Trip Itineraries

Snoqualmie Historic Walking Tour


A stroll through historic downtown Snoqualmie will give you a look back in time when logging, farming, and railroads ruled the region. The tour will take you by dozens of historic structures, from schools, to hotels, taverns, and movie theaters. Click on the links to see historic photos and learn more.
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  1. Start your day by parking at Railroad Park & Centennial Log Pavilion in downtown Snoqualmie. If you need a hot beverage or snack before you start your walk you can head across the street to the many fun shops, restaurant, and cafes.

    To begin the tour head over to the Historic Log Structure, this open building was built with timbers from Weyerhaeuser’s Snoqualmie lumber mill and shelters a log typical of those cut in the early days of logging. The log is from an old- growth Douglas fir. Be sure to check out the interpretive sign to learn more about the logging legacy of Snoqualmie. This log is featured in the cult classic T.V. show Twin Peaks. Learn more about visiting filming locations in our Twin Peaks itinerary.

     

    For a side trip head north on Railroad Avenue to the Centennial Trail Exhibit. The Centennial Trail runs alongside the historic railroad and features a train car exhibit. Each car has their own interpretive sign with information about the historic railcar.

  2. From the Centennial Log Pavilion head south and take a right on SE King Street where you’ll see Hotel Snoqualmie (1910). Built in 1910 this building was originally called the Hotel Snoqualmie. A photo from 1940 shows the name changed to Burton Hotel-Apartments-Rooms. A fire in 1960 prompted remodeling, including the loss of the second story.

  3. Continue walking west on King Street for two blocks. At the corner of King St and Silva Ave SE you’ll see the original Snoqualmie Grade School (1911), built in 1911. For a time a second high school building stood next door, the complex operated as the Snoqualmie School District serving 1st through 12th Grades. When the Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend School Districts merged in 1945, that building housed the new Mount Si High School from 1946-1952 before the new Mount Si High School building could be built on Meadowbrook Way. The Snoqualmie Grade School building continued to operate as 1st-8th and later K-8th well into the 1960s when Snoqualmie Elementary and later Snoqualmie Middle Schools were built. After theses schools were built, the building became the Snoqualmie Valley School District headquarters.

  4. Head back east along King Street until you get to the bright yellow-orange two story building. Built in 1902 the building originally housed the Modern Woodsman’s fraternal organization and later that year was acquired by the Snoqualmie Independent Order of Odd Fellow (1902) and later the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. Over the years, many community groups have met here including the Veterans of Foreign War and Boy Scouts, the annual Fishing Derby Pancake Breakfast was held here along with many community fundraisers. Later this building was an antique store and dance studio before its restoration in the 2000s by its current owner. This building is now home to Woodman Lodge Restaurant Steakhouse and Bar.

     

  5. Just beyond the Woodman you’ll find the oldest building in Snoqualmie, the Snoqualmie Depot (1890). The Depot was built in 1890 by the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, and was the impetus for much of the development that happened in town.  The promise of transportation and commerce brought settlers, tourists, and business folks to the city. Compared to all the other Valley depots this depot was built much fancier. Find out why in our blog. It is now home of the Northwest Railway Museum, open year round and offering train rides to North Bend from April to December.

  6. Now cross Railroad Avenue and head to the Latberger’s Barbershop (1910/1920). This pair of commercial buildings include a taller, narrower, southern storefront that built in 1910 and the lower northern portion built in 1920. A barber shop has always been in one of the two of these buildings and they have acted as a community information center for over a 100 years. Locals frequently go here to hear the latest gossip while they get their ears lowered or get a cup of coffee.

  7. As you continue walking south you’ll walk past a series of recessed buildings. This area originally housed the Nye Brother’s General Merchandise store, which sat squarely on Railroad Avenue. Continue walking to The Black Dog café. This Glazed Brick Building (1928) was built it 1928 replacing a small wooden building which housed a cobbler shop and a variety store. This building is a unique example in Snoqualmie of a vernacular interpretation of the 1920s Moderne (or “streamlined modern”) commercial design. The original developer and/or owner has not been identified. In the 1933, the building was purchased by Louis A. Wade, who served as a justice in Snoqualmie Falls. From the tax records, it appears that in 1940 the property housed the offices of Valley Insurance and Copass & Hall Lawyers.

  8. Just next door you’ll find the Copperstone  Family Spaghetti Restaurant. The building, constructed in 1921 originally housed a Cafe and Tavern (1921). During prohibition, the tavern operated as a “soft drink” and pool hall. In 1940 the Bennett Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlor was in the building.

  9. Right next door is Sigillo Cellars. This two-story stucco-clad building was constructed in 1919 as a movie theater. It was likely built for E. W. Sandel, who operated theaters in North Bend and Issaquah in addition to working as a druggist in Snoqualmie from 1917-1922. Sandel operated the theater as the Dream Theater until c. 1923, when it was acquired by William Cochrane. Cochrane, who had just built the Brook Theater in Meadowbrook, changed the Dream Theater’s name to the Sunset Theater/Town Hall (1919). The new name referenced the building’s location on the Sunset Highway (Railroad Avenue). The main entry is recessed beneath a low, arched opening framed by a larger rectangle. The design recalls a proscenium arch on a stage. The windows, now infilled, which flanked the entry originally had multi-paned glass. The original second story window openings remain; however, the windows have been replaced with aluminum casement sash. At the top of the parapet, a prominent cornice with rounded coronae projects from the building.

