Celebrate North Bend’s first hundred years

North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing shares his thoughts on the centennial milestone

By Ken Hearing

North Bend Mayor

When I took office in 2004, I started the centennial ball rolling so the city would be prepared to celebrate its 100th birthday in a fitting manner.

Local volunteers are continually unearthing new and interesting details of our rich history. I asked Gardiner Vinnege, a longtime Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society member and local historian, to look at the history of the city and think about how we might celebrate this momentous occasion. A review of the city council minutes revealed many unusual and comical events in the city’s history.

Current City Clerk Cheryl Proffitt will be interested to know that on April 19, 1909, the clerk’s salary was set at $125 — per year! That same year, the council outlawed livestock running loose downtown.

Later, the law was expanded to include mules, swine, sheep and goats, but only between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

On Nov. 10, 1916, the first official speed limit was adopted for the city limits, at 12 miles per hour. The penalty was up to 30 days in jail. We hope that we are a kinder, gentler North Bend today.

Other historical facts were revealed through writings and photographs. The city’s first park was a covered bandstand built on huge cedar stumps across the street from the Snoqualmie Valley Museum. This is how Park Street got its name.

In 1911, the labor market was so tight that a 9-year-old boy was hired as a jailer.

In 1948, Dewey did beat Truman — in North Bend, at least — by a margin of 174 to 139.

In 1960, the population was of the city was only 932 people.

The first mayor, local entrepreneur Peter Maloney, pushed hard for incorporation. Unlike many other cities in King County, much of downtown North Bend still looks similar to how it did in 1909 and has retained all the charm and small-town atmosphere.

North Bend’s actual date of incorporation was March 2, 1909. The decision to hold the centennial celebration this summer was to seek better weather and participation. The celebration on August 8 will include a quilt cake made by many local residents, the dedication of the Centennial Climbing Rock, letters from many distinguished friends and guests and the introduction of past North Bend mayors and council members. During the Festival at Mount Si, the historical society will sponsor a presentation displaying the history of North Bend aided by exhibits and photographs.

I have many times expressed my appreciation to those who helped make the downtown block party a success, but I will say it again — way to go! It was a rousing success and everyone involved should take pride in their efforts. Many people have asked that the block party become a regular event and I agree. It would be good to have this celebration on an annual basis and maybe even add a second event (or third!).

It is an honor to be mayor of the city of North Bend during its centennial year, and on behalf of the North Bend City Council, I invite you to join us in celebrating the Centennial on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, at the Festival at Mount Si.

• Ken Hearing is mayor of North Bend. Call him at North Bend City Hall, (425) 888-1211.