Each fall, one of my favorite Snoqualmie Valley roads is Reinig Road, which runs along the Snoqualmie River just over the Meadowbrook Bridge. For new residents, this is across the river from Mount Si High School and Snoqualmie Elementary – if you follow Meadowbrook Way over the bridge and head toward North Bend.
This is one of my favorite roads, in part, because of the century-old sycamore trees that line Reinig Road, especially when they get their fall color. Once the leaves are gone, this road is also one of my favorite “creepy-kind-of-roads,” as my kids would call it. The trees actually create their own tunnel and there are no streetlights.
It turns out this road is rich in history, having once been a neighborhood for the booming Snoqualmie Falls mill town. Snoqualmie Valley Historian, Dave Battey, shared with me some of Reining Road’s (and its sycamore trees) history.
Next time you drive through the Reinig Road sycamore corridor, remember this was once a bustling family neighborhood. Those giant sycamore trees were once front yard trees. Then realize how many homes on Snoqualmie Ridge have front yard trees today, possibly connecting the new with the old.
There is history everywhere in the Snoqualmie Valley. You just have to look for it…
THE REINIG ROAD SYCAMORE CORRIDOR, by Dave Battey
The sycamore trees were donated by the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (Weyerhaeuser) and planted about 1925; one tree in front of each mill house along Reinig Road and part way up what is now 396th Drive.
This area was known as the Riverside Neighborhood in the mill town. The houses by the sycamores were moved in the 1950s and almost every one of the approximately 250 single-family homes from the mill town of Snoqualmie Falls, Washington are in use today, somewhere in the Valley. The corridor is now designated as a living King County landmark.
Six of the boys from the mill town who were killed on active-duty in World War II were from the same Boy Scout troop. That troop met in the Snoqualmie Falls YMCA Community Hall – the largest YMCA this side of Seattle (1924-1971).
When the Snoqualmie Valley Veteran’s Memorial, across River Street from the new Snoqualmie City Hall, was being planned, the architect suggested a central Legacy Tree and a sycamore was chosen to honor those who served in the U. S. Armed Services from the mill town, but especially to honor the six Boy Scouts.
A new flag pole was installed at the recently opened Snoqualmie YMCA Community Center to honor the Valley’s first YMCA director, George Borden and his son, Army Air Corps pilot William (Bill) Borden, one of those six Boy Scouts. Bill was lost in the Pacific Theater early in the war.
Look for future stories from Dave and the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, as we try and share Snoqualmie Valley history with you. Whether you are new to the valley or a long-timer, you may learn something new.