What are you going to do for Valley, state’s 125th party?

The year 1889 was a big one for the Valley.

It was the year that Washington territory became the 42nd state. It was also the year that trains rolled into the Valley for the first time. Railroads transformed daily life for the people here, opening the local economy up to a wider world. The train came here mainly due to tourism—big city folk wanted to see the wonders of the Snoqualmie waterfall.

In August of ‘89, Snoqualmie was platted, its streets and lots laid down on paper. That September, under the maple tree on River Street, the Snoqualmie Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the United Methodist Church, was founded.

Recognizing this big year, there are a lot of commemorative events planned statewide for the Washington quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary.

So it’s a good time for local organizations to get in on the action. The Valley could host programs that give newcomers, locals and our youth an idea how we got started here and how far the Valley’s come in a century and a quarter.

As of this writing, the Northwest Railway Museum is getting on board. That nonprofit will do two special train rides with a twist on Friday, July 4. At 12:30 and 1:15 p.m., trains will depart from the 1890 Snoqualmie Depot for the Falls. Along for the ride will be costumed travelers representing folk from the 1800s, reliving that first tourism trip to the Valley. Get tickets at www.TrainMuseum.org.

Capsule keepers, historic farms

Planned for this fall, a large, commemorative ceremony will happen at the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia. Central to the observance will be the Capsule Keepers, a group of adults who 25 years ago were enlisted at the age of 10 to contribute to a time capsule in the Legislative Building and were entrusted with the care and continuance of the capsule in the future.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is assisting the Capsule Keepers in finding a new batch of 10-year-olds to carry on the tradition.

If any Valley children are interested in being the new Capsule keepers, their families can learn about the role at www.capsulekeepers.org.

Another website, Washington125.org, shares ideas for citizens and groups to observe the anniversary, complete links to organizations who share their events, and downloadable files for the official Washington 125 logo and QR code. These resources can help people do service projects, build displays for the state birthday, or hold a lecture on state history. Creativity is encouraged.

The there’s the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Centennial Farms project. It connects with the farms across Washington, which at the centennial had been owned by the same family for at least 100 years. I’m sure we’ve got one or two such properties in the Valley. Farmers can learn more at www.agr.wa.gov.

The centennial of Snoqualmie, 11 years ago, drew a big costumed town picnic. The whole town got together to mark this historic occasion. We’ve got another opportunity to showcase local history and have fun together, so let’s do this. After all, this only happens every 125 years.


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