Skip to main content

The Snoqualmie Depot is due for a new roof and gutters, but it’s going to be a lot more involved than updating the roof on your home!

Snoqualmie Depot front elevation with steam train circa 1891.

Dignitaries await the arrival of their return train to Seattle in this circa 1890 view of the Snoqualmie Depot.  Photo courtesy of the Snoqualmie Valley History Museum.


Summer days at the Snoqualmie Depot

Families enjoy Snoqualmie Depot on a warm August day.

Snoqualmie’s train station

The Snoqualmie Depot is the Northwest Railway Museum’s most recognizable artifact and is located in the historic district of downtown Snoqualmie where it continues to function as a railway depot.  Constructed in 1890, the depot is presented as it appeared in its first decade of use.  Decorative eyebrow dormers, an octagonal turret, colored glass windows, and a decorative shingle roof are just some of the features that contribute to its late Queen Anne style.  The original gentleman’s waiting room continues to serve visitors waiting to catch a train, while the lady’s waiting room hosts the Depot Bookstore.  The freight room features a variety of museum exhibits and the east end of the depot has been converted into public restrooms.  Listed on the King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmark Registers and the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot continues to retain most of its original integrity.

Depot roof and gutters today

The depot roof frequently attracts attention not only for its decorative shingles but for its use of western red cedar. More than 150 square of fancy-cut shingles adorn the roof of the depot; in more than 134 years, it has been renewed just a handful of times.  The present roof was installed in 1996 and certain parts have reached the end of their useful life while others remain in fair condition, but we can’t replace only the rotten parts – it is all or nothing!  This past winter, there were some minor leaks on both eyebrow dormers, and above the restroom entry: without immediate action, this condition will expand rapidly and cause serious damage.

Just 50 years ago, wood shingles were common place but today they have become increasingly rare. This is because  shingles are milled from heartwood, which requires the older and larger trees no longer harvested in Washington State.  Yet substituting a modern material would detract from the building.

The gutters are also due for replacement.  The present K-style gutters were applied to the depot during the restoration effort in 1979.  They have rusted through in numerous places and are no longer able to fully perform their function.

Rear side of the Snoqualmie Depot showing the decorative roof.

The rear side of Snoqualmie Depot circa 1891.  Note the original gutters and downspouts.

New roof and gutters

Historic structures such as the Snoqualmie Depot use collection care standards developed by and for the National Park Service, which are called the Secretary of Interior Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. To adequately prepare plans and specifications, the Museum retained an historic preservation architect.  Richaven Architecture and Preservation is based in Seattle and principal Brian Rich has been involved in a variety of historic preservation projects across the region.

Plans for replacement of the roof include detailed drawings illustrating placement of the decorative shingles along with installation of new non-ferrous half round gutters.  A request for proposals was circulated earlier this year and contracts were awarded to Elite Roofing for the shingles and to Snoqualmie-based Skil Fab sheet metal for the non-ferrous gutters and downspouts.  Work is scheduled to begin late this spring and should be completed within four weeks.

A snow-covered Snoqualmie Depot.

Winter weather is particularly hard on the Snoqualmie Depot roof and gutters.

Funding the roof and gutters – and you can make a difference, too!

Historic preservation work brings great value to communities.  It is more environmentally-friendly than building a new structure, it helps preserve a sense of place, and it provides a tangible reminder of our past.  For the Snoqualmie Depot, this work also represents preservation of a Third Place, which is a gathering place for people outside of their homes and work places.

Historic preservation work is very rewarding but it can also be quite costly: the Snoqualmie Depot roof and gutter project costs will exceed $300,000.  Fortunately, several significant grants and donations have already been awarded.  The Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation awarded the roof portion a $75,000 Third Places grant using historic preservation funding from the National Park Service.  King County 4Culture is

Snoqualmie Depot turret and station name sign.

The Snoqualmie Depot roof remains eye-catching in this view, but is badly deteriorated on the rear of the structure where it is most exposed to inclement weather.

supporting the roof project with a nearly $25,000 grant.  And the Museum’s Board of Directors have created a $50,000 challenge grant.  Certainly, there are more funds to secure, but the project is proceeding right away to ensure the existing depot roof does not go through another winter season.

Please consider a Give BIG or regular donation to the Snoqualmie Depot roof fund.  Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, and are also great for our community.

Skip to content