick building in Snoqualmie. A final branch was added at Eastgate in 1955 and the chain was purchased by Seattle First National Bank in 1956.
In the early 70’s, Seafirst decided to build a new branch building in town. This modern building was completed in 1976 and negotiations between the City of Snoqualmie and Seafirst for the old brick building began long before the new structure was completed. Bob Innis, Ed Opstad, Joe Lyon, Chuck Peterson and other community minded citizens worked with Seafirst to close the deal.
When the new Snoqualmie Seafirst was dedicated on July 24, 1976, the donation of the old building to the city became part of the opening ceremony. Mayor Chuck Peterson remembered the Seafirst officer involved in the festivities noting that he couldn’t legally give the building to the city for nothing. Some token amount of money had to change hands and be noted in the contract. Chuck pulled out his wallet and handed the bank official a dollar bill and the deal was consummated.
But the city had not been financially able to budget for the renovation of a bank into a city hall. Money was scarce. A task force co-chaired by George and Jean Swenson and Mona and Joe Lyon helped raise funds. Kathy, Bret and Dave Battey had just moved to the Valley, and one of our first involvements in the community was scooping for an ice cream social to raise money for the renovation.
A budget of some $2500 was scraped together.
Volunteers came to the rescue as they have so many times in Snoqualmie’s past. Volunteer firemen, city police, council members, concerned citizens and locals with expertise came forward. Kyle and Ada Riley and Dick and Betty Carmichael helped obtain materials at cost. Local Architect Dick Burhans and his wife Sallie helped design the new council chambers, lighting, tables and desks. Dick also created five beautiful historic timber industry paintings which were mounted behind the council tables.
Burhans did not have a logging background and was concerned about the accuracy of his details of timber operations. He called together eight or ten “old timers” including Mittie Terhune and Marv Slaght to help him design the rigging and other woodsy details. Howard Crowder put his cabinetry expertise into the council tables. Carol Peterson and Betty Carmichael painted and papered the walls. Seafirst had recycled the 6,000 pound vault door, leaving a jagged concrete edge for a doorway. Edd McCullough remembers Bart Mueller carefully fitting a form and pouring a new concrete door frame.
And so, by late 1976, it became Snoqualmie City Hall for the next fourteen years, until hit hard by the Thanksgiving 1990 floods.
City of Snoqualmie staff were fortunate enough to find a temporary home in the old telephone building in North bend and room for council meetings in the SRA/Snoqualmie Falls Chamber building. Mayor Hansen continued with her Saturday morning “Open House” policy — but it just wasn’t the same for citizens to travel to North Bend to meet with her.
Bids for a complete renovation, flood proofing and much needed addition to old city hall came in over-budget. It looked like Snoqualmie would stay in North Bend for the foreseeable future.
Then, once again, volunteers came forward. A citizens committee was appointed by the mayor to look at options. They recommended re-use of the old building for council chambers, meeting rooms, and the mayor’s office. They also suggested purchase of the old Sno-Falls Credit Union for city staff, which at the time was housed in downtown Snoqualmie in the building to the east of the Bindlestick.
The results are bearing fruit. The old credit union building is being refurbished and could be available by early December. A volunteer group took on the challenge of renovating the old city hall. Much plaster was loose all the way to the bricks and had to be replaced. The older wiring was almost useless. Some internal trim was rotten and holes from abandoned electrical and heating facilities pocked the walls.
Once again, Dick and Sallie Burhans volunteered their architectural and design expertise to the renovation. Dick also drew up plans for new council tables and a new backdrop for the five logging history paintings which he created for the 1976 city hall renovation.
The major challenge for Snoqualmie volunteers was to carefully preserve the historical and architectural integrity of the building and make it useful once again — under a tight budget. Important aspects, such as flood proofing and enlarging the facility had to wait for the future. The committee decided to accent the Council Chamber’s fourteen foot ceiling with a metal stamped pattern. The ceiling was installed by lead artisan/volunteer Matt Stone, our local Michelangelo.
The Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society provided a photograph showing the original building with old fashioned school house lights and similar antique fixtures were donated by the electrical contractor. New carpeting was put down and new baseboards created for the main room. Betty Carmichael spent over twenty-four hours painting woodwork in the council chamber. The mayor’s office was re-paneled, and modern lighting installed.
A grand total of over 550 hours of volunteer labor and hundreds of dollars in donated materials were offered by caring citizens. Week after week, Mayor Hansen provided pizza for the Saturday work parties.
Just as things were taking shape, they almost lost it all. Workmen sealing the asphalt on the parking lot caught the wall of Mayor Jeanne Hansen’s office on fire. Kyle Riley sprinted to the fire station to turn in the alarm, and our efficient Snoqualmie Volunteer Fire Department kept the damage to $200.
Much remained to be done. The Dick Burhans paintings had been cleaned by the artist and re-installed in a new backdrop. New council tables were added in front of the paintings. The upstairs was not budgeted for, and would need some loving care.
