William O. Douglas Betty Bowen Carl Maxey Chief Joseph Bertha Landes Buffalo Soldier Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6771 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Cyberpedia Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Snoqualmie -- Thumbnail History

HistoryLink.org Essay 292 : Printer-Friendly Format

Snoqualmie, a rural community founded early in the Puget Sound region's history, is located about 30 miles east of Seattle along the Snoqualmie River just above Snoqualmie Falls.

The three forks of the river converge near the town to form Snoqualmie Falls, a spectacular 276-foot waterfall. The Snoqualmie tribe considers the falls to contain powerful magic for peace. The tribe has always been a peaceful tribe -- perhaps too peaceful. When settlers first arrived in the 1850s, Chief Patkanim sided with them against warrior tribes. It was Chief Patkanim who signed the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855, which ceded all of the tribe's land to the United States. In return, the Americans never repaid them and never gave them a reservation. Many of the Snoqualmie ended up living in poverty on land that was once theirs.

Father of the Snoqualmie Valley

The signing of the treaty did open up the land for homesteaders. The Kellogg brothers are thought to be the first white settlers in the Snoqualmie Valley, but they only stayed for a few years. Jeremiah Borst is considered by many to be the first permanent settler near the falls. He arrived in 1858. He had made enough money in the California gold rush to move to Washington state and buy land, which he did with fervor. By the 1880s, he was far and away the wealthiest man in the valley.

Borst had three consecutive Indian wives, the last of whom was Kate Kanim Smith, a relative of Patkanim. She was also a distant relative of Chief Seattle. Kate was very intelligent and was well respected by many in the surrounding communities. Over the years she made many friends and always enjoyed discussing the many changes she had witnessed over her lifetime.

More Settlers Arrive

As Jerry Borst was buying up land, so were many others. The lumber along the mountainsides provided jobs for loggers and the valley was profitable for farmers. Many tales are told about Lucinda Fares, a niece of Borst. "Lucindy" was a large woman with a heart of gold. Many travelers stayed overnight at her farmhouse, partaking in her pioneer hospitality. One time, she adopted a young boy who was abandoned by his parents while passing through.

Since Lucindy weighed almost 350 pounds, milking cows on her farm proved to be quite a chore for her. Instead of moving from cow to cow, she trained all 30 of them to come to her when called by name. Pioneers remembered the sight of each cow lining up one after the other to be milked.

Pioneer Life

Life in the rural community was a challenge, especially for young children. Many children received education from people with dubious credentials. The first teacher in the area, Asa Storey, taught out of his wretched shack, and his own children were described as wild things of the woods. The second teacher, Al Fiske, once insisted to his pupils that two times zero was two, three times zero was three, and so on. The students rebelled. They got up, walked out of class, and went home. Another teacher left after young girls in the class soundly beat him up for whipping a young boy.

During the 1880s, hop farming was very successful in the valley. Many hop-pickers were Indians who came from all over the Northwest to work at the hop ranch. Lumber mills were another successful industry, surviving long after aphids wiped out the hop crops near the turn of the century.

Growth and Expansion

The village of Snoqualmie was incorporated on June 7, 1889, about the same time that train service arrived in the upper valley. The first train was an excursion train, indicative of the area's charm as a tourist destination. Accessibility to Puget Sound also made Snoqualmie a desirable place to live. In 1870, fewer than 50 people inhabited the entire valley. By 1900, 429 residents lived in the town of Snoqualmie.

Throughout the twentieth century, the lumber industry continued to operate, but became less important to the economic health of the community. Proximity to the spectacular waterfall and to Snoqualmie pass made the community a popular stop for visitors, either by train or by road.

When Highway 10 (precursor to today’s I-90) was built in the 1940s, it bypassed Snoqualmie and the town initially suffered a loss of tourism, but over time community leaders shored up the image of the town as a worthy destination for local travelers. Even without the rail line, which was abandoned in 1974, Snoqualmie remains a pleasant, peaceful community, due in part to the magical powers of the falls.

Sources:
Clarence Bagley, The History of King County (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929). Also see: Ada S. Hill, A History of the Snoqualmie Valley (Snoqualmie, WA: Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society, 1970); Margaret McKibben Corliss Fall City in the Valley of the Moon (Fall City, WA: Margaret McKibben Corliss, 1972).


< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Cities & Towns |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You


This essay made possible by:
Rivers In Time Project
King County
Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle City Light


Snoqualmie, Mt. Si in the distance, 1910s
Postcard


Northeastern King County
Map by Chris Goodman


Downtown Snoqualmie, train depot on the right, 1890s
Courtesy Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum


Jeremiah Borst (1830-1890)
Courtesy Clarence Bagley


Kate Kanim Borst (1855-1938)
Courtesy Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum


Lucinda (Collins) Fares and one of her cows
Courtesy Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum


Snoqualmie River, taken from the railroad bridge, August 6, 2005
Photo by Stephen Reier


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org