Snoqualmie Valley Record • October 15, 2014 • 9
A spotlight on historic Snoqualmie Valley
PUBLISHED AS A SUPPLEMENT TO THE SNOQUALMIE VALLEY RECORD
Tradition continues at Carmichael’s The Reinig family founded Snoqualmie’s hardware store more than 100 years ago. Carmichael’s has its legacies... and its ghosts. Page 15
Secrets of Fall City
history Go behind the scenes and learn about what regional museums will never show you, at FC Historical Society annual meeting BY SETH TRUSCOTT
he wool uniform is surprisingly heavy, and in fine condition, considering it’s a century old. Now cared for by Ruth Pickering, the suit’s original owner was Jesse Kelley of Fall City. Jesse donned the heavy shirt and laced on the puttees after he was drafted into the Great War in 1917. He probably wore it during his 1918 service on the Western Front in a balloon company, just before World War I came to a close.
Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Above, Ruth Pickering, Fall City Historical Society President, hoists the WWI-era wool uniform and campaign hat worn to war by Jesse Kelley, now in the museum collection at Fall City United Methodist Church. Fall City Historical Society discusses the unseen side of museum collections at its annual community meeting, this Sunday. Years later, he passed it on to his son, the late Jack Kelley, complete with campaign hat. Today, it’s part of the small collection of Fall City Historical Society, stored with other valued relics in an upstairs room at Fall City Methodist Church. As museums go, Fall City’s is small, and technically off limits to the public. But once a year, the society invites the community for an annual meeting, sharing the last discoveries from the past. Without a real display room, Fall City’s physical collection is necessarily limited. But there are still a few treasures, and some stranger finds, preserved here.
Symbols and secrets
Not long ago, Historical Society President Ruth Pickering was poring over a digital photo the museum recently obtained from the Washington State Historical Society. She was zoomed in, perusing the shelves of the Fall City confectionary shop owned by Scott and Nettie Magee, as they looked in 1930s. Eyeing the tins and boxes, she got a shock. “I was semi-astonished” to see “Swas-Tika Sodas” soda crackers, she said. Most Americans know the swastika as the symbol of Nazi Germany and white supremacist groups. It wasn’t always so. SEE SECRETS, 11
Trestle tracks Check out this rail bridge on a scenic fall walk, and see a piece of Valley’s industrial past. Page 13
10 • October 15, 2014 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
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SECRETS FROM 9 But the swastika was a symbol of luck, peace and prosperity long before the Nazi party appropriated it. Many American brands embraced it prior to World War II. “I remember being surprised to see it in a brand name,” Pickering said. “I didn’t realize it was so widely used.” That confectioner’s shop vanished more than 50 years ago. “We lost most of our original buildings along River Street, because they widened that road.” Of all the old wooden buildings, only a handful were moved back, and survived. “That happens to a lot of small towns,” Pickering said. A counterclockwise swastika also appears on a souvenir medal from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, in the shape of an arrowhead. The medal belonged to Jesse Kelley, passed to his son Jack, then donated to the Fall City society. Survivals like these, odd relics of history, are the topic for the historical society’s special speaker at this weekend’s annual meeting, 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, at the Fall City Masonic Lodge. Speaker Harriet Baskas wrote the book, “Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You.” She discusses the secret side of historic collections when she comes to Fall City this weekend. It’s a fast-paced, photo-filled and sometimes offbeat tour of Washington museums and episodes in state history, told through the stories of museum artifacts that are rarely or never shown to the public. Examples include Bing Crosby’s toupees in Spokane, a quilt made of Ku Klux Klan robes in Yakima and Native American spirit boards in Tacoma. In Fall City, Baskas will explore how those objects came to be in the local collections and who makes decisions about what is displayed or kept from view. Another example from the Yakima Valley Museum, only occasionally displayed, is a quilt emblazoned with swastikas. It was made years before Hitler’s rise to power. “That quilt was made when that symbol meant good luck and
Snoqualmie Valley Record • October 15, 2014 • 11
RARE FINDS FROM FALL CITY’S PAST
good fortune and hospitality,” Baskas says. For millennia, swastikas were used by cultures across the globe as motifs of good luck, prosperity, peace and fortune, turning up in art, architecture and as logos for products and businesses in the United States as late as the pre-war era. Then, the German Nazi party adopted the symbol, and it has been besmirched ever since.
