News

Streets of Snoqualmie Ridge

The names Mountain Goat, Waxwing Way and Hop Ranch Road are still available. Huckleberry, Northern Spy and Kinsey are taken.

In fact, of the 126 or so possible Snoqualmie Ridge street names currently on the table for selection as the development continues to grow, about 36 have already been given to the various streets in Phase I and Phase II.

But where did those names come from and how did they get there?

The names represent a historical, geographical or nature-focused theme, said city of Snoqualmie Senior Planner Gina Estep, who has been involved with the development since its inception in the 1990s.

(She did not know the origin of many downtown street names, as most were created in 1907.)

Since the early stages of the Snoqualmie Ridge development, the city has shied away from having developer Quadrant come up with names, as would traditionally be the process, she said.

"The city thought it would be nice to provide a connection between [the] history of Snoqualmie with the new neighborhood," Estep said.

The developers agreed, asking the city to come up with historic names appropriate for potential use.

To make sure that the city had a breadth of options, local "unofficial" Valley historian Dave Battey (who was on the Planning Commission at the time) offered his services. His first list of suggested names was completed in 1996, with additions and corrections in 1997, 2000 and 2002.

Battey noted that the city of Snoqualmie is now using his list as a basis for all new street names, not just for those on Snoqualmie Ridge. He added that the City Council has also added names to the list and that Quadrant has reserved the right to name streets, especially those associated with the nearby TPC golf course.

Battey provided identifying information along with the suggested names, which range from local teachers, flora/fauna and quotes, to Snoqualmie's founding fathers and families.

His main stipulation, he said, was that the historical significance and relevancy of what he selected be specific to Snoqualmie.

"I think that in a community, the basic knowledge of the history of that community helps tie them together and helps them feel like they're a community and they are responsible for it," Battey said.

So, according to the city, "Mountain Goat" is of Native American origin and is celebrated for its meat and wool products.

"[Cedar] Waxwings" are an indigenous bird.

"Hop Ranch" comes from the fact that hops was a popular Valley-grown grain until the turn of the century. The Upper Valley was even billed as "the largest hop ranch in the world," according to Battey.

Meanwhile, "Huckleberry" is a native plant.

"Northern Spy" was a seed brought to the Valley in the 1800s from New York and grows extensively.

And "Kinsey" was the last name of a prominent Snoqualmie family in the town's early days; some members of which became respected pioneer photographers.

After names are selected they are sent to the City Council for approval (streets may also be renamed based on council approval).

Local police and fire departments also review the names to confirm that they aren't difficult to understand in case of an emergency. One cause of hesitation might be if a name was difficult to pronounce.

The city is also sensitive to the marketing needs of Quadrant and tries to select names that make the area sound attractive, Estep said.

Overall, the city hasn't had many problems with the Snoqualmie Ridge street names, Estep said.

And with Phase II currently underway, Estep said the city intends to expand the list of possible street names.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 15 edition online now. Browse the archives.