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History book stirring up community memories
Keeping law and order in Snoqualmie was a big job in 1934.
The duties of the town marshal, Tom Benadom, included policing the town, sweeping the main street, collecting delinquent taxes and fixing water pipes while doubling as the city’s water superintendent.
Stirring up old memories like Benadom’s busy story is the aim of the people behind “Our Snoqualmie Community 1855-1956.”
The book, newly published by the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, is a reissue of an original 1956 report issued by the Snoqualmie Community Development Program’s History Committee.
The book explores the life and times of the community in its early days, from schools, churches and clubs, to how people worked and how they had fun.
“What we have here is an incredibly unique situation,” said museum secretary Dave Battey. “Normally, when you write a history book, somebody becomes the ‘collector’ and goes around, interviews everybody and writes this book, and it becomes slanted by whatever they want to present.
“In this case, they simply went to the experts and asked the experts to write up what they knew about it,” Battey said.
The report’s 69 original pages, with two drawings and no photographs, have been fleshed out with historic local photos from the museum’s collection.
No one knows how many of the original editions made the rounds in the Valley.
One was found in manuscript form in former Mayor Charles Peterson’s home.
“I looked at it, I said, ‘This is wonderful,’” Peterson said.
“It’s a living document,” he said. It’s one of the few books that collected the people, schools, social clubs and businesses of the Valley, gathering names that Peterson remembers from growing up in the Valley.
“When somebody takes the time to tie it all together, it’s charming,” Peterson said.
The book is some 10 years in the making.
The museum always has a half-dozen books in the works at any given time, and work on “Our Snoqualmie Community” proceeded in fits and starts.
“It took a knee in the back to get it moving,” said museum board member Gloria McNeely, a former Snoqualmie Valley Record editor.
The book was originally put out on mimeograph sheets, a forerunner to photocopying, and as such, could not be scanned into a computer. Instead, the pages had to be hand-typed, with its editors making some corrections to problems in the original, such as breaks in the mimeograph sheet.
“We ad-libbed stuff,” said McNeely. All amendments are in curly quotes. “We left it as much as possible.”
Interviews by former Snoqualmie Valley Record publisher Charlotte Groshell helped augment the historic knowledge contained in the original book. Many of those who contributed knew the Valley’s history by heart.
Transcription efforts included the labor of several past Valley Record staff members, who typed up the pages in their “spare” time.
Who might want to read it?
“Anybody who has ever lived in the Valley, or anyone who is interested in history, that’s who,” McNeely said.
The museum printed 150 copies. The price of the book is $25. To order a book, call (425) 888-3200.