Jeremiah and Kate Borst file the first plat for Fall City on July 27, 1887.

  • By Alan Stein
  • Posted 3/24/2013
  • Essay 10357

On July 27, 1887, Jeremiah Borst (1830-1890) and his wife Kate (1855-1938) file the first plat for Fall City, located along the Snoqualmie River, a mile downstream from Snoqualmie Falls.

The first white settlers in what would later become Fall City were James Taylor (1838-1892), and brothers Edward and George Boham, who filed adjacent claims along the Snoqualmie River in 1855. The Bohams opened a trading post, which in 1872 became home for the Fall City post office, most likely named for the community's proximity to Snoqualmie Falls, less than a mile upstream.

In 1875, the Bohams sold their property to Jeremiah Borst, a successful farmer and landowner who had moved to the Snoqualmie Valley in 1858. After acquiring the Boham claims, Borst hired loggers to clear timber from them, but didn't improve them much further until a golden opportunity came his way in 1885.

The First Plat

That year, a group of Seattle investors announced plans to build to build the Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern Railroad east from Seattle across Snoqualmie Pass. Losing no time, Borst and his wife Kate moved from their home in the upper Snoqualmie Valley to the Bohams' old claims. Then the Borsts hired Byron Majors to survey and plat their property, in anticipation of the railroad to come.

On July 27, 1887, the Borsts filed the Plat of Fall City, a 15-block area laid out parallel to the Snoqualmie River so as to maximize views. The lots closest to the river were planned for businesses, as were those along Main Street -- a 60-foot wide corridor running north-south through town. Each block had an alley, to provide access to the rear of every lot.

The railroad arrived in 1889, but, unfortunately, it bypassed the town about a half mile south of Borst's plat. Fall City capitalized on its proximity anyway, especially after King County built a bridge over the Snoqualmie River near the northeast corner of the plat, and improved the road extending north and south from Taylor Street, on the eastern edge of town. Because of this, Taylor Street became the north-south business district, instead of Main Street.

The Second Plat

Their work now complete, the Borsts moved back to the upper Snoqualmie Valley, but Jeremiah Borst died from typhoid fever in 1890, and never got the chance to see Fall City prosper. Kate moved to Redmond soon after. But when she died in 1938, she was buried in the Fall City cemetery next to her husband.

A year after Jeremiah Borst died, his executors filed a second plat for Fall City, which seems to indicate the Jeremiah may have been working on it while still alive. This larger tract, located west of the original plat, contained larger lots and was laid out in such a way that it paralleled section lines, instead of the river.

Sources: Ada S. Hill, A History of the Snoqualmie Valley (Snoqualmie, Washington: Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society, 1970); Margaret McKibben Corliss, Fall City In The Valley of the Moon (Fall City, Washington: Margaret McKibben Corliss, 1972). Jack E. Kelley, with Ruth Pickering, Jack's History of Fall City (Fall City, Washington: Jack E. Kelley, 2006).

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