Snoqualmie Valley is the ancestral home to the Snoqualmie tribe. The name is derived from "Moon the Transformer." Settlers began to arrive in the Valley in the early 1850’s. The Valley was found to be a very fertile plain with an abundance of edible bulbs, roots, berries, and wild game. By 1877, several logging operations flooded the region and transported timber by river to Everett and the Puget Sound. It continued when a railroad system was built in 1889, expanding the mode of transportation for the valley’s timber. The same year a civil engineer took it upon his self to construct an underground power plant at the base of Snoqualmie Falls. The power plant opened jobs up for many locals and provided electricity to establish a small company town. In 1911, a second power plant was built and is still used today.
Located just 30 miles outside of Seattle, North Bend has grown over the years as the Seattle population has expanded to its city limits. Being once a timber town, converting fir and cedar into everything from dimension lumber to doorframes. The population boom has brought new funds for roads, schools, utilities, housing, and has allowed local businesses to grow.
In the late 1800’s, Swedish-American immigrants, August and Emil Lovgren and Olaf Edwin, opened a logging mill next to the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway. Most of them being of Swedish decent, the mill drew hundreds of families to Preston and Fall City. The towns were so populated with Swedish-Americans that the local church in Preston continued to be conducted in Swedish until 1939. The mill remained in operation until the mid-late 1900’s.
Antique steam engines and rusted railroad cars are just bits and pieces of Snoqualmie Falls history and are proud remnants of the logging town’s past. The locals in these communities pride themselves on what the towns have become and how well they have maintained a community spirit throughout the years. Local school administrators work closely with each individual child to make sure that they are getting the education needed, and many of the parents are very involved with the schools themselves. These peaceful towns offer the safe and secure feeling of belonging to an old and established community.
These cities’ residents are primarily families or retired persons, but a branch of Nintendo has added some young professionals in to the mix. Snoqualmie Falls is home to 2,000 people and local businesses. The effort to escape a growing suburbia has increased in the recent years, but the town has resisted dramatic change and the friendly community atmosphere has stayed the same. The friendly close-knit community has only become closer in the recent years and they plan on keeping the small town values alive. North Bend is called home by more than 5,000 people and the number is continuously growing as families move from Seattle to this Eastside area. Residents of the Fall City and Preston areas enjoy the comfortable feeling of being part of a laid-back, close-knit community. Many of the families work in businesses in the downtown areas; some also grow pumpkins, garlic, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, squash and other food items, and manage cattle.
Rental prices can be more affordable than in the neighborhoods and cities closer to Seattle. Many people who work in Issaquah or Bellevue make these cities their home and commute via I-90, and newer development in these cities has brought housing prices closer to those of Bellevue and Issaquah. Rental prices generally range from about $0.60 per square foot to $1.50 per square foot based on the age and specific location. Houses and farms make up the majority of housing out here, and with so many happy long-term locals, rentals can be rare to find.
Downtown Snoqualmie is where residents walk along Railroad Avenue and kids ride their bikes. Fans of “Twin Peaks,” which was filmed in this area in the early 1990s, often stop by the Mar-T Café for some cherry pie. Beautiful flowers are hung every year to bring a colorful addition to the historic buildings. Every year an estimated 1.5 million tourists come to see the Snoqualmie Fall’s spectacular plunge over the 268-foot drop. A hike to this location is a must for any Seattle resident. Just a bit further down I-90 will take you to Seattle’s nearest ski slope, Snoqualmie Pass. North Bend’s numerous outlet malls also draw a crowd, particularly right before the holiday season. And the area’s hiking trails offer spectacular views on a clear day, while fishing on the Snoqualmie River and Si View Golf Course can make for a relaxing weekend.