Cathy Runkle was deeply involved in the project and chaired an antique sale to raise funds. Funding was a challenge, and ongoing fundraisers took place even as the Mayor moved back to her office. Tickets for a raffle to raise funds were available at many local businesses. After an absence of two years, Mayor Hansen moved back to her renovated office on Saturday, October 24, 1992.
The first official meeting in the newly renovated (but not yet completed) council chambers was on November 2, with a Mountain’s to Sound Greenway open house followed by a Snoqualmie Planning Commission meeting. Senior Planning Commissioner Gordy Mayrand spoke for all Snoqualmie when he stated, “It feels good to be home.”
In 2001, the building was badly damaged in the Nisqually Earthquake. The damage was bad enough that initial assessments were that it would have to be demolished. Jim Tinner, building official and code enforcement officer for the city, said “It tried to rotate, and in trying to rotate, there are no systems to stop that,” The quake caused the historic building to twist, creating several cracks in its north, west and south walls. Inside the building, it was possible to see daylight through one crack. “The [wooden portion of the building] tried to support the bricks, but it failed,” Tinner said. Cracks run from top to bottom where a pilaster on the north wall is attached to the building. The pilaster at one time served as a chimney, and it helps support the building’s second story. The strain from the weight the pilaster is still supporting caused it to bow outward slightly. Inside the mayor’s office was strewn with fallen books, and framed certificates hung lopsided on walls. The front door could not be opened. The city undertook to save the building and rather than demolishing it repaired and retrofitted it.
After the dedication of the new City Hall in 2010; the building was used as the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce headquarters and operated as a tourist information center until 2017 when the city sold the property. In 2017 it was remodeled to accommodate food service. Since then it has been occupied by Heirloom Cookshop and now Buckshot Honey.
The field between Two Rivers and North Bend Elementary School in North Bend is named for William Claggett, a local student who drowned in Derry Lake in 1922. In the 1920s this field was the athletic field for the North Bend High School. In honor of their classmate North Bend students planted trees along the field during a holiday devoted to the memory of their friend, former classmate and aspiring athlete. The 1925 edition of Lewain, the North Bend High School yearbook includes a description of this field day:
“There is no question in the minds of North Bend High School alumni members and students that Claggett’s field is by far the finest athletic field in the Snoqualmie Valley, in fact, in King County. Mr. Dimmitt realized this when he declared a holiday Friday April 11. All of the pupils that took part in the work on that day declared it one of the most profitable vacation days that we have ever had, not from the standpoint of immediate gain but in the words of our creed— ‘the future’.”
“Each student was asked to get at least one tree sometime during the week of Campus Day and have it ready for the truck to pick up and bring it over to the field. The boys were divided into three groups, the captain of group one, being Bill Tanner, group two Verne Offield, and group three Carl Scott. Group one worked from nine to ten, group two, from ten to eleven and group three, from eleven to twelve, collecting trees. At this time the sixth, seventh and eighth grades joined the party having their lunch on the tennis court in front of the gym while the high school girls prepared lunch on the other two courts for the high school students. It was decided that no lunch would be served until every tree was planted and only those having trees planted in the ‘individual tree row’ could partake. This worked very well and when Mr. Lemon finished the check practically every student had a memorial tree in place.”
“Then the real part of the day began—the big feed. The supply of sandwiches, cake and salad was almost unlimited and several contests evolved as to who could eat the greatest number of sandwiches. The midget of the school, Bill Smith, was declared winner, having an even dozen to his credit. (It is needless to say that he spent a very restless night.)”
“After the lunch was cleared away the ball team made ready for the first game of the season with Snoqualmie. It was a splendid afternoon for the game and after two bad innings at the first when Bob had considerable difficulty getting his breaks to break at the right place the boys settled down and everybody enjoyed a good game if we did lose eight to four.”
“This day was really commencement of our three day spring vacation.”
“We sincerely hope that the trees we planted develop well and that each year we may enjoy a good time such as we had this year until Claggett’s field has a hedge all around it and a fine grove as well.”
by David Battey (originally published in 2004)
The plan was to build the second “all electric” mill in the nation. The first such mill being an upgrade of Weyerhaeuser’s Everett Mill B, completed in 1916. It is important to remember that the underground power plant at Snoqualmie Falls, the first hydroelectric plant in the State of Washington, went on line in late 1898 and helped prove the viability of the alternating current system of power transmission over the direct current system espoused by Thomas Edison. The town of Snoqualmie did not have electricity until 1912 and outlying Valley farms were without electricity until the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.
So the use of electricity in heavy manufacturing was still relatively new and using it to run a large lumber mill was an experiment honed on Everett Mill B and perfected at the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company facility.
The original power house at the mill was designed to accommodate four 750 horsepower Stirling boilers from Babcock and Wilcox that burned waste chips, shavings and sawdust to create steam and power the “turbo-generator.”
