The Power of Place page changes with the seasons. From November 2014 to February 23, 2015 this page featured a photo of the iconic Snoqualmie Falls all dressed up in an icy blue coat. A spring update of this page was scheduled for late March. However on February 23, 2015, while still officially in the midst of winter, it became apparent that budding trees, flowers in full bloom and bright green grass would not be denied their many moments in the spring-like sun. So here is a photo of historic Tollgate Farm in Snoqualmie River Valley’s February spring of 2015. Thanks to Mary Johnston Miller, a professional photographer who lives in North Bend, for taking a February spring day stroll and getting this shot. Many more thanks to her for allowing use of her photo. marymiller.com
The 410 acres of land now known as Tollgate Farm holds a spirit of human activity that spans centuries. Indigenous Americans kept this priarie cleared by burning in order to assure bountiful crops of berries, edible roots and other useful plants Then the first European Americans arrived in the form of militia soldiers followed by homesteaders in 1867. The first homesteaders on this land, Joseph and Lucinda Fares built a cabin near the spot where the current Queen Anne styled farmhouse (pictured above) has been standing since 1904. After the Fares divorced in the 1880s , Lucinda’s uncle Jeremiah Borst purchased the Tollgate Farm which was named for the tolls which were collected from early travelers, and used to help maintain the road that traversed the praire. Borst, who also owned nearby Meadowbrook farm would become a major game changer in upper Snoqualmie Valley and help spark the building of the vibrant upper valley towns we see today.
At the turn of the 21st century, Tollgate Farm and the historic farmhouse were threatened by Industrial Park development and became a top priority for preservation by the Mountains To Sound Greenway Trust, the Trust for Public Land, the City of North Bend and King County–all organizations that recognized the farm’s value as a historic, scenic and wildlife habitat resource.
Tollgate Farm stands today as a true monument to Power of Place, the power of natural surroundings to shape our thoughts, provoke our emotions and influence our actions. The true power of history is everlasting–rooted in the footprints, places and legacies created hundreds of years ago, which must now be preserved forward to ensure healthy futures.