Fall City history is compiled

It took about four years but "Jack's History of Fall City" is finally finished, and just in time for the holidays. The book - weighing more than 4 pounds with 520 pages and 1,194 photos and images - will go on sale Dec. 2 at the Fall City Holiday Market at Chief Kanim Middle School.

It took about four years but “Jack’s History of Fall City” is finally finished, and just in time for the holidays. The book – weighing more than 4 pounds with 520 pages and 1,194 photos and images – will go on sale Dec. 2 at the Fall City Holiday Market at Chief Kanim Middle School.

Written by Jack Kelley of Fall City, the book was inspired by other local history books Jack had read, including “Fall City In The Valley of The Moon” by Margaret McKibben Corliss, published in 1972, and “A History of the Snoqualmie Valley” by Ada Snyder Hill, published in 1970. Both these books were written more than 30 years ago.

“I wanted to update and correct them,” Jack said. “We’ve done that with the book.” And then some.

The unique thing about the book is that it’s written by an engineer, who combines his meticulous attention to detail with a fascination with history, said Ruth Pickering, editor of the book. Jack was an engineer first for the U.S. Army and then Boeing for 34 years before he retired in 1989 and began writing about history. In fact, Jack had previously written another book, “Life and Times of a Small Town Kid,” which he gave to his five children to teach them what life used to be like when he was growing up.

With its 520 pages, his latest book itself was quite an undertaking.

The three-volume book consists of 31 chapters and includes sections focusing on the first people settling in Fall City; the first post office; Fall City schools; industry; stores, shops and offices; doctors and dentists; fire protection and emergency aid; and odds and ends. The book goes into depth on the genealogy of original settlers and provides hundreds of pictures of families, grave markers, buildings, newspaper clippings and hand-drawn maps of properties. It was self-published by Jack and Pickering, using “Hot Off The Press” printer in Redmond for the book and “Offset Printing” for the cover.

“It was a big job,” Jack said. He wrote most of it himself based on firsthand knowledge of living in Fall City almost all his life. Jack knew most of the people he was writing about and remembered countless stories told by his mother, Artie Kelley, and uncle, Perry Burns, while he was growing up. What he didn’t know he pulled from the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, old issues of the Valley Record and Snoqualmie Post that are on microfilm at the North Bend library, census records and numerous books, yearbooks and photo archives. He also asked other longtime Fall City residents.

Then Pickering came on the scene. After moving to Fall City 12 years ago from Willamette Valley in Oregon, she joined the Fall City newsletter and later became the editor. When she heard about Jack’s book, she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

“Jack has been kind enough to give us a wonderful history,” Pickering said. “I wanted, selfishly, to get it all in one place. It’s just a treasure.”

She had a little bit of knowledge about Fall City history and a little experience editing and proofreading books as she had worked on the fourth-edition revision of “Fall City The Valley of The Moon” in 2004.

Together, and with endless support from Jack’s wife Judy, the pair began the tedious job of editing Jack’s writing, checking facts, finding photographs and learning more from fellow Fall City residents. People dug through old trunks to find pictures and information for them, Pickering said.

To make it more manageable, they separated the book into three volumes. Then, the three of them met at least once a week to put their ideas together.

“Part of what made it interesting and bearable, we were always moving to new chapters,” Pickering said. “It gave us milestones.”

The trio’s research even prompted the start of the Fall City Historical Society in the fall of 2006. The historical society is just getting into gear now, but already has six members and a brochure to encourage membership, Pickering said. So far, the organization is working to develop a good system of recording, cataloging and archiving donated materials.

The highlight of the experience for the Kelleys was when Pickering came to the doorstep and asked to help with the book, Judy said.

“And reconnecting with people he hadn’t seen in a while,” she added.

For Pickering, there were two highlights. The first was discovering the Fall City Cemetery and its history. The second was when they took the book, only one-third finished, to a showing – sponsored by Fall City Arts – at the Masonic Hall in Fall City in June of 2005 where people could stop in and look at the first chapters.

“People were so excited about what the book was going to be like,” Pickering said.

When people realized the preview copy was only one-third of what the total product would be, “eyes widened,” she said.

Because of its size and content, it took a communitywide effort to cover the cost of publication. Many people made contributions, including Smith Brown Sterling Law Offices, Snoqualmie Valley Animal Hospital, Hot Off The Press, David Speikers, Steve Cato, Craig and Noma Edwards, Greg and Sabra Fawcett, Gordon Construction, Maggie and Phil Grate, Doug and Margie Burbridge, Gerry and Betty Ostrom, Roberta Yoshimura, Anne and Art Loring, Donna Driver-Kummen, Jon Kummen and a $200 matching grant from Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum.

Even though the book was just finished, PIckering and Jack have sold more than 150 advance orders. These will receive a thank-you note, a purchase number indicating how many others had purchased the book first and a signature from Jack. Now that it is finished, it will go on sale Dec. 2 at the Fall City Holiday Market at Chief Kanim Middle School at 32627 S.E. Redmond-Fall City Road from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After Dec. 2, it will be sold at The River’s Edge at 33631 S.E. Redmond-Fall City Road in Fall City. The cost is $60 per copy. All proceeds from sales from the first printing of the book will be divided between the Fall City Community Association and Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum.