Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Spirit of Cooperation

Two Snoqualmie Valley Museums are sharing a new exhibit, “North Bend’s Own Train,” which depicts the fascinating but untold story of the role the rail line played in the growth and development of North Bend and the Upper Snoqualmie Valley. The display contains the history, historical photos, diagrams and first-hand accounts of how the railroad brought prosperity to the Valley.

Although Snoqualmie had the elaborate depot, and was the heart of the operation, North Bend was where the train and crew were based for many years. (The engine was serviced at night by a watchman, the crew slept in old boxcar converted to a cozy caboose, and the engine was turned on the wye in North Bend.)

A commonality shared by North Bend and Snoqualmie is the critical role the railroad played in the development and sustainability of both communities. Until modern times the only way products like lumber and coal got to customers was by train. The rail line, opened in 1889, has served North Bend and the Upper Snoqualmie Valley for 120 years, bringing trade and tourists and thereby boosting - even enabling - the area’s economy.

The exhibit is the work of Northwest Railway Museum volunteers Dan O. and Thom W. It shows there are many opportunities for individuals to volunteer their particular talents at the valley Museums. Also contributing research, images, data, and stories were the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, the White River Valley Museum in Auburn, the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, the North Bend branch of the King County Library System, and a number of individuals.

North Bend’s Own Train will be on loan to the Snoqualmie Valley History Museum through October 30th. Stop by and check out their newest installations; an exhibit on the Snoqualmie Tribe and another reflecting the last 100 years in North Bend. The Snoqualmie Valley History Museum is a short walk from the North Bend Depot. Take a stroll and return on a later train. Don’t be afraid to mention where you saw the information.

Beginning November 1st, the exhibit will move to the North Bend branch of the King County Library System, and then it will be placed on long-term display at the Northwest Railway Museum.

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