MARCH 17, 1997

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She started the Snoqualmie turbines spinning

Dorothy Bond

Dorothy had the first phonograph that arrived in Seattle. Today, her offspring have that souvenir.
Photo by Oscar Roloff.

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff
Over the years, I've "scooped" many a lucrative Eastside story. Here's another one: she's Dorothy Bond. It was 31 July 1899 that at long last, the Snoqualmie Falls was more than a beautiful scene of tons of cascading water.
   On that eventful day, Charles Baker held his one-year-old daughter Dorothy and put her hands on the switch that would soon, for the first time, light up the greater Seattle area. He was a skilled engineer. With Baker helping a little, the tyke's little hand pushed the lever down and presto a new world emerged in the Northwest: that of electric power. Baker had designed and built a power system that was installed in the bedrock caverns underneath the falls.
   From then on, Dorothy used her lifetime pass to frequently visit the underground site her father had built. When I interviewed her, Dorothy said she'd soon go back for a tour of the caverns and invited me as a special guest. On that day, I was ill and missed the chance of a lifetime.
   One day, while her Pop was working on the project, a young skinny kid asked for a job. Her Pop hired him. Later, that kid, Joshua Green, founded the People's National Bank of Washington and became a great local leader. A much-beloved man.
   While a kid, Dorothy's Pop used to take her on his many visits to the local Indian tribes he'd often defend. One day, while visiting Chief Shelton of the Snohomish tribe, Dorothy said to him, "Chief Shelton, I want to tell you something. Way back in the history of my family, I'm related to Pocahantas and her father, Chief Powhatan."
   Whereupon the regal chief said, "I knew it. When you look off into the distance as an Indian does, you are aware of the things others do not see, such as the clouds scudding by, birds on the wing, and the green forest."
   Married and having two daughters, Dorothy became a Camp Fire leader and took her daughters and other young ones out to visit the Indian encampments. She was inducted into the Snohomish tribe as a princess and a lodge was named in her honor.
   Dorothy passed on a sage comment the chief had made to her. Here it is: "This earth can only stand so much abuse. We must be careful that we a have a place left where we can renew our spirits."
   Now deceased, Dorothy's spirit rests ever so lightly above the whispering falls where nearly a century ago, she pulled the switch that gave us electric life.
   Next, I'll do an article for you on her husband Basil. It's a nautical one, full of fun. So hang in there until it rolls around.