Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum
Lost Communities
 
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April through October:
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November through March:
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Lost Communities

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Telling the stories of the missing towns of Cedar Falls, Edgewick, Meadowbrook, Moncton, Snoqualmie Falls, Tanner, and Taylor. Learn about each community, descriptions of life in a company town – and clues as to why the town no longer exists.

Cedar Falls

The native tribes used the area of Cedar Falls long before white men came, and the trail along the Cedar River was a major route over the mountains. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 brought focus on the Cedar River as a source of water for Seattle, and work began to dam the river. Damming the river opened the opportunity for hydroelectric power, and voters approved a bond for the Cedar Falls Power Plant in 1902. A dam was constructed on the river at the upper falls, and penstocks carried water to the power plant. Generators were turned on at the power plant in 1904, sending electricity down the wires to Seattle. The town of Cedar Falls started with two dorms for workers and grew to 25 houses for workers and their families. The craftsman-style homes of Cedar Falls all had free electricity. Cedar Falls was a family town with homes, a school, tennis courts, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and boardinghouses.

Sleigh ride at Cedar Falls
Sleigh ride at Cedar Falls
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Though Cedar Falls and Moncton came to share a name in the eyes of most people, one housed Seattle City Light families and the other was still a railroad camp. Each had their own sense of community.

In the 1940s, increased automation reduced the need for workers at the plant. Those who were needed could take advantage of improved travel and live elsewhere. The school district became part of North Bend and the town was gradually deserted. By 1961, most houses were moved. The three that remain, along with the power plant, can be visited through tours arranged by the Cedar River Watershed Interpretive Center.

Edgewick

The town of Edgewick was the home of the North Bend Lumber Company, and was named after the two owners, Vinnedge and Weeks. It was located five miles east of North Bend, where Boxley Creek joins the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Edgewick was a small town of 18 homes built for the employees of the company. It was on the Milwaukee RR line, which carried lumber and passengers east and west. As the residents up the hill in Moncton were being evacuated, the water was also building up in Boxley Creek. The water in the creek was held back by a natural dike, but the increasing leaks were a concern for the town.

Lumber Mill at Edgewick
Lumber Mill at Edgewick
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Logging Camp 4 at Edgewick
Logging Camp 4 at Edgewick
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On December 23rd, 1918, the dike gave way, the side of the hill blew out, and water began to rise at a rate of one foot every two minutes. The night watchman for the lumber company saw the flood and knew the water would not be contained by the company dam in the log pond. He tied down the whistle and raced to warn the residents below the dam. The 60 survivors stood around a fire on high ground and watched collapse of the mill and the end of their town.

Flood Damage to Edgewick mill, North Bend Timber Co - Jan 5, 1919
Flood Damage to Edgewick mill, North Bend Timber Co - Jan 5, 1919
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The site of Edgewick is at the southeast corner of exit 38, now a Christmas tree farm.

Meadowbrook

The first building at Meadowbrook was Fort Alden, built by the Washington State Militia on the bank of the Snoqualmie River in 1855. This became the home of Jeremiah Borst, the first white settler, in 1858. When the Hop Growers Association Incorporated in 1882, they bought 160 acres from Borst, acquired more land, and started what became one of the largest, most productive hop ranches in the world. Using Fort Alden as temporary housing, men built a cookhouse (to the right), rooming house, trading post, a post office, barns, and kilns. The first official school in the upper Snoqualmie Valley was housed in one of the Hop Ranch warehouses and served children living in and around Meadowbrook. The Hop Ranch employed most of the people in the area at some time in their lives, as well as drawing tribal members and other seasonal workers from Oregon and British Columbia. With ready employment for all ages, including working the fields, maintaining equipment, and providing services for workers and tourists, the Meadowbrook community grew. Originally, a ferry was used to cross the river, but, in 1890, the Meadowbrook Bridge was completed. The Meadowbrook Inn, also known as the Hop Ranch Hotel, was built in 1886 and was located on the site of the new high school. The town of Meadowbrook grew to include many shops, houses, a theater, and a sawmill. The Hop Ranch closed in the early 1900s, following infestations of aphids in the hop fields and a dramatic drop in the price of hops. The land was gradually sold off and used by others for agricultural and dairy farming.

Meadowbrook Street taken from bridge toward intersection
Meadowbrook Street taken from bridge toward intersection
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Meadowbrook was platted as a town in 1923, and most of the buildings now found in Meadowbrook were built in the 1920s. The town of Meadowbrook was annexed in 1952 and was known as the Meadowbrook Addition of Snoqualmie.

Blacksmith Shop at Meadowbrook - June 24, 1949
Blacksmith Shop at Meadowbrook - June 24, 1949
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Meadowbrook with theater - c 1925
Meadowbrook with theater - c 1925
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Moncton

Moncton was built on Rattlesnake Prairie. It was the home of the Cedar Lake Logging Company and many of its employees. The residential district was made up of three main streets on a hill above a small pond. Moncton had a hotel, grocery stores, a butcher shop, a drug store, and a church. Moncton was also a railroad stop for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad that started in Seattle and went over Snoqualmie Pass.

