First hospital at North Bend.

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.

Nancy Flint. Darius Kinsey Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.760.0005.

“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.

Dr. Adams’ sign, found in Boxley Home. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection 276.003.
Wilhelmina Wieting. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection 379.015.
Louisa Kinsey. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.326.0013.
Dr. Bill Gibson. Peiser Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.040.1244.
First hospital in Boxley Home, corner of N Bendigo and 2nd, North Bend. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.668.0003.

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.

Dr Cheney next to his car, 1951. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.135.0100.
Dr Burke. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Doctor and Mrs Burke and nurse at hospital in old Taylor residence. Snoqualmie Valley Museum.
Snoqualmie Falls Hospital. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.159.0011.
Parachute jumper moments before the fatal accident. August 20, 1893. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection. 028.033.B.
Dio Reinig and Albert Schafer in EMF at Reinig Farm. Reinig Family Collection.

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.

Nelems hospital, January 1948. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.045.3525.
Dixy Lee Ray signs legislation for Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, May 10, 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, 1983. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.

Lucille Smith Recalls North Bend in 1940

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:

Lucille Lois Bonifas Smith (1924-2017)
Lucille being held by her grandmother Olive Pearl Crites Claridge with her great grandmother Amelia Ann Shineflew Crites and mother Willena Lucille Claridge Bonifas (pregnant with sister Betty) while still in Colorado. c 1925.
Tumbling at the YMCA a few years later.
Lucille’s mom Willena in front of their farm house with Joe Sheppard Lucille’s cousin, c 1943.
North Bend Baptist Church. (Image of church c 1908).

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. 

Alps Cafe

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.

North Bend c 1945. Lucille lived on a farm just off camera at the top right of the image just passed the current Nursery at Mount Si.

Inquiry of Week: Where was Camp Bide-A-Wee?

Exit 42 from Google Maps.

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.

Cynthia Joyner, Louis Knight, Carrie Scheuchzer on road to 15 Mile Bridge. May 1908. Siegrist Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.751.0075.

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

Snoqualmie’s Centennial Log

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 at Snoqualmie, Sept 1984. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.171.0162.
Kim Wilde and Leo Kelley at Centennial Log, 1989. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Reporter Newspaper Collection.
Roof installation.
Snoqualmie Centennial Log Pavilion. Joe Mabel photo.

Julie Peterson at tree when cut in 1977. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Placement in park in August 1979. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Log in September 1984. Snoqualmie Valley Museum PO.171.0151.
Log placement in 1989 for new roof installation.


LENGTH:  26 Feet



BARK THICKNESS:  4″ average

THICKEST PART: 7″ inches

WEIGHT:  Approximately 39 tons

AGE:  Approximately 400 years

CUT:  In 1976, Seedling in 1576

First Brick Building In Town

Originally written by Dave Battey for the Valley Reporter Newspaper in 1992, updated in 2021.

Washington State Bank. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.115.0007.
Inside State Bank of Snoqualmie at Reinig Store, February, 1923. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.115.0006.
Inside Washington State Bank, Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.115.0008.

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.

Snoqualmie State Bank merchant bank calculator. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection 951.1232.
State Bank of Snoqualmie bag. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection 574.109.
Washington State Bank Board during 1956 sale to SeaFirst. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
CB Hall signing sale to SeaFirst. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.

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.

City Hall before sign updated. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
City Hall before sign updated. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Charles Peterson at purchase and dedication of City Hall, 1976. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Installation of Burhans paintings at City Hall. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
Burhans paintings at City Hall. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.
City Hall. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Charles Peterson Collection.

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.”

Reopening of City Hall after Earthquake. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
City Hall after the earthquake, 2005. Valley Record Newspaper.
Building serving as Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce ad photo.
Interior of building while serving as Heirloom Cookshop. Heirloom Cookshop ad photo.

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.


Research Inquiry: What is the History of the Trees along the field between Two Rivers School and North Bend Elementary?

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.”

Campus Day, 1925.
North Bend High School basketball team and coach, 1921.
Left to Right, Front: Bruce Morris, Felix Rae, Bill Claggett. 
Back: Watt Glazier, teacher Mr McNamara, Warren Webster.

The Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company – “All Electric” Mill

by David Battey (originally published in 2004)

Frederick Weyerhaesuer. Minnesota Historical Society Collection.

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.

