The picturesque mountain town of North Bend is officially incorporated on March 12, 1909.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 3/04/2014
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 10751

On March 12, 1909, the picturesque mountain town of North Bend is officially incorporated. The citizens had filed a petition with King County in January 1909, requesting an incorporation election. The election was held on February 23, 1909, and the tally was 60 votes in favor and only three against. King County certified the election on March 1, 1909. Incorporation as a town of the fourth class becomes official 11 days later when the papers are filed with the Washington Secretary of State's office in Olympia. North Bend has a population of 299 in its first census in 1910. It will become a thriving agricultural and logging center in the upper Snoqualmie Valley. Its location on the main highway from Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass also will make it a transportation hub. Later still it will become a thriving bedroom community for Seattle and its eastside suburbs. 

North Bend occupies a site in the Snoqualmie Prairie of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley that has been used for centuries the by Snoqualmie Tribe. The first non-Indian settlers arrived in 1858.

The town of North Bend was founded in 1889 when William H. Taylor (1853-1941) platted a portion of his farmland as a townsite called Snoqualmie, in anticipation of the arrival of the Seattle, Lakeshore & Eastern Railroad. The railroad duly arrived the same year, but it asked Taylor to change the name of the town because another town had been platted about four miles downstream named Snoqualmie Falls. Taylor first changed the name to Mountain View, but the railroad did not approve of that name either. The railroad finally suggested North Bend, because it was on a sweeping northward bend of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Easy railroad access helped the town and the valley to thrive and by early 1909, the citizens resolved to incorporate. A mass meeting was held in January to sign incorporation petitions and to decide on a ticket to run for mayor, treasurer, and city council. For mayor, they selected Peter J. Maloney (1865-1942), who had owned one of North Bend's early saloons and had gone on to operate a successful livery and stable business. For treasurer, they chose E. J. Seigrist, and for town council W. C. Weeks, Elmer Catching, Charles Thardorf, Fred Damburat, and A. R. Mason.

The Seattle Daily Times reported that "the meeting was largely attended and the above ticket was the unanimous choice of the mass meeting" ("North Bend Ticket").

The above ticket also turned out to be the near-unanimous choice in the election itself on February 23, 1909. All were elected with at least 59 of the total 63 votes cast.

A century later, the thriving city of North Bend celebrated its centennial with a Downtown Block Party on June 27, 2009, and a City Birthday party on August 8, 2009. The city also dedicated the Torguson Park Climbing Wall, and unveiled a series Centennial Murals by a local artist. President Barack Obama (b. 1961) signed a letter congratulating North Bend on the "momentous occasion" of its historic "milestone" (Obama). 

As of 2010, the population of North Bend was 5,731. 


Sources: "Order of Incorporation of the Town of North Bend, Fourth Class," March 12, 1909, Municipal Articles of Incorporation, Records of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington; "North Bend Ticket Selected," The Seattle Daily Times, January 29, 1909, p. 19; Barack Obama, signed letter to the City of North Bend, December 29, 2009, available on the city of North Bend's website (http://wa-northbend.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/8970) accessed February 27, 2014; Ada S. Hill, A History of the Snoqualmie Valley (North Bend: Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society, 1970, fifth printing, 1981); Jan Hagstrom Gifford and Kenneth G. Watson, History of the Snoqualmie Valley (North Bend: Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, 2006).

Related Topics:   Cities & Towns

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