Previously, lumber mills used steam for “everything”. This new mill used electricity for much of the rotary motion, saving steam for saw carriage motion, dry kilns, lifting cylinders and other situations where electricity was inefficient. In fact by 1921 the mill was utilizing over 400 electric motors having an aggregate connected load in excess of 6500 horsepower. The same electrical engineer that designed Everett Mill B, Albert H. Onstad, became an independent consultant for the Snoqualmie Falls operation earning a salary that equated to thirteen dollars per day when the general forest products labor rate was three dollars.
Of primary interest to first mill manager W. W. Warren, was the innovative and untested concept of extending power lines into the woods so that electricity rather than steam could provide the energy for yarding logs. The value of electric yarders/loaders (donkeys) was not just in their assumed efficiency and speed over steam units but the fact that steam donkey boilers create sparks and the attendant risk of forest fires. Starting with the opening of the mill in 1917, the company went through four years of experiments using equipment from Westinghouse, General Electric and others before accepting and installing the fast, efficient, spark-free units in 1921. Electricity was provided by running wires all the way from the power generating plant at Mill 1 into the deep woods and directly to the electric donkey. The electric yarders were an immediate success as noted in these quotes from W. W. Warren to George Long at Weyerhaeuser: “The new electric loading machine is a wonderful success, and has this week justified our faith, hopes, and expectations. Mr. Lewis (the logging foreman) is very enthusiastic. The crew is proud of it, and the yarding part is the fastest machine in the woods.” In a postscript he states, “Lewis says this A.M. the loader picked a butt log (7’ to 8’ on stump) up bodily and placed (it) on (a railroad) car on top of two other logs. The Duplex steam loader couldn’t do that.”
Dreams of efficient harvesting of Snoqualmie Valley timber began in 1900 when Weyerhaeuser purchased thousands of acres in Western Washington from railroad interests. The Grandin Coast Lumber Company purchased railroad lands checker-boarded with the Weyerhaeuser holdings in the Valley in 1906. By 1914 the feasibility of heavy investment in milling and marketing the exceptional timber resources of the Snoqualmie Valley bore fruit in the incorporation of the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (SFLCo) by Weyerhaeuser and Grandin Coast. With capitalization of $23,000,000 this was serious business.
It took two years of planning before actual mill construction began in 1916. The heart of the mill was a large brick fuel bunker, powerhouse, generating plant and stack, built between Mill 1 (with its 11’ electrically driven headrig or giant bandsaw) and the mill pond. The still existing 211 foot ‘stack’ for this generating plant was constructed of special “radial perforated” curved brick and is nineteen feet in diameter at the base and thirteen feet in diameter at the upper lip. Still visible on the side of the stack are the company initials, SFLCo.
Although World War I specified wood as a strategic product, attempting to get the mill up and running during times of severe shortages in manpower, metals and machines was a challenge. It was especially difficult obtaining the large electric motors required for the mill and the delivery of the 4,000 Kilowatt Allis-Chalmers “turbo-generator” was the last piece of equipment required before the mill could go operational on November 25th 1917.
In addition to power needed for production, this mill created “home” electricity for the lights and appliances of the new and growing mill town of Snoqualmie Falls (250 domiciles at buildout in 1924). That the mill created their electricity was made evident to all of the households at the mill site. Their lights would dim when the eleven-foot band saw (head-rig) of Mill 1 ripped into a large knot, a hog (gigantic motor driven chipper) gobbled a hard to digest log or one of the electric donkey engines in the woods was working extra hard. Electricity at the townsite was also very obvious to neighboring farms, many of whom did not have power in their homes until over a decade after the mill began operation.
During planning, engineer Onstad recognized that the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company could easily generate additional power for sale into the Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Company grid. Negotiations began in 1917 and the first co-generation contract was signed in 1920. This process allowed the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company to sell excess power to Puget Power. It also provided for Puget to act as backup in case the mill was unable to generate enough power of her own.
As the mill and mill town grew, the need for electricity and steam rose. In the early 1929 a fifth, much larger boiler was added. A second stack some 250 feet high and 16 feet in diameter at the base was added in 1944.
In 1989 Mill 1 was dismantled, but the generating plant was still required for the kilns, planer mill, grading and shipping that remained in service. Green cut lumber from the Weyerhaeuser White River sawmill was trucked up to Snoqualmie where it was dried and finished. In 1991 the two power house smoke stacks were assisted by pollution-combating scrubbers.
In 2002 Weyerhaeuser sold the Snoqualmie Tree Farm and in 2003 the mill itself was closed and the dismantling of the buildings began.
On August 11, 2004 the “new” stack erected in 1944 was toppled but the original brick stack currently remains.
Addendum: In 2010, Weyerhaeuser sold the mill site to Snoqualmie Mill Ventures who created DirtFish rally school on the site.