Main Street Then & Now
In the early 1870s, brothers James and Francis Duvall came up the Snoqualmie River by boat and homesteaded on a hillside overlooking the river. They were loggers, drawn by the region's vast expanse of huge fir and cedar trees. They were soon followed by other woodsmen, many of them Union veterans of the Civil War.
About a half mile downstream from the Duvall homestead was the small community of Cherry Valley. In 1909 the railroad moved the settlement's buildings to the site of the Duvall’s hillside homestead. These relocated homes and commercial buildings formed the core of the new town of Duvall, which was first platted in 1910 and incorporated in 1913.
No story of Duvall would be complete without including one of the area’s earliest pioneering families and the oldest building in town. Arthur and Pauline Hix; with encouragement from their pastor, decided to set up residence and shop on the Dougherty property of Cherry Valley (Taylors Landing) in 1905. The building currently holds Duvall Flower and Gifts. It took six weeks for the railroad to move the building from Taylor’s Landing to where it sits now. The building has served as a general store, the post office, and later as Duvall Auto Parts (now located in Minaglia’s Plaza).
The Valley House was a two-story building built in 1892 by a pioneering businessman named Bob Crossman. The building contained a saloon with living quarters below and hotel rooms above. The stable was behind the building and the establishment became a sort of halfway house for travelers passing through the Valley. James Wallace the future builder of the Forest Inn bought the Valley House from Crossman in 1906 and proceeded to establish it as a headquarters for hunters and sportsmen. Mr. Wallace kept the business for a few years and the owner he sold the business to, closed the building down in 1912. The contemporary Valley House Brewing Co (formerly an equipment rental building) was opened in early 2018. Big Jim Wallace still has a great-grandson that lives in the town.
Built in 1934, just a year after prohibition was repealed, The Duvall Tavern has remained in operation ever since. The tavern was run by a strong- fisted woman named Fern Colett. The parking lot on its south side sits on land once occupied by a ramp to the old Stewart Street Bridge that crossed the Snoqualmie River towards Woodinville. In 1963, The Duvall Tavern changed ownership three times in two days. A well-known valley gambler won it in a poker game and then sold it to another gambler to pay off a gambling debt. That second gambler then sold it to another person who actually wanted to be in the tavern business.
Continue across the street to Red Pepper Pizzeria & Pasta. Built in 1911 or 1912, this building originally housed Hoffman’s Tailoring. Mr. Hoffman hiked out to logging camps, taking orders and measurements for some real classy suits. Mr. Hoffman caught cold on one of these trips to the camps and died of pneumonia in June 1913. The building also served as the original Silver Spoon Restaurant, a barbershop, an antique shop, and an arcade.
The Grateful Bread currently occupies the next building. Built in 1913, it originally housed Franke’s Shoe Store where Joseph Franke made and repaired shoes (including the caulked boots for loggers). Later, the building served as the office of Judge Wright, the grandfather of Broadway star Martha Wright. Later still, it served as the home of the Carnavall Reporter Newspaper, a florist shop, Pumps and Grinds Coffee Shop, and the Duvall Coffeehouse.
Studio Beju was originally the Duvall State Bank built in 1912, and later a branch of Seafirst aka Bank of America. Three men with blazing pistols robbed the bank of $435 in 1915. Once nearby citizens and the town marshal noticed the robbery, a gun battle ensued with shots fired from every direction. The leader of the robbers, with loot in a pillowcase, headed for the river. Shots continued to ring out and a splash was heard. The pillow case containing the gold and an empty pistol were all that were found.
Head back and cross Main Street to find the Pacific Bike and Ski Shop. Originally Boyd’s Grocery (1912), this building initially contained a grocery store as well as a bakery and post office. In the 1930’s, cold storage lockers replaced the bakery. Subsequent occupiers included Stretch’s, McDougal’s General Store and the quirky Duvall Book Store, which closed in 2016.
Due south you’ll find The Grange. The Independent Order of Oddfellows Duvall Lodge #311 constructed this building in 1926, where it subsequently hosted weekly dances. The Grange purchased the building in 1933 and it remained as the social center of town for years, including serving as the home for Klondike Days. In 1977 it became the famous Silver Spoon Restaurant. Much of the historic culture feels imbedded in the Grange’s atmosphere.
Brief History of Duvall
Duvall’s rich history of settlement began with the Snoqualmie Tribe whose members lived in this region year round for thousands of years, using the Snoqualmie River as a primary travelling method. As white settlers progressed westward in the mid to late 1800s, it wasn’t long before the area was “discovered.” Our city’s namesakes, Francis and James Duvall, found their paradise here and homesteaded in the 1870s. The original town was called Cherry Valley. It was located a half-mile from where Duvall currently resides, along the banks of the Snoqualmie River.
Until the early 1900s, river travel was Duvall’s link to commerce and trade with other towns and cities in the region. To meet the huge regional demand for building materials, logs from Duvall were transported up and down the river by steam-driven paddlewheel boats. Logging companies provided jobs, which also attracted cattle and dairy farmers. Soon railroad companies were interested in expansion to the area.
Prosperity brought growth and amenities such as sidewalks, streets, and a train depot. New businesses sprung up seemingly overnight and thrived with the booming economy. Along with a movie house, drug store, newspaper, and four hotels, Cherry Valley’s first school was built in 1879. The school itself was built with the wood of a single huge log from a local tree. Sadly, many of the buildings from these early businesses were eventually lost to new growth or to fire. However, a few of these historic buildings such as the Grange Hall and the old train depot still stand to this day.
The Dougherty Farmstead (a National Historic Landmark) and the famous “big rock” are other historic landmarks that are still enjoyed today. On January 6, 1913, the town of Duvall officially incorporated. In 1955, Ray Burhen bought the train depot and later donated it to the City of Duvall. It was subsequently moved to its present location at Depot Park near the Duvall Police Station. The last train whistle blew in 1973, ending an era, but leaving an indelible mark in Duvall’s history. The old train track is now used as a popular trail along the Snoqualmie Valley. Many simple Duvall milestones, such as getting water service or getting the first stop light, were exciting signs of growth. The population became more diverse over the years when artists and “back to the land” pioneers moved to the area in the 1970s, adding to the character of the town.
In 2013, the citizens of Duvall celebrated 100 years as an incorporated city, and marked the occasion by refurbishing Main Street. Today, Duvall is once again experiencing a surge of growth. A new generation of pioneers, such as young CSA farmers, as well as individuals working in high tech industries, are moving to the area attracted by the peaceful small town atmosphere and close proximity to large eastside cities. Perhaps the greatest common thread throughout the town’s history is the pride the inhabitants of Duvall feel for their beloved and vibrant community.
The Great Piano Drop
Times, they were a-changin’ in Duvall in the mid-1960s when the town became a destination for members of the so-called counter-culture. Out of the “hippie invasion” came one of the more memorable moments in Duvall history. April 28th, 1968 became a day of infamy when an upright piano was hoisted via helicopter hundreds of feet into the air. In front of the hundreds of curious spectators, the piano was dropped. It famously landed off target and onto soft ground with a great dull thud. The event was recreated during Duvall’s centennial celebration on August 3rd, 2013. This time the piano was lifted by a large crane and successfully smashed in front of hundreds of happy onlookers who joyfully ripped souvenirs from the demolished instrument.
~ Thank you to Country Roney and the Duvall Historical Society! To learn more about Duvall's history, visit Duvall Historical Society. To hear additional stories of historic places, download the Distrx app and take the Walking/Driving Tour of Main Street Duvall. This excursion is brought to you through funding from 4Culture and efforts of Duvall Historical Society.