Last week, the apparent end of an era happened in Snoqualmie. The last lunch noon whistle screamed from atop the old fire hall in Snoqualmie. Unfortunately, indications are that it will never likely scream again.
As Snoqualmie grows, one thing city planners, staff and council have always tried to do is maintain some semblance of what this town was before the growth. Quirky characteristics are important in distinguishing a town, such as Snoqualmie, from other nearby communities. The noon whistle is one of those cherished, quirky characteristics that make Snoqualmie unique.
I remember the whistle as a kid, signaling it was time for lunch, as well when volunteers needed to come to the station when there was a fire. I counted on it before its last day to remind me to look up from my desk and head to the gym for a workout or to go to lunch. Its not uncommon to find a tourist walking down the street startled as the noon whistle blares. They commonly ask what it means, to which I reply, “Lunch time.” They tend to follow that with a comment like, “That’s cool” or, “That’s neat.”
As we grow, it will become even more important to maintain our quirkiness. Sure, we can be stale and sterile like some other Eastside communities, but let’s cast our desire to conform to some conceived standard and maintain the whistle.
So, I urge all residents who think the whistle adds character to Snoqualmie to let their City Council members, city staff and the mayor know we want it revived on top of the new city hall.
The whistle uses 220V with a mechanical clock and could easily be wired into a new station. Or maybe there is another location or business willing to take it on and mount it to their rooftop. Whatever the case, I would hope the council and mayor have enough desire to maintain this unique characteristic to find a new home for it. It’s not time to retire the whistle.