Mill powerhouse and mill 1, c 1920. Cress-Dale photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.381.0003.
Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co stack smoke. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.040.3035.

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.

Dinner Group at Snoqualmie Falls home. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.288.0009.
Mill 1 bandsaw. March 1, 1918. Cress-Dale. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.534.0195.

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.”

1917 correspondence between George S Long and WW Warren regarding potential sale of power to Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Company. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co Mill 1, Greenchain and Powerhouse. May 11, 1917. Cress-Dale Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.534.0210.
Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co stacks, after 1944. Harold Keller Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection

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.

Snoqualmie Falls Power Plant. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Arc flame in cavity at Snoqualmie Falls Power Plant, c.1898. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.112.0076.

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.

Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co powerhouse construction progress. August 22, 1917. Cress-Dale photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.534.0176.
Snoqualmie Falls Powerhouse equipment. March 11, 1918. Cress-Dale photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.534.0201.

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.

WW Warren, Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co manager. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.473.0101.
Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co Triple drum electric donkey engine on skids on log car. Kinsey Photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection. PO.486.0007.
Electric logging donkey on skids. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.320.0026.

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.

Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co mill 1, powerhouse and beginning of mill town, c 1920. Cress-Dale photo. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.381.0003
Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co Mill site, c 1950s. Harold Keller. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection PO.045.402.b.
Weyerhaeuser Mill and Townsite, November 2004. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.
Powerhouse and stack, 2004. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.

Research Inquiry: What is that bench by DirtFish? It looks important!

Dr. Richard Burke Memorial

Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co

Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co mill and town.

Where DirtFish is located in Snoqualmie was once part of the second all electric mill built in the United States. The Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co was formed in 1914 and began operating in 1917. At its peak, the mill and associated mill town included 250 homes, a hotel, community center, 50-bed hospital, barber shop, grade school, boarding house for single men and eight bunkhouses built for Japanese workers.

By the 1950s, Weyerhaeuser could see the industry beginning to wind down and with the post WWII boom, most people had their own transportation, so workers living in a mill town was no longer as vital. The houses at Snoqualmie Falls were in need of expensive maintenance, and mill workers, who rented from the company, wanted the chance to own their own homes. Many of the houses were moved across a temporary bridge on the Snoqualmie River to create the Williams Addition to Snoqualmie in 1958.

By 1960, Snoqualmie’s population had stabilized at around 1,200 residents. Weyerhaeuser’s mill operations were still a mainstay of employment, but with the completion of Interstate 90 in the 1970s, more Snoqualmie residents began commuting to jobs outside the city. Over the next 30 years, only about 11 people were added to the city’s rolls each year. In 1989, Weyerhaeuser closed its main mill above Snoqualmie. In 2002, the company announced it was shutting down its Snoqualmie dry kilns and planing plant. The closure, effectively ended the company’s 100-year logging operation in King County.

In June 2010, Snoqualmie Mill Ventures purchased the property and created DirtFish.

Snoqualmie Falls Hospital

“The Mill maintained a large three-story hospital for its employees and their families…There were generally two doctors working at the hospital along with several registered nurses.  The doctor and his family lived in a house near the hospital.  The building was one of the first ones built at the mill at the time the mill community was built.”

“It sat on the highest part of the mill property, above the school.  It was built of white siding and was well equipped for a hospital of that day.”

“The emergency room was on the north end of the first floor.  The women’s ward, which contained at least ten beds, was above it on the second floor.  The men had two wards on the south end of the building, one on the first floor and one on the second floor.”

“The operating room was between the wards on the second floor on the east side of the hall, while the west side of the hall on the second floor consisted of several private rooms.  The kitchen was on the east side on the first floor.”

– Memories of a Milltown by Edna Hebner Crews

Snoqualmie Falls Hospital, under construction, 1920.
Hospital at Snoqualmie Falls Washington. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection: PO.159.0011.

Dr. Burke

Dr. Richard Burke was the head surgeon of the hospital. He had a reputation for being a brilliant surgeon.

Dr. Richard Burke, while mayor of North Bend in 1912. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection.

