Duvall Area

A History of the Duvall area
Territorial Towns and Settlements
Duvall Historical Society

This information is provided courtesy of Tove Burhen and Mary Lampson of the Duvall Historical Society.

A History of the Duvall area

U.S. Army expeditions were the first explorers in the Duvall and Lower Snoqualmie Valley area during the 1850’s and the dense forests and lack of roads prevented settlement until the 1870’s. Many early settlers were Civil War veterans with land grants.

Before roads and railroads existed in the region, settlers came to the area by riverboat. The early settlers paddled canoes, copying the Native American mode of transportation. In 1864 steam-driven, stern paddle-wheel boats began hauling travelers and merchandise on the Snoqualmie River. These boats carried produce, such as eggs and cream, to market. James Duvall

In the 1870s, brothers Francis and James Duvall were among the first settlers in the Duvall area and owned land that was to become the future site of Duvall.

Another early settler was James O'Leary who arrived in 1877. Like so many at that time, O’Leary came up the river by boat, built a log cabin beside the Snoqualmie River and logged the huge fir and cedar trees on his homestead with the help of six horses.

Those who logged in the early days before railroads marked the logs for ownership and dumped them into the river where they floated downstream until they were fished out of the water by the mills in Snohomish or Everett.

With logging being the stimulus of the local economy, the Duvall homesteaders developed into a community. Schools were a necessary feature of this community and the first one was built by group effort in 1879. William McDonald donated the land and a cedar tree which provided enough lumber for the structure, benches and desks. First school building

Though the Snoqualmie River helped stimulate the local economy by providing a means of linking the settlers along the river, crossing the river was often difficult. River crossing were first made by rowboats and sometimes by walking across the frequent log jams. Eventually local and private ferries began appearing and finally a bridge was built in 1910 at Cherry Valley. Cherry Valley settlement taken from bridge in 1910

At Cherry Valley, the small settlement near the future city of Duvall, Arthur Hix opened one of the first general stores in the area. His buildings and others in Cherry Valley were moved to make way for the railroads in 1910 and became the future town of Duvall. Hix general store, taken about 1910

In 1913 the idea of platting a town began to circulate among the business-minded. Horatio Allen, Jack Bird, Dan Berry and Roy Comegys, who had purchased land from Duvall, hired a surveyor to start a town. Duvall heard of this idea and put into writing that since his land was being used to start a town, the future town should be named after him.

The Duvall Historical Society has been preserving local history through oral interviews and written material. The Society has published five local history books and continues to research and collect stories for the future publications.

Territorial Towns and Settlements

Steam Stern Wheeler on Snoqualmie River

Duvall—named after James Duvall, an early 1870s homesteader on whose land the town was platted in 1913.

Cherry Valley—a small settlement begun in the 1870s, named by the first postmaster Lucius Day for the nearby cherry trees. In 1910 the buildings were moved by the railroads to begin present day Duvall.

Vincent—settled in 1870 by the Vincent family. Today all that remains of is early school built during the territorial period. The Vincent homestead was bought by Carnation Research Farm, now part of the Nestle Corporation.

Novelty—settled in 1871 by George Boyce and was named after his hometown in Missouri. It once had a church, school and general store; now it is just a wide spot on the road.


In 1883 O'Leary bought a farm in Cherry Valley. He donated an acre to the Methodist Church for a cemetery which is no longer in use and now belongs to the Duvall Historical Society. In 1888, he built a nice house but never used it because plans for the marriage fell through. His house is now the historic house that the Duvall Historical Society renovated.

Duvall Historical Society

Dougherty House , taken about 1910 after being moved uphill from its previous Cherry Valley location.

The recently renovated King County Landmark, the Territorial Dougherty Farmstead which is owned by the City of Duvall, is operated by the Historical Society as a museum. Tours of the house with an accompanying narrative of its history are given to school classes and the public.

Following the wishes of its citizens, the City has given a priority to preserving "Old Town," which includes the territorial buildings that were once Cherry Valley. The City moved these buildings to their present Main Street sites and their history is presented on guided tours given by members of the Duvall Historical Society.