Fabric and wood
Above, a color photo of the pumpkin display at Fall City Farms, two years ago. It’s immortalized in Fall City Historical Society’s first full-color calendar, out this fall.
What does the Fall City Historical Society do? Fall City Historical Society explores the history, memories and artifacts of the community’s past, preserving it for future generations. This mission involves a number of community activities. Volunteers conduct an annual Fall City Cemetery tour for elementary students. Each year, a teacher at Fall City Elementary runs a local history unit for second graders. At the end of the unit, teachers bring students to the cemetery, showing them the gravestones of the Fall City pioneers and the original tribal residents. The Society puts on booths and displays at Fall City Days and the Holiday Market in December. They have loaned a Hops Craze tabletop display to the Fall City Roadhouse, where diners can explore local history. They are also beginning new small-scale historic signs project to show off local sights. Using a grant, the society will place small, letter-sized signs with QR codes, to draw interest and direct visitors online. Two prime contenders for signs are Fall City’s historic Masonic hall and the NeighborBennet townhouse across the street. Both are about a century old, and on the historic register. Another place that deserves some signage is the community’s historic Hop Shed at Fall City Park. They sell a collector’s glass showing a local historic site every year, and are publishing the ninth annual Fall City Calendar, this year in color for the first time. The society is also engaged in its annual fundraising drive, and has launched a new website, http:// fallcityhistorical.org. They continue to be a presence on Facebook.
With no real display space, Fall City Historical Society is in the process of putting its collection online. “Most of it is photos and documents,” Pickering said. “We really don’t have storage space for big things.” Yet some treasures, normal or unusual, do remain, kept in the Methodist church’s collections room. Besides Jesse Kelley’s army uniform, Fall City preserves other relics of his day and age. One collector’s item is his rare Fall City community band uniform. A group of townsfolk, mostly young men, formed the band circa 1914. They gathered and played music on occasion. The gray wool uniform with black piping, made by the DeMoulin company of Greenville, Ill., gave the group a more ornate look than their Sunday best. It broke up when the men went off to war in 1917. In an interesting coincidence, it was fate that brought the uniform into the care of the historical society intern, Julie Coulter. She went to school and got married in Greenville, where the uniform was originally made all those years ago. Another legacy of the Kelly families is the rocking chair that came west with Jack Kelley’s grandmother. She was a small woman, so it’s a very small chair. “It would be difficult for us to accept big stuff,” Pickering said. But one keeper is a china cabinet that belonged to Fall City’s historic Bush family. “We’re hoping to find a spot for it some day,” Pickering said.
Meeting info All are welcome at the annual meeting, and refreshments will be served. The event is a chance for residents and local history buffs to learn more about events, programs and future plans of the historical society. The speaker, Harriet Baskas, writes
Top, an image of the Fall City Community Band, taken in 1916, just before the U.S. entry into World War I. Above, Ruth Pickering holds one of the uniforms bought for the band, owned by Jesse Kelley, now in the Fall City collection. Left, Kelley once owned a souvenir medal from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo, marked with a swastika. about airports, museums and a wide variety of other topics for msnbc.com, USATODAY.com, AAA Journey and other outlets. She also maintains two blogs, StuckatTheAirport.com and MuseumMysteries.com. She produced a radio series on hidden museum artifacts that aired on National Public Radio, with Smithsonian-based historians as advisers. Baskas is the author of six books, including Washington Curiosities and Washington Icons. Her presentation is sponsored by Humanities Washington, an independent nonprofit dedicated to sparking conversation and critical thinking. They use storytelling as a catalyst to stimulate and engage communities in this state, providing cultural programs, exhibits and experiences to Washingtonians. This year marks their 40th anniversary serving the state. Learn more at www.humanities. org to learn more. Fall City Historical Society is also supported by King County Heritage 4Culture, which funds arts, heritage, and education in local communities.
