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


In the 1860s small logging camps sprung up along the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers, giving birth to an industry that would prosper for another 75 years. Oxen were used for the first logging operations. The logs would be dragged out of the woods on skids to the river. The earliest loggers cut down only the choicest timber, convenient to the market or to water. During the early 1870s lumber technology went from hand sawing to small water-powered sawmills. Steam donkeys were commonly used for Continue reading



In the early days of settlement the Snoqualmie River served Tolt’s major transportation needs. Land travel in King County’s dense forested terrain remained difficult and slow for a long time. The few roads built by settlers followed the contours of the land, hugged the ridges, had a very steep grade and wound around big trees, rather than moving them. The early roads, built by settlers, were often constructed as puncheon roads. These were slabs of cedar like railroad ties layed across long Continue reading



The town’s next phase of prosperity came with the arrival of the railroads, a lifeline for import and export of goods and services as well as mail and passengers. In 1910 the Great Northern Railway built a branch line from Monroe to Tolt. The Snoqualmie Valley line was sold to the Milwaukee Railroad in 1917. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Co. build their branch line from Cedar Falls north to Monroe along the east side of the Snoqualmie River. The Milwaukee, as it was known, Continue reading


Carnation Historical Context, by Christine Savage Palmer (King County Office of Cultural Resources, 1995) A History of Tolt-Carnation a Town Remembered, Second Edition, by Isabel Jones (Tolt Historical Society, 1997) Least We Forget, Article by Vern Pickering (1972) Continue reading

Emma Quaale De Jong, b. 1913

I’m Emma Quaale De Jong.  I’m ninety-three years old.  I was born March 19, 1913—born down in, I don’t know if you call it the Carnation or the VincentValley.  Anyway it was where the water had just taken home anyway.  There’s where I was born.  And I went to school there in Vincent.  In fact, that’s my picture, first-grade picture up there, and our school there in Vincent; went to school there the first six years.  And then we was transferred up at Carnation the rest of the time. My dad came Continue reading

Jeannette Davidson, b. 1916

My name is Jeannette Boersma Davidson.  Boersma was my maiden name.  And I was born September 11, 1916, so I’m an old heifer. My dad was born in Chicago.  But his relatives all came from Holland, my grandpa and all of them. I was born in Manzanola,  Colorado. It’s kind of southwest of Denver.  I think it’s west—maybe it’s east. We came to Everett, Washington in 1924.  And we came to the Tolt Farm in Carnation in 1928, I think. That’s a farm on the other side of town. It still has “Tolt Farm” Continue reading

Donald A. Davis, b. 1920

My name is Donald A. Davis. There’s more than oneDavis, so I go by the middle initial.  I’m eighty-four, will be eighty-five October tenth. I was born in 1920, a mile up theToltRiver, east ofTolt River Road.  That’s where I was born, up there on a twenty-acre stump ranch.  And I had seven brothers and sisters, four boys and three girls. There was me and my brother Harold, and Kenneth, andClyde.  Viola was my oldest sister, and Pauline was two years older than I am.  And Edith was two years Continue reading

Elda Clinton, b. 1916

I’m Elda Ann Orme Clinton, born July 14, 1916, in Tolt, Washington.  Then, it was Tolt, and then it was changed to Carnation.  Lived here my whole life. My mom and dad came in 1915.  My dad’s mother lived out here, and then he got married.  He married my mom, and they came on out here. South Dakota, I think it was, they came from. My dad was more of the business type.  He had taught school, and worked in a bank.  And my mom was from the big farm country—the people.  And somehow, they made a Continue reading

Fred Brumbaugh, b. 1929

My name is Fred Brumbaugh, my birth date is 8-19-1929; Frederick Laverne.  I never use it. My birth certificate says Monroe, but my aunt says I was born in Carnation.  I’ve got one aunt in Oregon, she’s a hundred and two.  There were just eight in the family—my dad was the only boy.  He was born in Minnesota.  This town used to be 400 people, and you knew everybody in town. My parents fought a lot; but my Dad was never home, he was up to the garage all the time, workin’.  Kids didn’t have Continue reading