Historic Tollgate Farm in Snoqualmie River Valley on Highway 202 between the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie. Photo courtesy of Mary Johnston Miller, a professional photographer who lives in North Bend,
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–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.