Community members and travelers passing through the town of Preston, just east of Issaquah, will notice a distinctive sign recently installed at the new Preston Mill Park. The former sawmill on this site, which operated from 1892 to 1974, provided an historic saw blade and reclaimed wood to incorporate into the new entrance sign.
The sign is the start of a new beginning for the park. Tucked into the foothills of the Cascades along a scenic stretch of the Raging River, the 22-acre King County Park has a bright future as an outdoor education and recreation destination.
This place called Preston and its surrounding areas in the Snoqualmie Valley have an ancient history. Long before the mill and town were established, this land has been home to sdukʷalbixʷ, the Snoqualmie People, who since time immemorial have hunted, fished and lived in this land and continue to live in the
valley to this day.
In the late 19th century, European immigrants built a logging town at Preston, first with a sawmill in Upper Preston that expanded to include a shingle mill at the current Preston Mill Park site. A flume carried lumber from the sawmill to the shingle mill. The people who worked in these mills were largely of Swedish descent, with a close-knit community that still exists to this day.
Today, King County Parks, Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust have joined forces to create a new park for community gathering and heritage preservation. Future ideas include a picnic shelter, restrooms, and a trail connection into the park from the Preston Community Center across the street.
A generous gift from Greenway Trust Founding President Jim Ellis will be matched with King County Parks funding to complete an interpretive project that will help tell the story of the Preston Mill site’s storied past, present and future. Interpretive displays may feature historic mill implements from the site, interpretive signage, and art installations.
To read more on Preston Mill Park and the surrounding area check out these blogs: