One hundred years to the day Duvall officially incorporated, the city kicked off its centennial Jan. 6 with a big birthday party held at the new Riverview Educational Service Center.
As befitting such an historical occasion, there were speeches, music, skits and a film trailer showcasing the history of the town. Photos were taken and recognition made of the city’s longest inhabitants, the winner of which was probably Velma Hill, who was born Dec. 3, 1914 in Duvall where she has spent her entire life.
Mrs. Hill’s father, Arthur Hix, founded Hix’s Market on Main Street in 1910 and ran it until he and his wife retired. Velma and her husband, Cliff Hill, then took over.
Velma didn’t speak during the program but later offered her own personal memories of the history of Duvall.
She recalled that her father had been encouraged to come to Duvall by her uncle, who was just beginning to create the town of Sultan and thought Duvall (originally Cherry Valley) needed a general store.
After arriving in Duvall Hix set his sights on moving the future store building from its place on the riverfront up to its new location using teams of horses. (The rest of the town moved up the hill as well. The Hix’s Market building is now home to The Laurel Tree).
“It took three months to move the building,” said Velma. “I think they finally got it in place Jan. 1, 1910. After that they built the house where I was born in 1914. I have lived here all my life in this house.”
The city’s post office was in a corner of the store. Velma went on to become postmaster. “I was postmaster for 36 years, from 1940-1976.”
She says she remembers the construction of the swing bridge and a scary moment when her brother, who was about 10 at the time, decided to climb up on it.
“The bridge was built very high because of the high water (when the river flooded). But the boards were placed wide apart and he could have fallen through,” she said. “My mother looked out and saw him up there, and called to my father who ran as fast as he could to grab my brother off the bridge.”
She also recalled her sister playing the piano for silent films at Lon Brown’s theater in Duvall (where the feed store is now).
“Lon Brown (Duvall’s first mayor) owned other theaters besides the one in Duvall; there was one in Carnation and one in Snoqualmie.”
Lon Brown and the swing bridge were mentioned frequently during the program. Brown was given new life on the podium by re-enactor Ron Tuck who restated Brown’s memorable words: “There are three things that every town needs: a band, a baseball team and a home-talented fair.”
Mayor Will Ibershof, who recounted the city’s history, noted that the concrete pillars from the old swing bridge still stand. “The mules on it were recently repainted, thanks to some volunteers.”
He and many others who spoke mentioned the importance of “community.” Ibershof reminded everyone of the week-long power outage at few years back. “This community is resilient, we have a new library and Duvall is getting better because of you!”
Emcee Dave Mackintosh, a 25-year resident, noted that, even though the city has grown significantly in recent years, it has retained its “small town feel.”
A film documentary trailer on the city was premiered at the event.
“Spirit of Duvall – The First 100 Years,” produced by A2 Media Productions, is being created as a “heritage-based documentary highlighting events, personalities and milestones in the life of Duvall and the lower Snoqualmie Valley,” said film producer Rich Andrews. The full feature will debut summer of 2013. The producer is asking residents to help provide pictures or other memorabilia for the film. For information, visit www.Duvall100Film.com.
Other speakers included Senator Andy Hill, Representatives Roger Goodman and Larry Springer and King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert. Newly minted 1st District Congresswoman Suzan DelBene also attended, saying she is “looking forward to working with all of you to make sure Duvall remains an incredible place to live and work.”
To learn about future centennial events, visit http://duvall100.duvallwa.gov.
Photos by Lisa Allen