12 • October 15, 2014 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
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Snoqualmie Valley Record • October 15, 2014 • 13
Historic jewel Tokul Creek Trestle still draws travelers from near and far BY CAROL LADWIG Staff Reporter
Everyone stops on the Tokul Creek bridge. It’s not that they need to; the Snoqualmie Valley Trail rises very gently up the Valley, and the bridge is about a mile along it from Tokul Road. Whether they’re on two wheels or two feet, though, the people who explore the trail as far as the 100-year-old Milwaukee Railroad trestle bridge seem compelled to pause there, and take in the view. At nearly 100 feet high, the bridge offers a sweeping look across the Valley, and dizzying glimpses of the namesake creek flowing underneath. It’s also an impressive sight itself, stretching 400 feet over the plunging terrain of the creek canyon, and the 180-degree turn of the trail. The Tokul Creek Trestle is, according to a King County Parks report on its historical significance, “the highest and one of the longest and largest of the trestles on the former Everett branch of the (Milwaukee) Railroad, and the only one that is fit into a tightly curving contour in a steep drainage.” It’s a jewel, and for plenty of reasons, says Snoqualmie historian Dave Battey. Tokul Creek is one of few remaining natural creeks in the county, since the land wasn’t logged all the way down to the waterway. The bridge over it is a rare survivor of the railroad era in the Valley. Built in 1911 by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, Milwaukee for short, the enormous bridge served freight trains for six decades, and daily passenger trains from 1913 to 1930. It was rehabilitated in 1949 with all new timber stringers supporting the bridge deck, abandoned in 1973 (the Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy in 1977), and conver ted to today’s concretedeck surface in 1989. Long before then, though, many other
Carol Ladwig/Staff Photos
Above: One of the trestle-built bridge’s distinguishing features is its curved construction, 400 feet across the Tokul Creek canyon. Right: Today, the Tokul Creek Trestle is part of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, and a favorite stop for bicyclists and hikers. The 100 year-old bridge was used by freight trains into the early 70s, before the Milwaukee Railroad abandoned the line. Bottom, right: Construction of the Tokul Creek Trestle for the Milwaukee Railroad spur from Moncton to Everett was complete in 1911, when this photo was taken. Below: Take a look under the bridge and you’ll see more rare features, including its construction with heavy timber “bents” and sill construction instead of driven piles. Inset: On the way to the bridge from Tokul Road, you’ll pass this giant culvert. It replaced “the killer bridge” years ago, after the wife and children of a local game warden were killed after sliding off the bridge in icy weather. railroad bridges had been demolished, primarily for safety reasons. “Puget Power did that...” Battey said, “so people wouldn’t try to walk the rails.” He remembers one of his first train rides, not on the Milwaukee line but on competitor Northern Pacific’s. “It was the Casey Jones Special,” he said, “...and soon after, some of those incredible trestles between Fall City and the falls, were blasted.” The Tokul Creek Trestle was safely off the power company’s land, and so preserved. Now it’s part of the county’s protected 31.5 mile trail from Rattlesnake Lake to Duvall, and a favorite stop for hikers and bikers. Fall City historian Jack Kelley wrote in an article for the Fall City Historical Society that construction of the spur from Moncton to Everett, including the Tokul Creek Trestle, began in 1910. “The track-laying crew arrived on the hill to the north of Fall City in 1911, and during the following year they reached Everett. Freight and mail services were extended to Fall City and a r o a d p a s t Rutherf o r d Slough wound up the hill to the Fall C i t y siding.
“The siding was gone by the late 1930s and the trains no longer stopped in Fall City.” Besides being a survivor, the bridge also distinguishes itself structurally. It’s supported on timber sills instead of driven piles, “unlike many of the smaller trestles on the route,” according to the King County report. A 75-foot steel girder supports the center of the span, with 16- and 15-foot trestles arrayed on either side of it. Battey never rode a train across the Tokul Creek Trestle, but many people, both local and distant, did. The line extended to Everett, so, “if you had relatives in Everett, you’d look up the dollars and cents — and the fun, because railroads were fun to ride — and you’d go visit your relatives in Everett.”