Cedar Falls Town before the flood
Cedar Falls Town before the flood
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After the great Seattle fire of 1889, the citizens of Seattle voted to develop a publicly owned water supply on the Cedar River, and, in 1914, the Chester Morse Dam was completed. The water held back by the dam in Chester Morse Lake and the rocky soil left behind by the glaciers make the water table rise and spread water throughout the area.

Birdseye View of Cedar Falls
Birdseye View of Cedar Falls Town (Allen and Perkins Photo)
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The pond below the houses began to grow and water was found bubbling up from the ground. One after another, the streets were evacuated until all the residences were flooded. When the water level is low in Rattlesnake Lake, you can find some remaining foundations at the south end of the lake. Homes broke from their foundations and floated in the lake, drifting back and forth until they were finally pulled out and demolished.

Cedar Falls town with hotel and church before flood (Waters Photo)
Cedar Falls town with hotel and church before flood (Waters Photo)
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Cedar Falls Street Scene
Cedar Falls Street Scene
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Snoqualmie Falls

The town of Snoqualmie Falls was the home of the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (later Weyerhaeuser) and its employees. Commonly known as Mill Town, this community included, along with many homes, a hotel/boarding house, a hospital, a community center, and a school. The employees and their families could walk down the hill to the mill to work and to deliver lunches. Homes for the executives were built along Reinig Road, where the sycamore trees still stand. Neighborhoods were built on the hill above the mill and were named the Orchard, the Terrace, the Point, and Railroad Avenue. In the 1950’s, hundreds of people lived in Snoqualmie Falls.

Mill Cottages of Snoqualmie Falls
Mill Cottages - Snoqualmie Falls Town
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Orchard Neighborhood of Snoqualmie Falls
Orchard Neighborhood - c 1920 - Snoqualmie Falls Town
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During World War I, a neighborhood of houses, bunkhouses, and a school was built for Japanese workers needed to keep the mill running. This neighborhood was emptied in 1942 when the Japanese immigrants were interned by the U.S. Government during World War II.

Orchard Neighborhood of Snoqualmie Falls
Japanese Camp, Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie Falls Town (Shimoda Photo)
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The town of Snoqualmie Falls was closed down in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and many homes were sold and taken to new sites in Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Tanner

When settlers first came to the upper Snoqualmie Valley, there was an Indian encampment at what became Tanner, on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. In 1889, the Seattle, Lakeshore & Eastern Railroad extended into the Valley, stopping at Sallal Prairie. By 1893, Johnson’s Mill had opened beside the railroad tracks, where the river bends to the northeast. In 1900, it became the South Fork Lumber Company.

South Fork Lumber Co - Logging Scene in woods with Donkey Engine
South Fork Lumber Co - Logging Scene in woods with Donkey Engine
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William Tanner and his brother L.B. Tanner moved to the area to manage the mill. Tanner Mill then became its unofficial name, and the town and the surrounding area also became Tanner. The 1910 census shows that many residents of the town of Tanner were employed at the mill. A large number of men, however, were railroad employees, working on the tracks to reach up the hill to Cedar Falls. Tanner school operated independently for a short time, serving families in the Tanner area and taking advantage of Mt. Si for field trips. In 1907, it consolidated with the North Bend school district. One important role for Tanner was to provide last post office services before crossing over Snoqualmie Pass.

Logging Train near Tanner
Logging Train near Tanner
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A fire on Mt. Si in 1910 prompted residents of Tanner to pack their belongings and either move them out of danger or bury them underground. The fire kept coming and, by the time it was out, only two houses remained in the town. Tanner is now a suburb of North Bend.

Sawmill and Crew at Tanner Mill
Sawmill and Crew at Tanner Mill
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Taylor

Taylor was beyond Moncton in what is now the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. It began as a lumber town, transporting timber along the Columbia & Puget Sound RR to mines in Ravensdale, Newcastle, and Black Diamond. After clay and coal deposits were found in the hills, Arthur Denny purchased the site for the Denny Clay Company. Using the clay for bricks and the coal for fuel, bricks were produced to rebuild Seattle after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. 500-800 people lived in Taylor, and their town included a church, a hotel, a saloon and pool hall, a meat market, stores, a post office, a school, and a large community pool. Taylor was a close-knit community, supported and encouraged by the company. The workers included many immigrants from Italy, Ireland, Belgium, and Austria.

Birds Eye View of Taylor
Birds Eye View of Taylor
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In 1905, this became the Denny-Renton Clay and Coal Company, and, in 1927, it was purchased by the Gladding-McBean Company. In 1946, the City of Seattle succeeded in having Taylor condemned as a possible source of contamination of the Seattle water supply, and in 1947 and plant and the town were shut down. Some of the houses were moved to new lots by their owners and the remainder of the town was bulldozed and replanted.

Some remnants of Taylor remain and can be visited through tours arranged by the Cedar River Municipal Watershed.

 
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funded in part by 4 Culture of King County
 
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum
PO Box 179  •  North Bend, WA 98045
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