“… Dr. Burke was the absolute best surgeon that there was.  And he may have deserved this reputation.  These were the days that doctors worked day and night and drove through all kinds of weather to make home calls and were consequently worshipped.  There was no end to the tales that were told of his feats in the operating room.  And men were pointed out to us who were walking around with metal plates in their heads which Dr. Burke had put in after logging accidents.  Those were the pre-antibiotic days so that his surgeries done with a scalpel and ether were all the more marvelous.  As we walked by the hospital on the way to school we could always tell when a surgery was in progress.  The smell of ether wafted strongly out of the open surgery window down to us.”

Memories of a Milltown by Edna Hebner Crews

“Dr. Richard Burke came in 1908.  His first home and office was … in Snoqualmie.  He made calls on horseback unless taken by some one else via horse and buggy.  Even when cars became plentiful, Dr. Burke traveled the valley on horseback during floods.  Because of poor roads, horses often were more dependable than cars.”

“Trips to Seattle over rough roads, through deep mud, were very agonizing to patients.  A story is told of a man who was shot in the neck during a quarrel on Snoqualmie’s main street.  Dr. Burke got this man into a Ford car belonging to Claude Northern and started for Seattle.  They skidded off the road on the Falls hill.  The rear axle hung up on a stump and saved them for a second try in another car.  Snoqualmie was blessed with the sum of three cars at the time.  Trucks were used for ambulance service and later the hearse was used.  A locomotive was once sent to bring Dr. Burke back to the hospital during a blizzard.  He arrived with icicles hanging from his mustache, but after warming up, proceeded with an emergency operation at two in the morning.”

“The first hospital was started by Dr. Burke in 1910 in the former Joyner residence in North Bend.  This was across the street from Platts’ store {the building now houses medical offices}.  The hospital was moved in 1912 across the railroad track into the old Taylor residence.  It remained there from 1912 to 1921 when Dr. Burke took charge of the Snoqualmie Falls Hospital.  This was the latest addition to the “company town”, and it was located at the top of the hill overlooking the mill. “

“Major surgery was first performed at the old Taylor residence in 1912.  Getting a stretcher case up the stairway was an operation in itself, requiring a strong back and much skill.  Dr. Burke, often impatient with this slow method, simply picked the patients up in his arms and carried them upstairs.  His impatience was lessened somewhat when on an urgent call because a special siren was installed on his car which gave him the right-of-way.  Mrs. Dave Cunningham of North Bend, well describes Dr. Burke:  ‘When I saw Doc Burke going through town on two wheels with the horn tied down . . . . . .I knew someone was hurt.’”

“Dr. Burke was the ‘company’ doctor for the Snoqualmie Falls Beneficial Company, composed of employees of the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company, from 1921 until his death in 1927.  When a young boy, he fought in the Spanish American War and was also a veteran of the First World War.  He never lost his love of adventure and medical practice, with him, has been described as ‘wild and wooley’.  Although Dr. Burke sometimes lived up to the title of ‘wild Irishman’, he is remembered as a kind, chivalrous little doctor who cared for his patients tirelessly, without thought of himself.”

-Our Snoqualmie Community: 1856-1956

First hospital in North Bend on N Bendigo and 2nd. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection: PO.668.0003.
Dr Burke’s hospital in old Taylor residence, North Bend. Snoqualmie Valley Museum Collection: PO.028.0043.

Dr. Richard T. Burke was in the upper valley in 1910, but I do not know exactly when he came.  I think he came here from California, as Mrs. Burke one told me the doctor wasn’t afraid of anything; and she often worried about him when he went to see patients ‘in the worst dives of San Francisco.’ ”

Dr. Burke was very well liked, and I often heard it said that Seattle doctors thought he should go to the city, as he was too good a man to be working in the country.

About 1910 Howard Johnson’s Hotel, where the Falls Printing Co. now stands, burned; and two men jumped from a third-floor window.  Dr. Burke was called and said that one of the men, who had a broken hip, should be taken to Seattle.  I had a 1909 EMF and was asked to take him.  We removed the car’s fold-back top and laid the stretcher across the doors.  Dr. Burke and John McLeod went with me.

On reaching Duthie Hill, Dr. Burke and McLeod got out to walk up the hill, but the car stalled half-way up anyway.  Since I had to use both brakes to keep the car from coasting backward, it was up to the doctor or McLeod to crank the car.  Neither had any experience cranking, but after some time they managed to get it started.

The injured man was in considerable pain, and every now and then, the doctor asked me to stop so that he could give him a drink of whiskey.  Dr. Burke remarked that he had never killed a man with whiskey.

