It wasn’t always just North Bend and Snoqualmie in the upper Snoqualmie Valley. Almost 100 years ago a husband and wife decided there should be another town and created it. They named it Meadowbrook.
If you drive over Meadowbrook Bridge toward Mount Si High School, you can feel the history – sense that the buildings lining the area of Meadowbrook Way and Park Street had former lives.
And they did. This area was once a town, complete with a big grocery store, butcher, movie theater, hamburger joint, drug store, taverns and more. This town is also one of the reasons, a few years ago, the Snoqualmie City Council opted not to rename Meadowbrook Way ‘Wildcat Way.’
Snoqualmie Valley Historian Dave Battey shared the rich history of the once thriving small town, whose roots trace back to competition and like many things in the Valley, the Snoqualmie Lumber Company. If you live on Snoqualmie Ridge, you may also recognize your street name, as many have Snoqualmie Valley Historical connections.
Understanding the Town of Meadowbrook
Arthur W. Pratt purchased the approximate 1,200 acre Meadowbrook Farm in 1904 and with his local manager, Angus J. Moffat, created a huge dairy empire in the former hop fields stretching between Snoqualmie and North Bend. He recognized the opportunities available by creating a new town, just across the Snoqualmie River from the huge Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company mill and the 250-home community of Snoqualmie Falls that surrounded the mill.
So, in 1923, A. W. Pratt and his wife platted a new town on their dairy pasture and named it Meadowbrook. The new town attracted businesses to compete with the huge (for the times) Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company store. The new town also provided homes for mill employees who wanted to grow equity rather than pay rent to the company. Many mill and woods workers also drove through the new town on their way to and from work every weekday, providing a constant customer base.
The keystone attraction for the new town was an elegant movie theater, called ‘The Brook’ which many who grew up in the Valley appreciated, especially during the Great Depression and World War II. ‘The Brook’ invested in ‘Talkies’ in 1928, becoming what local historians believe to be the first movie theater in east King County to have sound.
The shell of the Brook stood until 2015, after closing in the mid 1960’s. It opened in 1923, built by Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Cochrane and their Cochrane Moving Picture Company, with seating for 440, including 38 loges (small, separated seating area) with cushioned seats and backs in the rear of the theater. [Read earlier article on the Brook HERE.]
Most of the early homes in Meadowbrook were built by Bill Blaisdell, who also constructed many of the original homes in the mill town across the river. Battey said Blaisdell seemed to have had a sixth-sense about flooding, as none of the homes he built have ever had water in their first floors – “although it sure has lapped at the bottoms of the basement floor joists, especially during the 1990 flood (A record flow of 75,000 cubic feet per second at Snoqualmie Falls).”
Meadowbook eventually grew to have several clothing stores, a sheet-metal fabrication facility, a grocery store or two, a meat market, a drug store, at least two taverns, a jewelry store, a dentist office, a mortuary, a hotel and nearby, until 1948, the huge Hope Ranch Hotel, built about 1885 to house the many tourists entertaining themselves in the Snoqualmie Valley. The Horace K. Allman Drug Store was next to the movie theater and there is now an Allman street on Snoqualmie Ridge named for this family that lost a daughter to polio.
With literally no opposition, the little town of Meadowbrook was annexed to the City of Snoqualmie in 1952.
Dave Battey is currently researching the town of Meadowbrook history for a more detailed article in the Snoqualmie Valley History Magazine, published yearly by the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum. The magazine is complementary to members of the museum
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