The Story of Reinig Road’s Beautiful Sycamore Trees, History Worth Knowing

Every fall, one of my favorite Snoqualmie Valley roads is Reinig Road, which runs along the Snoqualmie River just over Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 7.16.59 AMthe 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, it’s  also one of my favorite “creepy-kind-of-roads” when the trees actually create their own tunnel with 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 some of Reinig Road’s (and its sycamore trees) history.

So next time you drive through the Reinig Road sycamore corridor, remember this was once a bustling family neighborhood.  Those giant sycamore trees were once small 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 old 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 Snoqualmie YMCA Community Center when it opened in 2012 to honor the Valley’s first YMCA director, George Borden and his son, Army Air Corps pilot William (Bill) Bordenone of those six Boy Scouts. Bill was lost in the Pacific Theater early in the war.

Reinig Road’s Riverside Neighborhood, part of old Snoqualmie Falls mill town, photo courtesy of The Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum

The same spot on Reinig Road, with mill town houses moved.

Comments

  1. One of the things I remember from my childhood is driving through the tunnel of trees on the way to visit my Grandparents.

  2. Karen Wherlock says

    Great history. Is Reinig connected with the attorney Jake Reinig who has an office in one of the old houses on 202 in downtown North Bend?

  3. Thank you for this history, especially for the photo of the original homes. And now I have a venue to ask this question: why has someone been allowed to deface a couple of these venerable trees by nailing “Private Property” signs to the trunks? The signs are ugly, the trunks are harmed, and whose property right there is “private”? I would really like a response.

  4. Kathleen Jordan says

    I grew up in one of the houses in riverside, the same house that was pictured in the newspaper, then and on line here not to long ago. My parents worked hard to update the house when it was placed in the Williams Edition. The three of us kids grew up there and returned often to spend time with our parents and to share our children with them. My mother, Nina Kelly lived in the house until she was unable to care for herself, and I stayed with her the last 6 years she was there. I was happy she was able to remain their as long as we could manage. I know the house has gone through a few new owners since. I haven’t been back to see the house for several years and I have been told the garden I worked so hard on has gone unkempt for much of that time. That makes me sad and I hope someone who loves working outside will someday restore that garden.

  5. Jim Lanning says

    The last house on the left before the creek on the uphill side was occupied by Dutch and Helen Craford. That house is now in the Williams Addition. There was also an alley behind those houses with a row of houses above it.

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