It was a bad road to Seattle in those days.  We went to Renton, then along the waterfront on a mile of rough road, then across the Grant Street Bridge to the old Providence Hospital at Fifth and Madison Streets.  We were all very tired when we arrived at midnight.  This was the first patient Dr. Burke took to a Seattle hospital by car.

Mrs. Goldmeyer became very ill while at Goldmeyer Hot Springs.  Dr. Burke went in with others to bring her out.  I heard later that he had done more than his share of carrying the sick woman’s stretcher.  The park trail to the springs in those days was considered to be about 40 miles each way.

I remember seeing Dr. Burke riding his horse through a blizzard over the Meadowbrook fields, with the snow drifted as high as the fence posts.  One time I meet on the old Meadowbrook-North Bend Road.  I was driving a car and he his horse and buggy.  He waved and got down to hold his horse till I drove by.  Not long after, he was driving a car himself.

Dr. Burke told me the following story: A man in North Bend came to him and asked for morphine for his wife.  Dr. Burke told the man that he couldn’t give him morphine without first seeing his wife.  Dr. Burke said that when he examined the woman, he knew right away what her trouble was, and that she needed an operation.

“He spent until two or three o’clock one morning with the husband, going over in his medical books the woman’s ailment and treatment.  He convinced the husband of his diagnosis and the surgery.  The woman recovered; and the husband said, “To think that I have spent over $3,000 and traveled all over the U.S. and consulted many doctors including the Mayo Brothers, and have come to a country doctor in a little town and found help.”  Much later, the daughter of this couple visited Dr. Burke to tell him that her mother was well and working every day and to thank him again for what he had done.

Years ago, Joe Frizelle was seriously injured while topping a tree and taken to the Snoqualmie Falls Hospital.  For some reason, the men carrying the stretcher to the second floor couldn’t manage to get it around the corner of the narrow hospital stairway.  Dr. Burke picked up the injured man and carried him up.  The story was told all over the community.

Money meant very little to Dr. Burke, and he was known for not sending bills.  The late Isa Heady Mahoney, who was a bookkeeper at the hospital, said that once she asked Dr. Burke to come into the office.  When he did, she locked the door and put the key into her pocket, determined to go over a long list of overdue accounts with him.  When she went down the list of names, the doctor swore and said over and over, ‘Mark it paid; they don’t have anything.'”

I once asked Dr. Burke how much I owed him.  He said, ‘What did I do?’I said, ‘You have been to the house several times.’ He said, ‘Oh, send me $10.'”

A friend in Snoqualmie recently told me that years ago, some time after she had had a baby under Dr. Burke’s care, she approached the doctor with her check book in hand and told him she wanted to pay him.  ‘Oh, haven’t I ever sent over a bill?’ he asked.  When she told him he hadn’t, he said, ‘Well, send me $35.”’

-Dio Reinig, Valley Record

Oral tradition at the Museum relays that Dr. Burke died unexpectedly after being shot and was greatly mourned by the community.  The story had been that a woman and girl appeared on his door step with the woman saying the girl was his daughter.  It continued that he was shot but would not reveal the name of the shooter for the honor of a woman.  There were lots of rumors that it might have been a jealous husband as he had a way with the ladies and had delivered most of the babies in the region for almost two decades. That if he had been able to operate on himself he would have survived but the other surgeons were not as good as he was an were unable to save him.  One of his relatives visited the Museum a few years back and related to one of our board members that their family oral tradition is that it had been his wife who had shot him when his former mistress had arrived. 

Though Dr. Burke may have had issues in his personal life, he was still widely respected in the community. So widely respected that the community took up a collection for a bronze memorial to honor him. The maximum donation was set at one dollar so that most people could contribute a full share. The plaque was unveiled at the Snoqualmie Falls hospital in September of 1927 where it remained for many years, until one night it disappeared, stolen, presumably for the value of the bronze. It was a great loss, but happily years later it was quietly returned, anonymously, to the museum.

“After Dr. Burke’s death a plaque of bronze was placed on a seat part way up the steps leading from the road up to the front of the hospital.  A tall fir tree stood beside this monument.  There was a ceremony dedicating the monument one afternoon…”

Memories of a Milltown by Edna Hebner Crews

The original bronze plaque was built into a bench that still remains near DirtFish. The bronze was donated to the Snoqualmie Valley Museum, but stolen before the Museum could secure it, and later returned to the Museum’s possession.

