Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Snoqualmie, Washington

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my hubby and I decided to take a drive to the town of Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie is located about 25 miles East of Seattle. Our first stop was at the Snoqualmie Casino for brunch and to play some slot machines. Brunch was great and the machines paid off so we were off to a good start.

We then drove through town and our first stop was the Victorian Snoqualmie Depot. The Snoqualmie Depot was built in 1890 as an arrival point for tourists coming to hunt, fish and view the already world-famous Snoqualmie Falls.

The town of Snoqualmie was built on the route of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway (SLS&E). The railway started on Seattle's waterfront and wound around Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish (now the route of the Burke-Gilman Trail) on it's way to a planned crossing of Snoqualmie Pass.

This railroad never reached the pass. It was bought by Northern Pacific, which later became the Burlington Northern. It operated as a branch line until the 1970's, carrying passengers, supplies for local businesses, millions of board feet of logs to local mills and finished lumber to world markets.

The tracks just a few feet away from the pavilion follow the original route of the SLS&E.

When the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (now Weyerhaeuser) began it's operation about a mile north of town, the mill was set up to handle the huge Douglas-fir, sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar trees which covered the hills and mountains of the region. On display today is an example of those type of logs. Unfortunately, time and uncaring people have defaced this log. Logs 10 to 15 feet in diameter were carried by train to the mill, through a huge bandsaw, cutting timbers up to three feet square for trestle bridges and warehouse floors.

Our next stop was at the world-famous Snoqualmie Falls. Midway between the towns of Snoqualmie and Fall City, the Snoqualmie River cascades 270 feet (100 feet higher than the famed Niagara Falls) through a spectacular rock gorge. The falls attracts 1.5 million visitors every year. After leaving the falls we went on to Fall City where we came upon these beautiful horses.

If you are ever in the Seattle area, a trip to Snoqualmie is sure to be well worth your time.