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Falls premiere shows power of ideas

By SETH TRUSCOTT
Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
July 21, 2009 · 9:09 AM
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Rosemary Allen, granddaughter of Charles H. Baker, and Roger Thompson, voice of Baker in 'The Power of Snoqualmie Falls,' sign autographs for Alex Holter, 11, at a premiere showing of the PSE-produced documentary, Thursday, July 16 at North Bend Theatre. / Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

The vision and energy of one man, Charles H. Baker, are the underlying story behind "The Power of the Falls," a documentary on the creation of the Snoqualmie Falls hydropower plant, which had its world premiere Thursday, July 16, at North Bend Theatre. The film, produced by Puget Sound Energy, told the tale of Baker's unshakeable vision and pioneering efforts in producing electricity at the catatract, then transmitting it to burgeoning cities of Tacoma and Seattle, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Interviewed are historians including the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum's Dave Battey and one of Baker's descendants. "Thank you for being my grandfather," said Rosemary Allen, Baker's granddaughter, thanking Puget Sound Energy spokesman Roger Thompson for his role in the film. Thompson was the voice of Baker in "Power of Snoqualmie Falls." ""I think it was done very excellently," said Allen, who lives in Bremerton. For Allen's family, Snoqualmie Falls is a part of their history. She gets a feeling of awe when she visits the site. "I knew what he did, and I knew the history," Allen said. "I felt it was a lot to live up to." Theatre owners Jim and Cindy Walker had a few 'wow' moments during the showing, as they watched how workers used man- and steam-power to bore through solid rock and move many tons of equipment into the 200-foot-deep powerhouse cavity. "We definitely learned things," Cindy Walker said. "It gives a perspective of what went into that, what a committed labor it was to get it done." The documentary, she added, showed how cutting edge 'Baker's folly' was, and how much it provided to the area. Walker said it was clear that the filmmakers put a lot of work into the show. North Bend Theatre will hold free showings of "The Power of the Falls" during the Festival at Mount Si. PSE plans to make copies of the film available to local libraries, and is seeking to air the documentary on public television later this year.

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