Snoqualmie Tribe

For perhaps 10,000 years the Tolt River country was known by the Snoqualmie Indians by the name Tolthue, which means river of swift waters. When the white man came to the lower valley, the name was shortened to Tolt. Chief Patkanim was head signer of the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, which ceded Snoqualmie Indian land to the United States in exchange for a reservation, which was granted in 2000. The first record of Tolt appeared on the Survey General’s Map of Washington Territory in 1857 Continue reading

First Settler, James Entwistle

First Settler, James Entwistle

James Entwistle, Tolt’s first settler, arrived in 1858 and claimed a homestead of 169 acres. He permanently settled and improved the homestead in 1866. His first wife, Mary, was an Indian woman, they had three children. Mary drowned in a canoe accident. He married Sarah Kelly and had four more children. The industries of logging, raising hops and hay provided a living for his family. He died in 1902. He and his children are buried in the Carnation Cemetery. Robert G. Entwistle gives Continue reading

Before 1900

The homes of the valley were either log or slab built with square nails or wooden pegs. The barns or outbuildings were constructed mostly of cedar. The barns were for oxen or cows. The first barns were usually built on the river bank on the highest point of land. The barns were built close to the river because the farmers shipped their milk by boat. The farms, large and small, were limited in tillable ground as the valley had a very dense undergrowth of vine maple, alder, wild cherry, Continue reading


Between 1879 and 1893 the first cash crop in the valley was hops. Hops were used in beer and as a tonic. Western Washington became one of the major hop producers in the world. The hops were shipped to Seattle and on to England. Native Americans provided much of the labor to pick the hops. Hop picking also brought the Davis brothers to Tolt as well as other families. In 1889 the first hops aphid appeared and by 1891 there was a complete crop failure. James Entwistle was a prosperous hop Continue reading

After 1900

The Lord family came to Tolt in 1889 and purchased the general store and hotel. Three years later the hotel was moved from the banks of the river to the side of the main highway which led through town. As more settlers came into the valley the trails and roads became of greater importance. Tolt continued to grow and prosper in the 1900s. Local dairymen established the Tolt Cooperative Creamery. The first plat of the Town of Tolt was filed by William J. and Eugenie Lord, May 16, 1902. Their Continue reading

Naming The town: Tolt or Carnation?

For perhaps 10,000 years the Tolt River country was known by the Snoqualmie Indians by the name Tolthue, which means river of swift waters. When the white man came to the lower valley, the name was shortened to Tolt. The town was officially given the name Tolt in 1912, incorporated December 31, 1912. Tolt’s name was changed to Carnation in 1917 to allow the town to gain prestige by being associated with the fame of the nearby Carnation Milk Farm, but it upset many long-time residents. A Continue reading

Prosperity 1912-1930

Carnation’s greatest extended phase of prosperity was from the time on incorporation in 1912 to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression slowed the local economy, but area property owners held onto their land and the local bank did not fail. This was the time period of greatest dairying and logging activities because technology improved the harvesting, shipping and milling processes. Water, electricity and telephone services arrived in Tolt in 1913. Tolt had a population of Continue reading

Stone Markers

In a burst of local pride in 1938, and to reinforce the argument that his town should not be named Carnation, David Entwistle (1879-1960), son of original pioneer James Entwistle, constructed four stone markers to bear the town’s name at entry points along Tolt Avenue. The markers were refurbished in 1992 by the Tolt Historical Society and two can still be seen, one on Blanche Street and one on Bagwell Street along Tolt Avenue. Next Story >> Carnation Farm Continue reading

Carnation Farm

In 1910, Carnation Company founder E.A. Stuart developed 350 acres northwest of Tolt to breed Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle. Next Story >> River Travel Continue reading

River Travel

The earliest pioneers to arrive at the site of Tolt came in Indian canoes, then river scows and barges, and finally on steamboats. The steamboats often got stuck. When that happened, they ran a line to a tree on shore and used a winch to haul themselves through the river channel. On April 7, 1882, the first small light draft boat began navigation on the Snoqualmie River, the Alki. The steamers hauled passengers and freight, which included produce and livestock. Steamers also served as Continue reading