Let’s save the Snoqualmie Valley's local lingo

You’re only as rich as your memory. That’s how Snoqualmie Railroad Days Grand Marshal Harley Brumbaugh put it, reflecting on his lifetime of experience in the area.

“Cling to the things that brought you here, and don’t be talked out of it,” Brumbaugh said this summer, giving voice to a local longing toward preserving our historic heritage.

Brumbaugh makes a good point. This Valley is changing and growing all the time, and our heritage has literally disappeared in some places.

Take the vanished Snoqualmie Falls neighborhood of Riverside. The homes of the logging town were torn down or moved, and the neighborhood itself has faded into the undergrowth. Memories remain, but even those seem to be under threat—a few days ago, some miscreant vandalized an interactive display that recalls the original scene.

That vandalism shows that more people need to know that our history is special and worth preserving.

Locals should consider visiting the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum in North Bend, where the main exhibit—which the Riverside markers were promoting before they were torn down and stolen—is on the history of Snoqualmie Falls.

In Snoqualmie, downtown merchants are considering putting together a downtown preservation initiative aimed at preserving the commercial roots of the community.

Carnation’s Tolt Historical Society is at work researching and preserving the history of that community, and is moving its collection of vintage artifacts to Camp Korey, formerly Carnation Farm.

Likewise, the Fall City Historical Society is putting out a new book, “Preserving the Stories of Fall City,” which collects the oral remembrances of longtime residents.

If locals don’t take a hand in exploring, preserving and protecting our past, then we lose our roots. We’ve got to know where we came from to understand where we are going.


Have you ever noticed that Valley residents—some call them Valleyites—have their own special nicknames and phrases for area venues, vistas and neighborhoods.

Some of this local lingo is quickly understood: The Ridge, Upper and Lower Valley, and Wilderness Rim, for example, are pretty self-explanatory.

Others are a little more esoteric. Who, for example, can tell me what the Boy Scout Bridge is, or who put the Ernie in Ernie’s Grove? How many folks know that Carnation was once called Tolt—and someday, perhaps, may be so called again? And when, if ever, should a North Bend resident be called a No-Bender?

In our own effort to share Valley heritage, this newspaper is collecting local sayings, phrases and place names in a mini-encyclopedia or dictionary of sorts. The results will be published in our upcoming Fall/Winter Valley Visitor’s Guide. You can help by sharing your facts and tales. Together, we can clear up the origins of Tokul Creek and explain why the Raging River rages.

Send your thoughts and suggestions to editor@valleyrecord.com, or drop a line to P.O. Box 300, Snoqualmie, WA, 98065. Let’s keep spreading this local lingo around, before it’s forgotten.

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