Dairy Farming at Monte Vista Farm During the Great Depression

by David Battey

My niece asked me how difficult it was for my mother and her parents and her siblings during the Great Depression. Here is my answer:

The Ralph and Hazel Swenson family did quite well on Monte Vista (means mountain view in Spanish) farm during the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until WWII (1941).  There was certainly no danger of not having enough food – which was a problem for some families.  Their farm was located directly above the big Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company mill (became Weyerhaeuser in 1948).

Painting of Monte Vista Farm
Turkeys raised by Hazel in the 1920s.
Betsy, one of the dairy’s cows.

The Great Depression hit the Snoqualmie Valley and the big Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company mill (where my father, George Franklin Battey worked), cut pay and number of work days per week, but did not close down.

However, times were not EASY on the farm, especially a dairy farm.  Lots of work and you had to feed the cows and milk them twice a day and you could not fail at this – ever.  So no vacations.  There were nine family mouths to feed and often a family visitor – making it ten mouths – three meals a day.  There were generally fifteen cows being milked and the younger cows and the steers (for beef) made the stocking of hay, grain and feed quite expensive.  There was no tractor on the farm until after the Great Depression.  Your had trucks, but no tractor.  Fancy clothing was not a priority for every-day on the farm and my mom (Grace Swenson Battey) talked about sewing cloth sacks that flour came in for clothing during the Great Depression.  Mending clothing was continuous.

RJ Swenson in vegetable garden on Monte Vista Farm.
Bob Swenson washing milk bottles.

There was a very clear line between men’s work of caring for the cattle, woodcutting, land clearing and most of the dairy work and the woman’s work of providing three meals a day, continual baking, the vegetable garden, canning fruit and vegetables, taking care of the younger siblings and taking care of the chickens and gathering eggs, etc.  Before automatic milk bottlers came to the farm, the women sometimes helped in the dairy by filling each of the tall, thin-necked milk bottles by pouring them full from an aluminum pitcher.  They would then pop a 56mm milk bottle cap on top.

There was no pasteurization and no homogenization back then, so cream always rose to the top of the raw milk in those long-necked bottles.

Uncle Stewart, the oldest of the Swenson children and Uncle George, the youngest, both shared with me that Grandfather and his four boys played an ongoing game – trying to figure out more efficient and less expensive ways of doing their daily chores:)

Winters could be difficult.  It got colder back then and sometimes the (non-electric) water-driven hydraulic ram pump at the creek would freeze and stop pumping and you had to have water for all of those cows to drink and to wash all of the milk processing equipment…  You had to milk the cows by hand – in the COLD.  Seven days a week – no Sunday time off 🙂  There were no heaters in the barn and if there were, you could not afford the electricity to run them.  Surge brand milking machines came to the farm about 1935, meaning that they were milking by hand for about half of the Great Depression.

And cows standing in the barn being milked, let fly with their poop…which had to be cleaned up twice a day.

The Swenson family.
Back Row:  Ralph Elliott, Grace, Stewart, Hazel, Ralph Johan, Irene. Front Row:  Robert, Trudy & George.  c 1930, when electricity first came to the farm.

Plus, grandfather was selling milk, which was considered critical to normal nutrition – especially for babies. Some people in the community owed grandfather money for milk and ‘worked it off’ by doing work for grandfather. One of the huge fir trees blew over and I know grandfather had folks who owed him money cut the monster fir up and split it into firewood for use on the farm (wooden furnace and fireplace in the farmhouse and wood-fired boiler in the milk house). Fortunately, Grandmother got an electric kitchen stove in 1930 when electricity first came to the farm. I have heard stories about grandfather making certain that some babies had milk whether their parents could afford it or not. There were no home freezers yet, but in Snoqualmie there were large walk-in freezers and you could rent a locked space for the food you needed frozen. Not very convenient though, when you had to take a trip to town to get something out of the freezer. Grandfather butchered beef as needed and also raised hogs and lots of chickens for eating and eggs. For a while they raised turkeys.

Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co mill, c 1920.
Apron made out of flour sack from Snoqualmie Valley Museum collection.

