Fall City Historical
Fall City Historical

Historic Signage

Baxter Barn

Built 1905 / Moved, rebuilt 1950s

In Jack’s History of Fall City, the Baxter family are included among the earliest settlers in the Fall City area:

EBER AND SARAH BAXTER (1875)

Eber Herman Baxter was born in October 1810 in the state of New York. In 1867, he married widow Sarah Robinson Hill (b1843), who had a son, William. In1870, Eber was a blacksmith in Sioux City, Iowa. Two sons, Orin and Frank, were born there before their move to Kansas, where their daughter, Sarah, was born. The Baxter Family came to the Snoqualmie Valley by covered wagon in 1875, walking beside a wagon pulled by a team of oxen. The road across the Snoqualmie Pass wasn’t much more than a wide path through the trees and by the time they reached Rangers Prairie (now the Meadowbrook area), the wagon was broken. David Thomas of Fall City brought them to his farm to repair and rest. Eber found a piece of property and they moved to the area located near the existing intersection of 328 Avenue SE and SE 46th Street.

Eber was a blacksmith for six days a week, and a preacher on Sunday. His shop was located on a knoll near his house and the sign above the door read, “EBER H. BAXTER AT HOME AND ABROAD.” On Sunday, he delivered the “word” in the first schoolhouse across the Snoqualmie River until the church was built on the Baxter property. The Baxter household was a family gathering place for many years, where quilting bees and festive dinners were held. I couldn’t find a record of Eber’s death or where he is buried. Sarah Baxter died in 1910 and is buried in the Fall City Cemetery.”

More about the family is included in an article from the 1972 Snoqualmie Valley Record:

Snoqualmie Valley Record, June 1972
Baxter article - Baxter family arrives from Ohio in 1875
Date of photo shown with article is unknown. Clearly it is later, after their arrival and the addition of other children to the family.
Baxter article - Baxter family arrives from Ohio in 1875

Orin Baxter, the oldest son, was seven years old when the family arrived in Fall City. In 1890, Orin married another early arrival, Viola Henderson, who had three daughters. They were very active in their community. The 1923 Program from the Masonic Lodge lists Orin as the Worshipful Master. He would have been 55 years old.

In 1940, Fall City honored Orin and Viola Baxter on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

On following pages, excerpts from the long article by Elva Polley in the Snoqualmie Valley Record tell more about the early Baxter family life and about Orin and Viola’s wedding and family.

Masonic Calendar 1923
Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940

Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940. Orin was 72 and Viola 75. (Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum)

Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940. Orin was 72 and Viola 75. (Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum)

Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940
Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940
Orin and Viola Baxter at their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1940

In about 1900, Orin and Viola purchased property near what is now the west end of SE 44th St, where they lived for the rest of their lives. As noted in the article, the land was partially cleared with oxen. They built a house and a barn in about 1905. Orin had about 30 cows and would take his milk and that from several other dairy farmers up to the Northern Pacific depot on Lake Alice hill, using a wagon drawn by his two big draft horses.

Baxter Farm 1914
In this wonderful 1914 Kinsey photo, some type of mechanized harvesting is going on at the Baxter farm. Progress has been made since they cleared the land with oxen! (Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum)
House 1940
Barn 1940
1940 photos, WA State Archives, Puget Sound Region

In the 1936 Metsker map at rightbelow, the large piece of land to the south of the Baxter farm is shown as owned by Fred Ambold (misspelled on map). Around 1931, the Ambold family came from California to Fall City and bought a farm. After WWII, Fred Ambold gave portions of the land to his daughters Margaret and Eileen and their husbands. Eileen was married to Bill Baxter, son of Orin Baxter’s younger brother Frank. Bill and Eileen Baxter lived just across the road from Orin.

1936 Metsker map

Bill and Eileen lived on the land for many years and became very active in the Fall City community. They were honored as Grand Marshals in the Fall City Day Parade of 1986.

Bill and Eileen - Parade Marshalls
Bill and Eileen - Square Dancing

In the 1950s, when Jack McClymont purchased Orin Baxter’s farm, he made an agreement with Bill Baxter to tear down a chicken coop and the barn in exchange for the lumber. Over the following years, Bill built a smaller version of the Orin Baxter Barn on their property with the original lumber.

Bill Baxter died in 1996. Eileen continued to live on the property until 2007, when she sold the land and farm to Cory and Missy Huskinson.

Cory and Missy named their farm and business in honor of the historic barn and worked with Eileen and her family to gather history about the Baxters. They also got to know Jack McClymont and heard his stories of the Baxter farm. Later they learned that Missy had a special connection to the early Baxters as well. Lena (Missy) Huskinson is named for her great grandmother, Lena Parker. The Parkers came to Fall City in 1884, where they stayed with the Baxters for seven weeks while they completed a log cabin on their 160 acres.

Cory and Missy have worked with King County to do stream restoration and wildlife protection on their property, and enrolled the Baxter’s/ Ambold’s original homestead into the King County PBRS (Public Benefit Rating System) historical farming category, along with eight neighbors, all part of the original 200 acres. This category will preserve this area’s farming for the future. Cory successfully campaigned to have the Baxter Barn listed in the Heritage Barns of King County, and shared the background history with the Mountains to Sound Greenway as part of their heritage materials. In his barn, Cory has a wide variety of displays about the Baxter family. And on the property is an interesting variety of old farm machinery.
Missy and Cory Huskinson with King County Stewardship award
Missy and Cory Huskinson with King County Stewardship award.

To learn more about the current Baxter Barn farm and business, and how to arrange a private tour, visit www.baxterbarn.org.

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