Lifestyle

Exploring a lost town

 Ken Senteno of North Bend uses his flashlight to check out the water outflow of the Cedar Falls power station. The tall windows of the plant light up the night behind him. “It’s beautiful,” Ken’s wife Juni said. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Ken Senteno of North Bend uses his flashlight to check out the water outflow of the Cedar Falls power station. The tall windows of the plant light up the night behind him. “It’s beautiful,” Ken’s wife Juni said.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

By Judy Halone

Contributing Writer

At its dawn, Cedar Falls was home to a Seattle City Light hydroelectricity plant’s employees and their families. That was a century ago.

Today, it is closed to the public, but still home to the Cedar River Municipal Watershed and Seattle Public Utilities offices.

On Sept. 12 and 13, the town sparkled in its twilight when it opened its doors for its annual Twilight Tour, hosted by SCL and Seattle Public Utilities. The event provided 450 visitors the chance to explore the wonders of a city closed to the public since Sept. 11, 2001.

“For me, it’s almost magical,” said SPU Senior Public Education Specialist Celese Spencer. “I think what’s special is the sense of community. It was a tight-knit community; peoples’ lives were more intertwined than they are today. Geographically, they had kids together, school, churches, 4-H, an orchestra and a gym — half of it was the swimming pool that used water heated from the two penstocks.”

The tour also provided a glimpse at the hydroelectric plant.

“People really enjoyed going with City Light educators for the behind-the-scenes tour,” she said. “It was amazing. They couldn’t go into the power plant but they could see how long it’s contributed to (the area), since 1905. And they really enjoyed the talks by Mark VanOss and Linda Regan-Yonk.” Both are public educators with SCL, she added.

“It’s particularly enchanting when the five-globe streetlights are on that line Cedar Falls,” she said.

For information, visit www.seattle.gov/util/crwec or call (206) 233-1515.

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