You would never ‘waste’ money by buying bread. You baked almost every day and we have grandmother Swenson’s famous bread recipe in her own handwriting. You canned both fruit and vegetables in glass jars for the winter. You did not buy shampoo for your hair. You saved all of the ends of all of the bars of soap that a big family consumed, put them in a jar with some water and stirred them up to make a slithery good-smelling concoction that you used (sparingly) to wash your hair…The girls cut each other’s hair.

You churned your own butter, and we still have the glass butter churn. They also sold butter, eggs and apples from the farm on the dairy route and since the income was very important, sometimes the family did not have enough butter or eggs or apples for their own use because it was important to provide for customers. This did not mean the family went hungry, it just meant that things they could sell might be unavailable to them sometimes. Milk was delivered six days a week. Never on Sunday. Gasoline was a big expense for a business that drove down literally every street in Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Falls (the mill town) and the little town of Meadowbrook in order to deliver the milk to customer’s homes.

Swenson Brother: George, Ralph & Bob
Former Monte Vista Farm residents Carl, Sophia, Frederica and Max Winter milking cows before Swenson family purchased farm. 1910s. A Haug photo.

Learning More About Your Property

One of the frequent types of research requests the Museum gets is for information about a house or property. But, the first thing we need to know is the full address of the property when you contact us. There are several ways we can potentially help with researching the property:

  • Maps
  • Images
  • Help using King County Parcel Viewer
  • Recommending the Puget Sound Region Branch Archives


The Museum has a collection of township maps from various eras that can list former property owners for larger tracks of land. By knowing former property owners sometimes we are able to locate an image of the property in photographs donated by that former owners family. This can also help track subdivisions and changes of ownership over time.

We also, for the downtowns, have some copies of Sanborne maps that show the locations of buildings.

North Bend Township map
Sanborne map of North Bend
Aerial photograph of North Bend c 1945.
Boxley House on Bendigo Blvd
Boxley House on Bendigo Blvd
Boxley House on Bendigo Blvd


The Museum also has a large collection of photographs. If the property is in a downtown, there is a chance we have an aerial photograph. There is also a stronger chance we have a street photograph as well. That being said, the Museum’s collection is not very strong in images after 1940s nor in residential neighborhoods.

Some times we do have a lot of images though. For instance, the Boxley house, that was located roughly where Bank of America’s parking lot now is, was featured frequently in the background of other images.

Even if we do not have an image of the property we might still also have an image of the former owners.

Joe and Minnie Boxley wedding photo, both aged 25, 1898.

Other Resources

Even if the Museum’s collection does not have information on your property, there are still some other resources that we can help direct you to.

King County has a wonderful website that features information on your property called the King County Parcel Viewer. It will often tell the year your house was built and can contain older image of your house. By clicking on the parcel and then clicking on Property Report the site will take you to information on your parcel. This includes your parcel number, year the main building was built, images of the property and other interesting information. If you then click on the top bar on the right side on Property Detail, it will take you to another page with even more information. Scroll down on that page it provides more images and sometimes a floor plan. If you click on the blue camera icon it will bring up even more images. This site only has some of the assessors images digitized and publicly available, but the Puget Sound Region Branch Archives have more of them.

If you take your parcel number and contact the Puget Sound Region Branch Archives, they can help you find additional historic images of your property. In 1939/1940 as part of the National Works Projects each building in King County was photographed and this archives holds those photographs. They even include buildings that no longer exist! But, to access them, you need the parcel number as that is how their images are sorted.

They can have property reports that contain information about the buildings as well as images of the property.

Another resource that is available to property owners is the title abstract. This is often run and given to property owners when they purchase property among their closing paperwork. It contains the history of the transfers of ownership of the property and legal description. It often also contains more detailed maps of the property. The Museum does not have access to this report but it is often a good place to start that many people do not think of. They can also be run by title company.

King County Parcel Viewer Parcel Map
King County Parcel Viewer Property Report for Museum
King County Parcel Viewer Property Detail for Museum
Property report on Brook Theatre from Puget Sound Regional Branch Archives
1940 photograph of Brook Theatre from Puget Sound Regional Branch Archives

One of the most recent resources now available is the King County Historic Preservation Viewer. This great map has information what properties qualify for the historic register (with a green dot) and may be eligible for Landmark status and which properties are Historic Landmarks (red squares). If your property is marked you can contact the King County Historic Preservation office and they can help direct you to further resources available to help you preserve your historic building. Historic Landmarks have tax incentives and grants available for preservation work. These incentives can be available for properties marked with green dots as well.