     

    In response to declining ticket sales and public desire for movies with sound, for which the theater was not designed, Cocherane closed the Sunset Theater at the end of January, 1930. In 1939, well after the closing of the theater, the building was remodeled to house the town hall and the fire station and during WWII the local air raid tower and horn. In 1946, Snoqualmie’s first library was established in the upper level.

  10. The building next door which currently has Down to Earth Flowers and Gifts was built in 1901. For many years, this building housed Kritzer’s Meats (1909), operated by Joseph and Mary Kritzer. The date they began operating in this building is uncertain. Kritzers first advertised in the 1907/08 Gazetteer as a butcher; and may have moved to this building when it was constructed. They were certainly in operation at this location in the 1920s, and continued into the 1940s. Long-time owner Mena K. Mahoney sold the building to Victor Klement in 1962. Klement remodeled the building for use as a jeweler’s shop and added the agate inlay found in the bulkhead below the shop windows.

  11. Immediately next door you’ll see a one-story commercial structure containing three separate shop spaces. This structure, referred to as The Fury Block (1928), was built in 1928 by William Fury and was the most substantial commercial development in the historic district in the late 1920s. The site had previously been occupied by the Fury & Kinsey Livery stable, which was converted to a garage in the 1920s.

  12. At the end of the block, on the corner of Railroad Avenue and River Street is a one-story rectangular commercial structure built in 1920 and added on to the north in 1926. This corner was the site of the Kinsey Hotel Complex, which burned in 1902.

     

    The Kinsey Hotel Complex was a large three story building with five dormer windows across front on third story. There was a Post Office and Meat Market located in lower floor of Kinsey Hall and a dance hall located on the second floor.

     

    The parents of future famous logging photographers Darius and Clark Kinsey operated the complex with the help of their 5 sons and 1 daughter.  While operating the hotel a guest taught all the boys photography.

  13. Head across Railroad Avenue to the Snoqualmie Methodist Church (1924). The first services were actually held under a maple tree on the river. Church members fixed the probable date of that first Snoqualmie sermon as Sept. 24, 1889. The original church building can be seen across the street. It is now the American Legion Hall and was built in 1892 by Edmond Kinsey who ran the Kinsey Hotel Complex across the street. The current church was built in 1924. In 1939 the church caught fire, prompting the Snoqualmie Fire Department to get its first fire engine in 1940 as they only had a human pulled pump cart and hose cart to fight the fire. Read more about the history of the church here.

  14. Head back across Railroad Avenue and you’ll find a handsome brick building, currently occupied by Heirloom Cookshop. Originally built in 1923 this building was the State Bank of Snoqualmie (1923). It has served many purposes over the years. In addition to being a bank, the building also housed Snoqualmie City Hall, office space, and the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center

     

    In November 1990, when the building was City Hall, it was hit hard by flooding. This forced the city office to relocate temporarily to North Bend. It wasn’t until two years later that they were able to move back in. Read more about its history here.

  15. Crossing over Falls Ave SE you’ll see a Carmichael’s Hardware and Variety store. This large wood-frame commercial building was built in 1909 as Reinig Brothers General Merchandise (1909), Otto Frank Reinig, Proprietor. This building replaced a 1902 building on the same site which had been destroyed in 1908 by a fire which had originated across River Street in the Hotel.

     

    This building is the only remaining building in Snoqualmie significantly associated with Otto Reinig, a prominent Snoqualmie citizen in the early 1900s. Otto was the son of influential early Snoqualmie residents Leonard and Margarethe Reinig. He started in the grocery business in the early 1900s after spending five years in Dawson during the Klondike gold rush. Read more about the building’s history here.

  16. Cross Fall Ave and head north to the Snoqualmie Post (1910s) building. Built in the 1910s, this building has served as the home of Snoqualmie’s newspaper for over a hundred years, first housing the Snoqualmie Post and then later the Snoqualmie Valley Record. Prior to operating out of this building, the paper operated out of a hotel across the street and the original printing press was daringly rescued from that building when it burnt down. From 1949 to 1961, Charlotte Paul Groshell and her husband Ed Groshell operated the newspaper, during which time Charlotte wrote several best-selling books about her life operating the newspaper and fictions about life in the Valley during the pioneer era. Her first novel appeared in 1950—Hear My Heart Speak, about a World War I veteran, psychologically damaged from the war, living in a rural Wisconsin community. Stories heard from old-timers of the Snoqualmie Valley provided a rich source of lore for two historical romances, the bestselling Gold Mountain (1953) and The Cup of Strength (1958), later republished as Wild Valley (1981). Her own family’s pursuit of independence was memorialized in Charlotte’s only two nonfiction books, the bestselling Minding Our Own Business (1955) and its sequel, And Four to Grow (1961). Since 1961, the Valley Record has been operated by several owners and currently is run by Sound Publishing.