14 • October 15, 2014 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
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Modern general store
Snoqualmie Valley Record • October 15, 2014 • 15
More than a century of life continues for Carmichael’s True Value Hardware For Wendy Thomas, running Carmichael’s True Value Hardware Store is never boring. Every day, someone walks in with a new challenge to fix. Visitors pace the wooden boards of the store, discovering something useful, humorous, sometimes timeless. “I feel like I’m preserving an ancient tradition,” she says. In a sense, she is. Thomas and her husband, Bryan Woolsey, have run this store, both a source of needed hardware and tools, and a home-gifts-and-goods stop for tourists, for 12 years. Theirs is the oldest continuous business in the Valley, having been founded in 1902 as the Reinig Brothers Store. Brothers Otto and Dio Reinig grew up on Snoqualmie’s huge hop farm, and founded their general store on the site of today’s shop. It burned, as wooden buildings often did in yesteryear’s America, in 1907, but was quickly rebuilt. It’s been remodeled and changed over the century, the latest update being a new coat of paint last month.
Reinig family According to local historian Dave Battey, the Reinig family were immigrants who brought a lot of entrepreneurial spirit to the Valley. Leonard Reinig came to Portland, Ore., from Germany, in 1862, then moved to Seattle. He had a thriving bread, cake and candy shop, but, after rebuilding following Seattle’s first big fire, had enough of the city and wanted to move to the country, to raise his and wife Margarethe’s sons Otto, Dio and Edward. He linked up with former Seattle neighbor, Captain George W. Gove, a partner in the Snoqualmie Hop Ranch, and moved to Snoqualmie in 1890. The Reinig family bought 120 acres at what is now Reinig Road. Their original house, now much altered, is 39254 Park Street in Snoqualmie. Otto married Minnie Owens of Issaquah and settled in a Snoqualmie home where the Union 76 station now stands. He and his brother Dio built the Reinig Brothers Store in 1902. He Otto and Minnie planted the stately magnolia tree in front of the 76 station.
Ghost stories Signs and photos still exist from the Reinig days. The images show a shop filled with goods. Sometime after the Reinigs, the store was a Red and White grocery store for about 30 years, said Woolsey. The former walk-in refrigerator is now the paint-mixing room. It’s a bit of a challenge keeping up a century-old store. Drifts of snow sometimes make their way under the eaves. When it warms, that means a bucket—or several—have to be deployed to catch the melt. There may also be a ghost around. “Every once in a while, somebody sees or hears something,” says Woolsey, that they can’t explain. He’s got his own tale. “Early on, when we first bought the store, I was doing ordering in the back corner, about 5
Some Things Shouldn’t Change
o’clock in the morning,” said Woolsey, an early riser. “I heard footsteps through the store, in fact, right about where we’re standing,” by the store’s kitchen. “They were very loud—clomp, clomp, clomp, like somebody walking into work.” He thought it was one of his employees, arriving extra early. But the person never said hello. “So I sat there and worked for 20 minutes, and he never said anything. I came out here, and there was nobody here. The door was locked. The lights were out. It wasn’t anybody sneaking around.” The mystery has never been explained.
Still going The historic nature of this modern general store defines Carmichael’s True Value. Top, the Reinig store in its earli“We base what we order on how things sit with the feel est days, circa 1902. Above, of the building,” Woolsey said. “You can’t put out a lot of Carmichael’s True Value Hardware really super-modern stuff. It doesn’t fit.” There aren’t many places like Carmichael’s left, cus- staff Kris Newcomb, Bryan Woolsey, Wendy Thomas. tomers tell Thomas. While hardware will always be around—tools are always a seller, because “something is always breaking,” Thomas says—“a small, independently owned business is an endangered species.” With any luck, though, Carmichael’s brand of useful, quirky, historic and fun will keep customers coming in.
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16 • October 15, 2014 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
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