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 petition circulated around town for a name change to Carnation. The State Legislature, Post Office and Milwaukee Railroad Depot each accepted the Carnation proposal.

The plot thickens. Some town residents felt the petitions were unfairly circulated to temporary logging camps and railroad boarding house residents who had no substantial interest in the name of the town. They worked to reverse the name change and it was changed back to Tolt in 1928.

The result was confusing because both names were often listed and the Milwaukee Railroad Depot as well as the Post Office continued to use the Carnation name. Tolt’s name was changed back to Carnation in 1951 to avoid confusion of using two names.

In Summary

1912: Tolt, incorporated
1917: Carnation
1928: Tolt
1951: Carnation

Next Story >> Prosperity 1912-1930