This was the trade center and shipping point of a farming and dairying district and sits in the shadow of craggy Mount Si (4,167 feet), a favorite hiking destination for locals, along with its shorter sister, Little Si (1,576 feet). They were named after homesteader Josiah “Uncle Si” Merritt, who built a cabin at the base of the peak in 1862. The rocky landscape is comprised of metamorphosed remnants of an oceanic plate volcano. The history of North Bend is closely tied to its strategic location as a gateway between Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains: Transportation routes, including early foot trails, wagon roads, railroads, and historic, as well as modern, highways, have shaped the physical growth and the economy of the community. The town today, from downtown to its historic bridges, reflects that history.
North Bend was named after a sharp bend in the Snoqualmie River before it flows over Snoqualmie Falls. When platted by William T. Taylor and his wife, Mary, in February 1889, the town site was called Snoqualmie; later it was called Mountain View and South Fork. Loggers and sawmill hands from nearby camps and mills made it their headquarters. Paved streets, a city-owned water system, and trim houses testified to the town’s progressiveness. A shingle mill, opened in 1890 by William C. Weeks, made most of the wooden pipe used in Seattle’s Cedar River pipeline.