Railroad comes to Fall City
Northern Pacific Depot at Fall City, looking east on tracks, 1909.
The small sign says WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH AND CABLE OFFICE.
(Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum)
In 1885, a group of Seattle businessmen formed the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern
Railway. Their plan was to build a railroad from Seattle, through Woodinville, Squak
(now Issaquah), Preston, “The Landing” (early name for Fall City), Rangers Prairie (now
Snoqualmie and North Bend) and over the pass to Eastern Washington. The current
Preston-Snoqualmie Trail is a portion of that route. With venture capital from the sale
of stock, the railroad began laying track, and by 1888, it had reached Issaquah.
Opening of Railway in 1887, unknown location.
(Museum of History and Industry, Seattle)
Fall City Gets Connected
Creation of the new railway route required the building of several trestles. One of the longest carried the tracks across the Raging River between Preston and Fall City (below). This trestle collapsed in 1900 (below) and was rebuilt in 1901.
Creation of the new railway route required the building of several trestles.
One of the
longest trestles carried the tracks across the Raging River between Preston and Fall City.
Credit: Darius Kinsey photo, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington
This trestle collapsed in 1900 and was rebuilt in 1901.
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In 1891, the U.S. Postal Service contracted with the railroad to
carry the mail. Mail was dropped off at the Fall City Depot and then
was brought to the post office by Simon “Time” Bailey with his twohorse
team and wagon. He also transported freight and passengers.
From Trains to Bikes
In 1901, the Northern Pacific Railroad acquired the Seattle, Lake
Shore and Eastern track, facilities and rolling stock. However, with
improvements in roads and vehicles, the railroads began to lose money
on spurs like the one connecting North Bend to Seattle. In 1970, what
remained of the Northern Pacific became the Burlington Northern and
by 1974, rail service to the Snoqualmie Valley had been discontinued.
The tracks that had tied the Snoqualmie Valley to the outside world
were torn up and the bridges and trestles dismantled. Within a few
years all that was left was a trail for hikers and bikers, called the
The last steam engine to travel through the Snoqualmie Valley was Northern
Pacific Engine #1372, brought out for an historic trip in 1957. It is shown here
at the Fall City Water Tower. The depot had been taken down before this photo.
Northern Pacific Engine #1372, 1957. Harold Hill photo, SVHM
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History provided by Ruth Pickering
Sign layout by Ed Hazen, edsbits.com